From Mark Medina, Los Angeles Times: Everywhere Derrick Caracter goes, his weight follows him. It partly contributed to his abrupt transfer from Louisville. It partly contributed to his low-draft stock after his days at Texas El Paso. And it partly influenced how he structured his eventual two-year contract with the Lakers. At each stop, he’s managed to shed pounds. But not enough to make teams and stop fans from expressing concern. That’s why, in addition to proving he’s matured since his days at Louisville, Caracter also hopes he can prove his conditioning is working better than his bulky frame suggests. Caracter said he dropped from 305 to 277 pounds after his career with the Miners because of more sleep and better eating habits. And after impressing the Lakers in Summer League, the team currently lists him at 265 pounds.
From Saurav A. Das, Silver Screen and Roll: Up until about half an hour ago I expected this post to be wholly inconsequential. I thought Caracter would be buried on the inactive list behind the Lakers’ three-headed monster of Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom, with accomplished vet Theo Ratliff backing them up. But now, things have changed. For the moment, they’ve only changed slightly in the overall context of the team, but that could soon change, for better or worse. Now that Andrew Bynum is once again experiencing injury issues, Caracter will be thrust into the (relative) spotlight, with his preseason minutes increasing and his chances of being rendered active during the regular season increased exponentially. It’s up to him how he reacts to that. He could either thrive with the increased run, whilst not straying outside the boundaries and limitations attached to his role, and thus make the Lakers even stronger and deeper as a team. That, or he could either flounder in the spotlight, or get greedy and start demanding more touches and more run, becoming a distraction to the team.
From Kevin Ding, OC Register: Kobe Bryant said the summer for him would be all about getting healthy. So, is he now? Well … Bryant had surgery to clean up his pesky right knee and has been recovering well. Even though it was his third surgical repair there in seven years, things should be good enough on that front. Then there’s the finger … Despite some speculation that he’d have surgery to fix the right index finger that he called a “constant battle” for him last season, that didn’t happen. That’s because surgery wouldn’t really fix an arthritic finger that has so little cartilage with which to work, something Bryant found out even before July rolled around.
From Darius, Via Land O’ Lakers: Soriano: I think Kobe finishes in the top 3 of MVP voting for the 3rd straight year with a legitimate chance of winning. I expect a fair amount of backlash towards LeBron and a strong push to anoint Kevin Durant as the MVP, but if Kobe can put together another high level year (which I think he will) and the Lakers lead the league in wins (another strong possibility) I think he’ll be right there in the MVP voting at the end of the year.
MVP is nice, but I will be much happier if Kobe wins his third Finals MVP in a row.
Travis Y. says
Farmar could very well be a starter!!!!!
Great opportunity if this deal goes through.
That Caracter article is like porn for fitness fanatics. Man, where do I sign up?
Regeneration cold tubs!
Diaw to Utah? Kirilenko to denver?
It looks like a very interesting trade if it does indeed go through.
completely unrelated to reality but it’s the
final of the “greatest team of all time” competition on espn. lakers vs bulls
at this point the Lakers are ahead 50.4% to 49.6.
Chris J says
I hate to even waste time commenting on another lame ESPN.com popularity contest. But seriously, on what alternate universe could the history of the Chicago Bulls even warrant a comparison with that of the Lakers?
The Bulls had one great run that lasted for less than a decade and was entirely built around a core of Jordan, Pippen and Phil Jackson. Once those three left, it took a decade for the Bulls to even reach a point where they’re now a second-tier player in the East.
The Bulls had never been to the Finals before ’91, let alone won a title. And they’ve failed to reach the Finals since Jordan’s infamous push-off in Salt Lake City in 1998.
Compare that to the Lakers, who won NBA Championships in the 1940s, 1950s, 1970s, 1980s (five total), and 2000s (four), and just started this decade with yet another title.
And in the two decades in which the Lakers failed to win a title (’60s and ’90s), they still made the Finals a total of seven times. L.A. was close enough to be called a championship contender for much of those two periods, even if they came up short.
We’re talking about a franchise that’s shown extended excellence from the days of George Mikan through Wilt, West and Baylor onto Kareem, Magic and Worthy and then Shaq, Kobe and Gasol. How does a one-decade run on the shoulders of Michael Jordan even begin to compare to that?
Wait, what? The Bulls beat the Celtics?
@5. Chris J.
Well, on one hand the contest is fundamentally flawed. They have the all-time starting five for the team, but they have the teams seeded by all-time winning %. The perfect example of how that was affected is the Bulls. Either they are seeded too low with that starting 5, or the seeding is right once you include a bench.
I am in favor of the latter modification to that contest; it is more indicative of which franchise is the best of all time.
However, I have a feeling that even if the contest was held that way, there are too many people, esp under the age of 25, who think Jordan invented Basketball, and also perfected it.
