Wednesday Storylines

Dave Murphy —  June 6, 2012

It’s been interesting, watching the battle between old and young throughout the playoffs. The final four is mostly three parts veteran, one part youth. Tonight could be curtains for the San Antonio Spurs, facing elimination at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. The Thunder represent the last opportunity for some semblance of the NBA’s next generation to get their shot at the Larry O’Brien. Of course, Kevin Durant isn’t exactly a bright-eyed rookie at this point – this being his fifth year in the league. Meanwhile, the old-as-Methuselah Celtics head back to Boston, with a chance to put away Miami and head to another finals appearance. Here’s a smattering of links from Laker-centric to the games at hand:

Brian Kamenetzky at ESPN’s Land O’Lakers remarks on the option pickup for Andrew Bynum’s last year under contract.

Dave McMenamin from ESPN Los Angeles, delivers his Mike Brown report card.

Mark Medina at the LA. Times has a report card for the front office.

Mike Bresnahan at the Times weighs in on Bynum’s pickup.

Matt Moore at Eye On Basketball writes about Orlando’s continued effort to being Phil Jackson to their front office, in a hybrid long distance relationship.

Jeff Latzke from the AP, files a report for Yahoo, about OKC on the verge of advancing, and the Spurs’ determination not to let it happen.

Big50 at Pounding the Rock has a preview for tonight’s game.

Aaron McGuire provides a game six Manna of Hope for 48 Minutes of Hell.

Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo writes about Miami’s frailties, and the possibility of an experiment gone wrong,

Mark Spears at Yahoo writes about the Celtics who wouldn’t die, headed back to TD Garden.

***

Generational questions and the matter of direction, loom large for the Los Angeles Lakers. Age is an obvious talking point, with Kobe nearing his end game. That in of itself doesn’t necessarily steer the boat but winning does. There’s also a question of style, of power versus speed. Boston as a team may be old, but Rajon Rondo isn’t. Without his quickness and game-changing ability, the Celtics aren’t still in this thing.

As widely noted, Andrew Bynum’s final option year has been exercised. It doesn’t necessarily secure his future – Darius wrote about uncertainty and free agency. And then there’s the matter of money – the staggering amount that’s on our plate right now, and the fact that most of it comes off the books in 2014. This brings us back to the here and now – what are the changes this summer, how does it or doesn’t it position us for the future? It’s the question of priorities and choices – youth, speed, power, and veteran ability down the stretch. Which path do we take? How do we best surround Kobe with assets that can bring him one more ring? Because forget all the on-record talk about lots more championships before he’s done – the end game right now, is one more.

– Dave Murphy

Dave Murphy

Posts

76 responses to Wednesday Storylines

  1. My grade for Mike Brown is a D. Would be a F without those adjustments v Okc. A pushover, couldn’t control Bynum and he didn’t win.

    Miami’s struggles come down to Wade not being as advertised and LeBron still having the deer in the headlights look 8 years in. Such a talent needs a star like Kobe to get his head right.

    How do we best surrond Kobe with assests that can bring him one more ring?

    Bringing in a player better than him. Or keeping this starting 5 and adding veterans role players who can make imediae impact.

  2. Kevin, giving Mike Brown D is very generous. He earned an F.

    Mike Brown did not make any adjustment, move or even a time out comment (“need some nasty”) that contributed to the Lakers winning a game they would have otherwise lost. Starting from the opening loss to the Bulls there isn’t an instance where Mike Brown was positive difference maker.

    George Karl outcoached him silly. He made Mike Brown look like Erik Spoelstra.

    F minus is probably a more accurate assessment

  3. treylake: can’t dispute anything you said there. I thought Brown’s adjustment on PnR defense contributed to keeping games close vs Okc after game 1. Outside of that year 1 didn’t change the perception he had in cleveland.

  4. How can the Lakers get better? Only one way: through trades.

    1. Actually use the TPE from Odom rather than just letting it expire like Sasha’s. Nearly $9m per year should be able to bring in a very decent player.

