*The Lakers season may be over but that doesn’t mean the players still aren’t being recognized for their play during the campaign. Just today, Kobe Bryant was named to the All-NBA 1st Team and Pau Gasol was named to the 2nd team. This is Kobe’s 9th first team selection and his 6th straight overall. This is Gasol’s first 2nd team selection after making the 3rd team the past two seasons. Congrats to them both as this is high praise for their strong regular seasons.
*Speaking of Kobe, he made some comments in his exit interview that I’m sure many will find interesting. Specifically, his comments about Andrew Bynum’s position in the offensive pecking order (as reported by Marc J. Spears of Yahoo!) are already causing a bit of a stir:
“Ultimately, he’ll have to fall in line because I’m gonna shoot the ball,” Bryant said. “We all know that. Pau is going to get his touches. He’s No. 2. And then [Andrew] will have to fall in line.”
My interpretation of this is simple. Kobe’s not saying Bynum doesn’t deserve more touches. Kobe’s saying that (Kobe) is still the lead offensive player while Pau is the clear second option. While some may bristle at how this message was phrased and delivered, this is true, and should be in my opinion.
*None of this means that Bynum doesn’t deserve more touches. Simply put, he does. At whose expense and how he gets them within the context of the offense is the missing element in this discussion. This may not be that comforting to Laker fans, but look at the Miami Heat for an example of three really talented offensive players that all had successful seasons while divying up the offensive load. There’s no reason to think the Lakers can’t find a division of power with Bynum having a prominent seat at the table. In the end, let’s focus on on everything within a larger context rather than looking at a statement and narrowing it down to fit into our perception or argument about who Kobe is.
*To that point, whoever the new coach of this team is will dicatate a lot of how the offense flows, who are the go to players, and how to best use each player’s talents.
*Another topic that came up in Kobe’s exit interview was the concept of him not practicing. Kobe had a lot to say on this subject from his thoughts on how his teammates responded to what he envisions his practice habits to be like next season. For a great take on this subject, team dynamics, and getting back to the top, read this piece by Kevin Ding.
*As the playoffs roll on, an interesting stat that you’ll hear a lot will be that this will be the first season since 1998 that one of the Kobe, Shaq, Duncan trio isn’t in the Finals. Kind of amazing how those three players dominated this era.
*Speaking of the playoffs, they’re clearly not as enjoyable for us with the Lakers out. But, if you watch the games, there is some great basketball on display. That Thunder/Grizzlies series has been fantastic. And the Heat’s play against the Celtics was also a sight to see. If we do get Mavs/Thunder and Bulls/Heat in the conference finals, I only expect these playoffs to get better.
*Enjoy this basketball while you can because the lockout is looking more and more like an inevitability. Especially based off this latest report.
*I don’t know about you, but I’m going to watch this.
*Lastly, not sure if you’ve seen this clip/tribute to Phil Jackson but it’s worth your time.
*(updated) I’d be remiss if I did’t mention that just because the Laker season is over doesn’t mean that we’re done covering this team and the league as a whole. Be it the draft, CBA negotiations, the next coach, and personnel changes, we’ll be right here for all of it.