While the last game of Kobe’s career is Wednesday, April 13, 2016, a concept I have discussed with more than a handful of fans over the past few years is that Kobe’s career really ended on that fateful night in April 2013 when he ruptured his achilles tendon.
Sure, these last three seasons — two of which ended with injuries to his knee and his shoulder — actually happened, but that wasn’t really Kobe. Kobe ran roughshod over the league. Kobe healed like Wolverine and not only played in games with injuries he shouldn’t have, but played well. Kobe was the guy who would play any amount of minutes it took to try and keep his team competitive and then go that extra mile to then win the game.
What we’ve seen in these recent seasons has been a guy who looks like that player and sometimes even plays like him. But, for the most part, we’ve seen a guy who has failed more often than he has succeeded and, to the shock of most who’ve watched him compete for most of his career, seemed at peace with it.
It all started, of course, with the play where he pushed off his left leg to drive by the Warriors’ Harrison Barnes and, instead of exploding to the rim as he had so many times in the previous months of pushing towards a playoff berth, he fell to the floor like a sprinter who lost his footing out of the starting blocks. He clutched at his heel with his thumb and index finger feeling for a tendon which was no longer intact. He endured the pain (and blocked out any frustration of what he’d known occurred) to shoot — and make — a pair of crucial free throws, then limped off the court under his own power.
That walk off the court was symbolic.
Kobe is gone. He’s been gone. The Lakers paying him the most money in the league hasn’t brought him back. Neither has the roaring crowds, the MVP chants at the FT line, or the league leading All-Star votes. We get glimpses of what he was, but it is not sustained. It cannot be any longer. The mind tries, but the body relents. Father time is undefeated.
Three years ago, however, Kobe was out-dueling the grim reaper. He’d parry off a swipe of the scythe then hit a jumper for good measure. He’d defy his age and the wear on his legs. He would beat back the burden of expectations, to change the narrative of what was going to be an all-time disappointing season. Remembering the feelings of watching it at the time, he did not seem human. No one was supposed to be doing what he was.
It turned out, one really could. Not even Kobe.
In a piece for ESPN, Baxter Holmes went back to that final month of the 2013 season, talked to some of key participants, and gave us a fantastic piece of reporting and storytelling. The entire thing is worth your time. I would, honestly, block quote about two-thirds of the piece, it’s that good.
The conflict and tension of the push for the playoffs, the complete stubborness of Kobe regarding his minutes, the Mike D’Antoni quotes about being unable to get through to him about playing less, the players noting just how worn down Kobe was…it’s all there and placed against the backdrop of Kobe playing some of the best basketball of his career.
Consider that in the final 10 games Kobe played — including the game where he ruptured his achilles — Kobe averaged 43.5 minutes, 29.9 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 7.2 assists. On top of that he drew 85 fouls over that stretch. Over his last 5, those numbers are 44.8 minutes, 32.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, 6.8 assists, and 9.4 fouls drawn a night. Think of the physical pounding he was taking in games where the push for the playoffs made the stakes incredibly high.
As the title of the Holmes piece states, those really were the last true days of Kobe Bryant. And even though it is three years later, we will get to say our goodbyes tomorrow.
Posted this on the last thread… Think it’s worth a read:
Very good read from Baxter Holmes regarding the stretch of games where Kobe willed the Lakers into a playoff spot right before he blew out his Achilles….
manny pacquiao says
If only kobe was not injured and they have battled the spurs during the palyoffs. they would have gone until at least the WCF. One game remaining for my childhood hero. Hope the game gets close and Kobe drains a buzzer beater. I don’t mind him making 20% of his shots as long as he drains the game’s buzzer beater. It would erase the bitter taste this season has been
Sorry for the duplicate link.
T. Rogers says
Watching all the Kobe highlights of late made me realize how many greats Kobe was connected to that are no longer around the Lakers. The first thing that jumped out at me in the Apple TV commercial with Michael B. Jordan was Chick Hern’s voice on the TV. Chick is gone. On another clip I heard (again) the story of West being blown away by Kobe’s workout. West is on to a new team now. Of course, there are the many stories about him and Shaq. Shaq has moved on as well. He’s part owner of the Kings now. Phil and Tex are gone. Fish is gone. Foxy is gone. Horry is gone. And of course there is most ominous loss of all the late Dr. Jerry Buss.