    2. Choose whether you’re in “win now” mode or “cut cost” mode once and for all.

    If you want to win now, then recognize that the team as constructed isn’t good enough and tinkering around the edges likely won’t make it good enough. All you’ll have is a team that wasn’t close to good enough the last couple of years a year older.

    If you want to win now, then be willing to take on larger salaries back in trades and absorb unfavorable contracts. If you don’t want to win now, then blow things up and get the rebuilding process started sooner rather than later.

    3. Trade one or both of Bynum/Gasol.

    This pairing has run it’s course. At this point I think it is fairly obvious that the Lakers have too many players that need the ball in the post. Kobe, Gasol, and Bynum ALL want to operate from there.

    You can’t trade Kobe. Even if the Lakers wanted to, he has a veto clause in his contract and his contract is unpalatable to most teams. Nobody else on the Laker roster has much value.

    Given Gasol’s age and rather putrid performances in the playoffs the last two years, I think you’re left with needing to trade Bynum and hope moving Gasol back to the low post revitalizes his game. The reason being is because Gasol’s value is at an all-time low.

    4. Bring in a new coach…if you decide to keep Bynum.

    I have mixed feelings about this recommendation, but I see no way around it. I think Mike Brown has lost that locker room and, in particular, lost Bynum.

    I’ve ripped on Bynum for his apathetic “I don’t give a ****” play in the playoffs and throughout the season, but the fact of the matter is, part of that is on Brown, and a GIANT part of it is on Jim Buss, who has coddled and protected that spoiled brat for years.

    Since you can’t get rid of Buss, you need to get rid of Brown and bring in a coach that can command that locker room’s respect and enforce discipline. (Jeff van Gundy? He’d certainly have Artest’s attention.)

  5. Treylake/Kevin: I understand your disagreement with the grade for Mike Brown. I also disagree with the grade for Jimbo.

    I would give MB a “C”.

    Now moving on to Jimbo, I would give him a “D”, whereas Medina gave him a C+. I would only pass Jimbo for two reasons: 1) I give him the “D” for his effort with regard to CP3 – but the task was still not completed. 2) I give him the “D” because I do not want him back in my class next year. Somehow I think he will be there though, as I believe his family can afford the 5 year plan and then some : )

  6. Jim C: Yes Yes Yes

    #1 and #2 are beautiful. #3 is good too. and the implications of: “Since you can’t get rid of Buss” – Fantastic !!

    Everyone please re-read #2 and then send it to Jimbo via all forms of communication possible.

    rr: There is now clearly someone else in the Laker world like me : )

  7. >>>Since you can’t get rid of Buss

    maybe they can replace him with another Buss? the female one.

  8. http://www.latimes.com/sports/lakersnow/la-sp-ln-la-deron-williams-says-hes-keeping-free-agency-options-open-20120606,0,5543667.story?track=rss

    “I know they don’t have any money to just go out and sign me,” Williams said. “It’ll have to be some kind of deal.”

    He’s right there for the taking Mitch.

  9. Agree Tray

    Brown was suppose to be a defense coach yet tge defense git worse as tge season went on. P and R was a joke.

    Most important was lack of respect.
    Allowing AB to do what ge wanted and not even join huddle is the weakest coaching in Laker history.
    Kobe taking credit for calling plays us right in Brown’s face.
    Metta saying Brown isca numbers guy without feel fir game.

    List goes on. Mike Brown was fired from the Cavs because he lost the team and was a mess on his rotations.

    And Jimmy the clueless hires this guy to lead a team full of strong personalities and champs.

    The guy dosen’t have the respect of his team and will never win with him and his double talk post game excuses.

    F is his grade and the same for the guy who hired him.

  10. Overall I give Brown a D. Let’s face it, the Lakers are not as good as any of the four teams left. They lack San Antonio’s depth. They lack OKC’s youth and athleticism. They lack Boston’s grit and passion plus their well defined roles. They lack Miami’s overall talent. Two close losses in the second round don’t change this reality.

