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Lakers Fans, Be Grateful

Lakers rookie guard Von Wafer has played eleven minutes in his NBA career.  Six of them came Wednesday night against Toronto, in what was a typical, monumentally soul sucking Raptors game.  I wonder how many of the NBA's Von Wafers- guys who have never actually game tested the tear away quality of their tear away warm ups- notch their big minute nights (and highlight reel plays- hello Von Wafer thunder dunk!) against the pillow soft, Division III Raptors.  Check the standings, and you'll note that Toronto has won a grand total of three games. 

To paraphrase Bull Durham, "How the hell did they ever win three?"

The Raptors are a great reminder to Lakers fans: Be grateful, because while 9-9 may seem bad, things can always be much, much worse.  As I watched Luke Walton lead the L.A.'s 2nd unit like the Globetrotters through the Washington Generals, I tried to figure it out.  Why are the Raptors so bad?  (Yes, the Lakers have won three in a row, and the offense has started to come around in the last 5-7 games, but c'mon, the Lakers without Kobe, Odom, or Parker on the floor shouldn't dominate any team that doesn't play most of their games at the rec.) 

Is it because they give up an NBA 2nd-to-worst 103.6 points a game?  That doesn't help.  Because they shoot a miserable .318 from beyond the arc (not that it stopped Mike James from hucking up brick after brick last night)?  Can't be a good thing.  That their best player (Chris Bosh) certainly won't be there for the long haul, or their best vet (Jalen Rose) plays each minute in Toronto with the enthusiasm of Steven Wright on cold medicine?  That they have no alternative but to sometimes put Rafael Araujo on the floor?  Those aren't positive factors either. 

No, the real reason the Raptors suck can be summed up with the picture below:

Raptorsmascot_i5r5qjkf_2

I don't care if those fans are smiling.  No team can possibly expect to be good with this sort of thing roaming the sidelines.  The mascot is made of plastic, for freakin' sake.  I saw it during the broadcast Wednesday, and whenever that thing was on camera, I nearly jumped out of my chair.  I'm pretty sure if it was put to sleep/deflated, Toronto would win 9 in a row. 

I've often wondered why the Lakers don't have a mascot.  Some fun thing like the Phoenix Gorilla or the NO/OKC Hornet running around, doing wacky stuff.  Now I know why.  Really classic teams don't need them.  The Yankees don't have a chicken running around like an insane freak on the dugouts (they just have one running around upstairs).  Neither do the Red Sox or the Celtics.  The Knicks don't even have one, and they need any distraction possible to keep people from watching the court. 

Didn't the Dodgers try to introduce a mascot a few years ago?  If I remember correctly, that wasn't a hit.  Fans nearly burned down the stadium.  So fill me in.  I'm a midwestern boy, not as steeped in Lakers history as some of you.  Have they ever tried the mascot thing?  Would any of you want one? Some furry creature rubbing Jack's head playfully behind the visitors bench?  What would it look like?  Is there any demand?  Is it possible to create one that would work for the Lakers?

Just promise me it wouldn't be plastic. 

BK

 
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As an aside, if you looked at the stat line from yesterday's game, one thing that would have jumped out at you was that their starting center has ZERO rebounds! How can you be 6'11" and not get a single rebound? I mean that's like saying put a freaking 7 foot ladder next to the hoop, and not expect ONE shot to hit it? At either end of the floor?
Maybe we do have something to be thankful for - atleast Kwame gets around 5-6 rebounds a game!

I don't know if they still do, but when I was a kid, they had "Dancing Barry"... does that count? I always thought "Dancing Barry" was a little weird, and wondered why we didn't have a "real" mascot. Twenty years later, all we need for arena antics are the Laker Girls :)

They have a mascot, or rather many of them in the seats. And sorry they are plastic. hahaha
just kidding.

Hari-

After careful inspection of the tape last night, I decided that pound for pound, inch for inch, Rafael Araujo is the worst player in the NBA.