Kobe is the last real element left of a once great organization. Kobe has kept the Lakers relevant over the last few years. Many Laker fans scoffed at Henry Abbott’s Kobe hit piece from a couple of seasons ago. But Kobe detractors like Abbott have kept the Lakers in the conversation due to their obsession with Kobe’s flaws.
With Kobe gone the Lakers lose their cover. The brain trust behind the team will see just how fast the brand can fade into obscurity if they don’t change course. No will care about timelines, sibling rivalries, Magic’s complaints, Byron’s frowns are anything else. No one will care about D’Angelo Russell’s trustworthiness or Nick Young’s fidelity issues. They’ll just stop caring altogether.
Kobe made us care. The people left in his absence not so much.
I found it a bit curious that Holmes did not offer Nash’s injury plagued season and Howard’s recovery from back surgery as contributing factors for Kobe’s drive and playoff push that year. The night Kobe tore his Achilles was a very sad one for me. I knew that his days of dominance were done. Father Time may be undefeated , but his boy Papa Injury is right there too.
There are very few sports related things i am emotional about and even fewer bring me to tears. Tom Seaver being traded to the Reds when i was a boy, and Ali losing to Frazier being in truth the only others in my 61 years. When Kobe announced this would be his swan song i fought back the tears because at least we had the last ride. Now the ride ends. I remember that night when Jerry West traded Vlade for Kobe. I knew then that the Lakers were back. I remember him air balling those 3’s. I remember him the following year exploding and Marv Albert declaring Kobe Bryant is a rock star. I dont think there has been an athlete i have loved more.
I lived in Northern Cali during the Webber, Peja, Glory days of the Kings, I remember being in Arco surrounded by Kings fans with me in my Kobe gear just screaming and celebrating his greatness. I registered my pomeranian Kobe Magic Johnson. I loved that kid that much. 5 championships, all star game MVP’s only 1 regular season MVP even though everyone knew he was the best player even though he was not popular.
My favorite Kobe moment was the night he outscored the Mavs for 3 quarters. Then the 81.
20 years Kobe, I have watched you as i went from being a father to a grandfather. I thought you might be the last of the killers until Steph showed up. Thank you for allowing me to enjoy your greatness. Thank you for 20 years of hero worship. Like Ali, Clyde, Reggie Jackson, Namath, you are on my personal Mt. Rushmore.
Tomorrow night i will shed unabashed tears of sadness and gratitude.
Thank you for all of it be blessed Mamba.
Dang Dom- your post was a bit of tear jerker as well. Count me among those that are already missing Kobe. A true one of a kind. An extraordinary competitor of the very highest order.
I remember my brother informing me the Lakers were back some twenty years ago. Not only had they signed Shaq, which I knew about, but they had drafted a “really good” guard straight out of high school, and “they are going to win a championship”.
He doesn’t remember this bold and ultimately very conservative prediction.
I was lucky enough to see Kobe play twice during his rookie season, in San Jose CA of all places. The Warriors arena was being refurbished and they played home games in San Jose that season. Kobes first game in San Jose was nothing special, but he looked pretty good the second game, showed he had game.
Certainly, Kobe’s retirement is bittersweet. He is a top 1, 2 or 3 Laker of all time depending on how you keep score. He represented an era of Lakers dominance that we can only hope to see again.
However, maybe because I’m older, I’m not grieving the loss of Kobe. I knew back on that Friday in mid April, 2013 that his career was over. I knew that edition of the Lakers were through. Here we are virtually three years to the day of the injury and the book can finally be closed.
The Lakers organization should rightly stop and pay tribute to Kobe for all of his accomplishments and for what he has meant to the Lakers.
