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Extra! Extra! (3.29)

Laronprofit1020_ip22zgkn Wanna know why the man's name is Laron Profit? Because even spelled differently, when it comes to Kwame Brown's recent growth, his longtime teammate has been predicting success since day one.  In Profit's mind, his buddy's issues were never physical, strictly mental (reasonable theory, since Kwame is a yoked natural athlete). Unfortunately, basketball is also about the physical, which includes speed, which has some people (including AK) concerned that a likely first round match against Phoenix equals "Advantage: Suns." It's actually a shame these consecutive days of rest weren't scheduled before the upcoming pair of games against Steve Nash and company. When it comes to strapping on track shoes, the fresher the legs, the better. On the bright side, these rankings were determined before Phoenix's back to back crushings. If re-ranked today, the gap between the Suns and the Lakers might be a bit smaller.

photo by Lori Shepler/LAT

 
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Are the Current Phoenix Suns better than the Old Dallas Mavericks????

Initially, some will quickly answer YES, and begin to go down the road of citing example after example of how and why that is true. However, I am wishing to intrigue the minds of those readers here, who prescribe to the concept that the first thought is not always the correct thought. No, I would disagree with those that believe that this question can be so quickly answered. I would also disagree with those who believe that in fact, the answer is a resounding YES. Instead I say that the answer is no….and below are some of the major reasons why. Not only that, I believe that this whole concept goes much deeper than what can be seen on the surface and it involves more people and events than people may consider.

First, I have pulled a snapshot of both teams and in doing so thought it wise to identify 2 seasons per team for my evaluation. I have chosen the 2001-2002 & 2002-2003 seasons for the Dallas Mavs and I have chosen the 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 seasons for the Suns. Looking at total records alone for both clubs, the Mavs won a total of 117 games during that time. The Suns have won a total of 109 games thus far this season with 12 left to play. If they were to win all remaining 12, they would have a grand total of 121 victories. Before you respond to this information, let me give you more. The (PF) Points For average total for the Mavs during this time was 104.1. The Suns average total the past two seasons has been 109.2. In each of those four seasons, these teams had the highest point total of any team in the league. This is just the beginning of my analysis.

Second, I would like to look at the rosters of both teams. Initially, it can be clearly noted that Steve Nash is the major constant of each of the four seasons in question. That is of major importance because his production and on-court leadership of each team dictates the effectiveness of those teams. In other words, it can be easily stated that each team went as Steve Nash drove them. However, let’s look closer at the rosters to see if there is anything else we can see. First thing I noticed as I looked deeper is that Raja Bell was a part of the Mavs team during the 2002-2003 even though his production was minimal. Both teams had an All-Star power forward/center (Dirk and Amare). Both teams had dynamite guard and small forward play (Finley, Van Exel, Shawn Marion, Joe Johnson, Quentin Richardson, James Jones, Raja Bell). Based on the information, it could be argued that the Phoenix Suns have had a much more talented core around Steve Nash than the Dallas Mavericks ever did.

Third, I would like to identify the coaching styles and plans of both coaches. First, it can clearly be seen that both coaches decided to focus on transition up-tempo basketball as the key to their success. This can be clearly seen when looking at the overall point totals both teams have been able to accumulate in each of those years. However, I believe that a difference can still be seen with the two teams relating to style of play. Even though Don Nelson was for pushing the ball and seemingly outscoring his opponents, he still seemed to struggle with the more traditional concepts of half-court offensive sets and defense. At times he seemed to slow his team down realizing even quite possibly subconsciously, that real success in the post season comes to those that can slow the ball down and execute in the half court set. He also seemed to have a desire at times to improve the defense of his team, even though it is hard to see the benefits of that pursuit based on the numbers. D’Antoni, on the other hand, appears at peace with simply attempting to outscore his opponents by shooting as many shots as possible all night long. His defensive strategy is more offense. As a side note, I believe that this is a MAJOR factor with the perceived improvement and worth of Steve Nash to a team. A tailor made suit fits better, looks better and has a greater value than a suit off of the rack. The Suns have been tailor made to fit Steve Nash’s greatest assets…..and the weaknesses are a non-factor because the team refuses to focus on those areas. Put any “great” player in a similar situation where only their strengths are focused on, and that player will appear to be more than maybe they really are.