Maybe I just caught Raffy on an off night, but considering his four point explosion last night exceeded his career average, I don't think so. And you think 0 rebounds for a 6'11" guy is bad? How about the fact that he's averaging .1 blocks per game over his career. .1! It must have come last year, too, because in 19 games this year he doesn't have a single blocked shot. 5'5" Earl Boykins, as a means of comparison, is averaging .11 blocks a game this season.

How'd you like to spend your hard earned loonies and toonies on that guy?

BK

The Raptors have only 1 good player in Chris Bosh. All the rest of them are like Junior High Schoolers trying to play against NBA teams. Their Coach is HORRIBLE, they have no defense or rebounding.

Food for thought: As I sit here thinking about potential free agent signings I decided I needed to compile a short list of players who will be free agents within the next 3 years. Of course these aren't all the free agents...the list excludes a lot of players who will be signed to extensions by their current franchises very soon (i.e Timmy D, Dirk, Lebron, Dwanye...you get the picture), as well as excluding players who might not fit into what the Laker's are potentially looking for. In any case, let the great debate begin - who should we sign? Who did I miss?

2006
Ben Wallace 
Predrag Stojakovic
Tayshaun Prince 

2007
Antwan Jamison 
Chris Bosh 
Darko Milicic
Rashard Lewis
Josh Howard 

2008
Dwight Howard
Emeka Okafor
Gilbert Arenas 
Jermaine O'Neal 
Shaun Livingston 

Not to pile on the Raptors but my buddy and I were watching the game and he made the comment that their rotation was non-existent. If the Lakers wanted to they could've ran a virtual layup drill against them (and at points they were). Of course their GM is Babcock so hopefully Cupcake can pry Bosh from him with some sweet talking.

On a tangent, did you guys hear the comment that Charlie Villaneuve made to the effect that he and Bosh were like a younger Duncan and Robinson. Wow. Which one is which? So young yet so delusional.

Dear Brothers K,

Be sure to post a link to the story at www.benmaller.com about Luke Walton getting removed from the sidelines at last saturday's USC-UCLA game. Funny story -- one that would amuse your readers.

I doubt we'll be able to sign any "max" free agents. I mean, who's going to take substantially less to play for the Lakers? Our only other option is to pull off a sign and trade, which necessitates the cooperation of the other team and would require us to send talent to the other team.

how about a SHAQ mascot? heh heh.

Boneyard,

That's not exactly true. That depends on the team/player in question. In Bosh's case, the fact that he'll get max money by TO is debatable. If they did offer him the max the disparity between taxes in Canada and the US would mitigate a significant difference between what the Lakers can offer vs what Toronto can offer. Now what can the Lakers offer vs another team with taeh full cap money for a FA? History, Phil Jackson, endorsement opportunities. Call me a homer but who the F won't want to sign with the lake show and live in the lala land?

That is a nice list of upcoming free agents. and unlike a previous poster said, none of them (with the exception of Jermaine O'Neal and possibly Dwight Howard by then) will or should receive max contracts. Some, not even close. So the Lakers will not have to sign and trade for those pieces as a lot of their contracts are expiring in a couple years. The one thing I can't believe though is with the millions the Lakers must spend on scouting, did they not invest the $189 to get the NBA ticket to see that targeting that stiff in Houston should not have been a viable option? good thing Houston locked him up. Geez!! Here's hoping our free agent search is headed in a better direction!

"Goldie the Trophy"

Speaking of not adopting things like mascots, the Lakers, if my sports memory is correct, seemed to be one of the last teams to adopt the "dim the lights and play explosions on the video screen" introductions. I thought that it was cool that they didn't feel a need to do that, even in LA.
Nice list of free agents, by the way. Chris Bosch is attractive, but so is Emeka. I caught some of him playing against the warriors the other night. In about 4 plays he had 4 block, and beautiful, dominating, shaming blocks, too. What was extra cool was that he KEPT his cool. He had an expression of "just another day at work" but you could see in his eyes that he was seriously fired up from it. He will likely be one of the top post players in a couple of years.