    The Lakers had no training camp. They were implementing a new system and a lot of new faces. Plus, they play in the tougher Western Conference. To get to the second round is about what was to be expected for this team. For this Brown gets a B.

    Where Brown falls short in my eyes is his handling of the players. He seemed to bend to Kobe too much. When it was time to call him out Mike punked out. I think that is the main reason he lost Bynum’s respect. By the time Brown benched Kobe late in the season it was already too late. Not only did Brown lose Bynum he lost Fisher as well. The team seemed not to believe in his offensive philosophy. For this he gets an F. Put the two together and he is in the D range for the season.

    And I agree with Jim above. If the Lakers plan on keeping Bynum long term then need to get rid of Brown. As long as Kobe is there Mike will bow to him. And for that reason Bynum will never respect him.

  11. Sidebar, but, LeFawn James stating the Heat played well enough the other night to give themselves a chance to win, and that’s all that can be expected.

    Wow – Can you imagine Magic, Kareem, Kobe (!) , Jordan, or Bird saying something like that?

    Me neither.

  12. Hmmm, might’ve been premature to crown the Spurs the exemplars of the NBA, huh?

    We should know more in a few minutes, but it looks like the Thunder are eating their lunch, doesn’t it?

  13. Wow Fish. I want nothing more than for that guy to get his 6th ring. He battles like no other! Too old. Too slow. Too damn clutch!

    I think Brown deserves a B-. No training camp and 1 practice for the year pretty much… He did pretty well with what he had to work with.

    Jim Buss gets a C+. He almos got us CP3. Nuff said. His other moves left something to be desired.

  14. Fisher!!!! =-)

    Five points in the 4th quarter of a closeout game. Bynum is right closeout games are easy.

  15. Love watching this Thunder team! Question. If Kobe had a team that was the best team in the league all year long and favored to win the NBA championship- what would the media say about a collapse like the Spurs had would do to his “legacy?” Does TD take a hit like Kobe?

  16. So happy for Fisher. Old man still has it.

    Durant is ridiculous, he’s taken the torch from Kobe. The kid has all my respect

  17. Fans wanted Fisher gone he gets traded. Hits big shots as always and has a chance to get another ring. Funny how life works.

  18. OKC beating Mavs, Lakers and Spurs is impressive.

  19. KenOak – Question. If Kobe had a team that was the best team in the league all year long and favored to win the NBA championship- what would the media say about a collapse like the Spurs had would do to his “legacy?” Does TD take a hit like Kobe?

    ———————————–

    No; plus who says the Spurs were favored all year? I think that was (is?) the Heat.

  20. Just phenomenal. So much individual talent on the Thunder. Nothing but respect for them. Hope they bring home the big one.

  21. Mike Brown was set up to fail from day one. Jackson was an “offensive” coach. He basically left defense to his assistants. Brown is the exact opposite. The Lakers – including Kobe – have never played for anyone who expects great defense. This philosophical change, plus the shortened training camp and regular season, never gave Brown a chance.

    The “build vs. trade” controversy over Bynum reminds me of another talented, but immature, star: Rasheed Wallace. Portland tried to build around him. He was an All-Star but prone to mental errors. Eventually, they tired of his flaws and traded him to Detroit. There, Sheed no longer had to be “the Man.” The Pistons were Billups’ team. Sheed the #2. Ben Wallace anchored the defense. As we recall, they shellacked the Lakers in 5.

    Making Bynum the focal point of the team won’t work. Like Sheed, he simply is NOT a leader. Good leaders simply don’t make “immature” decisions at the age of 25. If they the Lakers want to keep him long-term, they need to pair him up with a strong leader.

  22. Snoop – me too.

    Gotta think they have a great chance.

  23. OKC would have a great series against Miami, but I think they would crush Boston. Too many athletes on the perimeter, and KG’s size would be neutralized with Ibaka.

  24. “Great things happen when you play for each other.”

    Well said Fish .. Lakers take notice.