Fourth, not only must we look at the individual teams involved, I believe we must also look at the league. Since the days of Steve Nash in Dallas something major has happened to the NBA. The importance of a dominant center as well as dominant interior defense has lessened. Not only has Shaq changed zip codes, his level of dominance in the league has also lessened greatly. The San Antonio Spurs and the Detroit Pistons revealed a glaring reality to Shaq as well as the rest of the league which is that overtime, any dominant player becomes less dominant. Detroit’s ability to defense a Shaq-led team in recent years is starting to catch on. Is it a coincidence that the Indian Pacers continue to give the Heat fits? Instead, the power forward position has become a major focus for the better teams. More specifically, an athletic core of big men which can run the floor therefore compensating for lack of bulk, is actually becoming a major push in the league. Teams are running more often than before. One reason for this is the change in the NBA rules. The desire to make the game more exciting has drove the league to this type of play. Whether positive or negative, it is the reality of the current NBA that half-court basketball is just not as enjoyable to most people. Instead racing down the court and getting flashy plays is more of an entertainment draw. However, what is the result of this? Well, if championships can be used as a measuring stick, this type of play doesn’t win titles. Even for us Laker fans, who enjoyed the Magic Johnson Showtime days, we realize that if it were not for the half court games of Kareem and Worthy, showtime would have been just “short time”. Instead, there has always needed to be a mixture of both, leaning heavily to the latter during the playoffs. For that wonder why the SAME successful running teams during the season are shut down in the playoffs, it is because the opposition takes a greater focus on doing just that. In the course of an NBA season, it is just not possible to spend a great amount of time or energy to defeat 1 team over another. You are dealing with constant impacting circumstances on a nightly basis (scheduling, injuries, letdowns) that simply make the season more of a work in progress than a tuning up for the playoffs. Instead, it is only towards the end of the season that the real tuning up begins as player are finally rounding into to shape.

I will cover more about the impending match up later.

http://www.sportsline.com/nba/story/9343666


Cbs's Ppower rankings...and a little interesting commentary on Lakers and the playoffs.

CHRIS MIHM ACCORDING TO MICHAEL TENIENTE

It’s plain to me that Chris Mihm is not a bad basketball player, but does that mean he should be a starter? Let’s see what you think after I make my case.

1st Version:
Chris Mihm, to me, is like an extra log for a well burning campfire. What do I mean by that? Picture yourself out in the forest or the desert, if you will. The night is cold; the group you’re camping with they are all sitting around the campfire. Everyone is happy, content to be part of the group. People are laughing, talking, and just having a pretty good time. Then all of sudden someone throws one of the extra logs into the fire. There was no need, the fire was perfect. Everyone in the group just kinda looks at the guy, not saying anything. After a few moments of awkward silence, someone speaks up and says: Hey, why did you do that? The guy replies: It just feels so good, and everyone is so happy; I thought I’d just throw it in to add to our pleasure. Another person speaks up: I see what you’re saying, Billybob, but what are we going to do when the fire starts to die in about 2 hours? We’re all going to be cold, and I don’t think that’s gonna to be much fun. The guy looks kinda sheepish, not really knowing what to say.

What’s the moral of the story? Chris Mihm is like that extra log (scorer) for the fire. We don’t need it right away. We need it when the fire starts to get low. It is not logical to have 2 defensive liabilities (Cook and Mihm) in at the same time just because they can score. There is no defensive balance in that starting line up at all. We need Mihm coming (scoring) off the bench.

2nd Version:
I was watching the game when Miami beat the Cav’s a few weeks ago. In that game Alonzo Mourning came in and dictated the flow of the game. After the game people were commenting about how Zo was in game at the crucial moments, while Shaq sat out. The next day I saw a photo of *Zo and Shaq walking. Zo was walking a bit in front of Shaq and Zo looked like a big brother, while Shaq looked like he was the big little brother following along. The photo showed me Zo in his true basketball light. He looked like a thug. He was intimidating. It made me think of how he plays, being physical and just making his presence the issue whenever he’s in the game.

* http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/teams/photo?photoId=1088741&team=mia

After seeing those images in my mind, I thought of Chris Mihm. I asked myself: Why can’t Mihm play that way? The answer was simple; he’s too light in the ass. Zo, in that photo, is yoked. His arms and shoulders look as if he does some serious working out, like me. I said to myself: Why not Mihm? Why doesn’t Mihm gain some weight, or at least bulk up and become a force in the middle instead of just being considered as a serviceable center? Can you imagine that? A bulky Mihm with, maybe, a ZZ Top type beard? Being from Texas I’m sure he knows the look. Anyway, I started seeing that image in my mind and the picture was clear. We need Mihm to go biker on our asses. Can you imagine that, here in Los Angeles? I think Mihm could really use that type of make over. It could only happen in Hollywood, the land of the stars. Come on Chris, go biker on the NBA and make a real name for yourself. If I ever saw Mihm as a biker, I’d apologize for everything I’ve ever written about him, and I’d be sure to walk the other way, like, really quick. If Chris would go biker on us, I would be advocating for him to be our starting center for sure.

mike

I hope Laron Profit is recovering well and would consider joining the Lakers next season. From the get-go he seemed to grasp the offense and had a certain calm about him on the court. That would go a long way with our second unit.

As for the Suns, I just think they are a better team that over seven games could beat us. That's just an honest opinion of where we are. I think we could put up a fight, but they don't have 47 wins for nothing. I know the game slows down in the playoffs, but even last year they made it to the conference finals and gave SA a tough time, which is a team that can slow it down with the best of them. They are a different team this year, but for whatever reason we haven't played them well this season. However, two good performances in our remaining two regular season match-ups with the Suns could go a long way in setting the Lakers mindset going into the playoffs. I'm not saying we can't beat them, I just wouldn't bet on the Lakers (unless I got great odds, then I'd look for takers).

Mike, that is hilarious. It sounds crazy enough to work.

