Wednesday Storylines

Dave Murphy —  June 19, 2013

It seems almost silly to write anything basketball that isn’t purely about last night’s epic Game 6 OT slugfest. In the end, Tim Duncan’s 30/17 front loaded night couldn’t quite outlast LeBron’s 32/10/11 – the latter doing much of his damage late in the game. You could almost hear the collective groan of keypads everywhere – suffice to say there were stories being written in the last few minutes of regulation that did not end up being used.

In an era of quick-bite news feeds, Kevin Arnovitz’s longform article about the San Antonio Spurs stands out. The premise is nothing new – centering on the recalcitrant nature of a team that plays by the fundamentals at the cost of mega popularity. Arnovitz steadily peels back the layers though, getting to some essential truths about choices made and a determination to stick with authenticity.

The Grantland staff put together their NBA Finals Shootaround: Just Like Heaven and there’s not much to say except just read the piece – classic sample observation, “basketball is a drug.”

On to Lakers business. You’d have to be living under a rock not to know of the parade of injuries visited upon the Los Angeles Lakers this past season. Often blared and sensationalized, the subject is illuminated through a terrific Mike Trudell interview of Lakers trainer Gary Vitti.

Somewhere between the polar ends of self-parody and hard cold business lies an essential conflict. Using the framework of the new film comedy “This Is The End”, Andy Kamenetzky from the Land O’Lakers examines the act of Dwight.

This year’s draft is sneaking up fast. With only the 48th pick to play with, the Lakers’ challenge will be to find a player who can actually function at an NBA level. Ben Rosales has been writing cogently about the process for Silver Screen & Roll – here he looks at six prospects who came in for a group pre-draft workout.

Sasha Vujacic made a unusual two-year commitment to Anadolu Efes during the 2011 NBA lockout. This past April, the 2012 Turkish All-Star MVP was suspended for disciplinary reasons in the middle of the Euroleague quarterfinals. The team failed to advance to the next round and has yet to elaborate on how things went so wrong. Last Friday, Vujacic said goodbye to Istanbul on Facebook, adding that “the truth will come out”. The former Machine is hoping to resume his NBA career. Here, Matt Agne for Sports Media 101 hypothesizes about a place for Vujacic with the Knicks.

I know, how can you follow a paragraph about a man who once reigned supreme at the charity stripe? Nonetheless, basketball life does go on. Tomorrow night will bring Game 7 of the NBA Finals in Miami. There will be no lack or predictions between now and then but if the first six games were any indication, this one will be another war. Are you fired up? Ready to go?

Dave Murphy

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19 responses to Wednesday Storylines

  1. Hi Dave,
    in response to your query `fired up? ready to go?´ (which has an ironic tinge to it, i bellieve, and deservedly so), i repost my feelings from the very last entry on the very last thread:

    helluva series; still, I feel pangs stinging me knowing we´re not there, and when the trophy is hoisted up towards the rafters, I´ll have already taken my aspirin & turned the darned tube off.

  2. dave m: stupid is as stupid does. in regulation and with 28.1 seconds remaining on the clock during last night’s game between san antonio and miami, where HE AT was going to be my opening remark all things miami. as it turned out, where he went seems more attuned to where and what coach p’s typical dogmatic choices amounted to down the stretch. all things considered, he is who he is and pretty much why we’re having this conversation; missed free throws notwithstanding.

    speaking of stupid is, fill in the blank and where he at can be attributed to any number of people currently holding laker nation at bay; at least for the next couple of weeks. so for those with better things to do…..

    better go out and find better things to do.

    Go Lakers

  3. Yeah but apart from Pop’s decision, Duncan wasn’t hitting his shots in the second half. Spurs in general missed some crucial chippies late in the game, plus turnovers – gah!! The Heat jumped all over it down the stretch. Such a closely matched, physical series.

  4. Just read the Knicks 101’s favorable profile on Sasha as a prospective free agent, which somehow omits the most important fact about his play, which is unfortunately that he is one of the worst players I have ever seen at managing his emotions on the court – in fact, he might be the all time worst. This made him sort of endearing to root for as a Laker, in that you could practically read his mind with each possession – it was almost as if he completely lacked a filter for his feelings.

