*The NBA has just named its All-Defensive Teams and its All-NBA Teams and Kobe Bryant was named 1st team on both. I know that we celebrate Kobe a lot around here, what with the game winners, his ability to play through injuries, and his overall will to win. But, this type of recognition should never just get glossed over. Once again, Kobe has been deemed one of the best players in the league and being able to say that never gets old. Personally, I think Kobe probably should have been named to the 2nd team All-Defense, but I can see how his reputation and still strong play on that end got him back on the 1st team for the fifth straight season. (On a side note, my picks for 1st Team All-NBA were exactly the guys that got named. However, on the second team, I had Duncan and Bosh instead of Amar’e and ‘Melo. I just think Bosh was too good this year, irrespective of his team’s record.)
*Speaking of the All Defensive Team, one guy that didn’t make either the first or second team is Ron Artest. Which, to me, is a shame. Maybe I’m biased because I watched nearly every minute of his season, but Artest played elite level defense in the 2010 campaign. He guarded the other team’s best wing player for the majority of each game and played as hard as possible while also being pretty damned effective. In several games this season, he just ruined guys like ‘Melo, Durant, and Granger while being a major key to the Lakers team defense efficiency. If I had a vote, Ron would have been a 1st team member and would have gotten my 2nd place vote for DPOY (behind Dwight Howard).
*Have you been watching the Suns/Spurs series? You need to be, if you’re not. And not just because of those pretty Nash/Amar’e P&R’s or Ginobili’s new face accessory. Watch for the post game pressers where coach Popovich is at the podium. I still favor Phil’s style when speaking to the media, but Pop is just fantastically mean.
*Lakers fans are in a conundrum. Do we root for Cleveland or Boston? Can’t both teams lose? Anyways, I find this series intriguing because of all the subplots – Boston’s age, Cleveland sports fans’ suffering, and most off all the drama surrounding Lebron’s elbow. Is he hurt? Is it being over played? I’m never one to question an injury with a player because I’m not that guy, I don’t feel his pain, and who knows how hurt he really is. However, if I was going to question his injury, I’d go straight to the source. You know, by actually asking Lebron’s Elbow. (I love twitter.)
*Speaking of twitter, what’s going on with Chris Bosh and his suddenly overactive account? First he’s asking where he should go. Then he’s asking if he should leave at all. Now, he removes any and all information pertaining to Toronto or the Raptors. For a really good take on the matter, go read what Trey Kerby penned over at Ball Don’t Lie. I think he’s spot on, here.
*In yesterday’s Lakers Stock Report it was pointed out in the comments that there was no reference to Phil Jackson. For the record, I think Phil is doing a great job per his usual standards. I think there were some that questioned why he didn’t put Kobe on Westbrook earlier in the OKC series, but I think it’s fair to say that Kobe was legitimately banged up and barely looked up to creating his own offense, much less exerting energy chasing around young Russ. So, to me, I understood the delay in changing up the match ups. As for his status as the Lakers coach going into the future, I have no clue. Phil speaks in riddles to the press and I have no clue what his plans are. I do think, however, that he understands the talent he has with this Lakers team and how that talent (plus his coaching) gives them a legitimate chance at 2-4 more title runs. And while I don’t expect him to stay around for 4 more years, I also don’t expect him to leave a situation where the pieces for success are laid out the way that they are.
*Since we’re talking talent, how about that team in Orlando? Uh, they look pretty good. When I got home from work on Tuesday, I turned on the game, saw the score, and thought it was a mistake. I know the Hawks beat the Bucks fair and square, but does anyone actually think Milwaukee would have been blown out by 40? Atlanta needs to figure out what they’re doing or they’re liable to get swept out of the playoffs just like Charlotte was.
Cleveland or Boston? If the Lakers make it that far I’d like to see Boston there. ‘Cause I can hate them with a fury, without having to work myself into it. A hated rival adds much spice. Cleveland? Eh, there’s a little too much James hype, and I shrug my shoulders. Who really hates the Cavs?
Now if the Cavs play the Lakers in the Finals, and the Cavs win, and do all that dancing garbage, yeah, I can hate them.
But I would love to see a James-Artest matchup.