It's nice to see that Profit is doing (relatively) well. Does anyone know why LaRon didn't blossom in Washington?

Michael T.,

Congrats on being the first blogger to work in a ZZ-Top reference. Well done, son. Well done.

AK

I hate to say it but the Lakers can only get better from here on. A lot of the teams have peak to their potential already but the Lakers haven't. The progress as of late has been quite impressive. Phil and the coaching staff has done a good job developing and establishing the new players into the triagnle offense. And their patience with the roster has paid off. Just look at Kwame's and LO's game as of late it' been amazing. We will be surprise by thier progress in the playoffs. I would not write them off easily. Watch out for our Lakers....Let's not bring up any trade ideas until the off season. Let's make some noise in the playoffs. GO LAKERS!!!!

Michael T.,

Chris Mihm should be our starting center and Kwame should learn how to properly play power forward. If Kwame can step up and play that position properly, he'd dominate.

Jon K.,

Below a snippet from an interview I did earlier in the season with "Smokin'" Al Koken, a D.C. sports radio host. In a nutshell, it sounds like he thinks Profit simply doesn't have the tools/talent to be more than a role player, but does have the heart/desire to be as good a role player as possible. Every team can use one of those guys.

AK


AK: Can you talk a bit about Laron Profit. A lot of fans didn’t know a ton about him when he came over here, but he’s done a nice job, especially for a guy regarded as something of a throw-in with that trade.

SAK: I think he’s one of those guys that we talked about who really loves to play the game. He’s so happy to be able to play the game at this level that you can say, “Laron, we’re going to put you in the freezer for a month, but then we’re take you out and put you in the microwave, are you ready?” He’d be like, “I can’t wait.”

There’s very little that can get Laron Profit down because he’s fought so hard. You love to see him succeed. He was popular here, as all former University of Maryland players are… He’s just kind of a joy to have at the end of your bench, because he’s not going to be a malcontent. He’s not going to be whining about minutes or touches. And when he does get into the game, you see nothing but effort. He’s a good little combo guard and I’m happy he’s getting another chance in the NBA.

AK: What do you see as his strengths?

SAK: If you ask him to do a little bit of everything, he can do that. He’s not a great ball handler. He’s not a great shooter. But he’ll hustle, play some defense, get some floor burns, hit a shot here and there… He may dominate at any one thing, but he’s not going to hurt you if you do put him in the game.

Right now, Mihm is as good defensively as Kwame. Kwame plays better individual defense, Mihm plays better help defense and is a better shot blocker. Neither of them is a great rebounder. So overall there is not a defensive advantage to having Brown in. We will have to see what happens to Kwame's offensive contributions as teams realize that they cannot ignore him anymore. Those will almost certainly decrease, however, that should open up opportunities for the others on the court, so that will not necessarily be an overall loss.

I know Phoenix is good. But Boris Diaw in the middle is not scary at all. I think the Lakers have an actual chance in this series. If a rotation of Smush and Sasha can wear down Nash, I really like our chances.

Kobe and Phil alone have more playoff experience than the whole Suns team put together. That will make a difference. Along with Kwame vs. Diaw. Since it looks like Amare isn't going to make it back in time to properly blend into his team chemistry, Kwame might be going against Diaw. Which should be a major mismatch down low. An agressive Kwame might be able to average 20 going against 6 foot 7 Diaw. If Amare comes back full force, we've got our hands full.

I think if we slow the game down, clog the middle, get hands up on the 3's, and execute on offense, we can control the Suns.

Thanks, AK.

I hope we resign him next year. He seems good for the team, not only in play, but spirit.

Before I used to get upset, because the different media outlets wouldn't give the Lakers higher rankings (when they were playing well.) Now I really don't care, I really don't care what NBA analysts have to say or the media.

They said the Lakers would not make the playoffs (I know they are not there yet, but hopefully) they are in the 7th seed right now.
To me it doesn't matter all the rankings, the analysts saying whatever. If in any case I see it as an advantage, because there are no expectations, and being under the radar is better.

I will not say oh they can/cannot beat this team or that team. First because they haven't played the Suns in a long time, so it would be pointless to do that. As far as the Spurs we'll see tomorrow what happens. The thing here is to take things slowly and not get ahead of us.

Question: What would have happened if Kobe had gone scoreless in a game like Nash did?
Would the media make a big deal about it?

Nash did not get any press for that, negative or otherwise, but I think if Kobe was the one who did that analyst everywhere would of been discussing if Kobe was done? What was wrong with him? Etc, etc, etc.
Kobe is judge differently than any other player.

AK,

Thanks!

mike

Anyone else besides me wish now that Kobe hadn't gotten his suspension? (That elbow was a "bonehead" move; there are equally effective ways to "send a message" with a hard foul that don't result in a suspension.) The way the Lakers and Utah were playing at that point, the Lakers would probably have won both games. Think two more in the W column would be nice right now?

Wow, JJ and mike need their own blogs. Those guys are like the Charles Dickens of the Lakers Blog comments.

