The Lakers continue their road trip tonight, bouncing to their second Texas city in three days with a visit to Dallas to face the Mavs. We’ll have a preview up for you a bit later today, so in the meantime you can enjoy some reads from around the web on the suddenly streaking Lakers (hey, when you’ve won 2 in and only had a single win in 10 tries before that you are streaking).
We start off with some pieces on Nick Young’s return:
From Mark Medina of the LA Daily News: Amid all the Lakers’ gloomy circumstances, an important figure arrived to help the team temporarily stop worrying about their issues.
It started with Nick Young talking trash during his first morning shootaround since breaking his right thumb six weeks ago by proclaiming himself as the game’s best three-point shooter ever.
It continued with Young’s 17 points off the bench both securing a Lakers’ 114-109 victory Tuesday over the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena and ensured more offensive balance outside of Kobe Bryant.
It ended with Young taking nearly complete credit for the Lakers (2-9) ending a four-game losing streak and picking up their first road win of the 2014-15 season.
“It’s like my swag rubbed off on everybody,” Young said. “It’s unbelievable.”
But in a way, it actually is believable.
From Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report: Bryant and Young might never win a championship together either, but their relationship of one-plus years already works as a testimonial for how a big-grinning, fun-loving goofball can be a teammate Bryant adores.
Bryant sought out Young in particular for an extra high-five and hug before leaving the court Wednesday night. Before that, Young had already chest-bumped every other member of the Lakers organization he could find, his head held noticeably high.
“I’m very happy to have him back,” Bryant said.
The Lakers were 1-9 without Young, who tore a ligament in his right thumb trying to steal the ball from Bryant in practice (and good-naturedly absorbed Bryant’s ribbing that he shouldn’t have been reaching on defense or challenging a body that Bryant told him is “made of steel”).
With Young, the Lakers are 2-0.
“I leave a presence,” Young said. “I’m like Michael Jackson, Prince, all those other guys.”
From Brett Pollakoff of Pro Basketball Talk: Nick Young became the latest to receive a warning for flopping on Thursday, for a play that occurred in the Lakers’ Tuesday night win over the Hawks. Except this one, which can be seen in the video clip above, doesn’t feel like it’s all that worthy of the additional scrutinization.
Young falls down after attempting a three-pointer with Kyle Korver in the vicinity, but just because the referees blew the call and awarded Young three free throws doesn’t mean he intentionally fell down in an attempt to deceive them.
From Michael Colangelo of Fields of Green: Struggling teams usually don’t receive as much exposure as their more successful competitors, but the Lakers are proving their brand can overcome that hurdle. There are multiple reasons for this. The Lakers still draw a sizable audience on television, which is why the NBA has scheduled 28 nationally televised Lakers games this season. To put that in perspective, LeBron and the Cavs are scheduled for 29, Oklahoma City (pre-Durant and Wesbtrook injuries) for 32 and the defending champion Spurs for 25. The NBA knows fans still watch the Lakers, and the league wouldn’t schedule high-profile games if it feared low ratings. In contrast, the woeful Boston Celtics — a large east coast media market, 17 NBA championships and a recognizable name — are scheduled for only four nationally televised games.
From Baxter Holmes, Ramona Shelburne, and Arash Markazi of ESPN Los Angeles: Is Jeremy Lin right when he says communication and trust top his list for the Lakers’ problems?
Holmes: Absolutely. A large part of that stems from many new players playing in a new system, but it doesn’t help that Kobe has, up until their win at Atlanta, largely eschewed his teammates on offense. As Boozer said after the Hawks’ win, when they all touch the ball, they all feel involved and engaged, which leads to them playing more like a team on both ends but especially on defense. Scott has also noted that the bigs haven’t communicated well with the guards on defense, which he said has led to several lapses.
Shelburne: Yes, but not in the way that quote read. When Lin said “communication” and “trust” were the Lakers’ biggest issues, that was code for Bryant not keeping his teammates feeling involved in what the team is doing. He just didn’t want to say that out loud and cause a larger rift. Whether Lin is right is debatable. Bryant is a smart basketball player who knows how to win games. He also has heard he shoots too much for 19 years. It’s not as if he doesn’t recognize the drawbacks of that style of play. He’s playing that way because he didn’t have faith in his teammates to score. That’s the real trust issue. And it can only be corrected by guys like Lin and Boozer proving Bryant wrong and scoring the way they’re capable of.