Begin Debate:

Sign Ben Wallace

End Debate.

BK,

You hit the nail right on the head. Truly classic teams don't need mascots. Mascots are for borderline or poor teams which need to expand their marketing base to appeal to families because they don't have true fans. They want to convince families to come to the game and have mascots so little girls and boys can have something to laugh at.

All I need to laugh at a Lakers game is to watch Kobe slam a dunk or Bynum block a shot and then I break out into the laughter of pure joy.

I fricken hate the Raptors, almost exclusively because of that damned mascot. It insults the entire game of basketball.

Immanuel, like the list. Funny how a couple of wins make you less desperate to let go of your roster. Who's worth max money and a player or two? Smush and Sasha will have to be payed soon. I like Bosh but do I like him 15 mil a year worth? He'd have to be the final piece of the puzzle. I think we're going to surprise people from this point, barring injuries. In a year or so, we might only need the wily and cost effective veteran to calm things down here and there. I'd love Garnette but would hate to give up LO and who knows who else to get him at 31-32. Shaq's the last impossible matchup and he's heading downhill not up. Parody will rule. If Bynum develops, we might not need much.

When I first got to Denver I thought the mascot thing was OK. The kids loved it and the Nuggets sucked. Now it's just a big boring distraction. If the team can ball you don't need that kind of bull****. Sometimes I'm emarrassed for that guy in the mountain lion suit.

Lakers mascot: Laker Girls !!!!
The Lakers invented basketball cheerleaders (or at least made them popular).

Imanuel, didn't the Pistons give Prince a nice extension before this season?
It would be great to see him and Kobe go one-on-one in practice though. (remeber the BIG block in the finals)

Vman - personally, the wins mean nothing to me...I (and i'm sure many others) am not convinced this is the squad that's going to take us back to the top. The franchise is obviously gearing up for some sort of move - Be it a huge free agent signing, sign and trade, or straight begging some quality big man to come over and play in purple and gold. Who knows what they're going to do...but we do know they're going to do SOMETHING about this roster. They have to, if they want to beat San Antonio...you gotta go through those bastard texans to get to the ring....period. And we ain't gonna do it with our frontline.

Dancing Barry was most empatically not an official Laker mascot. As I recall he had to pay for his seat in the stands.

I understand the marketing aspect of mascots, but I hate them. I like the idea that the sport is draw, and is something that can be taken seriously by adults. My faith in that idea is not so strong these days.

That in fact is not the raptors mascot,but a blowup float type thing which has only been on display twice. On reason for the Raptors "sucking" (although they are now at leastfar from last place) is the fact that they have (or at least had i.e.Colangelo) a shit gm. He joined the team in the wake of their glory days playing Tracy Mcgrady,Vince Carter,Hakeem Alaijuwon(sp,)Muggsey Bogues and Boozer on any given night.Having some of the best draft picks ever in VC T-Mac,Damon Staudemire,CB4 and now Charlie-V the only problem for the Raps is keeping the quality players at home, which T-Mac and VC as well as some certain other unmentionables (look up Miami Heat Defence)can attest to is often hard. Now that Toronto Has two potential amazing players(CB4 and CV31) and a core of other good young players (Jose Calderon, Joey Graham)their future is looking bright.

yeah the raptors mascot is plastic but hes funny as heck!

The plastic raptor is not the mascot. Its a gimmic the raptor mascot does for about 5-10 min during the game. The real mascot is

http://cache.viewimages.com/xc/651290.jpg?v=1&c=ViewImages&k=2&d=17A4AD9FDB9CF19332EFD823EFD41CFD7746FA3BAB980A12284831B75F48EF45

And btw the raptors mascot has been named one of best in the league.

FYI The celtics and red sox do have mascots


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