Around The World (Wide Web): Farmar, Gasol-Olympics, “Vino Club”, T-Mac

Ryan Cole —  September 9, 2013

From Brett Pollakoff, Pro Basketball Talk: Jordan Farmar was a member of two championship teams in four seasons during his first tour of duty with the Lakers, albeit in a reserve role. He clashed with Phil Jackson at times, and felt constrained by what he was expected to do within the Triangle offense. Farmar always felt like he was capable of contributing so much more, and he should get that opportunity under Mike D’Antoni this time around. In fact, the chance to play for the Lakers’ current head coach was one of the reasons Farmar chose to make his NBA return at this time.

From Eric Pincus, LA Times: On Saturday, the International Olympic Committee made its choice for the 2020 Olympic Games. The final three cities were Istanbul; Madrid, Spain; and Tokyo. Lakers center-forward Pau Gasol had been helping Spain’s bid committee and made the trip to Buenos Aires for the International Olympic Committee’s vote. The winner was made known via Twitter.

From Phillip Barnett, Laker Nation: The NFL kicked off its season on Thursday night, and it saw Peyton Manning explode for seven touchdown passes — tying an NFL record. Kobe Bryant was watching the game, and tweeted about his Vino Club after watching Manning completely pick apart the Ravens defense. The Vino Club is a bit interesting as it’s tough to pin point what, exactly, is the criteria for being invited. Manning is a 37-year-old quarterback, Floyd Mayweather is a 36-year old boxer and Justin Timberlake is a performer. Of course, the triumvirate, along with Kobe, are some of the best in their respective professions, but still, the selection is still a little confusing.

From Royce Young, CBS Sports:Tracy McGrady has retired, which means he now heads into the phase where he gets to say things. There’s no arguing that in his prime — and when healthy — McGrady was as good a pure scorer as the game has ever seen. His combination of size, speed, athleticism and perimeter touch made him maybe the toughest cover in the league. And during an interview with Fox Sports Radio, via Larry Brown Sports, McGrady seemed to suggest he was every bit an equal with Kobe Bryant, going as far to say he and Shaquille O’Neal would’ve gotten along better.

 

Ryan Cole

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25 responses to Around The World (Wide Web): Farmar, Gasol-Olympics, “Vino Club”, T-Mac

  1. T-Mac chafed playing 2nd fiddle to Vince Carter. But he would have been fine in his prime doing the same with Shaq? Don’t see it. In his prime he may have been more gifted a scorer then Kobe. What makes Kobe, Kobe though is the relentless dedication to his craft. Becoming the most skilled player in the game. There is no real comparison.

    As for Farmar it is nice to see MDA illustrated as a reason to come to LA for once rather then a deterrent.

  2. I’m in agreement with the sentiment that Jordan Farmar, before the season ends, will be the team’s best PG. His addition, paired with Kobe coming back ahead of schedule will mean Steve Blake is traded on a salary dump.

    Its important to factor him in next season as one to give out a contract to. We don’t have his bird rights therefore we need to ‘chase’ him with a decent contract. That will eat into our purported cap space although for the right price and with a breakout season at hand, I think we only need to offer the ‘right’ amount and he’s with us. He’s an LA boy, UCLA alumni and want to be w/ the Lakers.

    Alot of people seem to think 2014 cap space is a jackpot waiting to happen. The best free agents you sign next year could very well be the ones already on your team. Jordan might be one of them.

  3. T-Mac: Just one name on a long list of guys who at one time were compared to Kobe. A Iverson, T-Mac, Vince Carter, Ray Allen, D Wade, G Arenas, Mike Bibby, Gary Payton, Steve Nash, Afernee Hardaway, and Richard Hamilton to name a few. I know many of these are comical, but at the time, the Haters were trying to make cases for them over Kobe. A couple of applicable links. The first one is from 2009 – pre rings 4+5. It says quite a bit about why he is the best of his generation. The second link lists his top rivals and most of them are defensive specialists. Guys like Iverson, Nash,T-Mac, etc played one side of the court, while KB plays both. He guarded them, they did not guard him.
    http://www.slate.com/articles/sports/sports_nut/2009/05/kobe_the_kingmaker.html
    http://dimemag.com/2012/12/the-10-best-rivalries-of-kobe-bryants-career/10/

  4. McGrady was a very good player, no doubt. Kobe, however, is an all time great. Longevity and consistency is the difference. Kobe’s ability to maintain an extremely high level of performance over such a lengthy career may be discounted by some, but never by me. I don’t think well see Kobe finishing his career at the end of a contender’s bench, hoping for some jewelry, as TMac did last season.

    As for the premise that TMac would have been a better fit with Shaq than Kobe, that is pure speculation on McGrady’s part. IF is the biggest 2 letter word in existence. IF TMac was more durable and less susceptible to injury maybe his career would have been more successful.

  5. T-mac is right that it would not have ended the way it ended with Shaq.

    Would they have been as successful? Maybe, maybe not. Kobe bests T-mac in efficiency (about 3 points a game) and I don’t think they get past Portland or Sacramento with T-mac instead of Kobe.