  25. Next year it’s possible Thunder could have 3 of the best players in the West. Lakers have work to do.

  26. Thunder have the talent, experience, home court, coaching, GM. They are loaded looking down on everyone in the west. Lakers have some good pieces with some smart moves can turn those into great pieces and be the second best team in the West next year with a chance to challenge Okc.

  27. kehntangibles June 6, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    Looks like the Thunder already do have 3 of the best players in the West. Hated to lose to them, and I really hated that we could very easily have been up 3-1 on them but we lost to a flat-out better team. At least now I can take pleasure in them winning the finals, because the prospect of Boston or Miami winning is nauseating.

  28. I wonder how many bloggers on this board expected to see Derek Fisher closiong out yet another team in the western conference finals this year after helping taunt him out of town. Aaron has yet another opportunity to eat crow–or maybe he preordered as soon as DFish walked onto the court to once again finish off the San Antonio Spurs.

    Aaron once promised that he would never badmouth Fisher after Derek’s heroic performance in that incredible NBA playoff victory over the Celts–but he backslid.

    If If If . . . .Won’t it be interesting to see what Derek does against the Leprechauns?

  29. cdog @28
    1. Right now yes. Kobe is 33 going on 34 and Durant is in his Prime. Uninjured.
    2. Not so fast my friend. Come back in 10 years when we’ve had a chance to see.
    3. Is this Aaron in disguise? Exponentially better scorer/player/leader than Kobe? I don’t think so…

    That’s quite laughable actually. You’re right about Fisher! That’s 2 outta 4 maybe.

  30. kehntangibles: should of rephrased it the best 3 players next year. Their going to be the favs in the west for quite some time with that core.

    cdog: right now, yes. at 23, no. career wise it’s too early to tell he’s only a wc champ at 23. I do think he’ll get really close to Kareem’s points record.

  31. cdog:

    Easy there big turbo. Might be a WEE bit early to be declaring Durant to go down in history as a better player than Kobe.

    Kobe at 23 had three titles under his belt as the clear co-best player with Shaq for at least the latter two.

  32. I’m sorry, that’s just ridiculous #28!

    Did you watch the same western conference playoffs circa 2000-02, Kobe played against a better spurs team? Kobe destroyed them and an all time good Kings team.

    What we have here, another reactionary American basketball fan. It’s crazy how some of you forget how freaking good Kobe Bean Bryant was, and still is.

    Keep some perspective, folks!!!!!!

  33. 5 best Jim Buss moves.

    1-Hiring coach who lost respect of his team Clev.
    2-Screwing up the 6th man of year and getting 0
    3-Firing good scouts and respected coaches
    4-Trading on court heart Fisher for a free agent.
    5-Signing worthless Kapono, Murphy, McRoberts.

    Results

    Lakers become a one in out team and we get to watch Fisher win his 6th ring.

    Nepotism is a giant curse. Nice job Jimmy.

  34. This obsession with efficiency is borderline delusional. I know what I saw 1998 to now, Kobe has been an amazing player, capable of providing a team with any kind of contribution that was necessary to win a title.

    He’s played in 7 championship rounds as the number 1a/1b player of his team. That’s amazing, how can you compare that to a player who literally just made his first finals, and has two players his equal measure flanking him to his sides?

  35. cdog-
    Go recheck your stats please before coming back. Here’s a quote for you too- “Lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

    Kobe averaged 28 a game at age 22. He averaged 25 a game at age 23. He also had some incredible playoff series during his 22-24 years.

  36. One of the things that sets Kobe apart is his longevity. Impossible to predict a player’s longevity when he’s 23. Wade at 1 point looked like he might overtake Kobe, and he’s slipped quite a bit.

  37. “One of the most inefficient players this league has ever seen” WOW

    You know Okc appreciates Durant even through his past failures. Lakers fans harp on Kobe’s salary and fg % all the time instead of enjoying greatness. Don’t worry when he’s gone and the franchise guy is loafing maybe you’ll appreciate him then.