But, management has also known for some time that the Kobe Lakers were over and it was time to craft a new identity. They have spent the last three years in a daze — bouncing from strategy to strategy:
– sign multiple max free agents (fail)
– lose enough to draft in the lottery (success)
– build a team around one year or expiring contracts (success)
– design those teams to compete for a playoff spot (fail)
The Lakers have known this day was coming for three years but have precious little to show for their efforts. Shame on them.
The last three years have really been Kobe’s version of Wizards MJ in a weird way and was equally necessary to bring his career to a close. There probably isn’t a body part left that he hasn’t hurt on the court, literally giving his all – that piece by Baxter was excellent in chronicling that part of Kobe.
if Jordan had the shot, Kobe had the two free throws… and really, as sad as it is in some levels, that really is the best way to remember Kobe and his dedication to basketball.
The Lakers have known this day was coming for three years but have precious little to show for their efforts. Shame on them.
I love Kobe and his ‘leave it all on the floor’ attitude. He is tied for 1st, along with Magic and Jerry West, as my favorite Lakers of all time.
I have to agree that the FO has hidden behind Kobe and leveraged what he means to Lakers fans — he has been Jim’s security blanket for three years now.
I lost all respect for Jim/Mitch when they publicly said this year was ‘lost’ due to Kobe’s farewell tour and that it shouldn’t count against Jim’s promise timeline. Jim/Mitch are like the grasshopper from the parable — frittering the spring and summer away and when winter hits they are unprepared.
J C says
Great comments here.
I’m kind of a purist.
I’ve been a Lakers fanatic since 1968.
I heard Jerry West’s 63-foot buzzer beater on the radio.
On the day I heard that Jerry West said he’d never seen a better individual workout in his life, I knew Kobe was going to be very, very special.
But even Jerry couldn’t have expected this.
When Kobe was younger, and capable of virtually anything, I complained that he didn’t pass enough.
It’s funny. Now get he’s older, and all his flaws are there for everyone to see, I appreciate him more.
His longevity is a testament to his genius.
He’s no one-hit wonder.
He’s Paul Mcartney of the hardwood.
A Horse With No Name says
There is a strong, vocal subset of posters here that believe the Lakers should be immune from the rebuilding struggle virtually every team has gone through after being on top. As Darius noted brilliantly and without irony, they are the true believers in Laker exceptionalism.
Of course the organization made mistakes, taking unwise risks to remain on top ( e.g. the Nash deal) that have hurt their rebuilding efforts by giving up multiple draft picks. The coaching hires have been terrible. Failing to anticipate the effects on free agency of the new CBA and not getting that top free agents aren’t going to come to L.A. to be a part of a multi-year rebuild, are their most egregious blunders.
But they’ve absolutely nailed their draft selections, giving themselves talent to build around. And they have an enormous amount of cap space going forward; hopefully to land some quality players this off-season, and chase a big fish the following off-season. Those achievements are substantial and the result of excellent scouting and planning.
Imagine if the Lakers had been signing middling players the last three years and had managed to be a borderline playoff team in the West: there wouldn’t be any young core to build around, they wouldn’t have the cap room to chase real talent etc.– and they’d be stuck going no where, on a treadmill of mediocrity. As painful as things are, the future could look a lot worse if the team had used their resources to get short-term, low ceiling outcomes. In short, we have had to be terrible, in order to rise again. No team escapes this reality, not even the Lakers.
Here’s to keeping the top three pick!
Those achievements are substantial and the result of excellent scouting and planning.
Only if you believe that the contracts offered to Pau, Anthony, and Aldridge were part of a public misdirection stealth tank plan. If you believe that, fine. Since you kind of suggested that you don’t, the line above is silly. The misdirection idea seems intuitively very unlikely. I find it much more likely that the Lakers have tried to be like Dallas with Kobe playing the Nowitzki role and have failed, thereby landing lottery picks. That interpretation is consistent with both the team’s personnel moves and the FO’s public statements.
As to the picks, we have covered that. Clarkson was an excellent value pick at 46. Randle was a safe and reasonable choice at 7, has some value, and may get much better. The jury is out on Russell, depending on what happens with Porzingis and Okafor and maybe some other guys. I personally like Russell, supported the pick, and think he will be very good, but it is far too early to gloat about it. Very few fans that I have seen are down on the FO’s recent drafting record. The problems are everything else.