I'd like to see Laron Profit -- Kobe's doppelganger (am I the first to use that word here?) at least on TV -- back with the Lakers next season. If I remember, he was kind of a nice surprise before he went down. He could at least give Kobe 5-10 minutes of rest per game.

I don't understand why this Mihm vs. Kwame thing is such a big issue. Kwame Brown's role throughout the season has always been more "center-oriented" than "PF-oriented" and Mihm's role has always been more "PF-oriented" than center.

Kwame generally sets up down low when he runs down on offense and Mihm generally plays from about 8-15 feet. I don't understand why Phil insists on forcing the square peg into the round hole.

Defensively it doesn't matter much because Kwame has guarded the opposing team's best big man whether he's been at the 4 or the 5 all season. I don't see why the notion of just having them swap positions is such an issue.

And if the issue is that Kwame and Chris don't play well together than play whoever is playing better right now it's Kwame. I don't think you should lose your job due to injury but that's life sometimes, whgen someone else is playing great.

I thing Tony Mejia from cbs is a joke.

He jusr re-hashes stuff from other sites, and anytime he has anything original to say it ends up being wrong.

He's a dope.

Kobe still suffers from the image the national press has about how this was Shaq's team, Kobe ran Shaq out of town, and if Kobe had only been a better team player Shaq, Karl, and Gary would still be here winning rings. That is because Shaq has always had a knack for PR, and Kobe doesn't. And good PR generally wins out over doing some real digging and coming up with the real story.

Jon K,

I couldn't agree more, Kwame Brown is going to have to learn to play the power forward spot comfortably and well if he wants to stay in LA more than his three years. There is a kid named Andrew Bynum who is pegged as our center of the future sitting right down the bench from him and if he can't play alongside Drew, chances are he'll be gone. I sure hope Kwame can develop in that position in the offseason (the rest of this year we need him to be the best center in the league) because a frontline of LO, KWame, and Bynum sounds damn good for a lot of years if they all keep improving.

REPOST FROM ANOTHER SECTION:

There is no doubt in my mind that the Lakers are going to beat the Suns.

Smush Parker:
"We've done our homework. We know their personnel. We know their plays, so we can execute our defensive strategy as well as our offensive strategy."


We're ready, no doubt!

mike

I trully belive that the Lakers need to resign Laron after his knee heal's. They also need to cut JJ since he has hasnt scored more than 12 points total, he joined the Lakers. Hopefully he can give us some insight on playing his ex teammates.If he cant do that cut him quick and deep!!!!

Random thoughts on this off day:

Well, Tony Mejia is wrong about the Kings for 1 thing, he says they're dominating at home right now...obviously he hasn't been watching the last 2 games. Sacto's in a world of hurt right now and I'm starting to wonder if they're gonna make the playoffs with Utah looking much better. If there were 1 player I would trade Kwame Brown for, it would Andrei Kirilenko. I know, I'm just dreaming.

I can't believe Tony Mejia says without a doubt that the Lakers will not win a Playoff series this year. I think the Lakers have a great chance to win at least 1 round. I predict if we make it out of the first round, we'll have to hit up the scalpers to get those Conference Finals tickets.

The Lakers have lost more close games than anybody in the NBA, that means they can hang with ANY team. It's the finishing that hurts the Lakers and that has taken all season long to figure out. I think they "got it" now.

Without the stupid/careless losses and that stretch when Kobe got no love from the refs, the Lakers would easily be a 50 win team this year. It's a good thing though, the Lakers are peaking at the right time and will be underestimated which will make victory all the sweeter.

Clippers are going down in Flames, #6 seed here we come

Well I guess if Smush is saying we have the Suns number than I shouldn't worry. I don't trust a lot of people, but I do think rather highly of a guy playing his first full year in the league.

I'll just be happy if we get to the playoffs. This year we weren't given much of a chance and making the playoffs in the middle of a rebuilding is a hell of a lot better than say the Celtics or Bulls who have gone in the crapper and never have fully recovered.

Laron should definitely get re-signed if he heals well. He shows athleticism and great poise. He played very well as Kobe's sub.

Jim Jackson will play well in the playoffs, just wait and see.

Laker Junkie,

The Achille's tendon is on the back of the ankle, not in the knee. Laron ruptured his, which I can't even think about without wincing.

I think we'll Jim Jackson in the rotation starting on Thursday and that he'll start to be productive as well. Previous to this layoff there hasn't been any practice time to get him into the team's flow and learn the offense and defensive schemes, but with the 4 days off he'll finally get a chance to run through sets in a practice situation and understand (or remember) where his shots are going to come from in this offense. I still think he's a good pickup for the Lakers, it's just hard to get a new person incoperated in the middle of playing so many games because there hasn't been any time to go over the basics.

That being said, I would also like to seen Laron come back next see season. He's a great role player off the bench and probably won't be in high demand due to missing the 2nd half of this season, so we should be able to re-sign him relatively cheaply.

Frank Rizz.

Late post..but I see what you're saying.

I think I just dont' care about college sports, but if a Spurs fan came on this blog, I'd certainly not mind him getting flamed. Ok..you're right.

