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Devean's year... Please???

During the 1999-2000 season, during Devean George's rookie season, I made the mistake of telling some buddies I thought he looked pretty good for an inexperienced kid, and that he could be a pretty big part of the team in the future. This was merely said in passing, and mind you, I never claimed he would be the next Kobe. Or better than Kobe. I never even claimed he had "All-Star" written all over him.  Just that he had some potential. It seemed like a pretty forgettable statement at the time.

It wasn't.

Devean immediately became "my boy," and his career, which has been seen by many as a) underachieving, b) a wash, c) an expensive bust, or d) all of the above, has somehow been directly tied to yours truly. Seriously, there isn't a "Devean George and me" joke on the planet that I haven't heard. The best came during a fantasy football draft a couple years ago, when, as I was on the clock, some yahoo (I think it was my brother) cackled, "With his 8th round pick, A.K. takes Devean George." For better or for worse, I'm kinda stuck with the dude.

Which is why I was happy to see his stat line from last night's exhibition in Bakersfield against the Wizards. 22 points off the bench. 10-12 from the field. They're going to need games like that from George to compete in the West. He's perfectly capable of delivering, if even on a semi-regular basis. And as the only guy outside of Kobe that I feel confident in claiming triangle knowledge, he'll be counted on to provide experience and leadership on the court, something he's never been asked of before. In many ways, this could be the season that truly defines what the guy's made of.

George's career as a Laker has been, at the very least, inconsistent. You never quite know what you're gonna get from the guy. But one factor that shouldn't be questioned is whether or not he's got talent. He does. George is a great athlete who can seriously jump, a skill that's been somewhat obscured by a continually improving outside shot. But while I'm happy that he's turned into a legit threat from three point land, I always thought he would develop into a stronger finisher around the rim. Maybe the ankles have been a factor, I don't know. Nonetheless, he can shoot. He's also one of the best perimeter defenders on the team, which was sorely missed last season. And he rebounds well. Now, if you're asking me if he's been overpaid, in terms of production vs. salary, my answer would be "yes." I don't think there's any question that he hasn't met expectations defined by Dr. Buss' checks. But I also don't think that's a fair way to evaluate how a guy's been playing. Your game is your game. If you're getting paid an "A" grade salary, and produce "B" grade results, you don't somehow get graded a "C." You get graded a "B," and if there's a frownie face accompanying the letter, fair enough. But any way you slice it, he can theoretically bring it. That's not the issue.

I don't know George well by any stretch. Our scattered interviews over the last few years have been fairly brief. Nice guy, for sure. But from what I've continually read, and from watching his body language during countless games, the problem seems to be a serious lack of confidence. I've always thought that he gets inside his own head way too much. When he hits his first few shots, he'll have a good game. But if he starts cold, you can often write him off. And that's a bad thing. Kobe, for example, can be 0 for 40,673 from the floor, but still believes, along with everyone else in the arena, that he's on the verge of getting hot. Some of that comes from having Hall of Fame talent, but it mostly stems from the supreme sense of self confidence Kobe has. I honestly believe that if George discovers a way to tap into that mentality, the majority of this inconsistencies will fall to the wayside. It's important that he finds it. He needs to find it. If for no other reason, to spare me another year of taking (insert expletive) from my friends.


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Personally, I'm tired of waiting for Devean to turn into a good player. We've wasted enough time being patient on him and on Slava. Devean, is constantly in foul trouble, and I don't know what I've been missing, but I don't remember him having that much of an outside shot. He is always complaining to the ref's and that seems to make matters worse. I don't think that he is that talented of a ball player. Sure, he can jump out of the building, but that doesn't put points on the board. Being able to jump high doesn't mean he is a talented ball player, just a talented jumper. Lakers mgt got suckered in by a few good games, and overpaid based on athleticism not on bball skills.

Just like many other player moves lately, the outcome has been a disaster.

Devean George has always been a great player in October. However, last I checked the season starts in November. Every year there has been excuses for is inability to produce as the season progresses. First it was inexperience, then it was playing time, soon it was injuries, then I heard he would blossom in the open court game under Rudy T. and finally I hear he will provide veteran leadership in Phil's return. It has been said that once a player turns 24 years old in the league, "you are what your are."

To me Devean was one of the worst contract extensions that the Lakers have ever signed. He contract has basically pays him $900,000 per point. Even when the Lakers had "The Big Four" George hit such a terrible slump in the mid-season (several O-fer games) that Phil kept him on the bench. This was when teams were leaving him wide open to double down on Shaq and/or Kobe!