Finally, I don’t see many people here who think the Lakers should be immune to rebuilding (The guy that you could lay that on is, amusingly, Jim Buss with his public timeline and statements about signing two max free agents). What I do see is people who want the org. to seem to have a clear plan and a coherent approach that is leading to observable progress, be it substantial, incremental, or some combination thereof.
rr, yes observable progress rather than regression from terrible to even more terrible would be “nice” for lack of a better word.
A Horse With No Name says
What I do see is people who want the org. to seem to have a clear plan and a coherent approach that is leading to observable progress, be it substantial, incremental, or some combination thereof.
This is silly. Cap space to chase big fish is a clear plan–whether or not it will be ultimately be successful remains to be seen. But most observers would say having it as a result of *not* signing middling talent to long contracts is good planning. Observable progress is obviously the talent they’ve drafted with their picks. Clarkson was a steal. Randle was absolutely the best bpa, and further, may prove to be the second best player in his draft after Wiggins. Russell,as Steph Curry noted, has the total package. All three players have made both substantial and incremental progress.
Heh if what we’ve been seeing is progress I wonder was abject failure looks like.
All three players have made both substantial and incremental progress.
Perhaps, but the team hasn’t, and Clarkson hasn’t really gotten significantly better this year. That may not be on him, given that the FO kept Nick Young, brought in Lou Williams, and Kobe stayed on the floor this time after being signed to the extension. But Clarkson’s USG has stayed exactly the same. We will know more about Clarkson next year if they keep him. But the Young and Williams deals–both of which are exactly the kind of deals that you are giving the FO credit for avoiding–do not fit in with any clear plan, ISTM.
As to cap space and a plan, you seem to be giving the FO credit for not spending on mid-tier talent after striking out on what would have been very questionable max adds and Pau. If the Lakers had Anthony on a max deal right now, I think it is likely that that would not be working out very well and most folks seemed to think it was a bad idea at the time. Aldridge made more sense, but given where the Lakers are, he is not really what they need at age 30, as many of us said last summer. Also, if they had gotten one of those guys, then the FO presumably would have made mid-tier adds with whatever money was left over, trying to compete.
As to the young guys, you have spec. and hope about Randle and an anecdotal observation about Russell from a guy who has played against him four times. I am sure the comeback will be something about greatness being able to recognize greatness etc. and maybe Curry can. But as Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and LeBron James can tell you, greatness as a player does not always translate to scouting and organizational acumen.
So, you are selling what you have been selling for the last couple of years, under your different handles: hope, based on your optimism-rules mindset and your keen scouting eye. That’s cool, but you should look at the facts of the actual performance sometimes as well.
Finally, like I said two threads ago: the Lakers are not devoid of hope. There are some positives. But right now they are at the bottom of the league with a lot more questions than answers.
Heh if what we’ve been seeing is progress I wonder was abject failure looks like.
I guess the Brooklyn Nets. I have a long response to “Horse” hanging with the bot right now, but like I said two threads ago, the Lakers have a few positives: three young guys with some value, cap space, maybe the market/brand. But there are a lot more questions than answers at the moment. 27-55, 21-61 and 16-65 lead to a lot of questions.
First, congratulations to Kobe on an amazing career and for the championships he helped bring to LA. He’s the first Laker great that I was really aware of and his retirement is bittersweet for a number of reasons, but personally it’s a stark reminder of how much older I am now.
A couple of thoughts. I’d argue that cap space is perhaps the easiest part of a strategy to execute especially if losing doesn’t have consequences. There are more than a few teams that will have plenty of room to sign the top UFAs in the offseason, but the given the rules of the current, money is no longer a differentiating factor except for the home team who can offer their FAs more. So while this aspect of a rebuilding plan is important it’s not as significant when other teams can offer the same size contract.
What is more difficult in my view is clearing cap space while fielding a competitive team as is managing and utilizing cap space. The Mavs, Blazers, Hornets and Heat and are doing this to varying degrees, but the Celts are really setting the bar in terms of rebuilding while clearing cap space and accumulating draft picks (of course some luck is involved too).
