Around The World (Wide Web): Kobe’s ego, More Bynum, Pau/Nash

Ryan Cole —  December 18, 2012

From Ramona Shelburne, ESPN Los Angeles: Lakers guard Steve Nash, who hasn’t played since fracturing his leg on Halloween, is hoping to return Saturday against Golden State barring a setback in practice this week, a source close to the player confirmed for ESPNLosAngeles.com. ”That’s the plan,” the source said. On Monday, a team source labeled Nash returning on Saturday as “50-50.” Nash and forward Pau Gasol returned to practice on Monday. Gasol, who has been out for close to two weeks to rest tendinitis in both knees, also appears close to returning to game action. On Monday he said he would play Tuesday night against theCharlotte Bobcats if he feels good after the Lakers’ morning shootaround. Nash has been out for six weeks with a nondisplaced fracture in his left leg. He said Monday that he’s hopeful to “play by Christmas” if his leg responds well to the increased activity and he’s able to get back into game shape. The optimism of their imminent returns comes at a time when the struggling Lakers (11-14) sit 12th in a Western Conference they were expected to dominate. They finished a four-game road trip with wins in Washington on Friday and Sunday in Philadelphia.

From Jason Whitlock, Fox Sports: The return of Pau Gasol and Steve Nash to the lineup is likely to mask most, if not all, the symptoms afflicting the underachieving Los Angeles Lakers. But the perennial all-stars will do nothing to address the disease lurking deep inside the foundation of the Lakers, the malady that will prevent the high-priced collection of veterans from getting past the Thunder, Spurs or even the Grizzlies come playoff time. The root cause of the Lakers’ dysfunction has been consistent for 15 years. It is Kobe Bryant’s ego, his desperate pursuit of Michael Jordan’s legacy. L.A.’s Dwight Howard experiment is going to explode and implode in spectacular fashion unless someone in the Lakers organization is bold enough to kill Kobe’s Michael Jordan avatar so that Howard’s Bill Russell avatar can emerge and lead the Lakers. You follow?

From Janis Carr, OC Register: Steve Nash and Pau Gasol took part in the Lakers’ short practice Monday, which not only lifted the team’s spirits and but raised hopes that brighter days lay ahead. Nash, who has not played since suffering a fractured left leg in the second game of the season, said he could be back by Christmas, while Gasol, who missed eight games because of tendinitis in his knees, could return to the lineup tonight against the Charlotte Bobcats. Gasol is considered a game-time decision.  ”To be fair, I’m starting to get excited just because I’m able to do some things,” said Nash, who tested his stamina in running drills. “The majority of the last six weeks I’ve been inactive, so its nice to be able to get out there with the guys and see the light at the end of the tunnel.” Gasol said he was happy how his knees felt after his first practice session with the team in two weeks, adding that he can move “much better. I can push off with my knees and legs without pain, so that’s better.” With Gasol on the sideline, the Lakers struggled, losing to lower-level teams such as Cleveland, Utah and Houston and falling to 9-14 before winning their past two games. But with his return and Nash’s comeback on the horizon, things are looking up.

From Sam Amick, USA Today:  Oh, Andrew. You’re speaking the truth about the Los Angeles Lakers… NOW? You’re talking about Kobe Bryant stunting your growth and the need for more post play and an inside-out offense now, when you’ve long since been sent to Philadelphia and you nor your argument have a leg to stand on anymore? Talk about better never than late. Andrew Bynum, the Sixers center who finally took the filter off with reporters on Sunday on the topic of why it never worked as well as it should have during his seven seasons with the Lakers, should have been saying these things when there was still time to do something about it. The Lakers were a flawed team during his later years in Los Angeles, and he knew it better than anyone.

