Wednesday Storylines

Dave Murphy —  August 29, 2012

It doesn’t seem so long ago that I’d buy a newspaper and pour through the sports section, looking for something/anything to whet my appetite. I couldn’t have imagined how things would change in the digital age, from sparse team notes during the dog days of summer to an infinite supply of blogs and online tools. It has changed sports conversations in the same way that it has changed most conversations. We walk, talk, click and type. Opposable thumbs have trumped turning the page. Would I put it back in the bottle and return to clipped out articles? No. Gimme my links:

Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will be getting his stature sometime this year, outside the Staples Center. Mark Medina at the L,A, Times has the story, recounting Kareem’s criticism of Lakers management last year on several fronts.

Anthony Macri at HoopsWorld writes about the challenge of offensive integration.

J.O. Appelgate has a phenomenal basketball comic strip blog, BounceX3. Check out his latest.

The Kamenetzky brothers at the Land O’Lakers offer a podcast about the new-look Lakers, and how they’ll match up against key teams.

Gary Lee at Lakers Nation has some great Kobe versus Jordan moves on display.

Thanks to readers Snoopy2006 and Any_one_mouse for a couple links yesterday that are worth repeating – a Mike Trudell interview with Jesse Buss about scouting for the Lakers, and Zach Lowe’s excellent piece in SI about Kobe Bryant and how he’ll mesh with new teammates and a new offense.

Sekou Smith at Hang Time Blog offers a few words of caution about prejudging a season before it even begins.

Kevin Ding at the OC Register writes about Lakers television and the new Time Warner deal.

From Robert Johnson’s seminal blues to myths and metaphors, Jordan White writes an intriguing piece for Hardwood Paroxysm.

***

Training camp is still a month away, September 29, but players have begun trickling in to the Segundo facilities. It’s a far cry from this time last year, when gym doors were locked and the season was in doubt. It is still a time of transition though, with eight new players and three new assistant coaches. The arrival of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash fuels obvious speculation, and much of it comes from beyond Lakers-centric media sources. The Kobe narrative was attached quickly and none of us should be surprised – these type of storylines have always driven the media, it’s only the access that has changed.

- Dave Murphy

Dave Murphy

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28 responses to Wednesday Storylines

  1. Time Warner service sucked when I had them. And they may now find a way for me to hate them even more by not providing Dish with the Lakers channel on time. I hope things get ironed out before Oct. 1.

    Kareem statue is definitely overdue. Shaq getting his jersey retired the year The Captain gets a statue sucks for KJ. He should have his own moment not share with someone.

    K-Bros have been on fire with their podcasts and Forum videos this summer.

  2. Lowe’s piece is superb.

    Informed through the Ding article: if you’re worried that your cable provider won’t carry Laker games for the upcoming season, there’s an easy form to fill out @ iwantmylakers.com to request the Laker channel. Eventually they should carry the network anyway, but still it doesn’t hurt to ask.

  3. I hope they make the statue of Kareem with his goggles and while launching the skyhook (probably both are givens). That would guarantee that his statue is the tallest if they are all made on the same scale.

    But while I agree it is overdue, I am not sure if he should be offended that his came after West’s. I believe in the natural order of things, so I think his gripe is legit concerning Magic’s, but West’s?

    And I think it’s a bit too early to retire Shaq’s jersey. What’s the hurry?

  4. harold: I agree it’s a little early for Shaq’s jersey. If I remember correctly he left on extremely bad terms and trashed everybody on his way out. But people were so focused on saying Kobe pushed him out and Phil’s book they seem to forget that. Matter of fact Shaq left on bad terms every team he left except his last.

    Shaq’s jersey should be after Kobe’s gets his in the rafters imo. But it’s going up there as it should.

  5. Liked the BounceX3 link, I’d never seen that before – Appelgate has some pretty great stuff up on his site.

    I agree Shaq’s jersey should be retired, but after Kobe’s. The franchise is always bigger than the player, and Shaq tried to bend that. The Busses will do him right for his major contributions, but no harm in making him wait a little as penance.

  6. I love the way this season is shaping up. Both on & off the court. Love that fact that my favorite player of all-time, the Capt, is getting his statue. No problem with West & Magic getting theirs 1st. Overall the organization view their “contributions” as “bigger, better, higher, or more important” than Kareem’s.

    But there is obviously more to the Laker-Kareem issues than a status. Hopefully they’ll be worked out.