Regarding rebuilding, the Spurs have fielded a competitive team for as about long as Kobe has played. They’ve been in the playoffs 16 straight years. While they may be the exception that proves the rule, it could indicate that rebuilding doesn’t require spending a few years in the cellar.
I don’t mind that the Lakers are having to rebuild, but I question FO’s execution, outside of their draft picks, during this process. From an outsider’s perspective, they have been very short term focused and made a number of longish to long shot bets in hopes of getting one more championship. I kind of understand it, but it’s a high risk strategy and we’ve seen what happens when it doesn’t work. With Kobe retiring, the FO has the opportunity to lay the foundation for a more sustainable return to excellence.
Nameless Horse~ I agree with your position that it was better to husband cap space than sign long term contracts for mid range players but the value of that cap space is marginalized in the face of the steep increase in the cap. It is arguable whether that could have been anticipated or not. I believe it was, given the trajectory of recent tv contacts but regardless the fact remains that we’ve gone from one of the few teams to have room to sign at least one max free agent to one of many.
Combine that with the fact that we are not an attractive free agent destination as currently constructed due to roster, ownership dysfunction, coach and perhaps most importantly the absence of a coherent vision for the future. There is a way out of this but it is more likely that the way forward is executing a coherent plan versus the free agent swing for the fences-palooza we’ve seen the last two off seasons. The “plan” is as yet a closely guarded secret or one that sorely needs a creator.
As someone who grew up in Southern California, the Lakers and Kobe were my champions and hero. I remember being so frustrated watching game 7 against the blazers, pacing back and forth in my room until I could no longer take it, eventually settling to the backyard to shoot and listen to chick on 570. The joy of the comeback and eventual victory, marked by Costas “Kobe to Shaq” lob call were some of the greatest memories of my youth. Even in the post Shaq years prior to Pau, Kobe made the game must see. The passion and commitment he displayed on a nightly basis were truly inspiring. To see it from an athlete from home, made it even more special. I’ll never forget the great times Kobe helped me have surrounded by family and loved ones. Thank you Kobe, you will be missed.
really sad, im not ready for Kobe’s final game. 🙁
it was Kobe who made me believe that stats are for basketball analysts and not players… and that you cannot win enough if you are afraid to be blame for taking too many shots.
yes, he was a volume shooter and he does it better than anyone else.
he puts everything on the court whenever he plays, plays harder each play, demands teammates to step up their game.
that is his leadership style, and it was odd.
i will miss the Mamba face, killer instinct when the game is on the line. 🙁
A Horse with no name says
DieTryin’: Good post; your points are well taken. Where I think you are mistaken is asserting that the huge cap increase should have been foreseen by laker management. If they had seen it, they would’ve been prescient with respect to the rest of the league, as the entire NBA was caught off guard. Adam Silver looked pained trying to assert that despite the news, some teams were still struggling financially (cough). Be that as it may, you are correct to point out that cap room isn’t the weapon the lakers thought it would be–at least this summer with a limited pool of top free agents. Plans are always subject to revision, and in the business world are always changing to reflect changing conditions. My guess is that they will still take big swings, but will focus on filling holes with good players on reasonable deals.
I agree with Horse, given the veto, the D12 fiasco, the D’Antoni, hiring when D12 wanted Phil, the disastrous Nash deal, Kobe’s injuries, tanking seems like the only viable return to competitiveness. Would LaMarcus on the wrong side of 30 with this roster really have made much of a difference? I think not. As i said in a previous post. Top pick this year, hopefully Ingram. 2017 pick top 3 protected even with Ingram expect more of the same as this year without Kobe’s farewell to distract. A top 3 pick next year and then we will have some idea about Clarkson, DAR, Randle etc. Depending on development we then would have some tradeable assets if the right deal came along. Realistically we are 3 years out of contention if every thing were to go perfectly. I think we will know pretty quickly if next year is a tasnk year or not. If JimB stay in control and BScott is the coach we need to know that what we endured this year will repeat. My hope is there is a changing of the guard in the FO at least with JimB, and a commitment to a coach with a vision and a plan. I know it would never happen but a change in ownership to a Magic/Kobe consortium would be a dream come true. Anyway we need to see and face reality. There is no Durant or Westbrook coming here and personally i dont want either. If we are signing a FA let it be Harrison Barnes 23 long Stretch 3 with a championship pedigree. Other than that sign another group of stiffs, endure the growing pains, let the core develop and wait for the FO air to clear.
happy Kobe day, everyone.