LakoFan

Kobe did do that in 2004 against Sacramento in the First Half. He was Scoreless in that Half and got Torched By the Media Even Though Shaq Had only 2 Points and 0 rebounds Himself. I remember a Scathing Article By J.A. that just ripped Bryant Saying he did it on purpose. I wrote J.A. and email ripping him for doing that to Bryant when Shaq had just as bad a half as Kobe did. If Kobe were to go a whole game I can only imagine the Trash that would be written about Him. The media is and always has been Biased towards Bryant. I just dont understand why though. Anyone remember James Worthys little Houston incident way back when? He never got torched for that. And never had to respond to the media or Fans for that matter like Bryant did. I have never seen a player get hammered by the media and Fans the way Bryant does. Hes only helped bring us 3 Championships and Tons of thrills since He came here. I just dont see whats to hate about Him. Name 1 player besides Jordan thats given his team and fans more? I really hope this team does well come playoff time. What better Vindication then winning another Championship in Los Angeles. What will the media have to say then? Oh I know "He had Phil Jackson" or "He had Kwame"?????

exhelodrvr, let it go, man. That was how long ago? How many games did the Lakers win ONLY because of Kobe? I think it's a little lopsided towards the good, don't you? Besides, a few years ago that foul wouldn't have even raised any eyebrows. The league has gone soft lately when a typical "don't come in here with that" hard foul is called flagrant and even sometimes draws a suspension..Maybe it was a bad decision but I think we can forgive the guy since he's the only reason we are not the laughing stock of the NBA.

MVP Race: (One these 4 guys will win MVP. Guaranteed.)

Billups
Tony Parker
Wade
Nash

Why? Because all their teams will win their division and is one constant in the MVP award. Because of all the buzz in Detroit this year, I think Billups will get it.


AK
As an mvp award winner every gone scoreless in a game in any pervious season?

Gary M,

My thoughts exactly. No better way to shut the media's mouth than to win it all with this current cast of supporting players.

mike

so Nash had a scoreless game... big deal. its not going to affect his MVP chances. It's the overall impact that matters, not just 1 game out of 82.

MVP race will become motivation for Kobe if he fails to win.

Can you imagine what will be going through Kobe's head in the playoffs if Nash gets the award again? That will only cause Kobe to play even harder to prove everybody wrong again.

The Laker shave continued to prove everybody wrong this season. Only Meija has had the decency to acknowledge the error of his ways thus far. The rest are trying to remain strong or are hoping that the rest of the world has short memories.

Yo Mike Teniente,
you had a great post going till you remarked "...(Zo's)arms and shoulders look as if he does some serious working out, LIKE ME."
haha - u went from a great blog writer to a giant tool in the time it took D Fish to hit that game winning shot against the Spurs.
Let me describe this transition from my dorm room perspective playing off your Mihm metaphor: my buddies and I sat around reading your post all the while laughing and enjoying your creative yet humerous descrpition/criticism of Chris Mihm. Then all of a sudden you hit us with the infamous "like me" comment; that was definitely the unnecessary "log" in an otherwise witty post. We just sat around looking at each other thinking "hey, why did he do that?" Why did he ruin such a promising post with a meat head comment?
tool! hahaha

Profit should definitely be resigned next year. He's a solid defensive player, doesn't foul, makes the guys miss their shots. Remember when we were holding our opponents to averaging 95.4 points this season? remember that? earlier in the season? That was profit contributing to defense when kobe rested. We were playing as a true defensive team. playing great. We should re-sign him next year for cheap.

Kobe will not be the MVP. Eventhough, he's the most deserving player for it.

It's a shame, if only the team had 50 wins.

HOW TO BEAT THE SUNS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

play everbody one on one,do not, i repeat, do not double team steve nash, even if he is killing us. let him have 30 points, and 3 assists, and we would win. the shooters for the suns aren't slashers,they can't create for themselves except they are wide open(play em' close). then shawn marion, who ever is guarding him, should forget about gambling for rebounds, box him out on defense, let someone else get the rebound. on offense, sprint back and forget the rebound, the cat is quick. good thing he can't create his own shot(all you have to do stay really close to him on d so nash can't find him open) check prior stats, and you would see that when nash has very few assists with alot of points = LOSS (MOST OF THE TIME).
another thing, if the lakers played the way they are playing now at the beginning of the season, we would be seating at a very comfortable spot. i do not want an overhaul with our team, save all these trade talks, b'cos with a new team, they would be learning the triangle allover again, i rather they add one or two solid pieces without trading our core players.
I do not care who we play in the playoffs, I REMAIN POSITIVE! (awhile ago we were begging to make the playoffs)we would take it a game at a time, we lose=o well! we win= great, who's next! i'm a true fan, i'm never scared, it's not over until it's over!

S.Tan,

Thanks for the comment.

Side note on MVP race;

Take Zen's list for MVP

Billups
Tony Parker
Wade
Nash

Now trade Kobe for any of those guys strait up. Would any of those teams be getting the shaft on that deal? HECK NO!

