From Dave McMenamin, ESPNLA: The Los Angeles Lakers’ pitch to try to convince Dwight Howard to stay started long before billboards sprung up around L.A. Some six months before the billboards appeared, in positioning Howard as the franchise’s future, the Lakers put Pau Gasol in the past, and often, on the bench. “We did have a free-agent market last year we had to be aware of, and you make certain arguments based on the future,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni told ESPNLosAngeles.com. “Whether they’re right or wrong, that’s the reality of it, and we went that way, but it was never meant to be a slight to (Gasol) or never meant to be that he was the cause of our problems.” While health certainly had something to do with it — Gasol’s knees, feet and head (a concussion) caused him to miss 33 games last season — Gasol was aware of the ground shifting beneath him as the Lakers gravitated towards Howard.
From Drew Garrison, Silver Screen & Roll: Kobe Bryant is currently on tour in China after a brief visit to Italy and said stated that he “shattered” the timetable for an Achilles injury recovery because of a “different” surgical procedure and recovery process, reports Jonathan Hartzell of NBA.com: “The surgical procedure was different […] and because of that the recovery has been different,” Bryant said in the southern city of Shenzhen. “The normal timetable for recovery from an Achilles, we’ve shattered that. Three-and-a-half months I can already walk just fine, I’m lifting weights with the Achilles just fine and that’s different. So we don’t know what that timetable is going to be. It’s kind of new territory for us all.”‘
From Kurt Helin, Pro Basketball Talk: At the Drew League in the middle of summer, when Nick Young and Jordan Crawford square off for a shootout, it’s just fun. If they try to do that come some December NBA game we’ll all be saying, “maybe that’s not the most efficient system here.” Actually we don’t have to say it, Brad Stevens and Mike D’Antoni would bench them so we wouldn’t have to ssy it. But in the summer, let’s have a little fun with it. Nick Young has almost as many nicknames as he does brightly colored shirts — in this video he is both “Swaggy P” and “I am Legend.”
From Dan Duangdao, Lakers Nation: It’s been six years since Pau Gasol was traded to the Lakers, and during this time, we’ve seen the best and worst of him. The first half was impressive, to say the least, as he was a two-time All-Star and NBA champion while helping the Lakers to three consecutive Finals appearances. The second half was full of constant role conflicts, trade rumors, and injuries as the Lakers have failed to make it past the second round of the playoffs the past three seasons.Heading into the seventh season of the Pau Gasol era, there is certainly division among Lakers fans. Some feel that Gasol will return to All-Star form while others feel that he is no longer capable. Regardless of what your opinion is of him, one thing is for certain: the Lakers need him at full strength if they want to make a push in the playoffs.
P. Ami says
Some fans just love this game. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=VjReQxKJjU8
Continuing on the Lakers ranked #20 discussion. Looking at that list it’s 10 teams out west above them. I don’t see that being the case. The Wolves, Pelicans, Nuggets, Blazers, Mavericks are all above the Lakers. Any betting man wouldn’t put their money on any of those other teams to make the playoffs ahead of the Lakers. Pek’s not resigned, Pelicans have been a doormat, Nuggs lost Karl, Iggy, GM and Gallo’s injured, Blazers have been stuck in mediocrity. I see the Mavs and Lakers a hair above those teams just based on experience. Not sure I see the Lakers finishing tenth in the west with many other teams with question marks as well.
I can see Harden being the best SG in the league with how Kobe season ended just like I can see Paul because of how Westbrook’s season ended. Would like to see Harden be proclaimed the best based of more than one year though. One writer mentioned Harden is efficient and I agree, at drawing fouls. He shot 43% fg on the season lower than Kobe and Wade. Another mentioned Kobe’s defense but Harden doesn’t play any either. And that position in the league is lacking great defenders. Another mentioned Kobe as being the most overrated sg in the league and most overrated all time. I don’t think a franchise player in the league and one for the Lakers can b considered overrated. With all he’s done and asked to do it’s silly to call someone who is asked to lead his team and does overrated.
P. Ami says
Who knows what Kobe will look like when he gets back. I do think we can count on Harden being a better player this year than last. He is still quite young, not yet in his prime. He also won’t be the dominant focus of his team’s offense or the opponent’s D. So, he should have more energy to play defense. We’ll also see how that translates into his offensive efficiency. There was a lot of hero ball late in Houston games and if you think Harden shot a lot of FT last year, just wait for how much he gets to shoot them based on Dwight’s influence.
There will be no winning when it comes to Kobe. You will not get a reflexive Kobe fan to see any flaws in his game and you will see no Kobe hater be able to just say, dude is an all-time great. I recently met a guy who worked with a lot of guys in the NBA. He must have balled in college and wound up being an actor hired to play against the stars in their commercials.
Just before the 96 draft this guy was hired for an Adidas commercial to be filmed at the Forum. In steps this kid he had heard of, Kobe Bryant. They warmed up, they talked. There was a lot to this kid he found unique. This coming from a dude who worked with Jordan, played in those UCLA summer games, been in all sorts of commercials with the stars of the last 20-odd years. He was telling me all this while we both pushed our kids on swings at the park. In no time 3 hours had passed. I was asking him questions, getting all sorts of anecdotes. It was an awesome afternoon. The point I want to get at is that I wound up hearing this guy tell me that he thinks Kobe is better than Jordan.
I wanted to argue the opposite. I’ve seen the footage. I saw what Jordan did in games from his rookie season on. The way he warped the court on the defensive end. So aware, such great anticipation, able to cover such a lot of ground. As great as Jordan was on the offensive end, I think Jordan was clearly a better defender than Kobe, but this guy had a different view of it. He thinks the handicap of having played during the end of Jordan’s prime, and during the whole media push to find the next Jordan, this was all a handicap that Jordan never had. I recall plenty of issues Jordan had to overcome. Magic and Bird cast long shadows. The way he was played by Detroit was punishing. The idea that a scoring champion could not lead his team to a championship. Frankly, none of those handicaps were the same as trying to fill Jordan’s kicks. How am I really able to argue against the view of a guy who has spent time with both players, played against them both, and gotten to know how they think the game?
I don’t know if the guy is right or wrong. I have a hard time fully buying into the idea that there is a right or wrong in this subject. I just don’t know how one can say Kobe is overrated if this guy I met at the park is able to argue that Kobe is better than Jordan. Agree or not, that seems a close enough challenge of the “GOAT” to figure that any rating of Kobe is likely not going to be too high.