    This was frustrating, too, since it resulted too often in Sasha psyching himself out of making an open jumper he was desperate to sink, or mugging a player that was irritating him for a bonehead foul 65 feet from the basket. The fact that his career ended badly in Turkey, coupled with his flameout with his national team, doesn’t look good either, although who knows what the real story is there. But I’ll always forgive Sasha his many foibles, since he did drill two free throws to ice a championship, which, as Kawhi Leonard proved last night, is not easy to do.

  5. Looks as if the potential for a ‘CP3 L.A. Takeover’ is back on.
    According to multiple reports, Phase #2 is set to take place.
    Possibly, as early as tomorrow.

  6. Duncan outpaced himself, obviously, and Pop noticed.

    As for the article regarding Sasha, wow, I want him on our team again! Makes him sound like a legit star or something.

  7. Dave, thanks for the link to the interview with Gary Vitti. Mike Trudell did a great job there. I learned a lot

  8. Always enjoy these pieces, Dave. Trudell mentioned in the Vitti piece they’ll have more up on the Lakers’ nutrition plan this week, which I’m looking forward to (even if it seems to be delayed).

    Tra – that’s a fantastic trade from the Clips’ point of view. Even if Garnett and Pierce turn out not to have much left in the tank, look at how little you’re giving up – I’m not high on DeAndre Jordan at all. Could he discover his potential later, like Tyson Chandler? Sure. But despite his physical gifts, he has no understanding of defensive positioning at all. You’re not giving up much there – just a 2nd-round draft pick with potential for a proven champion at the end of his career who had an amazing defensive impact on the culture of his team at his last stop. That’s a no-brainer even if the Celtics had insisted on Bledsoe, who I think has become a little overrated in small minutes. Seems to be more of an ideal 6th-man rather than an elite starter, but I could be wrong.

    Now if they can trade Bledsoe for Afflalo as was previously written in many reports coming out of Orlando, Paul has all the weapons he needs at his disposal. That starting lineup seems like it would be a great fit.

  9. Warren Wee Lim June 20, 2013 at 5:16 am

    There’s a noticeable difference in Duncan after that fumble in the 2nd half when Bosh kind of stumbled on his leg. I blame all on the free throws and how fitting to see Sasha’s name sprout up right after Kahwi proved its not that easy to do.

  10. dave m: on the eve of this year’s nba championship series game 7, it still irks me to high heaven that it’s the spurs and not the lakers playing miami. of course only a die heart laker fan would say this and yet we got this great forum to express our opinions to no end.

    which brings me to today’s posers: if the buss family is not interested in selling their interest in the lakers (and why should they?) then should jim buss step down, step out and replace himself with jerry west as president of lakers basketball operations?

    Pros:

    1. experience with
    2. knowledge of
    3. can do mentality

    Cons:

    1.
    2.
    3.

    i for one will sleep better at night knowing that Jerry West and not Jerry’s son was running basketball operations for the Los Angeles Lakers.

    can i get an amen?

    Go Lakers

  11. Snoopy – I’m not as high on the Clippers trade. While I’m not overjoyed with DeAndre’s play either it is arguable that he still has performance upside and trade value. KG had a nice bounce back season but he’s on his last leg.

    I think Garnett would have forced a buy out before the season and the Clippers could have gotten him for free. Additionally, I’m not big on giving away draft picks for a coach especially when there are viable alternatives in Hollins and Shaw.

    The trade makes the Clips better for a possibly one year. This is a big win for the Celtics.

  12. Has anyone heard about a decision timeline from Howard or his camp? I’m curious how long into the summer this will take for him to make up his mind. July 1st is just around the corner but knowing Howard this could drag out for a while.

    I hate to see the Laker FO handcuffed by this. Draft night can be an opportunity to pick up some building blocks by selling off some of our current assets for future ones.

    My gut says that even if Howard leaves the Lakers will roll with their current roster and reset next summer. In that case we will awful next season. I would prefer that they be more aggressive this offseason and get a head start on the reset.