What kills me is I saw him hit a few shots in the Golden State game and I read that he is becoming a clubhouse leader. Please for the love of god, DON'T EVEN THINK of re-signing this guy in the offseason. Athletic small forwards are a dime a dozen in the NBA. There will be better, smarter, tougher, more athletic ones out there.

I say we trade him for a microphone, but then I may be insulting the microphone.

There is no question that this will be Devean's year. I am right on board with you when you saw Devean a few years ago and saw his potential. He will be an integral part in the triangle offense and will be a focal point in the Laker offense. He will need to step up and take some of the load off of Kobe and Lamar. The Lakers are looking like a modern version of the 90s Bulls. Yeah, that's right, I am comparing the post-Shaq trade Lakers to the 90s Bulls. We have Kobe who is comparable to MJ and we think we have a Scottie Pippen within Lamar and Ron Harper is something close to Devean. I realize that Devean won't be starting, but he will get plenty of playing time if Kwame doesn't step up this year. Of course, the most important component of the 90s Bulls and Laker dominant days, Phil Jackson. We got this thing.

A.K.'s article was RIGHT ON, particularly becuase a lot of peripheral fans forgot about him (Devean) amidst last years tanking. What I'm most excited about a healthy Devean this year is:

1) The fact that, suddenly, he is a "veteran" within the triangle offence and can in fact become more mature with the added responsiblity given with the job of teaching others--and at the very least, perceiving that he is being "looked up to" by younger guys simply because they ARE younger. Hey, whatever works, right? This could be the confidence "spark plug" that A.K. could be looking for...

2) Die hard Laker fans certainly remember his consistently INconsistent play; however, towards the end of last season--and in the San Antonio series in particular--he was an absolute, tireless monster on perimeter defense. His arm extension and quick lateral movement were, in this fans humble opinion, the best on the team, especially considering his job was to be an "energizer" off the bench (i.e., scoring) This year, with Phil back, I'm predicting now that DEFENSE and, more importantly, TIRELESS (he's still young, remember) DEFENSIVE INTENSITY will become his hallmark, NOT his scoring average, jumping ability, et al.

3)This is the crux of my point: The very fact the Devean was NOT around last year makes him, potentially, our secret weapon. I mean defensively, not offensively. With him, Kobe, Lamar & Brown on the court at the same time (somehow), we have the legitimate ability to SHUT GOOD TEAMS DOWN for stretches. The reason I'm as excited as Jerry Buss is because none of the east coast writers are taking him into account when assessing this year's team. Watch out if we are lucky enough to stay healthy. This will be Devean's BEST YEAR. I said it first, he may not get sixth man of the year honors (won't), but his reputation--as long as the team is winning--will begin to evolve into that of a defensive stopper, a la, dare I say, Micheal Cooper.

--Bobbo in Long Beach

Devean is not going to get much time this year; maybe 15-20 minutes max per game. Where is he going to play? Odom is going to get most of the time at small forward.

Even though I have my own reservations for being overly optimistic this year, I can not help thinking that this indeed could be the year the Lakers surprise a lot of people. It is not a total fantasy to think that the Lakers could be compared to the Bulls'championship teams. If all the players lived up to their full potential, and Phil will see to it that they do, the Lakers could indeed be as good as the Bulls:

- Kobe has the potential to be better than Micheal and I think this year he will show all that he is.

- Lamar is definitely able to become another Pippen and he will definitley blossom under Phil's direction

- Kwame will prove to everyone that the years in Washington war simply a fluke and he will have a monsterous year for the Lakers. That is why he can put up numbers that will be better than Grant's.

- Chris Mihm will favorably compare to the centers that the Bulls had. Do not forget that the Bulls really did not need a great center to win 3 championship.

- Deaven George & Smush Parker will definitey provide some very strong support to take the Lakers to the next level.

All in all, may be I am dreaming too much. But I believe it all starts with a dream and personally I am a bit more excited this year that the 2 years ago when the Lakers had 4 future hall of fame players but did not have enough ball to make them all happy.

When I watch Deavean play I see a great regular and un-important game player. Much like Vlade, who re-tired this week (Thank God)

I think Deavean will flourish until it's time to meet San Antonio in the first round. Unless, he forgets the past and imbraces the moment with confidence and poise.

The resources have always been there for the kid . .

The Zen master as a coach. I found out some people pay as much as $10,000 just to hear Phil speak. The guy coached MJ.