On a tangent from your last “talent” reference…
Anyone know anything beyond what I saw of the Butler 6’7 guard Gordon Hayward in the tourney? Anybody follow him more closely? I guess he’s decided to stay in the draft. He’s a big guard, looks like he can knock down a 3. Seems like he would be a low first-second round pick, Butler kid should have some intelligence to learn the system…how’s his defense?
Just thinking out loud…
Robert Fiore says
You root for Boston because you want the chance for revenge. What’s so difficult about that?
My brain keeps telling me it doesn’t matter who wins that series because ORL is rolling (who doesn’t want to see Matt Barnes try his luck at #24 again?). However, it’s my opinion that if the Lakers are fortunate enough to get to the finals again, it probably has to be the Cavs to dispel the “they only won because they didn’t have to go through LBJ” arguments.
The media hype will be exhausting, though. “Time for the King to take his rightful throne and show the Black Mamba that his time at the top has come to an end.” OR “the Black Mamba showing the “King” his crown hasn’t been delivered yet, that the throne isn’t quite ready for relinquishment.” It all makes me cringe.
Dont have a problem with Mr. Bosh window shopping the league. Its his decision to go where he wants and to make millions of dollars doing it. If only I had the wingspan of a 757 and athleticism like a cat, let the bidding war begin.
On a serious note the league is a business, and Mr. B is gaining all the leverage and driving his asking price sky high with this so called indecisiveness. The more teams that think they have a chance to ink his signature, the more money will be put on the table. His future grandchildren will thank him for doing so.
I still want revenge for 2008. I don’t know why, but that defeat was the most painful series I’ve been through as a Lakers fan. 2004 was awful, but 2008 was just a nightmare. Plus this Celts team has Rasheed Wallace, so it’s like we could avenge 2008 and part of 2004 in one go.
The Cleveland matchup obviously has more glamor, and I understand why. But I’m not sure I have enough confidence in our frontline. I’ll probably get annihilated for that, but that’s how I feel at the moment. With Drew’s bad knee, I worry about how he’d guard Shaq (I also see him getting into foul trouble pretty quickly). I don’t know if Pau’s adjusted to being guarded by a player longer than him. There’s definitely more intrigue (and worry) with the Cleveland matchup.
The Orlando matchup just doesn’t get me as excited. I don’t know why. I dislike Barnes, but I still can’t get up for that the way I would for one of the other two teams. Even though Orlando may very well be the best of those 3 Eastern teams.
Someday, Celtics and Cavs fans will realize that even if Boston had KG or even if Cleveland had beaten Orlando in 2009, neither one was extending the series past six against the Lakers.
7, Really? Cause I see the 2009 Finals as having been two bounces away from the Lakers being down 1-3 going into Game 5 instead of being up 3-1. If Courtney Lee puts down the alley oop in Game 2 and Fisher clanks his game-extending three in Game 4, we have to beat the Magic 3 games in a row with the first 2 in Orlando. And I don’t really think that 2009 Boston or 2009 Cleveland were that much worse than 2009 Orlando.
I do not want a Lakers-Cavs final based on my entirely unreasonable belief that if the Cavs fall to the Celtics or Magic, Lebron *could* end up wanting to play the Lakers and be willing to play here for the right sign and trade scenario that does not gut this team. Yes, I know this is crazy, but it’s my dream dammit!! Then again, I also think the Lakers will swap centers with the Raptors in the offseason so take my comments with a grain of salt.
On that note, I will say that the team that worries me the most is the Magic, followed by the Celtics, followed by the Cavs. All of these teams present very good head-to-head matchups for the starters for this Laker team, but our benches are night and day apart – and that worries me.
Here’s a related question – would you rather that the Lakers have an easier path to the Final, or a tougher path to the Final, and a tougher or easier opponent in the Finals? (With the associated greater and lesser chances of getting to, and winning, the Finals?)
All three teams out east are legit, so all strike the right amount of fear in me. All have enough bodies in the front to dampen our advantage while having point guards that can run circles around Fisher.