J C says
Too many awesome posts here to single one out.
Thanks to all of you for deepening my Laker experience.
Nice work Darius.
Tonight I’m just going to enjoy one more game of Kobe. Everything else can wait for another day. Cheers to 20 years of Kobe. 🙂
well said J C, this is a heck of a board –
THANK YOU MAMBA!!! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU
wishing you the best in this next phase of your life –
T. Rogers says
Still soaking in what Kobe’s absence will mean for the Lakers and us fans. Staples Center will host the NBA All Star game again in 2018. It will be the first in that building that won’t feature Kobe. It may be the first in that building that won’t feature any Lakers. Imagine that!
On one hand I’m glad to see Kobe call it quits. The injuries just keep adding up. And there is life after basketball. I’d hate to see a 45 year old Kobe hobbling around on arthritic knees. At some point sacrificing your body is not worth it anymore. Kobe has sacrificed himself enough for us fans.
On the other hand I’m genuinely concerned we may not see another transcendent Laker for many, many years. We Lakers fans have been extremely fortunate. Five years after abruptly losing Magic, Jerry West went out and got TWO once in a generation talents. All the while he kept the team respectable. I’ve been missing Jerry West. I still miss West. Now I’m already missing Kobe.
A Horse With No Name says
Ugh, okay, here goes, rr/anon#1 etc:
“Perhaps, but the team hasn’t, and Clarkson hasn’t really gotten significantly better this year. That may not be on him, given that the FO kept Nick Young, brought in Lou Williams, and Kobe stayed on the floor this time after being signed to the extension. But Clarkson’s USG has stayed exactly the same. We will know more about Clarkson next year if they keep him. But the Young and Williams deals–both of which are exactly the kind of deals that you are giving the FO credit for avoiding–do not fit in with any clear plan, ISTM.”
Your comments about Clarkson are fair. There are factors that should be taken into account as to why his game appears to be stalling right now. Namely playing with Kobe, as you note, but I would add that last year he had the ball in his hands and this year is playing a lot off the ball, which is very different. He’s looked best in the young guns line up, where there has been better ball movement. What we know about Clarkson is that he has top tier athleticism, a great work ethic, a great motor, and that he is still a young and developing player. As you say, we shall see. As to the Young and Williams deals, neither eat up significant cap room. Williams’ deal is a pretty good one for the Lakers, as is Bass’s deal, as both are legitimate NBA players on reasonable contracts that are movable. But here’s the salient point; unless you are Hinckie’s Sixers, every NBA roster has contracts that have some length and aren’t dirt cheap–to field a roster you are going to have to have some of those. The big view is that the Lakers are preserving cap space to try to add significant talent, and a few small potato deals are just that. Sometimes players/ deals don’t work out (Young). Every team has them. To nitpick these deals says more about your agenda than revealing any grave mistake by management.
“As to cap space and a plan, you seem to be giving the FO credit for not spending on mid-tier talent after striking out on what would have been very questionable max adds and Pau.”
You are absolutely correct! I am giving lots of credit to management for not panicking when they failed to sign Melo/Pau/LeMarcus, and then signing average players to long deals. I am relieved that they failed to sign these guys. And I don’t buy the theory that they were simply trying to appear interested, and really understood that they were looking at a multi year rebuild. They thought adding these guys might put them back on the map. That was foolish. But they’ve moved on and forward by drafting talent and preserving cap space. They have a way forward (a plan) that will take time–just like any other rebuild.
“As to the young guys, you have spec. and hope about Randle and an anecdotal observation about Russell from a guy who has played against him four times.”