From Eric Pincus, LA Times: The Lakers have missed Pau Gasol. Before he sat down with tendinitis, he wasn’t playing his best basketball, but the team fell apart in his absence, winning just three of eight. ”Another 7-footer in the lineup and probably the most skilled big guy in the league,” said Coach Mike D’Antoni. “He’s important. There’s no doubt about it.” Unless Gasol wakes up Tuesday with additional soreness in his knees, he’ll return to the lineup against the Charlotte Bobcats. ”I can move around much, much better,” said Gasol, “without pain.” D’Antoni still needs to figure out how to get Dwight Howard and Gasol to fit together. It’s not a given that the two are a championship combination. Before Howard’s arrival, former Lakers great Jerry West had told Dan Patrick (radio) that he wasn’t sure whether Gasol and Andrew Bynum would work. Coach Phil Jackson primarily used Lamar Odom with Gasol through the team’s championship runs. As Bynum evolved into the team’s second option, behind Kobe Bryant, Gasol struggled. Last year Gasol was exposed in the playoffs, trying to stretch the floor for Bynum. This season, whether in Mike Brown’s Princeton hybrid or Mike D’Antoni’s system, Gasol is just uncomfortable playing far from the basket. ”Everybody wants everybody in the post. You know, we can’t put 15 guys down there in the post. We can’t do it. It doesn’t work,” said D’Antoni. “Because if you’re posting him up, it means you’re not posting Dwight up and then you get criticized for not posting Dwight up.” Without Gasol, the Lakers are far worse, but with a suitable replacement would the team reach even greater heights?

 

Ryan Cole

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25 responses to Around The World (Wide Web): Kobe’s ego, More Bynum, Pau/Nash

  1. I can hardly think of a more ringing endorsement of Kobe’s leadership than the fact that Jason Whitlock wrote an anti-Kobe article.

  2. Whitlock gets a link now on here. What has this world come to? He is easily the biggest joke out there!

  3. Thanks Ryan for linking Jason Whitlock’s piece. It doesn’t matter if you agree with the article or not. But read it before commenting. I can’t believe people who come to this site only want to read articles from Kobe’s public relation staff. Bottom line, if the Lakers start winning while Kobe plays the way he’s playing, these voices will go away. If it continues the way it is they will grow stronger.

    What do I want, whatever it takes to make the Lakers a serious contender again, something they are not today.

  4. Whitlock is not an analyst. The analysts who have written about Kobe have made the correct assessments of the positives and negatives of his game, and that group includes Darius.

    Also, Sid, I think it might be time for you to take it elsewhere. We get it: you don’t like Kobe, and you think he hurts the team. Plenty of non-Laker sites on-line where you can talk about that.

  5. “I can’t believe people who come to this site only want to read articles from Kobe’s public relation staff.”
    —–
    This actually made me laugh. It’s funny because there is a lot of truth in this statement. Still Whitlock is a hack.

  6. As a Laker I appreciate the fact that Bynum played hurt when he was an actual contributor on the floor. However, Bynum has done nothing, nothing, nothing, to prove that he’s a player that can play 82 games with consistent numbers that the team can count on him contributing. He’s been a spurt player for years 1-2 powerful games followed by 2-7 abysmal performances.

    I liken Bynum’s complaints of being stunted with the Lakers, akin to Shannon Brown, Lamar Odom, AC Green, Kurt Rambis, Michael Cooper, Derek Fisher or any other Laker that played on a championship team that contributed, but were not the main cogs crying about being stunted. Andrew confuses his contribution to the meal, he was the butter knife and not the fork or spoon. Sadly, the opportunity was there for him to take his place in history against OKC. He was healthy and the team counted on him, he was supposed to be the spoon at the table last year, yet he resorted to a butter knife. Nice to have but not quite necessary to eat a good meal.

    Philadelphia has far more gunners on that team than the Lakers ever had during his tenure, so lets see how he gets along with his new team. Jrue Holiday, Nick Young, Thaddeus Young and Evan Turner are gunners and runners. Andrew, good luck getting up and down the floor with that crew.

    Good to hear that Pau will be back today, the Lakers sorely missed his presence. For anyone that still wants to trade Pau, remember he is our best backup center. Both our starting center and our backup center Hill have back problems. And for Hill this is the 2nd time this season that he has missed games due to injuries to his back.

    Can’t wait to see Nash back on the floor and hopefully he’ll be more fluid than he was with Brown’s offense.

  7. Okay, after actually reading the piece Whitlock did make some decent points. It was not as sensational as I expected it be.

  8. Kobe eats first. Thats all Howard needs to know, thats how kobe leads.

  9. Whitlock does make some sense, but what he misses is this. If Dwight waits for Kobe to hand the keys to the Lakers over to him, he will wait for ever. Dwight needs to step up and grab the keys himself. Until he shows that he is ready to lead, he will never become a leader. Same with Bynum last year, he was never willing to put in the effort on both ends of the court to reach the level that he felt he deserved. He never understood that the reason why his growth was stunted was because he stunted it himself.

  10. “I can’t believe people who come to this site only want to read articles from Kobe’s public relation staff.”