  13. David – Please don’t take this the wrong way, but what you propose does not appear to be grounded in reality. Did you forget West is employed by another franchise? Also, do you not remember how he was unceremoniously pushed out by Dr Buss/Phil? Think he may have some resentment there? Then there’s the whole the son’s owner stepping aside for a former employee – has that ever happened in real life? I’m open to change if the proposal is based on reality, but what you have here is pure fantasy.

    So, sorry bud… No. You cannot get an Amen.

  14. Snoop – We clearly agree on D. Jordan. I mentioned on a previous thread that I view him as a bum. A superb athlete who is only good for finishing ally-oops, otherwise, he’s a non threat offensively. Also, as you alluded to, he lacks the mental makeup to be a dominant defensive presence. Down the road, can he improve on both (offense n defense) aspects of his game? Possibly. Unfortunately, we live in the moment. The present. And CP3 is in his prime at this moment. The present. He has no time to wait on D’ Andre to develop. Especially when he has Coach Doc, KG and (more than likely) P-Square there for the taking.

    Tino – As for the future 1st round draft picks? They’re more than likely to be late 1st rd picks. Granted, under the new CBA, drafting and developing players are important. But with that being said, late 1st rd picks guarantees nothing. If anything, prospects. Definitely not impact players. Not in this day and age of 1 n Out college players. Also, as I stated, particularly as it pertains to a in his prime CP3, we live for the moment. As to your other point, while I respect Hollins, he’s not on the same scale as Doc; who happens to be excellent at X’s and O’s, solid minded defensively, a great motivator and an individual who players want to play for. As for our very own B. Shaw, I believe that he has potential, but it’s disrespectful to compare him to a Championship Coach such as Doc without having any head coaching experience in this league. If they were to hire either Hollins, Shaw or even B. Scott, all Sterling will be doing is saving money (which he as an abundance of), while at the same time and more importantly, showing CP3, an UFA mind you, that he’s not trying to win at the present. Especially if one was to take into account that securing Doc Rivers goes hand n hand with acquiring KG and possibly, Pierce. So two late 1st rd picks for Coach Doc Rivers is, with all due respect, Highway Robbery IMO.

  15. MannyP: fair enough. but that was the whole point, jackson no longer in a position to do that, jerry buss pushing up daisies and so direction of the lakers basketball operations wise, for now rest squarely on the shoulders of the anointed chosen son. ain’t nepotism grand?

    and if we base everything on reality, what’s the fun in that?

    but can we get a hallelujah?

    Go Lakers

  16. David – Hallelujah!!!

  17. David… First off, how about a little more respect? I think Dr. Buss deserves a little more then an irreverent euphemism for his having passed away. Second, I don’t recall your views about last off season, nor do I care how right or wrong you were. Most of us here, Las Vegas as a group, the NBA in general, as well as it’s fans all thought last seasons’ Lakers offseason was a work of front office genius. Obviously it didn’t work out and we still have no idea what will happen this offseason. Things happen, and looking for scapegoats every time you fail to have a chance to riot and parade in June indicates a profound misconception of your place in the Universe. Jerry West is not coming through that door.

    What is the fun in just making up totally implausible scenarios for a team that has to function in reality? Just pretend the Lakers are in the finals, playing a game seven against the Celtics and whomever wins tonight is actually the Lakers. Get your Kobe jersey on, slip on a 2013, LA Lakers Championship hat, make sure to bring a towel offered in NBA.com and have some fun. I mean, who cares about reality here? Oh, yeah… I forgot. The spirit of this site is one of basing our comments on observation, fact and rational insight. That is it’s own kind of fun.

  18. @David H it was Dr Buss team he choosed to leave the team to whoever the hell he wanted to be in charge he could had leave it to a Laker Girl if he wanted to, this is a private organization and i think is disrespectful to talk about him that way especially on a Laker board where everyone admired, respected and even loved him. About Jim Buss he have make his share of mistakes but every move he has made personel wise has been going for the fences i have to respect that, he could had sit back count the TW deal money rolling in and to hell with the team. Im convinced he genuely(sic) love the Lakers and is triying to do the best for the team, he will never be the good Doctor and lets not forget if Stern didnt screw the CP trade the Lakers organization would had been in a very different situation so its not entirely his fault. The Lakers will be fine and in 13 to 14 months the Lakers will reloading again.