Fast Break Thoughts

Darius Soriano —  April 18, 2014

Some random thoughts to take in while you find things to do besides watch the Lakers play post-season basketball…

The Lakers are going through their exit interviews now, nearly the entire team did them on Thursday, save for Marshon Brooks and Kendall Marshall who will go today. You can find highlights of each, here.

Some of the things that stood out to me from the interviews:

  • Nick Young really enjoys being a Laker. That may not keep him in LA (money will play a factor), but you can just tell he loves playing at home in front of these fans. In that way, Young reminds me of Odom and Ron. Those guys weren’t from Los Angeles, but they did come from NY and seemed to revel in playin under the bright lights in a big market. Young seems to be the same way.
  • Pau Gasol seems happy yet conflicted on his status as a FA. Like the guys mentioned above, I think Pau really enjoys playing for the Lakers and in Los Angeles. But these last few years have been hard mentally. From the trade rumors to the jerking around of his role to, recently, the losing it has been a lot to deal with. As always, Pau remains professional and operates with class, but he was non-committal about his future. I think he will take is time in making a choice, listening to many offers. It will be interesting to see how much Kobe can influence his decision (if at all).
  • Steve Nash, much like Kobe, is a brutally honest guy at this advanced stage of his career. From money, to role, to his body, to…well, every topic brought before him, Nash spoke his mind and didn’t hold back. He wasn’t agitated or anything, just a guy speaking the truth. Very refreshing.
  • Jodie Meeks is a gym rat. Despite his improvement from last year to this one, he wants to get better. I don’t know if he’ll be a Laker next year, but if continues to refine his game, I see him being a solid contributor on a good team.

As mentioned, the interviews wrap up today and will include Mike D’Antoni and Mitch Kupchak. Needless to say, hearing what those two have to say about this year and the upcoming ones will be interesting.

If I’m picking an upset in the first round of both conferences, I am going with the Warriors over the Clippers and the Nets over the Raptors. The latter match up isn’t really an “upset” in the classic sense as the Nets were one of the hotter teams in the East since the start of the new year and little separates seeds 3 through 6 in that conference. As for the Dubs/Clippers series, I don’t expect the Dubs to actually win the series. Missing Bogut will be a killer to their interior defense and hurt their rebounding. That said, the Dubs work best when they have a single big man playing with 4 guys who can play on the perimeter. Missing Bogut means more single big lineups because David Lee and Jermaine O’Neal will have to split time up front rather than sharing it. This means more Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes at the PF spot. And while I expect Blake Griffin to be able to score well in the post against either of those guys (as well as draw fouls), the spacing those guys provide on the other end will help the Warriors’ offense and make it so DeAndre Jordan has to move outside the paint to defend more often rather than just altering shots at the rim. Basically, I see this series being a lot closer than initial reactions to the Bogut injury would indicate it would be.

Out west, though, I love the match ups. Dirk vs Timmy. OKC getting a chance at revenge from last year’s playoffs drawing Memphis in the 1st round. Even Portland/Houston offers a chance for some excellent back and forth games with the potential of a Lillard/Harden duel in more than one game. The entire playoffs will be a bloodbath out west and I can’t wait.

In terms of some site news, we won’t be going away during a longer than normal off-season. We will have more draft stuff up than normal, check in on free agency, talk coaching, and do some historical pieces as well. If you have any ideas of things you would like to see, let me know in the comments and I will see what we can do.

Lastly, I just want to thank everyone for the support this year. The contributors — Phillip, Andre, Rey, Daniel — the site wouldn’t be going without them. And a special thanks to the community of folks who read every day, who comment every day, and support the site in general here an over social media. FB&G started a long time ago with Kurt interacting with a small group of diehards and it has grown from there. Some of those old-school guys are still here and along the way we have picked up more. So, salute to all of you who make the site great.


Darius Soriano

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