    This line would work a little better if Darius hadn’t just recently posted a detailed breakdown of Kobe’s D which many people, me included, praised. Ditto the Zach Lowe piece. As it is, Sid is just being emotional about Kobe, and projecting. If Sid only wants to read Kobe hatchet jobs, he has plenty of internet options other than a Lakers site.

    People who are unhappy about the team and want to call out a big name should be looking a little higher up the chain; the fallout from the Brown hire and roster construction issues are a far bigger on-court issue than Kobe’s personality.

  11. Dwight stunted his own development by choosing the weight room and dunk contests over the hardwood the first 8 years of his career. Ibaka is almost as effective an offenisve player as Dwight and that shouldn’t be the case.

  12. bynum had his chance in last year’s playoffs to make a mark. I think he had one good game against denver and that was it. And when DH hits 60 % of his FTs, then he will be a threat during the most important games at the most important moments. Right now DH is a serious liability in a close game.

    Kobe is not a saint. We lost the spurs game because his defense was horrible. But the guy brings it every day, battling injuries that lesser guys would need to rest/miss games. And too many people are happy to defer to him and lose their identity. I just think a lot of guys don’t want to deal with that intensity day in and day out.

  13. Kevin_,
    Ibaka is a mid-range jumpshooter who’s baskets are assisted 77% of the time. He’s turned himself into a very good player but his offensive skill is limited to exactly what the Thunder need in a player who works off Durant and Westbrook. Ibaka isn’t drawing double teams, he’s benefitting from the doubles his teammates create. Dwight, on the other hand, is drawing double teams and is creating shots for his teammates. Dwight also has a high % of his FG’s assisted, but it’s still 15% lower than Ibaka’s. There’s effectiveness and then there’s overall impact in terms of how the defense treats the player. I really don’t think it’s that close as to who is better in both areas (with the latter area being a pretty wide margin).

  14. Bynum your Jell-o knees stunted your development. This is still Kobe’s team until he retires, Withlock brings Lebron, how many championships he had before last year? Thats what i thought, Kobe knows how to win, Howard dont know yet and his abismal embarrasing ft shooting will keep him away from the truly greats until he start to knock em down, Shaq wasnt much better but the the vast mayority of the time hit them when it counts, simple Dwight is not ready to lead yet. I rather trust Kobe during a championship run than almost anybody else in the league.

  15. Darius: I agree Dwight has a greater impact on offense and Dwight was tailor made for Orlando’s offense just ike Ibaka’s is for Okc’s. Dwight benefitted from being surronded by shooters in Orlando and now with Kobe on the wing drawing double teams. But Whitlock’s piece somewhat stated Kobe’s desire to top Jordan and the way he plays will stunt Dwight’s progress as a player and Bynum echoed the same. When in reality the player Dwight is now is the one he’ll be going forward. Rarely do players add to their games after so long they just master what they’re currently good at. And I don’t see how Kobe’s playing style will hamper Dwight furthuring his game because the time he spent in Orlando is when the development should’ve took place.

  16. Some people like Kobe others blame him for everything. I for one am honored to watch him the last 17 years. No way Lakers would be better without him. I do at times think he shoots to many tough shots and goes one on the world. But he still has been by far the best Laker since Magic or Kareem.

    I do feel that people should be able to express their opinions or thoughts on him and feel it’s wrong for some to say “go elsewhere” when they disagree. Right or wrong I believe we all should respect other thoughts unless it becomes abusive or violates the forums rules.

    Even the Lakers own Laker Talk allows negative and positive points of view. We sure don’t want Smith/Lowler Clips guys who are
    embarrassing over the top about the Clippers.

  17. “Higher up the chain”: Yes perhaps something we can agree on : ) I have always preferred to “vent” on management as is evident by my posts. A roster must be put together correctly, and then a coaching staff must be hired to lead them. The coaching staff must get the team to blend together well and design systems to maximize performance. If these things do not happen (proper roster construction and coaching), there is no chance at a title. Of course with these two things, then the players must also perform, but player performance can’t overcome a bad roster or bad coaching/systems. Hence, rather than trash players as many do (see last several threads trashing KB, DH, PG, and AB), I prefer to vent “higher up the chain”, where it is usually deserved : ) Championships are not won in the FO or from the bench, but they are frequently lost there : ) The Lakers have “historically” been great in this area. Currently – we will see.

  18. Kevin_,
    I guess my point is, you’re starting from a position that I don’t agree with in the first place. I saw Dwight as a young player. The guy today is much better than him. Well, I should clarify, the guy we see today isn’t exactly the guy he’s been the last several years on either side of the ball.