  38. Someone doesn’t know what “exponentially” means and apparently doesn’t know that there are exponentially more than two or three websites where people can go fact-check his bogus stats…

  39. According to basketball reference kobe averaged about 25 on about 20 shots at age 23—durant averaged about 28 on just under 20 shots…

    Let’s not forget that kobe averaged a full two more assists per game (5.5 vs 3.5) and, while durant is currently regarded as a “plus” defender — at 23 kobe was already considered “elite” in that regard–

    Cdog–you don’t need to rip on kobe to prove durant is a fantastic player–he’s good enough that you don’t have to go there

  40. 40 – I especially enjoyed the loyalty of 2004, staying on with LA despite Golden State offering more money and a starting job.

    Trolls aside, I love Fish and I’m happy for him. I hope he gets his 6th and plays a big role.

  41. Adam @ 34 – Did you watch the same western conference playoffs circa 2000-02, Kobe played against a better spurs team? Kobe destroyed them and an all time good Kings team.

    ———————————

    Just one example – Kobe blasting past the Spurs’ two (count ‘em) two seven footers and dunking like they weren’t even on the court!

  42. I can’t follow Cdog completely off that ledge. But like him, I do marvel at Durant’s efficiency. The guy can score 30+ points with less than 20 shots. That kind efficiency is murder on the opposing team’s defense. One of the reasons OKC can absorb Westbrook’s wild shooting nights and still win most of the time is the impact of Durant’s efficiency.

    Now what Kevin will be in the future is anyone’s guess. I wouldn’t compare him and Kobe. They are two different players from different eras with very different circumstances.

  43. Fictional arguments! I need MOAR fictional arguments!!

    Seriously though, what does it matter? KD’s an exceptional talent. His team is going to Finals. They’ll likely be favored no matter who they face. Good on them.

    I’m also perfectly comfortable saying that Kobe Bryant – at that same age – was also a fantastic player. He too was a major contributor to a championship level team.

    Also, teams win championships. Kobe played with Shaq and later Gasol/Odom/Bynum. Durant is playing with a PG who made 2nd team all-NBA and the 6th man of the year that would start for every team in the league (save the Heat and possibly the Lakers though I’d probably play him and Kobe together on the wing).

  44. Yes, numbers lie. You can’t completely define a player with numbers, especially selective numbers. Durant’s a great player, and he might end up being one of the greatest. But at this early stage, before he’s won anything, to make such radical comparisons to Kobe sounds more like sour grapes because the Lakers are no longer on top. Yeah, we get it. You’re all bummed out. Kobe is still a top player in history. Jerry Buss thinks so. Jerry West thinks so. Phil Jackson thinks so. All the voters for the Hall of Fame will think so… Learn from those who know.

  45. As an aside, since this argument is going nowhere, it’d be great if everyone just agreed to disagree. The comments are turning into baiting ones and if that continues I’ll just delete them.

  46. Congratulations Fish, Durant, W and H, you deserved the honor of representing the West.

    I totally agree with Darius, we can’t keep on comparing players based on short run achievements, leave the comparisons to basketball historians. At this time, if you want to look back it’s fair to compare the records of Magic, Bird and MJ because they’re done with their playing days and have earned their individual, NBA and Olympic/Fiba titles. To compare a 32 year year old vs 24 year old, it is just too short-sighted as though you live in another planet who just landed to earth and first experienced the first playoffs in your life. Every player has his own time. Durant is just beginning while Kobe is about to end his career. This also happened before to Russell and Kareem, it is unfair to make comparisons on two superstars who came to the league at different era.

  47. Actually at age 23, Kobe was already finishing in the top 5 of the MVP conversation. He has finished in the top five of the MVP voting 10 times, Only Kobe, KAJ and Bill Russell have 10 or more top five finsihes. So at 23, KB had 3 rings and was in the MVP conversation : )

  48. I turn my head for a minute and people are comparing Durant to Kobe? Really?

    Kobe has 5 rings and very little to prove. Durant is on the right path, I must say; but he needs some achievements (just like LBJ) in order to be compared to Kobe.

