*I’ve always thought one of the great testaments to a player’s game is when an incoming draftee is labled the next version of you. I remember when Billy Owens was called the next Magic Johnson or when countless players were called the next Michael Jordan. Well, we’re now at the point where prospects are being called the next Kobe Bryant. And while smart analysis says otherwise and even the player himself has shied away from the comparison, it gives me a little smile to hear that monicker tossed out there. To me it means that a player’s imprint on the game is so strong that others see those qualities in up and coming prospects. This just serves as another reminder to appreciate what we have in #24 while we have it.
*Speaking of Kobe, an interesting read on his father Joe “Jellybean” Bryant.
*Derek Fisher is a natural leader and, I think, the best representative the players union could have in the negotiations with the league. Go check out what he had to say about the lockout and the state of the negotiations with the owners. A part of his interview that I found particulary interesting:
Like I just stated, progress is made the more times you have the opportunity to sit down and work with each other. Progress isn’t always similar to the game of basketball. … Trying to just tell how somebody played based on their stats or how many points they scored isn’t always the true value of that person’s game. In this process, just because we don’t have a deal done right now, doesn’t mean the months that we’ve put into this process prior to now have been wasted.
This exact description is how I’d probably talk about Fisher’s value as a player too. It’s not always the boxscore that tells the story, but the little things that ultimately lead to the victory. Here’s hoping Fish can come up clutch in these negotiations the way that he has in so many big games.
*Speaking of the lockout, both sides are in the wrong here and would do well to seek out a compromise rather than a full out win. That said, if you’re a Laker fan, you should probably be rooting for the players to get as much of a win as they can in these negotiations. Because if the owners get their way, the Lakers will be hit hard by several of the parity seeking proposals currently on the table.
*Last lockout note: when it comes to the league’s financials, one of the sides isn’t telling the truth.
*Last night I was watching NBA TV and they were showing the Jordan “Flu Game” from the 1997 Finals. Rewatching that game two things were abundantly clear. First, Scottie Pippen was a major key to every bit of success the Bulls had on both sides of the floor. He handled the ball, ran the break, finished inside off drives, posted up, guarded mutliple positions, and showed unparralelled help defense ability. Such a fantastic player.
Second, I’m going to miss the Triangle Offense. Watching the Bulls zip the ball around, run all the actions of Tex Winters’ sets, and get the type of looks that allowed them to erase a huge first half deficit was a sight to see. With Phil retiring (again), the only team left running the Triangle is Minnesota. But with Ricky Rubio coming over and Rambis’ job security twisting in the wind, that won’t last long.
*Happy 31st Birthday to Pau Gasol. Shall your time in Spain and play with the Spanish National Team get you prepared for next season’s chase towards the title (whenever that comes).