Of the all, I think the C’s matchup with us the worst, as they can match us in nearly all positions while overwhelming us at the point. Of course it’s all about degrees of matching so I’m not saying that they’ll waltz over us, just that it would be a tight series. But since we do have home court against them, in reality this may be our best chance.
Cleveland is not as bad a matchup for us as the Celtics, but I don’t want to test LeBron’s ability to not get called for fouls against Artest’s reputation. That would really make things go sour and leave a real bitter taste in my mouth. And game 7 on their court? Urgh.
Orlando, no disrespect, thus checks in as our most favorable matchup. Carter seems the perfect guy for Artest to guard, and that takes away one of their more consistent mailing.. err, scoring options. Their home court doesn’t worry me as much as the Cavs’ home court, and Dwight is just as likely to collect fouls as Bynum, and more likely to get techs.
As for LeBron to the Lakers… wow, if that happens, I don’t want to be around to see how some Laker fans proclaim LeBron is better than Kobe and that Kobe should really be our 3rd or 4th option behind LeBron, Pau and Bynum. Just thinking about it makes me shiver.
8. This laker team tends to play to the series score. If Courtney lee made that alley oop, then game 3 wouldve been a different ballgame and so would game 4 and game 5. So you can’t say we were 2 bounces away from being down 1-3. We were one bounce away from 1-1, that’s for sure.
lil' pau says
I prefer Bos over Cle because I want to see Cle implode with a 2nd round (!) playoff exit after all the 60 game hype, prompting: Lebron to leave town, Shaq passing the blame, but mostly all the hype we’ve had to endure this year about his Majesty quickly transformed into questioning if Lebron somehow isn’t the deity on earth that the media suggests or at least, if he lacks what Kobe’s got. Also, we’ve got HCA against Bos should they somehow make it past Orl. I still have tears in my eyes from 2008 game 5, certainly my lowpoint as a 35 year plus Laker fan. I might still be sitting in that damn seat if security didn’t roust me along…
More urgently, who do people want to face in terms of Phx v. SA?
lil' pau says
by the way, what kind of scheduling genius puts us on tues/sat while the spurs/suns play wed/fri? isn’t there an obvious improvement here?
Glad to see that ATL came to play in game 2 after that blow out in the first game. Legs looking a little fresher after the Bucks taking them to 7 games and Orl having a mini vacation before the first game.
Obviously the lull from the 3-day break is killing us here…here’s my nonsense contribution:
How about them Suns…they currently have more playoff wins than Snaq’s current team. LOL.
lil pau – Didn’t we win Game 5? Were they tears of happiness?
Manny, why would we trade Bynum for Bargnani?
Or did you mean Nesterovic?
Since we’re on a daydreaming mode, how would a LBJ upgrade at PG for the Lakers be, especially if LBJ signed for mid-level exception. LOL!
That Laker team could easily challenge TeamUSA or All-Star Team, no?
But the real question is if LBJ wanted to, would Kobe welcome it? Could they co-exist unlike Shaq and Kobe? Could it go for 75 wins in a season?
I know these are all hypothetical and non-sense questions, but since there isn’t much to talk about with this long break, why not? (Darius, I know that you frown upon these kinds of fruitless discussions…so I’ll stop here.)
Anyway, I can’t wait ’till the rest of the playoffs and the offseason as it will be the wildest player movements EVER! The losers of Celtics/Cavs series have a lot of questions to answer. I hope the Lakers won’t have to face that by winning the title again this year.
Yeah, I think we should get away from the crazy dream scenarios.
#10. exhelodrvr, I think our “easier” path to the finals has already been laid out with Dallas and Utah going down (though Denver was looking weaker and weaker over the last part of the season). I know that didn’t answer your question, though. In the dream scenario, I’d rather face tougher teams on the way to the finals because that prepares you for the championship the most. That said, I think that if you play “tough” series (like we did vs OKC this season and Houston last season) that those games prepare you just as much as playing the “better” team just because the team that is defined as better may not actually match up well with you (if that makes sense).
In a dream scenario, we’d face the toughest teams and still win it all, while accumulating no more injuries. That would be my dream scenario.