    Just remeber our last game against OKC…Kobe was just a thing of beauty to watch…

    If you wanna build a team around one of them, KD is the guy because of his age. Talent? Yes, indeed. Experience? Nope… Kobe, Duncan or Dirk would provide way more experience.

    Let’s separate things here.

  49. To change the topic, I wonder if you read what DW said on the Lakers.

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/lakersnow/la-sp-ln-la-deron-williams-says-hes-keeping-free-agency-options-open-20120606,0,5543667.story

    Those statements are sending some signals to Mitch/Jim – “what are you doing, come and get me.”

    NO offering their # 10th pick, Ariza and Okafor. ‘feeling good with those news.

  50. I think it is futile to try and compare players in different situations because their roles are always different. Kobe played with Shaq. When he wanted to be, Shaq was still the most dominate player in basketball. Heck you could even make an argument that Durant is better then Michael Jordan at 23. Doesn’t mean he is. Jordan’s circumstance were different as well.

  51. anti Dwyer Abbott June 7, 2012 at 12:09 am

    Kobe haters are in every discussion.Funny..

  52. Jordan was chased by Kobe, Carter, T-Mac, Iverson. Now Kobe is being chased by LeBron, Wade, Durant. It’ll keep going on and on.

  53. You guys also forgot that Durant is freaking tall for a player of his talent, it is like having Lebron except taller, more clutch and can shoot the range while being able to overpower those smaller than him.

  54. Warren Wee Lim June 7, 2012 at 1:14 am

    “I want to go to a place where I feel like they will have a chance to build and build fast,” Williams said. “I’m not really in the mood for being part of a rebuilding process. I’m getting older. I’m about to be 28. I want to win. I want to win now. Also, I want to live in a place where I want to live and my kids will enjoy living. That’s pretty much it.”

    – Deron Williams

  55. rr: There is now clearly someone else in the Laker world like me : )

    That’s for sure. Just add a few : )s and it is a Robert post.

    Sessions has to decide by June 20 IIRC, so that will be the first off-season shoe to drop.
    ___

    I wonder how many bloggers on this board expected to see Derek Fisher closiong out yet another team in the western conference finals this year after helping taunt him out of town
    ____

    Actually, probably 15-20 people said that they expected Fisher to hit a few big shots in the playoffs. OKC is the perfect place for him–all he has to do is spot up and play 10-15 MPG, and they have a lot of young guys who can benefit from his mentoring etc.

  56. cdog, I think your logic in comparing KD and Kobe is wrong.

    As it is fully demonstrated in this playoff, the quality of opposing teams is a major determining factor in a player’s efficiency. KD is prevailing against teams with clear deficiencies in Lakers and an aging Spurs’ team. When Kobe in his 20’s, his opponents were Tim Duncan and Chris Weber in their prime. And we know they were very, very good. Remember how competitive the West were with teams in San Antonio, Portland, and Sacremento???? Those were complete teams with BOTH inside and outside games.

    The current crop of teams are weaker than those of early 2000s.

  57. Wow at how quickly people forget: Kobe’s 2001 playoffs’ run was one for the ages (he was 22, I guess)
    Sports talking heads in Europe, after Shaq departure, were actually wondering whether Kobe could ever repeat that kind of performance (and he did, I guess, in 2008-2010).
    that said, KD is great, and I am somehow rooting for him

  58. Kevin Durant shows promise, no doubt. His skillset, his height, his build all point at a long and successful career.

    However, many others… many many many others have shown promise and have failed to deliver for whatever reason. I do hope that such things never derail Durant, but the fact is at this point of his career, he has accomplished NOTHING compared to Kobe.

    Maybe nothing is too strong a word, but to compare careers is like comparing Ray Allen or Steve Nash to Kobe Bryant.

  59. @48: Kobe finished 3rd in MVP voting aged 24 and 5th when he was 23. All the while playing with Shaq, who took votes from him. Also had one of the best playoff runs of all time when he was 22 (29.4/7.3/6.1 on 47% shooting). You’re right, this argument is too easy.

