Steve Blake Turning the Simple into the Sublime

Darius Soriano —  November 19, 2013

Lakers’ fans, maybe more than any other fan-base, love to have their whipping boys. Typically, these are guys who don’t consistently play well, but also fit snugly into two different categories: 1). Guys who fans think should play a certain way, but don’t (Pau needs to be tougher!) or 2), Guys who aren’t seen as earning their paycheck. Players who have fallen into the latter category in recent seasons range from Lamar Odom (when he was making near max money before the Lakers went to the Finals in 2008), Luke Walton (whose six year contract at the full mid-level was instantly criticized by a certain sect of fans), and, most recently Steve Blake (who, in his first few years of his contract, didn’t live up to what fans expected from a guy making $4 million a year).

It’s Blake’s inclusion on this list that’s always been somewhat puzzling to me. Not because Blake was playing well and didn’t deserve some criticism for his on-court production, but rather because as a back up point guard making less than the mid-level, I never really viewed Blake as either A). overpaid or B). not playing hard or giving it his all on the court. Sure, Blake could have played better and there were times I wanted more from him considering his skill set. That said, when a player competes hard and is put in a position to be a role player who mostly plays off the ball and is only given limited opportunities, I don’t necessarily think it is fair to jump on him when his production isn’t what you’d want. Critique is one thing, but some of the blowback Blake has received in his time as a Laker has gone way beyond fair criticism.

This season, though, the much maligned Blake has turned those criticisms upside down by playing some of the best basketball of his career and certainly his best as a Laker. Consider the following:

*Since becoming the starting point guard 3 games ago, Blake has dished out 37 assists while committing only 8 turnovers.

*In those same three games, Blake has assisted on 47.4% of the Lakers’ baskets when he’s on the floor. In the past 40 years, with a minimum of 40 games played, only 12 players have put up an assist percentage over 47 over the course of a season. The guys on that list include names like Magic, Stockton, Chris Paul, Steve Nash, Isiah Thomas, and Deron Williams.

*Scoring wise, Blake hasn’t been amazing, but he has been scoring 11 points a night while shooting 44% from the field (including 50% of his two point shots — a pretty big feat for a guy whose two point percentage is normally in the low 40’s).

In essence, what we are seeing, is a player who is both comfortable in the offense he’s being asked to run and operating in an offense that finally allows him to show off more of the skills that made him a priority signing 4 years ago. As Mike D’Antoni said at halftime of the Pistons’ game, Blake is getting comfortable with the reads within this system and that comfort is showing on a nightly basis.

On this set, the Lakers start out running an half-hearted pin down action on the back side to free Jordan Hill up at the top of the floor to receive a pass. This flows seamlessly into a swing pass to Blake that sets up a pick and roll between Blake and Hill. Blake, reading that the D is a bit lax, goes away from the pick towards the baseline and draws a double team. After pivoting and finding Hill as a release valve, Blake instantly runs another P&R with Hill and drops him a nice pocket bounce pass along the baseline that Hill gathers and then rises up to sink a jumper.

On this next set, Blake again runs a P&R with Hill. This time, however, Blake accepts the pick right away and darts down the lane line to threaten the D. When Blake draws a second defender, he patiently strings out his dribble and waits for Hill to create an angle to receive a pass. Once Hill is open, Blake bounces a picture perfect pass to his big man that Hill is able to scoop up and turn into an easy basket.

On this last play, Blake has the ball high with Pau inching up to set a pick. Blake reads the D and decides again to go away from the screen and pressure the D by pushing the ball at Tony Allen who is covering Jodie Meeks in the corner. As Blake continues his dribble, you can see the Grizzlies defense respond to his hard dribble combined with Pau’s sliding towards the paint. Blake has successfully occupied his own man, taken Marc Gasol with him towards the hoop, and turned Tony Allen completely towards him in a help position. With Allen’s head turned, Meeks cuts right behind him and Blake hits him with a bounce pass that Meeks turns into an uncontested lay up.