    No, it’s not to early to raise Shaq’s jersey to the rafters…it’s great timing. Let people smell their own flowers. Too many people have rec’d their praises after they were gone, no need for petty personal issues.

    And let’s not forget Jamaal “Silk” Wilkes #52 will also be retired. Three of the Lakers 41 home games have just become extra special.

    By the end of the season: #s 44,13, 22, 33, 32, 42, 25, the six Minny Lakers, & Hearns Mike will be joined by #’s 34 & 52… Sweet

  7. Lowe and Pelton are the best of that group of guys: 25-40 year-old new breed guys who have moved on to major commercial sites from blogs.

    It would be a good idea, though for one of them to write about Mike Brown, the defense, or the health questions, or Nash, or what Pau’s role will be, in more detail, instead of writing the 5,789th “Will Kobe shoot too much?” article.

    As Lowe himself said leading off the piece, the Lakers will likely have a Top 5 offense no matter what Kobe does or doesn’t do.

  8. Well I guess in today’s world, you never know what will happen tomorrow, but Shaq definitely seems to have more than a decade or four left in that body, so I think we could have waited another 5 years or so until we retire that jersey.

    Then again, maybe they decided to retire it so that Dwight cannot take Shaq’s number ;)

  9. ” It would be a good idea, though for one of them to write about Mike Brown, the defense, or the health questions, or Nash, or what Pau’s role will be, in more detail, instead of writing the 5,789th “Will Kobe shoot too much?” article. ”

    That wouldn’t make sense rr, because writers like Lowe are working under a hidden agenda, with no aim of making basketball sense because their page hits are of utmost importance.

    Gosh, Lowe is so insensitive. Lay off Kobe, Lowe.

    *Boycotts Lowe.*

  10. Anyone read the comments from the Lowe article? Amazing how many people are willing to carry the Kobe argument to the nth degree. Has there ever been a more debated pro sports player? Seriously, I cannot think of another person that has been this successful in a team sport, been a clear leader for his team, and still receives this level of scrutiny and criticism. Really boggles the mind sometimes. One would think the entire future of the human race depends on whether or not Kobe increases his assists per game…

  11. 2 players on the same team this season had over 200 turnovers last season. Durant (248) Westbrook (239), Nash (229) Kobe (204). Westbrook catches the most grief but Durant had more turnovers. And I suspect Nash handling the ball so much had to do with his high turnovers. I hope that goes down.

  12. Dwight had more steals (81) than MWP (69) in 10 less games. And more than Kobe (69) in 2 less games.

    Bynum and Dwight finished with the same amount of blocks (116) last year. Dwight did it in 6 less games.

    Dwight had 55 more fouls (159) than Bynum (104) in 6 less games. Surprising.

  13. Kevin_

    I claim you will see both Nash and Kobe’s turnovers go down on a per game average. Kobe’s will go down because he won’t have the ball in his hands as much and Nash’s will go down because he won’t have to work as hard to create for his team mates and he won’t have the ball in his hands as much as he is accustomed to. Kobe will take some of the load off of him and Pau will be a distributor too.

  14. In 25 games with Lakers Sessions had a higher usage (20.5) than Nash did in Phoenix (19.6).

    Dwight’s usage rate was 26.1 and Bynum’s was 23.8.

    I don’t think these gaps are big enough to warrant worry about possible on court problems in the long run. Would definitely like to see Kobe’s down from 35.7 and that should happen just by implementing a new offense. Thought the gap would be bigger than those numbers.

  15. Lakers have announced when they are honoring Kareem, Wilkes and Shaq:

    16 Nov Kareem’s statue will be unveiled

    28 Dec Jamaal Wilkes #52 will be retired

    2 April Shaq’s #34 will be retired

  16. Jesse,

    You have it 100% wrong, and you are simply showing your own emotionalism about the Kobe issue by mocking me. I actually specifically suggested to Dave last week that he start linking to Lowe more (you can thank me later) In addition, I posted a note yesterday, saying that Simmons has hired Lowe for Grantland.

    And the evidence for what I am saying is right in Lowe’s piece: he provided links to five other separate authors writing about this, and, as I said, admitted that the Lakers will likely have a Top 5 offense no matter what Kobe does. Yet he devoted hours to the piece, by his own admission wasching looped footage of “hundreds of possessions” of Kobe shooting isos to put the piece together. That’s OK, but from a purely analytical POV, I think it is highly unlikely that Kobe’s personality and USG are the #1 issues facing the team right now. Lowe, Abbott, et al, claim to be objective analysts.