  60. Also manufacturing stats is a big no no when trying to have a proper debate.

    21 points on 19 shots at age 23? Kobe was at 28.5 in the RS and 29.4 in the POs by the time he was 22. The last time he averaged 21 ppg in the POs? 1999/2000 when he was 21.

  61. How in the world will the Lakers beat the OKC Thunder in the next 2 years? Let’s just give Durant his due, and OKC built the right way through the draft, and their fans had to endure many years of losing, but now they can enjoy this squad.

  62. Dear cdog:

    You use the same tired arguments that Kobe bashers have been using for years.

    “He played with Shaq!”
    “He’ll never win one without Shaq!” (Don’t hear this one much anymore.)
    “Fine, he won one. He’ll never win another one without Shaq!” (Whoops.)
    “If he played with (fill in the blank) team he’d never have won any rings!”

    What makes your arguments wonderful is that they’re utterly impossible to either prove or disprove because they are entirely hypothetical, unlike your stats and your MVP claims which other posters here have quite easily disproven.

    Tell you what, here are Kobe’s playoff stats from age 22:

    Age 22: 29.4 ppg, 7.3rb, 6.1assists, 47% fg percentage

    Shaq declared during those playoffs that Kobe was the best player in the league based on his play. So a player he was presently feuding with who hated his guts and would later leave the team because they couldn’t coexist declared him the best player in the league at age 22.

    And Kevin Durant’s from last year. (We haven’t finished this year yet.)

    Age 22: 27.8ppg, 7.4rb, 4.2 assists, 50%fg percentage

    They look damned similar to me. Certainly I don’t see an argument to be made that Durant is “exponentially better”.

  63. At age 23, Kobe Bryant was in his prime. He was better offensivley and defensivley than Durant. I love Durant… But he couldn’t play D like a 23 year old Kobe (half the game) and he couldn’t break down defenses off the dribble (getting teammates open shots) like a 23 year old Kobe.

  64. So is Nick Collison better at age 23 than Troy Murphy was at age 23? Who cares, right? Likewise with the KB vs KD argument. As a true basketball fan you have to love both their games. ope D-Fish gets #6 and Rony Turiaff doesn’t get #1.

  65. Aaron, you once again post something that makes no sense whatsoever. Seriously where do you come up with this stuff?

    You don’t love Durant, you love Lebron, I remember a debate you had earlier in the year with someone on here bashing the guy compared to Lebron.

    I won’t compare Kobe to Durant because different circumstances and different positions, teammates etc. Kobe is also my favorite player.

    I (along with everyone who has eyes) have seen Durant torch defenses these playoffs with his shooting, and his ability to break defenses off the dribble. Do you not remember seeing your boy Bynum get posterized by Durant on a vicious dunk? I saw Durant break down the elite Spurs defense for several crucial assists last night, he’s done it the entire playoffs. I seriously wonder why you even post here anymore

  66. @ #58 Warren Wee Lim

    So in other words, is he coming to the Lakers?

  67. Wow… Do people think the Celtics are beating the Heat? I just can’t see the Celtics winning one more game with Bosh back. I can’t see it. It’s going to be LeBron v Durant in an epic Finals showdown.

  68. I think everything’s been said that needs to be said. But really? Durant being favorably compared to a young Kobe. That’s a great honor, but quite premature. Durant has a much different team than Kobe had then, and now. Durant has a lot more easy looks than Kobe has ever had, because he has two other excellent penetrating/shot creating guards that he can pass to when in trouble. Kobe had Shaq, Durant has Westbrook and Harden. Kobe now has to work so much harder for his shot than Durant, and its not because of the individual players. Kobe gets so much attention, Durant is still mostly single covered in games.

  69. Aaron: From what we know I say Celtics beat the Heat tonight. Miami is not going to blow Boston out. That means it’s going to be close late. We’ve seen Celtics win those more times than this Heat team. Maybe LeBron has a vintage performance and forces a game 7. This series mirrors the WCF.