None of these assists are spectacular passes where Blake is making the highlight play. But just because these are simple actions doesn’t mean Blake doesn’t deserve credit. In every one of these plays, Blake is manipulating the defense by keeping his dribble alive and attacking specific spots on the floor. By threatening the defense, Blake is successfully occupying multiple defenders and then picking out the open man with textbook passes that set them up for uncontested shots. What he’s doing epitomizes floor generaliship and is a key reason that, at least right now, this team doesn’t miss Steve Nash much at all.

No, Blake isn’t the scoring threat that Nash has been in his career and, despite good numbers from behind the arc for the season, Blake won’t garner the same attention off the ball that Nash has (and still does). That said, what Blake is doing with the ball in his hands is just as much (if not more) than Nash could be expected to do at this stage of his career and goes to show how much Blake really can offer this team offensively. Again, he may not be doing anything that gives you visions of Magic Johnson, but his technical precision and ability to make the play in front of him certainly reminds of a late career Stockton or, maybe more apt, what Mark Price used to do for those old Cavs teams.

Not bad for a guy who used to be every Lakers’ fan’s whipping boy.

Darius Soriano

Posts

47 responses to Steve Blake Turning the Simple into the Sublime

  1. 3 games of better than what he’s shown traditionally as Laker! Woo hoo!! I’m throwing my pitchfork in the trash with my numerous memories of him afraid to shoot the ball and various other acts of timidity. Choking is not verifiable through stats. I can’t blame the man for getting his money but it’s short sighted to act like he hasn’t been sub-par or stunk up the uniform for the bulk of his tenure considering options who might have been available if not for his contract.

    Strangely enough, I always thought he was a decent back up on other teams and thought he was hyped here to be more than what he was and thus thrust into holding more weight than was needed. He has stepped up and played very well these most recent games. As always, I want any Laker player to play well… whipping boy or not. With that, I remind you two states of this season’s impetus: 1) Contract year. 2) Nothing to lose.

  2. hey darius: i think we get it. the subliminal message is that the next time steve blake messes up, go easy on him.

    he has been one of the shinier bright spots on the starting roster this early into the season.

    Go lakers

  3. There are a few things I LOVE about Blake. He is a pesky defender that does not back down and his basketball IQ is really high. If he can shoot the 3 point shot more consistently which he has, he is a first guard off the bench on a championship team. Blake is also underpaid.

  4. Is there something wrong with the site in the mobile app. It was down fir a while and this is the only article in ut.

  5. In basically every post I have made about Blake, I have noted his professionalism and hard work on the floor, so I agree with Darius there. My issue has always been the FO giving a guy with Blake’s skillset and age a 4/16 deal, and I said that when they signed him.

    I think one thing we have learned about Blake is that he is not in some ways a Triangle PG. He fit the image of the kind of guy they wanted–vet, tough, focused, decent stroke. But he seems to do better in a more conventional system, and as I have said, MDA has been able to get more out of him than Phil and Brown did. And Blake has played very well the last three games, and deserves credit for that.

    That said, the Lakers IMO should be looking to move him at the deadline if they can.

  6. The only time I harped on Steve #2 was when he was playing off-ball 2 and defending the taller 2s. Not that he could’ve done alot against Klay Thompson’s hot shooting and length/height.

  7. Man, I love these breakdowns. Thanks D.S.!

  8. Dear Mitch – if the opportunity presents itself, please sell high.

  9. Umm….Steve Blake was in my opinion signed to be the starter NOT the backup….when he got here he seemed like a perfect fit for the triangle (someone who could guard both positions adequately and with a certain level of tenacity while still being able to knock down spot up shots from double teams …courtesy of Bryant, Gasol, and Bynum)…what we got was someone who couldn’t knock down shots consistently and never really became a starter.

    I personally don’t care what a player makes…he got 16 mil because he found someone willing to pay it…can’t fault him for that…but to me that contract signifies what the organization’s investment and commitment to that person and the role they will play on the team…and honestly aside from a great playoff series in I think it was Denver he has not delivered.