That's what the media doesn’t realize. If the Lakers had any of those guys rather than Kobe, we would be getting a nice lottery pick next draft. No way in hell we would be making the playoffs. None of those guys could take the Lakers to where they are... only Kobe.

Never mind the fact that Kobe would make any of those teams 10x better than they currently are with their so called MVP. Imagine Kobe in D-Rock or in San Antone, we know what Kobe did w/ shaq, Kobe + Marion and company... wow.

This race is so biased!

It should be called the BPTTW award (Best Player on the Team That Wins)… not the MVP. Calling Nash the MVP is bologna.

Here's from a chat on ESPN.com today with our resident Kobe/Laker Fan BJ Armstrong:

jorge (la la land): lakers over the suns in the first round, what do u think?

B.J. Armstrong: (4:14 PM ET ) I'm going to agree with that. I'll take the Lakers as well. Kobe is going to go to whatever extreme as necessary to win in the first round. The Suns play good ball, and they'll win a lot of regular season ball games, but when the playoffs start they will start to change. I'm picking the Lakers over the Suns.

Coxman,

I have no idea if an MVP winner ever went scoreless in a game and I don't have time to do the research. But if by asking, you're inferring that Nash doesn't deserve the MVP because of that goose egg, I totally disagree. You win because of your entire season as a whole. One bad game shouldn't elminate you from contention.

AK

What's up, Lakerville! It's good to be on a streak. The Spurs had better not come half-steppin' or they will get their feelings hurt tomorrow night! Some bloggers have expressed concern as to what will happen to Kwame's production as teams begin to prepare more for him. I don't foresee much of a drop off in overall production because if he plays his game and gets good position and scoring opportunities near the rim, the man is not going to be easy to contain. He is still 7 foot tall and 280 pounds. Also, the extra attention he commands will only be beneficial to the rest of the team and afford those other players good perimeter looks. This can only make the team stronger. Kwame has shown recently that he can move the ball within the offense and find open teammates. I believe he will continue to improve his overall game.

I have to agree with AK on that one.

Nash's big Doughnut dosen't automatically disqualify him.

Just like Kobe's 81 dosen't make him a sure win.

Adam,

I did that for fun, too. It was meant as pure wit, nothing more. I thought I would get a little heat for it, but I left it in there anyway. But just for the record, I do work out myself. I also play basketball. Thanks for the comments.

mike

I also think that Nash's scoreless game is being overblown quite a bit. The guy only took five shots. I'm not saying he had a deceptively good game or played better than people are giving him credit for. He didn't play particularily well. But it's not like he missed 15 FG's and 10 FT's. Five shots, five misses. Not anything all that mindblowing.

AK

JJ,
"Can you imagine what will be going through Kobe's head in the playoffs if Nash gets the award again? That will only cause Kobe to play even harder to prove everybody wrong again."

That is the worst thing that can happen to the Lakers. When Kobe gets his personal grudges he starts trying to do everything himself.

I'm thinking teams for the rest of the regular season and the playoffs won't spend much time, if any at all, "preparing" for Kwame Brown. There will be ample time spent on trying to contain Kobe, and to some extent LO, but not Kwame. I think Kobe has shown this year that the "let Kobe get his but limit the other guys" strategy isn't the way to go. It's been used by other teams to defense stars in the past, but with 62 in three quarters and the 81, I think Kobe might have changed things a bit. Kobe will see quite a bit of double and triple teams in the playoffs and it will be up to the other guys to make it happen. I'm hoping Kwame and LO keep up the aggressive play for the last 10 games to get that mindset ingrained before the playoffs, we're going to need them to keep up the flow they're on.

tony parker is hurt, if he's out we have a good shot!

Adam,

Michael T. was obviously making a joke. He was displaying a tactic called "humor" that knucklescrapers like you are incapable of understanding.

I can't believe you wrote an entire paragraph exposing what an idiot you are.

Jon K is at it again!!

Jon K & Mike T,

One word - STONED. Remember when you were in college and had enough time for all your buddies to sit around laughing at a blog. Well, we didn't have blogs in our dorm rooms, they were called girls. Anyways, didn't you get one thing in your head that made you laugh? Wait, that was the girl your buddy hooked up with the night before. Anyways, take it easy on Adam...he's still learning to live without Eve.

When Shaq was in his prime he probably should have gotten a number of MVP awards that he never received. I don't feel sorry for either him or Kobe. MVP for season play is kind of like the academy award for best actor: more as part of a big show than for accuracy. Kobe has to take the Lakers somewhere this year in order to get MVP, and even then he would probably have to wait until next year to receive it.

Ask Sam Smith
The Tribune's pro basketball writer answers' readers questions about the NBA, the Bulls and even life!

I live in Belize City, Central America. We have a big debate going on in the gym where I work out about who is the better ball player between Kobe Bryant and Dwayne Wade. In your opinion, according to statistics, who is better of the two? Secondly, is Kobe considered the best ballplayer in the NBA today? --Kevin Cadle, Belize City, Belize

Kobe Bryant is the best player in the NBA. Steve Nash may be the MVP and Dirk Nowitzki may get more wins and LeBron James more highlight clips, but Kobe is the best combination of ferocious competitor and overall skill. Wade is terrific, but doesn't have the perimeter shooting game yet nor the experience and success in truly big games.

