The biggest news that didn’t really shock anyone yesterday was Kobe Bryant’s name being removed off of the Western Conference All-Star roster. As we all know, Bryant sat out of the Lakers’ previous three games – all wins – due his bum ankle. Although Sunday’s game has lost some of it’s luster, Lakers fans have to be pleased that Kobe is finally giving his body some proper time to rest, a healthy Kobe is what the Lakers are going to need most during this last two month push before the postseason.
The biggest news that did shock the blogosphere was Kobe’s replacement: Jason Kidd. The decision left hoops fans wondering why someone like a Monta Ellis, Carlos Boozer or O.J. Mayo didn’t get the nod. We all know what Kidd has done throughout his career, but his time has passed. Rob Mahoney of “The Two Man Game” explains:
“It’s not that Kidd’s not deserving; I think you could make the legitimate case that he has an absolutely tremendous positive impact on this Mavs team. Plus his numbers (9.3 PPG, 9.3 APG, 5.1 RPG, 1.8 SPG) are impressive enough, I suppose. But I’m honestly a bit shocked that David Stern didn’t select Monta Ellis or Tyreke Evans in this instance. Or even one of a few capable big men (Carlos Boozer, Nene, Marc Gasol). Or maybe even Russell Westbrook or O.J. Mayo. Kidd will have another All-Star selection on his resume, but he just seems out of place. And after listing off some of those candidates, I’ve come to a conclusion — he’s not deserving, relative to the competition. Good player for the Mavs, not great for the Western Conference All-Stars.”
And since Kobe’s not starting, our old friend Kurt, now at “Pro Basketball Talk”, gives us a little insight on what the Western Conference Starting offense might look like on Sunday without a true shooting guard in the mix. Reports are saying that Dirk Nowitzki will start in Kobe’s place.
On the Eastern Conference end, it was announced that Allen Iverson would not participate due to some family issues, and David Lee would be named in his place. David Lee has put up some great numbers this season, but there is no way he should have gotten the nod over Josh Smith. The fans deserve to see a Josh Smith-type player in the ASG, I thought Al Horford over Smith was unjustified, but Lee over Smith was just down right unlawful. At the “Wages of Wins Journal”, DJ informs us that, from last season until the date of the post (a very recent Feb. 2), Josh Smith is the second most improved player in terms of wins produced:
“The Josh Smith story has been noted before. If Josh Smith maintained what he did last season – and every other Atlanta player continued doing what they are doing this year – the Hawks would only be on pace to win 47 games this season (last year the Hawks won 47 games). So the improvement we see in Smith’s production is really driving the story we see in Atlanta in 2009-10. Interestingly enough, Smith’s shooting efficiency hasn’t changed much (50.8% adjusted field goal percentage last year, 51.2% adjusted field goal percentage after 41 games this year). No, Smith has improved with respect to offensive rebounds, defensive rebounds, assists, steals, blocked shots, and free throws. In essence, Smith has gotten better across the board. And now the Hawks are serious contenders in the East.”
On All Star Saturday, Shannon Brown is still slated to participate in the dunk contest. Andrew Kamenetzky posted this amazing feature on Brown’s up and down NBA career, taking us back to his Final Four trip with Michigan State (Magic stand up) to his tumultuous stops in Cleveland and Chicago, before finally being traded to the Lakers. It’s a great read for the Shannon fans, and for anyone who enjoys a semi-inspiring story about reaching goals.
Last, but most definitely not least, the basketball world was shook with another loss. Ex-Lakers and University of West Virginia coach, Fred Schaus, died Wednesday night in Morgantown, West Virginia. Schaus was 84. He coached UWV to the national championship game in 1959, a team led by Jerry West. He then followed West to the Lakers, leading them to four Finals appearances. He would become the Lakers General Manager that put together the 1972 title winning team, which was led by Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlin. On “Laker Noise”, Roland Lazenby posted an excerpt on his book about Jerry West, which ended with West sharing some words about Schaus:
“During his period of illness, I had the opportunity to spend some time with Fred and found that he still had that smile and his personality never seemed to change. He will be missed by all who know and love him, especially Barbara and his children. We have lost a great man and for me personally, someone who was so instrumental in my life. I will be forever grateful that he showed a special interest during my formidable years at the university and also his during my very difficult transition to professional basketball. For all of us fortunate enough to have been associated with Fred, he made our lives fuller and had great influence on our successes regardless of where they led us.”
Our thoughts go out to the Schaus family. May he Rest in Peace.
Gr8 Scott says
As a Laker fan living in Texas and going to the ASG, I’ll miss seeing Kobe, but Pau will still be there and hopefully Shannon will win the Slam Dunk. I happened to witness another ASG in Houston (’89) where Magic didn’t play and it turned out to be a blessing because Kareem was chosen as his replacement and it was Kareem’s last ASG. Go ASG, Go Western Conference, Go Kobe’s left ankle and let’s get rested for a great 2nd half run. How much of a bummer would it be if a key player got injured in the ASG? I don’t want it to happen, but it’s bound to occur sometime.
My condolences to the Schaus family. Rest in peace.
With regards to the ASG replacement of David Lee over Josh Smith. David Lee is a deserving All-Star, but in place of Al Horford. It may seem to a lot of people that David Lee is simply putting up D’Antoni inflated stats. David Lee has become the focal point of that offense.