    I’ve always seen Blake as the classic bring the ball past the timeline and then make a pass and make a cut to the baseline corner and wait to shoot …nothing about him is dynamic enough to put pressure on defenses consistenly…I see him doing “the Nash” (term I call for ‘overdribbling’ and driving to the basket and keeping the dribble and coming out the other side) but not so much a threat.

    He seems to be doing well with a lot of the pick and rolls and I can see him imitating what other good players do as far as attacking the elbows etc but I just don’t see him as a starting guard that teams have to really account for and game plan for and I think thats what the Lakers fans really want is someone who will make teams have to game plan for the point guard outside of “can’t double off this guy.”

  10. barry_g: Before you “Sell High” you must “Buy Low” I am not sure we have done that : )

    Question: Please think before answering : ) During the Summer of 14, can we: A) Sign FA’s and then B) Sign our own people subsequently to put ourselves over the cap and pay the tax. ???

  11. Robert – not sure that works each FA holds a cap hold until we renounce their rights we would need to make decisions on kobe amd pau first to clear up their holds that would cover like 70% of our cap – once they are signed we can then sign an FA with our rema8ning space amd then resign guys like farmar at an increased value since their cap hold is at the minimum

  12. Blake has always been a PG including at Maryland when they won national championship.Mitch overpaid a career backup Blake $16 mil guaranteed. So far this is the first year Blake has lived up to his contract (ok ok its his contract year). No mention Steve isn’t a good PG defender, he is however much better than Nash who is a defensive liability. To Blake’s credit he is a true professional who has really improved his shooting consistency.

    Who would have predicted Steve Blake’s NBA career would exceed Juan Dixon’s?

  13. Treylake-Based on Blake’s numbers in Maryland, no one. But at the NBA level, Juan Dixon was much to frail, not a great shooter, and could not replicate Iverson in a similar body.

    Hale-I’ve missed your posts. You hit the nail on the head on this one.

    Blake has been phenomenal in the past few games, we all love to talk about sample size, thus his play must be viewed in this light. It’s funny how a contract year takes away, injuries, timidity, lack of energy and brings about great scoring, hustle, defense and energy. The first time I truly understood what contract year mean’t was the year Elden Campbell played out of his mind, and then got the big contract…you know what happened next.

    Off topic: Duke’s Parker is nice. I like Hood, too.
    Oklahoma State’s Smart is a beast.

  14. The Pau decision is easy, about Kobe, if he wants a 6 th ring he needs to take a paycut is as simple as that, if Jordan Hill level of play sustains we have to keep him but we wont command a max deal. If we lock him in we can keep most of the bench and not necesarily get a max player next summer, if Hill keeps this up we have our PF of the future in house and we wont need to break the bank for it. Too early to tell but i believe we can bring most of the team back next year and still be way under the cap. No need to go on a spending spree just yet. I think is time for Kobe to do the rught thing for the organization that brought him fame, fortune and millions and millions of dollars.

  15. For those who are interested here’s a clip of Kobe at today’s (Tuesday’s) practice. He looks, well…like Kobe. I was surprised. And impressed. If this is any evidence, he won’t be out long.

    http://www.nba.com/lakers/video/2013/11/19/131119Bryantmov-3046296

  16. Nice to see SB taking advantage of the opportunity that’s been presented to him. Looks as if he’s learned a thing or two from Steve Nash in their short time together. Running the offense sufficiently and he has formed a good chemistry with Jordan Hill, and possibly, Dub Johnson. It’ll be interesting to see – since this is the best that I’ve seen him look as a Laker in regards to facilitating the offense – how Kobe’s imminent return effects SB’s game.

    Speaking of Kobe, caught some of the clips of the scrimmage at practice and, like Mid-Wilshire, I was definitely impressed. He looked pretty fluid out there and didn’t seem to be favoring the achillies at all. The cutting, the stop n go action and then seeing him land on his left leg after shooting his patented turnaround, fade away J was encouraging. Hopefully he continues to progress without any setbacks.