Lakers will lose to Phoenix 4-0!
No more stupid comments about that topic.
L.a. Will not beat an ELITE OFFENSIVE Team like Phoenix
Stop being stupid and saying L.A.'s going to win this series.
They have no shot, no chance Period

The Lakers will not make it through the first round. Let's just focus on right now not the playoffs. Because the playoffs isn't the promise land for the Lakers anymore.

What will they get out of the playoffs?

1 Answer= Experience.

That is all they will achieve this year.

Andrew Z,

I guess I've been in a bit of a bad mood recently. I'll try to tone it down, but no promises.

Hey, a question, how many 8th seeds in the NBA playoffs have made it to the Finals? How many 7th seeds have made it? Does anyone know?

the only chance the lakers have of getting out of the first round alive is if they play Denver.

That's their only shot let's see the team that stands in the way of the 6th spot.

Lakers : 38-34
Memphis: 41-30

Lakers remaining games:
March:
Thu 30 San Antonio 7:30pm -- TNT AM 570/
ESPN 1330
Fri 31 @ Seattle 7:30pm KCAL ESPN AM 570/
April:
ESPN 1330
Apr Opponent Time* Local TV National TV Radio
Sun 2 Houston 12:30pm -- ABC AM 570/
ESPN 1330
Thu 6 @ Denver 7:30pm KCAL TNT AM 570/
ESPN 1330
Fri 7 @ Phoenix 7:30pm KCAL ESPN AM 570/
ESPN 1330
Sun 9 L.A. Clippers 6:30pm FSN NBALP AM 570/
ESPN 1330
Tue 11 Golden State 7:30pm FSN NBALP AM 570/
ESPN 1330
Fri 14 Portland 7:30pm FSN NBALP AM 570/
ESPN 1330
Sun 16 Phoenix 12:30pm -- ABC AM 570/
ESPN 1330
Wed 19 NO/Okla. City 7:30pm FSN NBALP AM 570/
ESPN 1330

Memphis remaining games:

Mar Opponent Time* Local TV National TV Radio
Wed 29 @ New Jersey 6:30pm FSN NBALP WRBO-103.5 FM
Fri 31 @ NO/Okla. City 7:00pm FSN ESPN WRBO-103.5 FM
Apr Opponent Time* Local TV National TV Radio
Sun 2 Atlanta 3:00pm -- -- WRBO-103.5 FM
Tue 4 Golden State 7:00pm FSN NBALP WRBO-103.5 FM
Fri 7 Milwaukee 7:00pm FSN NBALP WRBO-103.5 FM
Sun 9 @ San Antonio 6:00pm FSN NBATV WRBO-103.5 FM
Tue 11 Minnesota 7:00pm -- NBALP WRBO-103.5 FM
Wed 12 @ Charlotte 6:30pm FSN NBALP WRBO-103.5 FM
Sat 15 @ Houston 7:30pm FSN NBALP WRBO-103.5 FM
Tue 18 L.A. Clippers 7:00pm -- -- WRBO-103.5 FM
Wed 19 @ Minnesota 7:00pm FSN NBALP WRBO-103.5 FM


hmm isnt that intersting

Lakers have to build on that 4 game winning streak and it has to start against San Antonio that's tough.

Jon K,

No 8th seed has ever made it. The Nuggets beat the Sonics in the 90's in the first round and I think that's the only time an 8th seed won a playoff series. I'm really not sure about a seventh seed. There never seems to be any big upsets though, it always seems that the team that is supposed to win does. Am I forgetting anyone?

Pretty lame post there Keven. Have you watched the Lakers this season? They have shown that when they play solid basketball and good D, they can beat anyone.

0-4 is just a bad prediction IMO.

Personally I would be more worried if the Lakers were favored to win and had home court advantage, than our current situation. They can AND WILL step it up.

I want a "I'm Sorry Laker Bloggers" post from you after we win a game in that series.

Jon,

I would love it and hate it to see the Lakers in the finals. They would get spanked!

Guity,

The MVP is determined in the beginning of the playoffs so Kobe "taking them somewhere" won't improve his chances.

JJ,

I dug your post, especially the funny part at the end about Mihm going scary biker dude.

I think you missed something huge in your comparison.

Defense. Steve Nash is a known defensive liability and by losing him the Mavs improved their defense overall. While the Suns defied conventional wisdom a bit by doing extremely well in the playoffs playing a run and gun style, it still doesn't appear to be enough to win championships.

I think the Suns this year have a better defense than last year, but I also think they are an inferior team to last year.

I think if the Lakers are peaking and the Suns are troughing we could have a shot though. We'll have to see if Kwame continues his excellent play and if life without Amare is as good as it was before Amare (within this season). I'm extremely concerned about the Suns bench.

As for Mihm, I like him overall as a player. I think his defense is fine and improved. He gets way less fouls and finally realized he doesn't have to contest every shot (and in fact realized that's just a way to get into foul trouble. He's been an important and consistent part of this team. 4 good games from Kwame at center does nothing to change that.