    When I looked at Bynum’s vs. Dwight’s numbers last year, Dwight was the superior player in basically every facet of the game including post scoring efficiency. The issue is that Dwight’s offensive game isn’t aesthetically pleasing and they equate that to not being developed. What he’s been, however, is very effective.

    Did Dwight benefit from shooters and the system? Of course. If you listen to Kobe this season, he’s saying he’s benefitting from the system as well (also of note is that the Lakers are a much better 3 point shooting team this year and that’s helping Kobe too). Every player is better when the system maximizes their talents and/or puts them in positions to succeed.

    As for Whitlock, I don’t really listen to people whose total argument is them somehow knowing what’s on another person’s mind. Especially when the writer had no direct access to the subject. I’ve said the same thing about Simmons multiple times. Don’t tell me what someone is thinking unless they told you that first hand. Because the fact is, unless they did tell you, you really don’t know.

  19. Robert i have to disagree, people bash on Jim Bush but i only seen attempts to improve the team by any means, what he and Mitch achieved despite the constrains put in place almost specifically for the Lakers is nothing short of astonishing and lets no forget that the team is set up beautifully for the 2013-14 free agent class, when we would only have Nash on his final season and posibbly Howard in the books and tons of caps space. Of course there have been mistakes we know what those are but in my opinion the good outweight the bad. Once this team its healthy and that is aproaching fast thank God, this team will be a contender again, and flawed and all this team is light years better than last year, the product is there is up to the players to do their part.

  20. I have no problem with links to well-reasoned articles that draw conclusions different from mine. The Whitlock piece hardly qualifies. His “analysis” is a joke. It’s Kobe’s fault that Dwight isn’t given the opportunity to take control of the team? Dwight’s inability to take control of the team is precisely why Kobe will not defer to him.

    Dwight is an excellent player, but to call him the 2nd best player in the league right now (as Whitlock does, because he makes no allowance for Dwight not being at full strength and argues that Kobe should defer to Dwight immediately) is simply preposterous. Dwight cannot score outside of 5 feet, cannot hang on to the ball in traffic, cannot elevate to get lobs like he does when healthy, cannot power up a dunk in traffic, and cannot hit a reasonable number of free throws. Hopefully, most of those things will improve as his health and conditioning improve, but for now he is anything but a go to guy on offense.

    What will not likely improve is the fact that Dwight has always lacked a killer instinct. He is, at heart, a super nice and happy guy who appears to be content with his lot in life. There hasn’t been too much evidence of improvement in his game (looking at where Dwight was 5 years ago and where he is today, then comparing the same career/skill arc to Andrew Bynum illustrates the point as well as anything), which is clear evidence of a guy who doesn’t eat and sleep basketball.

    If Dwight wants to be be “the guy” then he needs to stand up and take the mantle. Just like Kobe did. Whitlock’s article is pure garbage, and that conclusion has nothing to do with the fact that I disagree with him. There’s literally nothing behind his contentions, and his only “facts” are easily shown to be false.

  21. Whitlock?

    *facepalm*

  22. Dwight’s post game is based on his strength and agility. Because he doesn’t have the same agility yet after back surgery he isn’t the same post player yet.

  23. Don’t even take Whitlock’s articles seriously. He’s always wrote sensationalized pieces that don’t add up(Like the one about the Denver Nuggets losing because they had too many guys with tattoos on their team, which he honest to goodness wrote back in 2006). On top of that, he’s been reprimanded several times for making stupid remarks and trying to make everything into a race issue. A piss poor journalist, for sure.

  24. Fern: I again agree with you that the roster is great (our numbers on this board are small now though). That is why I have been very kind to Jim lately. I even kissed his ring. If the roster ends up being flawed as many think, then I can throw myself under the Buss, with the FO, because they did much of what I wanted. They did clearly make a mistake on MB. They also handled the next hiring poorly. The jury is still out on the decision and the performance of the current coach. However I think you would agree that a decent coach should get this great roster to perform. Where we are different is that I think we should have been better so far even with the injuries, but I understand the view that I think you have, that the injuries have caused the current sub 500 performance. I certainly think the injuires have hindered us, but 12th in the WC with KB and DH on your roster is hard for me to accept.

  25. Darius: my position is dwight now is the player he’s going to be later. No matter how kobe plays it won’t make dwight a better player better stats sure but not a better player. i’m referring to the basis of whitlock’s article not sure what your referring to.