Kobe. I mean, dang! I'm sure, what everyone wonders is; YOU GET TO GUARD Kobe (I am basketball God) Bryant EVERYDAY. . . You would think a little, just a little of that magic would rub off ???

And, the organazation. Look up on the wall Deavean. . .your here right now. . what are you going to do ? Retired Jersey ? or Paid European Scout ? Stop messing around and get us to the promise land. . I'm sick of seeing wankster guards like Billups, Parker and Hamilton walk away with the Laker trophy. . I mean the Larry O'Brien trophy

Comparing Devean George to Ron Harper? Saying that he may be the new Michael Cooper? I believe both Ron Harper and Michael Cooper just collectively rolled over in their graves.

I hope those two posts were "firmly tongue-in-cheek".

If not, let me just tell you this, at age 28, his regular season career field goal percentage is 0.391, his best season was 01-02 when he shot 0.411 from the field. (insert sarcastic clap here) Great numbers Devean! Can't wait for that "athletic potential" to kick in in you seventh season.

I give it 2 months before tendonitis kicks in and he's watching games in street clothes. By the way, tendonitis is one of those NBA-only injuries created to keep players on the extended roster.

A healthy Devaen will do what we need. Play defense! We don't need him to score. Play d and crash the boards. He can play defense on the 2 and 3's of the league. Kobe needs to be fresh for the 4th period. If Kobe can't stay fresh because he has to consistantly shut down the other teams best player, it will kill the Lakers by the end of the season. Kobe did'nt have the legs by the end of the season because of key injuries to other Laker players. Kobe is great, but defensive intensity has to be brought by the whole team. A healthy team. The Bulls were a monster because of defense. They would come out third period, Game OVA. This reason alone is why I feel Lakers will contend for the pacific. When healthy, we match up well defensivly with every team. Devean will earn respect on D this year.

Craig, in case you didn't know, Michael Cooper and Ron Harper aren't dead yet.

Devean will rise to again this season!!! He was slowed by the angle injury last season. I just hope Phil doesnt play chest with Devean's confidence. Devean still has some upside, he will probably be the teams best 3 point shooter this year but I think he needs to upgrade the mid-range game in the paint. He can out jump Kobe so we know he can jump out of Staple center and he can defend well too. If he improves watch out!!!!! The owners and Mitch should have signed Gibert Areans 4 years ago now they are paying for it now. I cant be leave that they let Sam Cassell in LA without even talking with him. We need a PG that can shoot!!!!!

All good points, being a good athelete certainly doesn't make you a good B-Baller. And now that he's had some injuries, we'll find out HOW good and athelete he really is. Maybe he was just young. The best atheletes come back from injury, full speed.
I say give him half a year, and since someone else threw in Slava me too. The both of them. They should be well versed and ready to perform at every moment. If they aren't...look for the nearest team low on forwards

People are now dreaming too much. Let's keep our dreams in reach by dreaming that our top 3 (Kobe, L.O., and Brown) do the job they have to do first, not dream of our bench having break out years. Still I don't mind someone like George coming off the bench but let's be realistic, he's on the bench and will stay on the bench unless L.O. has a season ending injury (knock on wood). Unless he gets these 22 pts in every game (which we all know won't happen) he's going to be nothing but a 15-20min player.

Devean is good whenever people forget about him. As soon as he realizes people can see him, he gets self conscious and falls off. If he starts doing well this season NOBODY SAY ANYTHING. Pretend that you're ignoring him and he'll be comfortable.

Comparing this year's Lakers to the championship Bulls really makes me giggly. Those of you that think there is even a comparison, please go and rent some footage of the Bulls' regular season and playoff games. Go back and look how many games they won each season. And most importantly go back and watch footage of Jordan. Saying Kobe is better than Michael is ridiculously foolish. I will agree if Kobe carries the Lakers to 6 championships. Not until then.

As for the upcoming season, I am very very excited. Having that childish buffoon(Shaq) on our team, even if it brought championships, for some reason took away from the enjoyment of the game that I used to have watching Magic's Lakers. This year will be about hope and excitement and redemption. It will not be about deep playoff runs, let alone parades. We need a bench for that to happen. In a couple of years, maybe.

"Craig, in case you didn't know, Michael Cooper and Ron Harper aren't dead yet."

Are you sure? Have you seen Michael Cooper coach lately? He was the only coach last year to have a DNC-CD in the boxscore. (DNC-CD = did not coach - coach's decision)

I think this will definatly be Deveans year, he's got talent, phil needs to stop messing with head and build his confidence to let the true basketball player come out!!!



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