Igor Avidon says
I seem to be in the minority with this opinion, but aren’t we over-glorifying Theo’s potential here? He’s hardly ever healthy, has somehow managed to get even worse offensively every year since his Philly days (and he was already a poor offensive player in those days), and his frame wouldn’t help against ANY top big man in the league. Caracter might just be the better 4th big on our team, based purely on the fact that he’s got more agility than Theo.
Darius Soriano says
My only hope for Ratliff is that he can ably fill in the same role that Mbenga played. And I think he’ll do just fine in that role. If the Lakers need any more from Theo, the Lakers are in trouble anyway.
As for Caracter, I’m sure he’ll get some burn in games and probably play about as much as Powell played last season. And if the Lakers have more blowout games than last year (which is possible if you think the bench holds on to more leads or even extends them for the starters), then Caracter may actually get some extended run in some 4th quarters next year (Ebanks too).
Andres Garcia says
“Norm Van Lier” at PG for the Bulls. I’m assuming that all players are supposed to be at their peak (for their tenure with the team). Can you imagine mid seventies Kareem, ’87 Magic, ’06 Kobe, pre-knee surgery Elgin, and current Pau? That team destroys anyone, sorry MJ.
I’m glad PJ is defending Bynum for delaying sugery, even though he must surely realize delaying was a poor idea. I thought Andrew was known to be slow to heal. If that’s true, it’s reasonable to have expected he would be slow to heal after this (delayed) surgery, as well. And, isn’t it also reasonable to have expected the damage to his knee might have been more extensive than thought before he was opened up? Funny, I thought reasonable people – especially people at a truly elite level of performance – typically arrange things so as to maximize their chances of success. So what’s up with Bynum?
Supposedly, Bynum needed time for the swelling to go down before surgery.
Bulls v. Lakers: Actually it’s not as farfetched as I first thought. Bulls actually match up quite well (at 4/5 positions, anyway).
Look at the matchups:
C: Kareem v. Gilmore
PF: Gasol v. Rodman
SF: Baylor v. Pippen
Sg: Kobe v. Jordan
PG: Magic v. Van Lier (1 HUGE DISPARITY)
Point guard is where the Bulls fall apart, there, obviously. But all 4 other positions are actually pretty damn close.
I’d give Lakers Center and SF by a small margin, but Gilmore Rodman and Pippen could do a good job containing Kareem Gasol and Baylor (granted, those Bulls are not great scorers).
Kobe/Jordan, well let’s call it a stand off.
So it’s only PG where the gap is, obviously, great.
I had heard Bynum waited so he could travel in Europe and take in the World Cup.
In fairness, your comment underscores that most fans (certainly not me) don’t really know what’s going on. Maybe even insiders don’t know what’s going on half the time! Darius, do you have any thoughts on this?
I agree. The “swelling-down” period did give him a great opportunity to travel.
Either way, if this results in Bynum being able to log more minutes in the playoffs, win?
Again, this is where the contest is somewhat flawed. Is it the top starting 5 of all time, or the top franchise of all time?
Cannot use all-time winning % for seeding and only include five players for each team.
Craig W. says
Are you serious about Gilmore containing Kareem? I am not trying to downgrade Gilmore, but no one really ‘contained’ the Captain – that’s why he leads the league in scoring. He was so effective for so long. Kareem could do so many different things on the court – Gasol gives you a small window into that kind of versatility.
The fun thing about the ESPN team of all time is…
It’s Phil Jackson vs. Phil Jackson. (perhaps bearded vs. shaven Jackson too ;))
Can you imagine the subtle and not-so-subtle barbs and media manipulation flying about the series?
But really, I think it’s closer than people think. Rodman, Pippen and Jordan were arguably the best defenders in their position, with Rodman rebounding with truly the best of the best.
Well, sure, “contain” – but not stop.
Gilmore was a peer and a challenge of similar heigh, and, if I recall, a pretty good defender.
But I’m not shortchanging Kareem’s dominance. Gilmore was pretty darn good for a (relatively) short number of years; Kareem was awesome for a very long career.
But if it came to a series, Gilmore, while losing the battle, would probably hold his own I think, and “contain” Kareem somewhat . . . especially with his frontcourt mates held by Rodman (heh, literally “held”) and Pippen.
Chris J says
Artis Gilmore is to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar what a Ford Taurus is to a Mercedes Benz.
To suggest there’s not a huge disparity there is just absurd.
Hell, one could make a case that the second-best Lakers players at each position could take out, or at least stay close to those Bulls.
C: Gilmore vs. Wilt (Hall of Famer) or Shaq (future Hall of Famer) — Huge edge for the Lakers regardless of which guy you pick
PF: A.C. Green v. Rodman — Edge to Chicago, since the Lakers have never had a dominant PF aside from Pau
SF: Worthy v. Pippen — Call it even; two Hall of Famers who could each dominate on either end
Sg: West v. Jordan — Edge to Chicago, but not as much as gap as the under-30 set would have us believe
PG: Norm Nixon (or Van Exel or Fish?) v. Van Lier — Take you pick, again, and the Lakers have solid choices to offer.