    And remember, T-mac really couldn’t win anything even with Yao, so there’s that. At least Kobe won twice with Pau as well, and I don’t think it’s too unreasonable to argue that Yao may have been a better player than Pau or at least comparative.

  6. Part of Kobe’s greatness is his longevity. But let’s not be mistaken, McGrady’s 02-03 season was for the ages, and as good as anything Kobe’s put up. McGrady had an extremely high peak; he just couldn’t sustain it, which is (to many) the definition of true greatness.

  7. Snoopy is spot on re TMac. His best year was better than Kobe has ever done. He was always on awful teams but for five years was the best SF of all time ( if you ask me) until LBJ came into his own.

    rr is spot on in the last thread. It’s surprised me few understand the lakers don’t have actual top level talent amd only have a few above average players.

  8. Aaron – I do not think anyone here has any illusions of where the talent level on this squad stands. We all know where we are. Perhaps some are hoping for things to turn out better than expected, but don’t mistake hope for not having an understanding of the realities of this team.

  9. Hi everyone,
    Dave Murphy´s written a fine piece on Shawne Williams on his blog `Searching For Slava´, just fyi

  10. Given all the criticism of MDA, I think it is worth noting that Farmar sees MDA’s presence here as a positive.

  11. Aaron – I do not think anyone here has any illusions of where the talent level on this squad stands

    IIRC, you said the other day that you think this year’s team will be better than the 2013 team, but maybe I am misremembering. I know for sure that 2 or 3 guys have said that, pretty emphatically.

    So, I will ask you the same question I asked WWL and anyone else who would like to answer: what do you think is more likely for this year’s team, a 30-33 win season or a 45-48 win season? Of course no one knows for sure what will happen; that’s a given. But it really comes down to best guess, and mine is that the Lakers are in a lot of trouble both short-term and long-term. If I turn out to be wrong, I will be happy about it and admit it happily.

  12. Thank you, Robert, for lending some perspective here.

  13. rr, I would go out on a limb and be the 1st, perhaps only, to predict we’ll have a 50-win season.

    Thats my hope and my belief.

  14. WWL,

    I hope that you are right about Oct-May and that Aaron is right about July.

  15. I’m confused how anyone can make a blanket statement about T-Mac’s best year being better than Kobe’s. So, T-Mac’s greatest year was 2002-2003-

    32.1 ppg 5.5 ast and 6.5 rbd and 1.7 stls on .457 shooting.

    Kobe’s 05-06-
    35.4 ppg 4.5 ast and 5.3 rbd and 1.8 stls on .450 shooting.

    It’s just about a tossup in my opinion, and both of these guys played on a couple of terrible teams. Hell- Kobe may have had a few more ridiculous seasons if he wasn’t playing alongside Shaq for 7 years. Btw Kobe’s 02-03 season was pretty great as well. He averaged 2 less points than T-Mac per game, but averaged 6.9 rebounds and 5.9 assists and 2.2 steals.

    Not much evidence to have a definitive answer, but I lean towards Kobe being the homer that I am. ;)

  16. McGrady he best small forward of all time other than LBJ? Julius Erving, John Havlicek and Scottie Pippen would differ with that statement. So would I. Stats aren’t everything.

  17. Yep, only 1 way to find out :) But seriously, oblige me as I share why I am optimistic:

    Fist of all, the Lakers season last year could not have been more disastrous. Making the playoffs on the absolute last day; losing Kobe 2 games before the playoffs; lost Nash on the 2nd game of the season; Dwight continually saying he loves it in LA but hates Kobe; Mike Brown, Mike D’Antoni; injuries to Pau, Blake, Hill among many others. Like I said, couldn’t have been any worse.

    This season, we have a team that’s different. It is no secret that we lost talent. We lost Dwight to free agency and we lost MWP to amnesty. No one mentions the elephant in the room – but thats the uncertainty of Kobe. If Kobe were to be fully healthy, would the ‘experts’ have touted us as 12th? I doubt it. Even with the same scenario but with Kobe healthy anyone can atleast put us as an 8th seed.

    Again, mentioning Kobe’s injury is the biggest question mark. Its not the rest of the team, we know what we’ve lost and thats Dwight’s interior D, shotblocking and whatever it was MWP gave us. By losing the two, we also gained something at the same time: Improved FT% and hopefully improved 3pt%. Its also worth mentioning that Dwight’s stiff offensive talent in the post and lack of range will improve the team in terms of how we are defended.

    Enter Chris Kaman. How dare I say we’ll be better with him instead of Dwight. But no, my point is that Kaman has more flexibility in his offense. He has a very good jumper from 15-ft range and he can play off the ball with Pau. He has a post game, which dare I say is comparable to Dwight’s and he has no problem coming off the bench. Lose 5 points, recover 2 points atleast.

    I cannot be sure if losing MWP is a negative. I will miss the guy more than I’ll miss Dwight but his offensive numbers have been terrible in the past 3 seasons. Whatever he gave us on defense, that very smart left hand that I will surely miss… will be replaced somehow by the committee of Wes Johnson and Nick Young. I would value this as lost a point, gained a point.