  70. Kevin,
    And that’s exactly why I just bet heavily on the Heat to win a championship 10 minutes ago. The odds were too steep to bet on them until this point. But now people are selling the heat… And thats exactly when I buy. The odds have switched so dramatically in Vegas it made me smile :) Now I get to make money as the Celtics lose. Nothing more satisfying for me.

  71. The Deron piece is encouraging. He lives in San Diego and knows what it’ll take to become a Laker. If by July 1st Brooklyn hasn’t improved their roster Lakers only competition is Dallas because of no taxes. Being recruited would have major influence his decision to come here. Get on those phones Kobe.

  72. and their fans had to endure many years of losing,

    Uhh, this is the team’s 4th year in OKC. They did go 23-59 the first year, but since then they have gone 50-32, 55-27, and 47-19.

  73. Funky Chicken June 7, 2012 at 11:04 am

    Not sure who posted under my handle at #61, but it wasn’t me.

    OKC has a special feel right now, not unlike last year’s Mavericks team. When they start on a roll, the outcome just feels inevitable, even when playing fantastic teams with legendary coaches. I cannot see Miami hanging with OKC in a 7 game series, and the only chance I would give the Celtics is for Boston to play head games with the Thunder players.

    The Thunder are still young, and they are still primarily a jump shooting team. If the Celtics can rattle them (and nobody talks smack, plays dirty, and knows how to be irritating better than the Celts) then it isn’t totally out of the question that Boston can make a series out of it.

    However, after last night’s 18 point comeback, OKC definitely looks like the best team in the league, and it’s a frightening prospect facing them with a slow and plodding team like the one we have right now. It’s nearly impossible for me to imagine the slow-trotting Andrew Bynum being able to keep up with the Thunder. I’m not trying to violate any site polices, but there’s a certain PG whose comments have been quoted on this site who might be available if the Lakers were to give up Mr. Bynum….

  74. I understand if this post is deleted. But with the quotes from Williams being the hot topic right now, hopefully musing about Williams as a player doesn’t count as trade speculation.

    I’m not convinced about Williams, to be honest. I’ve watched him fairly closely – I used to attend his games at Illinois – and he’s a great player. He puts up numbers. But I’m not sure he elevates his teammates in the mold of a transcendent talent like Chris Paul. I’ll admit I haven’t watched him in NJ, but is that Nets supporting cast that much worse than the crew Paul dragged to the first round of the playoffs? When we faced him and the Jazz in the playoffs, he was never a player that struck fear into me the way some other players do. Might just be me, but it’s just a gut feel I have.

    I’m sure people will wonder why I’m comparing him to the best PG in the NBA when Paul isn’t available. The bigger picture question I’m thinking about is whether Williams can elevate us to contention. Looking at these Thunder, with a strong defender in Westbrook, I’m not convinced it’s enough. But I’m not sure there’s a better option out there.

  75. Funky Chicken

    I hear what you are saying, there is no way Bynum can keep up with a speed demon like Perkins :)

    There are a lot of different ways to play winning basketball. It as all about proper balance for your style of play. The Celtic’s have the Heat on the ropes because of that balance. D Will would not make us like the Thunder. He is not Westbrook because that is not his style of play. There really isn’t a way even through trades that we could come up with a roster that could run with OKC and win.

    Lost to many seems to be that we for the most part controlled pace against the Thunder. Size can dictate pace. What really let us down was outside shooting. 28% from 3 will not space the floor. Also with a thin bench we seemed to run out of gas in the 4th quarter. Kobe 2 – 10 shooting is more about fatigue then anything else.

    I do expect a trade is coming. I expect it to be Pau for role players and depth. I will be very surprised if it is Bynum because his size inside gives a a player that is hard to match up with. I hear it all the time on this blog that Bynum is not a guy to build around. Well the truth is it takes more then one guy anyway. It takes a balanced squad geared to your own style of play.