Markazi: This team has a lot of problems, but if we start with the premise that the guys in the locker room are the guys that they will have all season and not worry about the future then yes, communication and trust are two big problems. The Lakers can worry about their more pressing problems for a legitimate point guard and center in the offseason. The only way the Lakers can improve their communication and trust is by moving the ball around and playing together, which, of course, hasn’t always been the case so far.
Thomas Rickard says
People watch Kobe! Either to love or hate, with Swaggy on the floor now the Lakers will be better, what Lin and Boozer think doesn’t matter, so far both have proven that their old team knew what they were doing by getting rid of them, as i write this, the Lakers are searching for another PG, and any day I expect Davis to start in front of Boozer, already he isn’t in during crunch time.
Moses Buhay says
If Lin isn’t giving them anything I’d like to see that no point guard lineup out there like the one they played in the 3rd quarter against Houston.
From the last thread…
It’s pretty interesting people care about the name on the back of the jersey instead of the player wearing the jersey. Dwight Howard isn’t Dwight Howard anymore and it’s been a few years. Before his back surgery he had a PER of 26 (superstar level). Now he regularly has a PER of 20 (like this year) which is slightly below all star level. There are two Dwight’s… One before back surgery and one after back surgery. The pre surgery Dwight was a league MVP and the second best player in the league behind LBJ. The post surgery Dwight is a borderline all star and the third or fourth best player on a championship team.
Dwight didn’t get “found out” as a player. His post game hasn’t been “exposed”. Pre surgery Dwight had a dominant post game based purely on his explosiveness and strength that required defenses to swarm and double team him. He was a one man defense. Post Surgery Dwight is a liability in the post and a good but no longer great defender. So when we talk about Dwight Howard we need to make the distinction of what Dwight we are talking about. Just like in twenty years we will talk about HGH LBJ and non HGH LBJ. Two very different players.
Craig W. says
The ‘talking heads’ long ago anointed Kobe the king of ballhoggers. That they keep on repeating the same tired mantra doesn’t make it either true or false. It just makes them ‘talking heads’ with an interest in getting ratings, not necessarily getting to the bottom of anything.
Kobe – like most human beings – is somewhat complex and doesn’t lend himself to any single 2-dimensional description. The fact that knowledgeable analysts repeatedly state Kobe is an outstanding passer and thoroughly understands the game of basketball must also be taken into consideration. Finally, Kobe is somewhat unrepentantly impatient with players who don’t take the game seriously and don’t try to maximize their talent. If you don’t put a championship at the top of your NBA priority, Kobe will not have much use for you. It makes him tough to play with – sure – but it also makes you appreciate what he brings, if you do share his goals.
The Lakers will be better in the short-term and in the long-term if they try to assemble players who are serious about being a top-flight player on a top-flight team.
A number of years ago I learned to stop taking Bill Walton’s TV commentary seriously. Ever since, he’s been to me a lovable buffoon of grandiose comic bombast. That’s the way I appreciate Nick Young’s talk.
According to Colangelo:
Struggling teams usually don’t receive as much exposure as their more successful competitors, but the Lakers are proving their brand can overcome that hurdle.
So could this be a posititve sign, however small at this point & contrary to our dwindling expectations, that our Lakers are still an attractive destination for future FAs?
Go get `em tonight Lakers!
The craziest of all the stats is the Cavs are better on offense and on defense with LBJ on the bench. How the mighty have fallen.
Most Startling Statistics of Cleveland Cavaliers’ Season so Far
T. Rogers says
While I don’t think its a major thing I do think LeBron has noticeably lost something physically. He really looks different this season. I combine that with his constant calls for less minutes and it makes me scratch my head. I know you have your HGH theory. I’m not going with that. But I do know that LeBron doesn’t quite look like LeBron anymore.
The rebounding stats on the link you posted jumped out at me. But is seems that both LeBron and Love have been moved away from the hoop in Blatt’s offense. That is pushing their offensive rebounding numbers down. The other thing is both of them have looked bad on defense so far. We expected that from Love. But LeBron has looked subpar on most nights and flat out terrible in a few games. It will be interesting to watch what changes they make going forward.
pat oslon says
SMH: You can’t help but love Swaggy P. His charm, charisma, skills and swag are amazing.