“…You should look at the facts of the actual performance as well”
C’mon dude. Did you miss that Randle is 15th in the league in averaging double/doubles? Among rookies (which he should be considered as such) he is second only to KAT. He is averaging 14.6 points and 14.6 rebounds per 36 minutes. As for D’Angelo, his stats have been improving throughout the season. 16.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists per 36 minutes. These numbers compare favorably with both Curry and Harden as rookies, as others have pointed out. That you are dismissive of comments made by their professional peers only reflects your own challenges in watching and understanding what you are seeing from players. I wouldn’t care what x player said about y player if I wasn’t seeing the same things–or that others as well were seeing them. They just confirm my study of the game. Players don’t go out of their way to give empty compliments. If they aren’t impressed they say nothing. BTW, it doesn’t take an intelligent player long to assess another player’s skill/upside. By saying Curry has played against Russell “only four times” and thus how could he assess his potential in such limited minutes again, reflects your own inability to understand the game. It probably took Curry one game to recognize Russell’s potential–if that.
Kobe Bean Bryant…
It has been a pleasure to watch you practice your craft!
You will truly go down as one of the greatest Lakers of all-time!
Great Post, Nameless Horse:
“C’mon dude. Did you miss that Randle is 15th in the league in averaging double/doubles? Among rookies (which he should be considered as such) he is second only to KAT. He is averaging 14.6 points and 14.6 rebounds per 36 minutes. As for D’Angelo, his stats have been improving throughout the season. 16.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists per 36 minutes. These numbers compare favorably with both Curry and Harden as rookies, as others have pointed out. That you are dismissive of comments made by their professional peers only reflects your own challenges in watching and understanding what you are seeing from players. I wouldn’t care what x player said about y player if I wasn’t seeing the same things–or that others as well were seeing them. They just confirm my study of the game. Players don’t go out of their way to give empty compliments. If they aren’t impressed they say nothing. BTW, it doesn’t take an intelligent player long to assess another player’s skill/upside. By saying Curry has played against Russell “only four times” and thus how could he assess his potential in such limited minutes again, reflects your own inability to understand the game. It probably took Curry one game to recognize Russell’s potential–if that.”
What I see is from the doubters, is fear.
Fear of a let down.
Opening your arms wide to Hope and Optimism takes courage that many lack.
Parrothead Phil says
Tonight makes official what we have known and seen for the past 3 years- the end of the Kobe era. I will truly miss his unique talent and drive. He had the ability to make you shake your head and say “damn!” at any moment when he was on the court. I am thankful that I have been able to witness so many great moments over the past 20 years.
A Horse With No Name says
I appreciate your props. I’m far from wildly optimistic about the way forward, but the gloomy narratives a few here favor with a fervor need to be exposed for the broad paint strokes they are; without nuance or context.
Time for you to return to your old handle, given your need to call me out. As to the players:
Russell: I have said many times that I like the guy and think he can be an All-Star. The big problem with the Harden comps is that he does not get to the line the way Harden did even as a rookie and he is not the shooter Curry is, since no one is. I have pointed these things out multiple times. You have some serious challenges when it comes to getting beyond box score numbers. As we see with…
Randle: I provided an extremely detailed post a few weeks ago on why I have some doubts about him, which I will not repeat here, since it took a long time to write and you wouldn’t take it seriously anyway. I did note that he has increased his percentage at the rim as the year progressed.
As to Curry’s comments on Russell, I recall that Kobe made a big deal about how good he thought Evan Turner would be, so even the great ones are not always on the mark as scouts. I certainly hope that Curry is right about Russell. And, of course, I predicted exactly what you would say before you said it, except that you added an insult to my intelligence, which is par for the course. But there is a concept called “sample size” that you should look into.
So leaving the mutual distaste aside, you are basically, as I already said, going on a combination of optimism and what you see as your keen amateur scouting eye. You may be proven right; we will see. And I will certainly give you credit for it if it plays out that way.
If you actually think that the way anyone being more pessimistic about a basketball team on the internet than you are is a sign of either fear or life issues, then you need to leave the folks here alone and check the mirror, thinking about some of the responses to your posts from a couple of weeks ago.