As for something more realistic, well, I think the current path is about as good as it gets. Our main foils are all gone (Portland, Dallas and Denver), as well as a longshot foil in Charlotte 😉
Jazz, although not counting them out yet, is manageable, as are Spurs and Suns. Not even sure if I care to play the ‘who do we prefer’ game between the Suns and the Spurs; they don’t seem all that threatening.
19 – I don’t know about wildest player movement ever. My gut says that only the PFs (Bosh, Amare, Boozer) will switch teams. Wildest potential player movement, maybe. But I really think Lebron will sit back and soak in all the recruiting and flirt with a number of teams and build up the drama until he convinces everyone he’s really 50-50, then resign with the Cavs. I can’t see it happening any other way. I know he loves his brand, but he’s intelligent enough to know where the best basketball situation is.
Man, is it boring between games.
you want boring?
>Anyone know anything beyond what I saw of the Butler 6?7 guard Gordon Hayward in the tourney?
Chad Ford, in his mock draft, has him going at No. 16 to Minnesota – to entirely evade your question as being immaterial.
22, it all depends on whether the Cavs win the championship this year or not. If they don’t win this year with their whole team being healthy (James’ “elbow injury” notwithstanding) and all the quality role players they have around James, it’s obvious that their model of 1 star and role players surrounding him won’t work. Mo Williams, Delonte West, Antawn Jamison, Shaq, Anderson Varejao, JJ Hickson, Jamario Moon, Anthony Parker: that’s like a pu pu platter deluxe of role players. But not one of them is a legitimate 2nd banana.
Throw in the fact that Cleveland is over the cap, have their highest draft pick at 30, and will only get more role players using the MLE, and you can see that they aren’t getting any better for at least the next few years.
Frankly, this is the biggest reason that I want Cleveland to lose; because it would mean that James would almost be forced to leave Cleveland, which would probably make for one of the most interesting off-seasons of all-time. It may completely change the landscape of basketball in the same way that the Gasol trade did.
24 – I don’t know. Even if they do lose, I still think (barring a sign-and-trade) Cleveland is the best option. New York’s front office hasn’t shown much (admittedly their only goal so far has been to clear cap space) and if I were Lebron, I’d question their abilities. If he really wants to leave Cleveland, a S&T would be best, because I don’t see any great options out there.
LBJ, Wade in miami?
Miami, I think, would be a legit option to look at, a modern-day MJ-Pippen combination that could dominate and lengthen Wade’s career a bit.
Other than that, i’m with Zephid – if the Cavs lose this year, LeBron is probably going to think long and hard about his situation and would be tempted to join a team where he has a legit 2nd option – Bosh, Amare or Boozer.
This will be more true if they can’t get to the finals at all. Something I’d love to see just to spite the media’s constant love and adoration.
This RealGM article details some good reasons why LeBron should leave.
The newest reason, Number 11, is a particularly intriguing scenario I did not see at all. Especially the idea that Orlando can reload in two-three years with max free agents with a peaking Dwight Howard and a 30-year old Jameer Nelson.
The 2012 free agent class is a strong class with some big names and players who could develop in the future. Derrick Rose, Carmelo Anthony, Anthony Randolph (if he plays to his potential), Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman, OJ Mayo, Kevin Love, Brook Lopez, Russell Westbrook, George Hill, Andray Blatche.
The 2013 free agent class has:
Josh Smith, Stephen Curry, Blake Griffin, Brandon Jennings, Chris Paul, Devin Harris, Deron Williams, Paul Millsap, Tyreke Evans
A frightening scenario if Orlando is able to reload that close in the future. This is of course not including any salary cap projections or anything of that sort. Just something to think about until Saturday.
I also would like to thank Utah for being a pre-dominantly Mormon state thereby preventing the Utah Jazz from having games on Sunday since many of their fans would not attend due to religious reasons. More time for the Lakers to heal up a little bit.
Here are the full free agent lists on RealGm
Miami, I’ve thought, would be a great destination for Lebron. But after thinking about it, I have trouble seeing it. Lebron’s a team player, but Wade’s the only young player where the lines between 1 and 2 might get blurred at times. I don’t know if Lebron could handle that.
I’ve thought Orlando would be the best (and scariest) place for him. Him and Dwight would be perfect for each other; Lebron would cover the holes in Dwight’s game perfectly. Can you imagine a Lebron-Dwight P&R?