    I cannot rave enough of Jordan Farmar’s return. That and with a healthier Steve Nash and Pau Gasol and the addition of the young legs of Wes Johnson, Nick Young, Elias Harris, Marcus Landry, Shawne Williams and Xavier Henry. What we didn’t have last year – a bench – we now have quite the bunch. It remains to be seen but if we start with: Nash-Kobe-Johnson-Hill-Pau then we have a very decent 2nd 5 of: Farmar-Blake-Young-Williams-Kaman. This is the part where I give us 2 points up.

    Chemistry will be better. 1 point.

    We have motivated players that want to prove something, play for a contract and want to be here. 1 point.

    We have pieces on the team that fit the style of play the coach wants to run. Half a point.

    We no longer have the Gasol/Howard conundrum. Half a point.

    Lets not get too ahead of ourselves. Even I recognize that whatever we gain in improved transition and perimeter defense can be negated by what we lose in the interior and post. The likes of James Harden and Russell Westbrook would have a field day attacking our defense. So that can swing from 5 points up to 10 points negative.

    In summary, I hope we get it together and we get Kobe back at the appropriate time. He can miss the 1st 20 games of the schedule, and if we’re between 9-11 to 12-8 then having Kobe back can be all positive from thereonin.

  18. Stats are interesting and useful, but to try and determine the greatest “x” of all time you actually have to have lived in the time the players being compared played in. The reason I say this is part of the equation is the impact those players had on the NBA – IMO. That is one reason the Bird-Magic combination is so well remembered – those two essentially brought the NBA into an era where the general public actually cared about the players and teams. Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain, or Wilt Chamberlain by himself if you prefer, also did this in the 60s and kept professional basketball alive as a sport. This ‘impact on their era’ is one reason the GOAT type of discussions become sort of silly – also IMO.

    P.S. Michael Jordan ushered in the ESPN, 24/7 sports era and this is why his exploits are so well recorded and remembered, along with the fact that he was the most recent of the seminal greats.

  19. I have to agree with KenOak. Kobe was a legit MVP candidate in 02-03. That was the year Shaq waited to have surgery on “company time” and the Lakers struggled at the beginning of the season. Kobe’s string of 40 point games and his all around great play kept the Lakers from completely collapsing that year while waiting on Shaq. That season they had a mostly older team who had made three straight trips to the Finals. On many nights Kobe was the only player with any spring in his legs (with the exception of Devin George). That was one of Kobe’s best seasons. And it was as good as any season from McGrady.

    Kobe exceeds guys like McGrady and Vince Carter for one reason: He could handle great expectations. Its easy to be great on a bad team. The fans are just happy to watch you score 40 points every night. Its not easy being a star guard for the Los Angeles Lakers. Its not easy dealing with the expectations of the Lakers fan base. Its not easy following in the footsteps of HOFers like West, Magic, and Worthy. The Lakers of Dr. Buss didn’t expect A championship. They expected multiple titles. Talent is never enough to deal with those kinds of expectations. It takes a truly rare set of players. Kobe is one of those players.

  20. TMac had a PER north of 30. That’s LeBron and Jordan territory. The reason I ranked TMac ahead of Pippen is because TMac could create shots for himself and others while still playing great man on man and team defense (although not quite as good as Pippen). He also was a much better spot up outside shooter.

  21. @Aaron
    Ahh PER. If defense is half of the game, like someone I know says quite a bit, then that puts Kobe over the top of T-Mac because he played better defense in those days. Hell Kobe locked T-mac up a couple of times when they played despite the height/length advantage that T-Mac had.
    Kobe was 1st team all defense in 02-03…T-Mac didn’t sniff that honor even once.

    Come on Aaron. You know that Kobe was a game changer on defense and couple that *with* his offensive skills, then it should be a very very tough decision.

  22. IIRC, you said the other day that you think this year’s team will be better than the 2013 team, but maybe I am misremembering. I know for sure that 2 or 3 guys have said that, pretty emphatically.
    ——–
    I think I said that this team would be around an 8th seed. I guess since the 2013 team ended in 7th place, that means I’m on the board as saying they are “as good” or “better” than last year. However, I thought the 2013 team would be in the top 3 of the league, so if you compare my expectations at the same point a year ago, you will see that what I am saying is that this team is not as good as last years team – at least at this point in the season. I hope that makes sense.

  23. KenOak,
    I’m comparing TMac and Pippen. Thats it. I do though believe that Kobe was better than TMac at both of their peaks but that TMac had a season Kobe never quite duplicated offensively. But I think Kobe was better that exact same season because Kobe was a step above TMac defensively.

  24. PER ? Pippen was part of a one two punch that spearheaded 2 threepeats! May have been 8 straight championships had Jordan not opted out to recharge his batteries. Pippen was a huge part of that! The closest TMac ever came to a championship was as a ring chasing bench warmer this past season with the Spurs. 6 championships as Jordan’s wingman and an acknowledged top 50 pick all time make Pippen a better ballplayer than McGrady, IMO.

  25. KenOak…. Very good points about Kobe’s top seasons vs. Tracy’s.