  17. Shaun, if you wish to know how much our own guys count against our cap, check out: http://www.cbafaq.com/salarycap.htm#Q37

    Using the same example, Kobe and Pau combining for 49-50 million will already be enough to blanket all of our cap space. The key here is negotiating their contracts beyond this year, if we intend to have them.

    Kobe Bryant alone, 150% of his 30 million is 45. He would need to be renounced aka lose bird rights on him, or get him to sign a new contract so that what figures we sign him for, is used.

    As for open roster spots, each count for almost 500k. So think of it as 1 million per two open roster spots up to 12.

    I’ve long envisioned this scenario and I couldn’t quite put a figure to it. If you put a gun to my head I’m guessing Kobe would sign a 2-yr 30M deal/extension wherein the final year of his contract is a player option. That should negate his cap hold, deduct 15M from our salary cap space after renouncing the rest. The next season, he can always opt out and redo this whole thing again, or, negotiate an extension mid-season (if allowed) … overall there’s too much question mark on Kobe and he is the first domino to fall.

    UNLESS.

    Lebron James and Carmelo Anthony are possibly going to be free agents. There’s not alot of guys that belong to their tier next season and the only way Kobe would take minimum salary is if/when these 2 collaborate to sign w/ the Lakers. Which I give a 1/1,000,000 shot of happening.

    If only one comes, and more-likely Carmelo, I can see Kobe getting the 30/2.

    I cannot tell you how much I value Pau Gasol at this point, I’m guessing 12M is the baseline figure (Tim Duncan and KG contract as basis) but I must also tell you that my sense that Pau will be traded grows by the minute.

  18. Continuing the last post, there are alot of other factors that you need to know before the summer of 2014 hits:

    1. The Free Agent class in 2015 is wayyyy better.
    2. You need to give yourself a chance to sign Lebron + Carmelo even though you know its improbable.
    3. Is Carmelo worth 100M over 4 years? I think so. He plays well beside Kobe. Kobe is all about trust and this is one guy he trusts to score, my guess is Carmelo will become more efficient beside Kobe. Carmelo needs Kobe and vice versa… one is chasing his 1st ring, the other for immortality.
    4. Steve Nash, if he doesn’t retire, can be waived via the stretch provision wherein we will be splitting his salary into 3 seasons, approximately 3.3M per season. The move gives us an additional 6.5M to work with, should we choose.
    5. How do you see Chris Bosh? He a max player? He would look very good beside Jordan Hill.
    6. How much are you willing to pay Jordan Hill? 6M? 10M? I’ll settle for the middle and say, 32M over 4 years. Thats if you’re comfortable with him earning that much. If not, sell high and trade him this year.
    7. Which among our own free agents do you see belonging to our future team? Farmar, Wes, Jodie, Henry… Hill for sure. Nick Young has a player option which he would most-likely opt out of, that makes it a “pay-me-or-lose-me” situation.
    8. What if you strike out? Would you settle for Danny Granger, Luol Deng, or Rudy Gay?

    Too many questions and they just mess with my head by the minute.

  19. I really like Jordan Hill.. The only thing I’m really concerned about long term is his durability.. If he can be resigned at a resonable figure then it probably won’t be much discussion.

  20. Hill shouldn’t be signed for more than 6 Mill per year — if you look at guys once they leave the lakers they tend to stink it up – S.Brown, Clark, Farmar, Odom, Sessions … howard? … all regressed once they left and I think if anyone comes up with an 8-10 Million offer for Hill would have buyers remorse once they got him but look guys like Splitter and jason thompson are making 8 mill+ per year so who knows.

    I’d love for us to get Deng @ about 10 Mill/year and possibly pay granger like 5-7 mill on a 1 year deal to see if we can get back up to his previous level while keeping Kobe, Pau, Hill, Wes, Farmar, Young.

    I would hope that Kobe would accept 10-12 vs 15 – 15 is a max player slot and would be a lot to give a 36 year old coming off of surgery – no one would pay him more and we dont need to outbid ourselves.

