From Ryan Ward, Lakers Nation: Over the past few months, Kobe Bryant has sent subtle messages to his fans and the world about what’s going on in the mind of the five-time NBA champion by changing his Twitter avatar. Recently, Kobe changed his avatar to 1225. Many believe the change was to indicate either his return date to the basketball floor for the Los Angeles Lakers or a motivational tactic after ESPN predicted the Lakers would finish 12th in the West and that he was now the 25th best player in the NBA. On Tuesday morning, Kobe was at it a again with his cryptic messages via his Twitter avatar. Instead of the 1225, which many thought would remain his avatar until he returned, the future Hall of Famer blacked out the avatar completely and then tweeted the following:
From Brett Polakoff, Pro Basketball Talk: After their surprising opening night victory against the Clippers, the Lakers have looked more like the team we expected to see with Kobe Bryant out of the lineup in the early part of the season. L.A. has dropped two straight, and with Mike D’Antoni searching for answers, a change to the starting lineup will take place for the team’s game Sunday night at home against the Atlanta Hawks. From Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times: Xavier Henry will start in place of Nick Young on Sunday night against Atlanta, Lakers Coach Mike D’Antoni said. …“Just [trying] to find a better spot for Nick, maybe get a little bit more production out of him,” D’Antoni said. “[Henry] has played as well if not better than anybody. There’s no reason not to go ahead and do this and lengthen his time on the court a little bit.”
From Drew Garrison, Silver Screen & Roll: The first week of Los Angeles Lakers basketball has come and gone and the team split their first four games. The week began with a win over the Los Angeles Clippers and ended with a down to the wire victory against the Atlanta Hawks. The season is young and the sample sizes are too small to draw overarching conclusions, but it’s fair to take the early results for what their worth and break down what’s starting to take form. Xavier Henry is starting, Nick Young is on the bench,Jordan Hill is a beast on the offensive glass, Wesley Johnson is still a huge question mark and the NBA’s new SportVu player tracking provides statistical data behind an observation made earlier this week about Pau Gasol in the Lakers’ offense. Here are a handful of Week 1 observations:
From Dave McMenamin, ESPN LA: In recapping the Los Angeles Lakers’ fervent first week of the season that included four games in six days, it’s pretty hard to draw any conclusions and feel confident those same observations will ring true in a week or two. Pau Gasol has looked re-energized from a season ago, but then again coach Mike D’Antoni benched him from the 6:29 mark of the third quarter to the 5:40 mark of the fourth quarter Sunday because he thought Gasol “lost his steam.”Xavier Henry has looked like a hidden gem, scoring 22 against the Clippers, 14 against the Warriors and 18 against the Hawks, but then again there was that 0-for-6 night against the Spurs and that wild offensive foul with 2:39 left in the fourth quarter against Atlanta in a four-point contest that could have cost L.A. the game.
Slap Dog Hoops (SDH) says
Well, look on the bright side: at least you are not the Cletics.
From the post-game thread:
Yea I actually agree with the Wesley Johnson at the 4…doesn’t have to be a fulltime thing…but I have seen him in spurts put the ball on the floor and go by a big…something he wouldn’t do versus a 3 per se and he doesn’t have a post game to take advantage of 3?s offensively so he would basically just be a spacer offensively.
LF, the reason why Wes has been a bust is because he’s limited, despite the athleticism, believe it or not, and combined with that, he’s been asked to do all those things that he never did at Syracuse and none of the things that he did do at Syracuse. You mentioned driving by the bigs. That was the plan at Syracuse. He started at the 3 but come 2-3 minutes into the game, out goes the 4 and in comes a guard and Wes slid over to the 4. Wes is pretty much a straight line dribbler and if he doesn’t beat you with his first step, then he’s in trouble. Which is why he played the 4 at Syracuse (few and far between were the college 4s that could handle his first step). That’s why he’s been a flop at the 3 and 2, as his opponents have a quicker foot speed at those positions, i.e., not quite the same first step against the opposing 3 or 2.
Otherwise, he’s going to need a screen of some sort. Or as the one remaining option he can cut towards the basket and, hopefully, the playmakers on the team can get him the ball in position to score. He’ll still have some trouble with good help defense, though, in that circumstance, and despite his athleticism. Owing to his limited dribbling ability, with a good help defense, I’d expect him to do the usual pull up and elevate for the short(er) jumper.
Lastly, as you noted, he is a good defender. Was also a good O rebounder at Syracuse as well. He should be allowed to do that as well (as we all know, moving with the ball in traffic is one thing while moving without the ball in traffic is a whole other matter, and without the ball is where his athleticism can well and truly shine).
I know that SDH’s post was meant in a jocular way, but it is worth noting that Boston has either nine or ten (I have seen both numbers published) first-round draft picks over the next five years, and a couple of the ones that they got from Brooklyn are unprotected. Like the Stevens hire, it may not work out for them, but there is obviously a clear plan in place.
david h says
darius: seems a bit earlier, i won’t mention his name (probably wolf in sheeps clothing), but first name rhymes with latalkie; last name rhymes with talker; forgot about rule number 9. omission by commissin is a safe bet.
let’s move on. got more important things to discuss, starting with tonite’s game vs them mavericks. good time for dallas to begin their assault on tanking. would be a nice win regardless.
Ellis gonna humiliate Blake in this game. Blake should respond by hitting his shots.