    IMO you should read Post #10 and think it over.

  17. Kevin,

    I agree and I cited similar numbers a month or so ago at another site. My hope is that Kobe’s USG drops to about 31 “organically” and that Nash helps him to get more quality looks operating off the ball.

    But my point (my repsonse to Jesse is stuck in mod) is that none of that will matter unless:

    a) The team as a group Ds up, with Howard as the anchor to the D.
    b) Howard and Nash’s backs hold up.

  18. April 2nd and not the 1st? ;)

    Seriously though, I can’t wait for the season to start. i want to see this team PLAY even if they go through some growing pains.

  19. hello all–

    I’ve been traveling and away from my computer. have there been any DH sightings or updates other than he was seen working out at UCLA? Are there any further rumblings as to when he might return, other than Dr. Klapper’s irresponsible speculation in which he expressed near certainty he’d be available on opening day (what doctor makes a diagnosis without examining the patient)?

  20. here in the las vegas area, we get fox sports west and prime ticket. i hope we’re not left with just the Clippers.

  21. I noticed that, with Jamaal Wilkes’ jersey going in the rafters, the numbers 52, 42, 32, and 22 will be retired (among others). If Dwight sticks around for a while and sees a few championships, he might make it up there too, making it 52 42 32 22 12.

    The real question is, when will the HoF-caliber player with the #2 jersey emerge and fulfill his destiny in LA?

  22. >>>The real question is, when will the HoF-caliber player with the #2 jersey emerge and fulfill his destiny in LA?

    Fisher?

    or

    Kyrie Irving or John Wall, if they come to LA to help DH to win 3 rings.

  23. The Lakers are a class organization, so even though Shaq made parting shots at everyone from the popcorn vendor to Dr. Buss, Shaq appears to be repentant.

    I follow the Lakers as much for their winning and for the way Dr. Buss conducted business with Magic Johnson and his players.

    Is it pre-season yet? Waiting with bated breath for the first look at the Lakers.

  24. Chibi I’m in Las Vegas as well and I also hope we’re not stuck with the Clippers lol

  25. rr–I thought your prev. post was more you trying to save face for the fact one of your credible writers wrote a Kobe-centric article and made perfect sense with it. btw Replace every ‘Lowe’ with ‘Abbott’ in my prev. post and we’ve got a winner; the mere impression I get when it comes to some of you and your hate for Abbott.

  26. Jesse P.

    How many chances do you give a writer to be objective until you simply stop reading what he/she writes? Simmons is definitely different in his, admittedly, biased hatred of Kobe and all things Lakers. I can handle Simmons because that is exactly how I feel about the Celtics- and Paul Pierce for example. If i were writing article after article diminishing Paul Pierce’s accomplishments and play, and ignoring any stats that were contrary to my opinion, then I would be on the level of Henry Abbott.

    This isn’t to say that he doesn’t sometimes write good articles- I’m sure that he does, but he is not objective when it comes to Kobe so I would rather ignore him and not give him the clicks.

    To be honest…it kind of bugs me that Lakers/Kobe fans are being painted as touchy when it comes to Kobe. How about Bulls fans with Jordan or Celtics fans with Bird? When anyone- anyone, writes an article about ANY player possibly, maybe, kinda-sorta-almost, approaching the level of Michael Jordan….what happens? How do Jordan fans react? If Abbott would have instead written that article about Kobe’s top 10 dunks about Jordan, and called Jordan a selfish teammate in it, and said that he should have passed instead of dunking on Ewing or Tree Rollins or Mutombo, then what would Bulls fans have said? How would they have reacted?

    I respect the hell out of Darius for running this website and I am very grateful for all the writers who sacrifice their time to write about their favorite team- and allow us to read it. (For free!) However, I respectfully disagree with his opinion that Abbott is unbiased when he writes about Kobe. (If that is what Darius said. I seem to remember that he was very PC in his response, so he may not have.)

  27. Don’t like Abbott much too. I think kobe is one of the best though not perfect for sure – who is. Its not fair to compare him with MJ and LBJ since these two are complete players while Kobe is individually good. That’s why its hard for him to win an MVP (only 1) while the other two can take it anytime they want. He needs a good center as well like Shaq and Pau to win a ring uunlike MJ and LBJ. Without Shaq or Pau who knows how many rings hhe will be wearing now. Maybe 1 or even zilch. They are not the same class but still great.