Lee has elevated his game significantly, adding an automatic 18-foot jumper and becoming a point forward. His defense is average at best, but he is a player that makes the Knicks. While I don’t think he is more deserving than J Smoove, David Lee is certainly more deserving than Al Horford, who is a good player, but not an All-Star.
What’s the word with Bynum? Last I read was that the swelling in his knee had dissipated, but his hip was still giving him issues. The Lakers need him healthy if they are going to win this year. The Lakers can make the Finals without him, but he is what puts the Lakers over the top.
I hope that the players enjoy this break and rest up, for once this break its over it is time to rachet it up a notch. The Lakers are going into the break with some fire. It’s time to slowly build towards the playoffs.
Also, Shaquille O’Neal is a giant baby.
Not just a giant baby, a SuperBaby.
If this happens…
Hip hip hooray for Kobe not playing.
Also, That Denver game last night is why I don’t really fear them come playoff time – they just seem too streaky for me, and i just don’t see them putting together four games where they shoot the way they did against us in that last game…
Season over for them, or us/rest of the NBA? Even if they make that trade, I think we would still beat them in a 7 game series.
“I will be forever grateful that he showed a special interest during my formidable years..” – Jerry West(?)
heh. I’m sure that ‘formative’ years was meant though.
is this a common eggcorn?
This just in:
The Lakers trade Sasha and a used washing machine for former Celtic Mannix. Now, if we can just kill that pesky possum…..
That proposed Boston/Wizzards swap is interesting, to say the least. It would definitely give Boston a bunch of insurance for their aging vets that have been banged up this season (Pierce and KG), and would give them an influx of good talent. But it also unbalances their team in some real ways that their coach would have to deal with. They’d have a loaded front court (with talent as well as with actual bodies) with 6 players that play either SF/PF/C and they’d be without a real SG outside of Tony Allen. I’m sure that Pierce or Butler could/would play SG for them, but I would also be concerned about floor spacing as Ray-Ray is a key player in all of their sets as it’s his movement off of screens that occupies defenders and gives Rondo the options in their offense and the driving lanes to create for himself and teammates when the defense is scrambling. I know that Butler and Jamison are shooting better from 3 this season than Ray-Ray, but Allen is a bigger ‘threat’ and demands attention coming off screens that those other players don’t.
In the end though, I’ll worry about trades if/when they actually happen.
Craig W. says
If you are Washington this ain’t happenin’ – not unless there is more in it for Washington. This is a deal they could get 2secs before the deadline. For now they could get so much more for Butler and Jamison. They want cap space, but they also need young talent to build upon.
Kurt is now saying this deal is dead:
I agree with Craig W., those two are a whole lot of talent, and you’d have to get some kids with upside and draft picks worth something in return.
So basically Kurt goes to a different site so he can talk about rediculous trade scenarios. LOL!
From that Shanwow article..
Either way, the kid has improved tremendously in a short amount of time, and according to his current coach, credit goes to the player. “I’m not surprised at his growth, says Jackson. “He’s the first guy in here every morning and he works very hard at his game.”
Craig W. says
I have spent the last hour reading the Wizards blog (linked to from this site). There was no information about the Boston rumor, but it pretty well thrashed out the Cleveland scenario and how they should deal with their three big contracts.
There is a faction that wants to dump everything for cap space, but most realize that it is picks, along with cap space, that makes deals worth making. They have to get some sort of ‘farm system’ – to use a baseball quote.
Craig W. says
From his natural abilities, and drawbacks, to his work ethic, I think ShanWOW is a player we should certainly give a fairly long leash. There is every indication that he could become a decent PG backup in the triangle system in the short run. How much his PG skills will improve will determine whether he might start later in the future.
In any case, this is the type of player I want on my team. It is also one reason I don’t support a desperation trade for a name PG to take over starting duties.
We’ve seen stupider deals in the past.
My money would still be on Cleveland in the east even if the Celtics made that deal.
Now I can’t remember where I found this link, but this is a fascinating read, a roundtable panic session from a bunch of the Celtic bloggers.
Largely what’s fascinating is how similar some of the concerns are to ours around here when things aren’t going well. Obviously, they are in a much more panicked state than we have been for quite some time, and their issues are slightly different, but a lot of it ends up coming down to “we have so much talent, why can’t we just focus and play the right way all of the time”, which, of course, sounds really familiar…
alex v. says
Assuming Jamison is moving, wouldn’t it be better for the Lakers if he ended up in Boston, as opposed to Dallas or Cleveland? The way things look right now, the more competition for Cleveland, the better.
I would think a deal that packaged Jamison and Butler together would be a huge disruption to a team this late in the season, but I suppose there are teams (or at least GMs) who are desperate enough to do it).
Chris J says
Speaking of Denver, I was serious last summer when I suggested the Lakers should have taken a look at Linas Kleiza to bolster the bench, especially if they’d lost Shannon or Lamar.
TrueHoop says he’s a serious candidate to win the Euroleague MVP this season. I always liked his mix of scoring and toughness and felt he’d have been a plus for the Lakers bench.
(He took $12.2 million for two years to play in Greece, which was more than Brown cost but less than LO.)
Even if he would up across the ocean, I’m just glad he’s still not down at the end of George Karl’s bench. It’s a sign of Karl’s lousy coaching to me that a guy with that much talent could be so underused by the Nuggets.
New post up. Some Fast Break Thoughts on All-Star Weekend.