Sorry Darius, we’re bored.
We need a Laker game around here it looks like, and it is not till Saturday…
The Dude Abides says
I believe that if the Lakers make the Finals, the biggest advantage would be against Boston. The Celtics had trouble scoring in the Eastern Conference playoffs during their championship run in 2008. The reason they seemed to be able to score at will against the Lakers in the Finals was because the leader of their offense (Pierce) was matched up at SF against our worst defensive players (Vlad, Luke).
Pierce will be shut down by Ron Ron this time, and Kobe will give Rondo 15-footers all game, while Fish and Shannon will chase Ray Allen around screens. Garnett is two years and piles of injuries older, while Pau now has the confidence that he didn’t have in 2008, and I haven’t even gotten around to Drew yet. Bottom line, if we play Boston in the Finals, I don’t believe there will be a Game 6 back here in LA.
The Dude Abides says
Speaking of Miami, how would a 6-9 Dorell Wright look as eventual starting triangle PG for the Lakers next season after Farmar leaves and Fish returns for the vet’s minimum?
also, we have home court advantage only against Celtics.
*Phil Jacksons stock should be way up, if we are comparing to recent months (which seems to be the case with the players).
Over the coarse of the season I think he has given a solid handfull of games away. Not making Kobe play smart winning basketball, not keeping a leash on ShanWow, not keeping a leash on Fisher.
But it is pretty obvious that the team has been well prepared for the playoffs, and a range of the “old” problems have evaporated… and I think it has a hole lot to do with Jacksons coaching for the playoffs all year round!
Dude, I agree, I think a matchup against Boston would greatly favor LA. It rankles me that everyone forgets that the Lakers had to play the ’08 series without Bynum and with VladRad (!) starting at the 3 – and still won 2 games.
Beating Boston decisively in the Finals would really tie this season together.
A trio of Lebron – Dwight – Lewis is as nasty as they come. Lebron would further cover up Lewis´ lack of power and rebounding-prowes.
Anyone watching Suns-Spurs? That Dudley guy is doing hell of a job coming of the bench. First of all he hustles and closes all defensive gaps. He has the power to briefly handle juts about everything on a switch, and can still stay fairly well with the SGs.
Then on top of that he is a great three point shooter, and has even shown some ability to put the ball on the floor and make the kick… like the anti-Luke Walton. Full of energy and shootnig ability 🙂
What’s Chicago’s salary cap situation? They have a really good core – get Lebron in there, and they’ll be really, really good.
talking about those free agents: they have yet to talk about extensions, and will do.
alex v. says
If James and Wade end up on the same team in some weird scenario, would the NBA save money by not assigning refs to their games? After either of them shoot, they just go to the line for 1 or 2 foul shots; other players call their own (unless guarded by James or Wade, natch).
I really don’t like the 2-3-2 home-away format of the Finals.
Unless, of course, we have home court advantage.
Actually, I’d like to see some statistics. How many Finals series were won by the home team vs. the away team? In how many games is the Finals usually won/lost? My guess is around 6, which would favor the home team in the 2-3-2 format. And of those series that ended in 5 or less games, how many were won by the away team?
Clearly bored without a game to watch.
What’s Chicago’s salary cap situation?
They have enough money to sign one max guy. James has already mentioned them. With Wade’s being a CHI native, of course a lot of the spec has him headed there.
I actually think James may be more likely to leave if Cleveland wins it. Got the parade for the home folks; time to go re-invent the “brand” in New York, Miami or Chicago.
BOS in a finals matchup hands down- have you seen their bench? tony allen, sheed- these guys have looked just as bad as our bench. plus, you get a combination of redemption AND killing our eternal foe’s dreams for the next 5 years (since the big three has to be broken up).
i’d like to see PHX in the next round b/c the way we’ve been playing defense, i think we can stifle them and reemphasize that run-gun teams don’t work in the playoffs. plus, we also owe them a playoff bounce.
LBJ + wade + riley = immediate title contention. nobody else comes close. if CLE gets bounced early, bron is not likely to hang out for a couple years (CHI young core, no coach).