  21. Give D’Antoni his due, he is turning Blake into a potent offensive weapon. Blake keeps his head up and holds onto his dribble; both traits of D’Antoni point guards. Instead of being fearful he might lose the ball, Blake is looking to attack. Also, Kupchak did a good job of finding athletic players who can finish at the rim. Instead of having 4 players stand around behind the 3 point line, the Lakers are making cuts to the basket and open areas of the floor giving Blake multiple options on each play. Unfortunately, Blake’s +/- suggests that he still is a liability on the defensive end even when he is having a strong offensive game. Now if Farmar can make the same adjustments to his game that Blake has, the Lakers may really have something.

    Lastly, Blake as an aging Mark Price? Not even close but that is okay since he does not have to face a young Michael Jordan.

  22. Robert,
    I was reading SS&R´s recent message board on how Kobe´s return will affect the lineup & it seemed to me you were participating; at least the user name was the same, & definitely the Mamba fandom! You were sorta-kinda jousting with another PuRpLe, right?
    Anyhow, just wanted to mention this: SoCalGal is a handful, ain´t she? Girl´s got it goin´ on! :)
    That was a good article and subsequent message board debate –
    ____
    Warren,
    so you´re saying that your elephant is getting more & more voluminous, right? ; )

    However, I do believe that Mamba´s return will benefit our Spaniard immensely, and hopefully this will settle in nicely with the team´s current cheistry, wins & losses notwhithstanding

  23. @Warren Lee, paying a max contract to a 30 y/o Melo would be going back to square one.

  24. @ Warren Lee your other arguments are very valid and i been saying the Lakers dont need to blow their entire load next summer. I think Hill can earn between 24-27 mill for 3 years if he keeps this up. Even having a sucesful season you need several of those before earning a max. The Lakers need to lock him in asap.

  25. @WWL Melo wouldn’t make the Lakers a winner next year teamed with Kobe.

    Rosters constructed around 30+ year old all stars don’t win championships. Lakers tried it twice recently (Malone, Payton) and current failed Nash experience. Melo already has too many miles and has to play heavy minutes with Chandler out to give the Knicks a slim chance to win a game. Melo holds the ball, slacks on defense and hasn’t inspired team play.

    For the Lakers to win championship with Kobe on the roster a few things must occur:

    1.- Lakers leading scorer isn’t Kobe, but a player in their 20s.
    2.- Lakers leader in FGA isn’t Kobe
    3.- Kobe isn’t Lakers highest paid player

    Any notion that Kobe is going lead Lakers to championship with on court play is misguided. For the Lakers to win Kobe has to be Robin. Question is for next Lakers championship ….

    Who is Batman?

    TBD by Buss and Mitch

  26. Treylake: More importantly – who is going to be running Gotham city? : )
    Hill: So more specifically – as to my previous question. Let’s project that we get the KB and PG situations resolved so that the cap holds don’t crush us. We then have cap space. So does our potential offer to Hill count against that, or if we wait, can we sign FAs – using all the cap space – and then sign Hill as “our own player” – thereby being able to legally exceed the cap.

  27. I like the FBG version of Purple better : )

  28. Kobe doesn’t necessarily need a batman – it’s quite possible that we could become more like the Detroit Pistons team in 2004 or what the blazers team looks like now if it happens that we miss out on mega stars and just add quality sub-stars at each position.

    I would say we are essentially almost there with what I would consider holes at the PG and SF spots – Deng as I mentioned before would be great but im not sure if we can find an A- at the PG in the FA market

  29. Isnt this a Laker blog…..but no new post about Kobe practicing ???

  30. SoCalGal is a handful, ain´t she?

    What makes it so exciting is that she’s a mod. That is sort of like having Rasheed Wallace as a ref.

  31. but no new post about Kobe practicing ???

    Not all of us think about Kobe as much as you do.

