Archive for July, 2013

Superman Rockets Away From Metropolis For Good

15 July 2013 Leave a comment

The Dwight Howard Era is over. Long live The Los Angeles Lakers! Kobe Bryant is healing – quickly. “Pringles” is getting a transformed team by the industrious work of our general manager, Mitch Kupchak. The Lakers will return to new heights!

I don’t know how you feel about D12’s departure, but I would’ve liked from him a different choice: I would have liked to have seen him committing to perfecting his craft, by finding a high percentage shot to add to his repertoire, maybe even a skyhook, and an ability to hit a higher percentage of free throws. In an injury-plagued year, he ended up with averages of 17 points and 12 rebounds: not bad at all. But to not want to run a pick’n’roll when you only have basic skills as a big man will not help him be a dominant player in Houston, or anywhere. They’ve got a problem: they just don’t know it yet.

The Lakers will overcome this latest, brief skirmish, with obscurity. Maybe Mike D’Antoni is a better coach than “we the fans” have believed him to be. Perhaps all he needed was the right type of players to make his system work. Now, we will be afforded that opportunity to discover what he can do with willing participants. After Dwight’s departure, players are choosing to come to Los Angeles: Chris Kaman is happy to be here. Jordan Farmar is back. I’m happy Nick Young decided to join us! Wesley Johnson is a good piece to add to the puzzle. Not sure I wanted Lamar Odom back, and I know I will miss the defense of an amnestied Metta World Peace – and the spice of life he brought to the team. But Jim Buss had some hard choices to make.

What The Los Angeles Lakers have transformed into is likely a team with a better record than last year! But that all depends on Kobe Bryant, doesn’t it? Is he going to be healthy, recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon? Is Pau Gasol going to be more comfortable, more valuable, in the low post? Will losing Earl Clark weaken our bench play? Will Jordan Hill start at Power Forward? Lots of questions. Right? But I believe The Lakers defensively may be more capable of sprinting back to the other side of half court with younger legs.

Let’s face it, our core players are aging – too quickly. But this year may still be salvaged from the ruin & frustration experienced last year due to players who can score, and score quickly! Jordan Farmar knows how to play beside Kobe Bryant, in a similar fashion as Steve Blake. We probably won’t see Kobe The Facilitator much this season, since Steve Nash will have these other 2 guys to back him up at Point Guard – or play beside him at Shooting Guard. That may move Kobe Bryant to Small Forward, at times. But Kaman can run – and he doesn’t mind playing high post. Jordan Hill just flat out loves to play: “Put me in, coach! I’m ready to play.”

It’s that attitude of players with a desire to play together that I believe will be the key to a more successful season for The Los Angeles Lakers!

Houston, you got a problem! I like Chandler Parsons. I think of him in a similar light as Mychal Thompson’s son, Klay, with The Golden State Warriors. But James Harden is as much of a ball hog as Kobe Bryant is portrayed by non-Lakers fans to be. Jeremy Lin? There are going to be “issues” in Texas next season. And they will involve Dwight Howard. Houston, be prepared for breakdowns – in communication, in resolve to play well together…

Los Angeles has a “winning franchise,” and I’m not talking about The Clippers! I’m happy the Staples Center “understudy” to The Lakers are winning in recent years, and that they appear to be making an extra effort to stay good for a long stretch: I wonder how long Donald Sterling is willing to “play” with such sums of money he’s been spending recently? To re-sign Chris Paul was a smart move. To sign Doc Rivers was a surprisingly smart move for that franchise. But they traded away the key components to a steady defense: Eric Bledsoe & Caron Butler. For what? Jarred Dudley and the bigger dud, J.J. Reddick? Bledsoe & Butler should’ve been able to be traded away for better talent than that. Just sayin’… 

It remains to be seen if what The Los Angeles Lakers have done this off-season will work out, but I am hopeful! Mike D’Antoni won’t be able to complain anymore about not having the guys on the wing, off the bench, to put in the game, who can score. But at the cost of losing the defense of Metta World Peace? Who filled that void? Dwight Howard’s “rim protection” won’t be matched by Pau Gasol in that Center spot: Will Jordan Hill or Chris Kaman provide some ability in that area? Maybe the 2nd round draft pick Ryan Kelly has such skills? He’s a Duke guy, but likes to shoot from outside. So, hopefully we will witness a stronger commitment to “team” defense.

Yes, The Lakers have some issues – mostly defense, possibly depth. It would’ve been nice to keep Earl Clark & Antawn Jamison, to make another run with the team mostly intact – as Kobe Bryant had hoped for, in a tweet recently (about the time Dwight Howard announced he was rocketing away from a true Metropolis). Will Houston provide him what he’s after? He now has a lesser fortune than he could have received from Los Angeles. I wonder if he will ever achieve the “fame” he seems so desperate to discover? Actually, I’m done wondering. Good luck, D12. Goodbye. Good riddance? How does anybody in their right mind not want to play for The Los Angeles Lakers? Baffling. So, we move on…

The Los Angeles Lakers are one of the classiest organization in all of professional sports! They’re starting with low expectations, like 5-Time NASCAR champion Jimmy Johnson starting yesterday in last place after a rules violation: he finished in the Top Ten! I suspect that this year’s version on The Los Angeles Lakers will do something similarly amazing: I believe they will have a great regular season run and move deep into the playoffs. OKC will be there, in the end, to block us – probably (and San Antonio). But one thing I am confident of is: The Lakers will be the better team from Los Angeles! Sorry, Clippers fans: you had your shot, last year. The Clippers will be fun to watch, occasionally; but, they lack defense & depth – especially upfront, like The Lakers do. The Lakers should be fine against all teams, except the top tier teams where they might struggle; but, I suspect 115 points to be our average scoring output this next season!

Go, Lakers!

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