I’d like Boston to beat Cleveland just to see the stir that it would create with speculation of James leaving Cle. I’d also like to see Boston in the finals for sweet revenge. But I said at the beginning of the season that Orlando would repeat as EC champs and I still stand by that.
If Orlando and the Lakers make the finals. It will be a tough series for the Lakers, especially without home court. With a healthy Jameer Nelson, Orlando would be hard to the Lakers to beat.
BOS wouldn’t be a cake walk. They are going for one last hurrah. Don’t underestimate the abilities of Rondo. That guy just keeps getting better and better (and the Lakers defend elite PGs so well, too). It also depends which Ray Allen shows up to play (if he’s hot beyond the arc, you know how well the Lakers defend that). Garnett/Perkins/Davis will come to play, bangers (specifically Perkins). Even given age and injury, Garnett is likely scream and curse the guys into a trance-like state and go go go.
It will be a tough road no matter who it is…
I agree. I don’t know why people act like Cleveland gives him the “best chance to win” after this season. Especially if they don’t win. They’ll have to go back to the drawing board. And just what top free agents want to play in Cleveland? Sure, LeBron is a top player, but I’m not sold at all that other top players want to play with the King’s Ego. So, Cleveland has no drawing power. They *have* to sign strictly role players. But a city like New York, whether it’s Knicks or Nets, has pull no matter what. And I’m sure they can put a squad together just as Cleveland did. It’s not like Cleveland did some awesome job. They are all average players. They’re deep, but not spectacular save for LeBron. New York can’t do that? New Jersey can’t do that?Sure they can. I’ll even go so far to say that if you put LeBron on either of those teams as presently constructed, they’d *still* be a top 2 team in the East (in the regular season).
Fact is, Cleveland hasn’t done (anything) worth saying LeBron has the best chance to win. They are spending $79.9 Million on the team they have now. 4th highest in the NBA. That has to exceed what they really want to spend. Or at least be at their max. And like Zephid said, with NO #2? That money will be nothing for a NY based to team to handle, as Isaiah proved.
If LeBron loses this year, again, I too think he’s gone for sure. No other top free agent is playing in Cleveland, unless they’re traded there.
@46 – I totally agree. No one would have thought that Boston had a game in them like they just put on the Cavs. Let’s just worry about Utah first and then go from there I say.
Forgot to add this:
It’s fine if tons of #3,4,5’s and a way past his prime #1 is Cleveland’s team model. But what happens after this year? They can’t or shouldn’t re-sign a 39 yo Shaq even if he is the answer to Dwight, then the Lakers. And Big Z is old. And Mo keeps disappearing?
Also, I don’t see Chris Bosh sitting courtside in Cleveland.
***In case this post before my “awaiting moderation” post. This is supposed to be an addendum to a previous post, and will make more sense***
lil' pau says
naive question here: won’t cle be in an okay-ish salary position once shaq’s 20M comes off the books? couldn’t they bring an extra superstar to cleveland to pair with LBJ, if he demands it in order to stay? are they over the cap even without shaq’s $?
@17– oops, I meant game 4. I try so hard never to mention that Day That Shall Not be Named that I don’t even allow myself a quick proofread. In fact, I can only type this looking at my keyboard through a mirror, lest my testicles turn to salt.
Lamar Odom his the nail on the head when he asked why the players don’t vote on Defensive All-NBA.
Artest should be on one of the three All-NBA Defense teams. I’m sure Durant, Roy, Pierce and the rest of the league would agree.
Lebron and Dirk in NY playing for D’Antoini – ABC will finds a new favorite team in a hurry!
Funky Chicken says
There was some speculation a while back that Miami, with nearly $41 million in cap room, might be able to entice Bosh and LeBron to join Wade, with all three guys agreeing to comparable salaries in the $13 million/year range.
Haven’t heard much about this recently, and surely have my doubts that guys will take pay cuts when it comes down to decision time, but for three friends to come together in their prime, and to play in a great city, well that would be a pretty fun thing to be a part of–especially for guys like Wade & LeBron who can easily supplement their salaries with all their endorsement income. For Bosh, just being out of Toronto and on national tv might make it worthwhile…..
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