  32. WWL and Treylake: I hate the idea of chasing Melo. Look at the mess the Nicks are since Melo joined. Look at what happened to the Nugs once he left. The guy is simply not a leader, but a la Dwight H, wants to be thought of as the leader of a team. Having that guy on this roster would be a mistake. This team needs a guy that can let Kobe remain the leader, agree to defer to Kobe in crunch time and then take over when the time is right. To me, only one marquee free agent out there fits this bill – but I have no idea if he is willing to leave the “lifestyle” of miami behind.

  33. Yesterday we read Zack Lowe’s piece on how far Dwight has fallen offensively. Today we look at some eye popping numbers about how far Swight has fallen defensively.

    Dwight Howard’s Defensive Decline Is a Major Problem for Houston Rockets
    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1858046-dwight-howards-defensive-decline-is-a-major-problem-for-houston-rockets

  34. Manny Love fits that description

  35. I think if the Lakers sign ‘Melo to a max deal they have truly lost their way.

    That’s exactly how badly managed teams get bad and stay bad for a long time: by overpaying players who were

    A.) Once worth the money; or

    B.) Never worth the money.

    Reference: The Warriors until hiring West as “consultant”; the Wizards.

  36. Agree with everyone who said Lakers signing Melo would be a huge mistake. Melo is who he is — that certainly isn’t a winner.

    Like signing Luol Deng, who may command less than max and would be a good piece. Restricted free agent Gordon Hayward is another. Probably have to over pay, but he may be worth it down the road as he continues to improve.

    As season progresses we will see if Kobe can be centerpiece for constructing roster that could challenge for championship next season.

  37. Saying that Kobe play second fiddle to anyone is unbeliavable. This team is going to be Kobe’s team until he hang it up. I look around in the league and there is not a single player capable of taking this team from him. I want to know if there is any player in the league capable to will a team into the playoffs like Kobe did last year at the cost of his body and health. This new stars are soft and like to sing kumbaya with players of other teams a little too much. Players like Kobe are a diying breed. And before somebody say CP lets see what CP great “leadership” has brought him so far, perennial 1st and 2nd round exits. While we all know Kobe is at the tail end of his career he is not ready to give the reins until his body tell him otherwise. Could this be the season? I dont know but the early reports point to Kobe being back. Second fiddle pfft to who?I think he has earned the right to call this his team until he retires. I think Kobe wont retire until he feels the team is in good hands. Dwight could not hack it and Melo isnt it either.

  38. rr: Speak for yourself : )

  39. Treylake,
    I agree on Luol Deng; Hayward too.
    ____
    rr,
    lol! funny Rasheed metaphor!

  40. This team is going to be Kobe’s team until he hang it up … he is not ready to give the reins until his body tell him otherwise.

    I totally agree, and said as much in a thread a few days ago.

  41. This team is going to be Kobe’s team until he hang it up … he is not ready to give the reins until his body tell him otherwise.

    ———————————-
    Real Talk:

    Unless the Lakers want to go without a championship while Kobe is on the team, Kobe has to step back. Kobe didn’t “will” to championship last year and he won’t this year. Father time is undefeated. Anyone who suggests otherwise is dismissing reality.

    Kobe taking every game ending shot, leading the team in FGA, and shooting below 45% is a game loser zero championship formula. Even during last championship season the Lakers loss games when Kobe FGA > Bynum FGA + Gasol FGA. It was even worse, because Lakers lost games when Kobe took more than 25 shots and shot 50%. Bottom line, if Kobe monopolizes the ball, Lakers lose.

    No Howard, Bynum or Shaq.
    Kobe jacking shots without ball movement or inside game doesn’t translate to Lakers wins.

  42. real talk.
    every season since 2000, Kobe has taken 20 or more shots a game and shot between .450 and .470(well he shot .433 in 2004-2005, but that was a legendarily bad team). the Lakers have been incredibly successful during that period. there is no absolute formula for success, but Kobe’s dominance of the ball is not a negative function. he is paid to be a scorer. he is paid to put up relentless pressure. that is part of team success. as long as Kobe is capable of playing this way, he’ll be doing just that. when he can no longer do that, he’ll retire. the rest is just nonsense being repeated. if he can’t play basketball after having the last injury, he’s at the end of his contract, so it’s easy for everybody. i suspect there’s still quite a bit of basketball in him.

    the problem has never been Kobe. the proof is that teams he’s played on have continuously been successful, too many times for it to be a fluke. that doesn’t make him a saint or mean that he always does the right thing every play, but in actuality, he does what the coaches ask over the course of the season and does what he can to help the team win. that’s enough.

  43. oh, and Steve Blake may not look like anybody’s idea of an athlete or a real basketball player, but he’s a good, solid player. no, he’s not a superstar, but he has earned his place by working hard on his game. too many people spend their time looking for reasons to look down on others, when in reality, they ought to be giving respect. most NBA players are elite talents, very few of the world’s basketball players can keep a job on an NBA team, even on the bench. it looks easy, because they’re good at what they do and they work at it.

    yes, the bottom of the bench relative to starters shows a wild difference in skill and talent, but at some point, some talent or skill was extraordinary enough to land a contract. even practice fodder needs to be good enough to have a meaningful scrimmage. i agree with D’Anton’s assessment of Blake, “he can play”. he’s not CP3, but that’s not a cut against him.

  44. Treylake, you are just a hater lol. I would accept every one of those arguments if the Lakers have never won with Kobe, What was his fg% last year again? I know it was pre injury but last year team was doomed from the start and remember that stretch when he avg more than 12 assists for game? Or when he went on a 40 point rampage for i dont remember how many games? He did it bc the team need it. You make it seem that when the Lakers won the last 2 championships he jack up 40 shots per game and Pau was watching with his thumbs you know where. How many big shots Fish hit MWP? What was Pau points per game avg during those championships? Last year Kobe had one of his finest season and carried that team into the playoffs basically by himself and he was incensed at being named the 8th best player in the league. We will see this year but i dont doubt the guy, not at all. So take that hatorade somewhere else.

  45. Carmelo Anthony has proven he cannot carry a team alone.
    Carmelo Anthony has proven he can be a black hole and slack a bit on defense.
    Carmelo Anthony is not a proven crunch-time shot-maker.
    Carmelo Anthony is 30 and is not getting any younger.
    Carmelo Anthony takes voluminous shots.

    For all the same reasons, he needs Kobe. Not the 30-yo Kobe, but the 35-yo Kobe. Kobe cannot pass the torch to someone who doesn’t want it. Kobe will not give the torch to Andrew Bynum because he knows his attitude. Kobe did not pass the torch to Dwight because he knows he is worse.

    Carmelo commands Kobe’s respect, atleast on offense. And if you built your team right, this is exactly how you do it. Carmelo will thrive in a team that has a playmaking scorer like Kobe. Carmelo will have his but lit up playing beside Mr. Tough Love Kobe if he is willing to learn.

    Carmelo is hungry for his ring. Kobe seeks immortality. There is no better story, and ending than 2 unlikely pairing coming together and sacrificing for one another. For Melo, the Knicks are a dead end. A great story that did not pan out. His last shot is playing beside Kobe.

    We are all old enough to witness how David Robinson passed the torch. But this is also because Tim Duncan, despite a very laid back demeanor took it. And D-Rob saw the next great Spur after him.

    Carmelo can defer to Kobe. Kobe can defer to Carmelo. I make my case as such that we could see the Lakers make this reality come true. Have you seen these 2 in all-star games and in the olympics? The chemistry between Kobe and Melo is so good I dare say their personalities fit like a glove better than Kobe and Lebron or Melo and Lebron.

    Egos are left on the door. Kobe will have no problem deferring the load to Melo. Melo will have no shame deferring to an all-time great like Kobe.

    It bears repeating: Carmelo seeks redemption… Kobe seeks immortality. They need each other.

  46. Treylake, enough with the made up stats (lies)

  47. So Warren you premise is passing the torch to a 30 year old who cant guard and already showing signs of decline. Yep thats the way to go. Lets pay him 120 million next year.