I think the 99 Knicks were the only team to make it to the Finals. Prior to that I'm pretty sure only the 95 Rockets made it to the finals as a 6 seed.

Keven,

Come on man, you can't seriously think the Lakers will get swept out of the 1st round. I will eat my chair if that happens. I can understand not winning the series, but to get swept? Naw, man.

I guess I'm the stupid one saying they will beat the Suns. We have a few weeks to see. Oh, and spell your name right.

KEVEN!!!!!!!!!!!
if you come in here insulting people for their beliefs, or for being true fans, then you are the idot.i love the lakers, until somebody beats them, i always believe we would win, i am a fanatic, that's where the word fan came from. if you love the suns so much, go join their blog. why do fans buy offseason tickets, you think they pay all that money believing their teams would go 0-4 in the playoffs. i won't stop believing until it is all over. lakers would win everything, if you don't like my optimism go bang your head on a wall.

This whole MVP thing is bogus. It's really tied to the team you are on. You have to be on a good team, and be playing well to merit consideration. It's not Ocho's fault that his team is not as talented as, say the Pistons or the Spurs. In my mind MVP should translate to biggest difference between having the player on the team, and off the team - all other things being equal.

In LA's case, without Kobe, we would be in Knickerbocker land right now. With him? we are in the playoffs baby :)

But I do still think that Nash is worthy of that award - goose egg or not. I wasn't sure if they would be in the playoffs without Amare, and look at where they are now. Goes to show Amare's MVP credentials :)

Oh nice, Keven has jumped onto the Lakers can't win bandwagon.

We'll be sure to remind you about it when you try to jump back on the bandwagon after we get into the second round.

Hahah, 4-0, what a silly prediction.

"Hope is a relief but reality is an acceptance"

I am a huge Kobe fan, and I'm furious that he won't get the MVP. I've watched basketball too long. The Lakers will get swept 4-0. You can be hopeful all you want, but having to accept reality is what separates me from dreamers

Being hopeful is one thing but being ignorant is another.

To all the bloggers that bashed my post, let's not get carried away, we're not a "dream" team yet, let's get back to reality shall we?

hariyahu,

The MVP is a complicated thing, some say it's the player that's the most valuable to his team, others think it should be the best player on the best team. The answer lies somewhere in between

Generally the MVP has gone to the best player/leader of the league's best team. Although there have been fairly recent cases where that didn't happen. Such as Sir Charles winning it in 93 and Malone in 97, in years where Jordan was clearly the best player on the best team in the league. Another example is last season when Nash won the MVP, the first time I can ever remember having an MVP be named that not only couldn't make a legit argument for being the best player in the league, but also on his own team.

This has led to making a distinction between league's "best player" and league's "most valuable player," generally it's gone to the same player (or players who an argument could be made in both cases). But Nash's performance the past 2 years have been incredible especially this season, and that has changed the meaning of the award a bit, so that it now leans more towards a literal most "valuable" player.

That's not to say Kobe isn't as valuable to his team as Nash, but his team has won many more games, making casting a vote his way much easier.

I don't think Keven is irrational for saying the Lakers will get swept, I just don't think it's a smart thing to say. Wait and see how they end the season first. I do believe that they won't make it past the first round. And I definitely agree with Keven in saying that this season is a valuable year for the Lakers towards gaining experience.

Remember what Phil Jackson said when he came back. "This season is about getting back to respectablity." I think the Lakers will end the season with about 44 games and steal 2 games from whomever they face in the fist round.

Reality is one thing but calling fellow who make hopeful commnents "stupid" makes you just another rude fair-weather fan.

I don't know what's up with this blog lately, too many insults and not enough basketball.

KEVEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

there you go again with all these incesant babbling, how can you say accepting reality is what separates you from the dreamers? that's bull$%it, the most successful enterpreneurs today were dreamers, and their dreams materialised. how can something be a reality if it hasn't happened yet? to go by your analogy, we beat detroit at detroit, same week beat the spurs, did your reality pick the lakers to win those games? did reality say that suns would get blown out by the nets, did your reality say that the suns would lose the following game to the bucks? this is sports, this not mathematics, until you get that into your head.........., why do we have sports betting if everything was so predictable. there's nothing wrong in you believing that the lakers would go down in four, but to attack true fans who BELIEVE is not happening, is rediculous.

Pleassse stop with this "Kwame better change into a good PF". It's now pretty obvious that Kwame is definitly more of a natural centre than the 4, and I like that we're using him that way, that we're playing to our strengths here. The kid has already been thru 4 years of being misused in Washington, now you guys are pressuring him to turn into a power forward in order to secure a spot on the Lakers??

First off, it wont even be easy for him to change, and it's not just about developing a jumpshot...ask yourself this, how hard is it for you to make a huge change in your life? Kwame is a natural centre, thats where he is instinctually mentally and physically, if the dude can develop into a stud centre, why the heck would he need to change?? Oh alright....I know....here comes the .....but Bynummmmmm....YES OK, I WOULD LIKE ANDREW BYNUM TO BECOME A GREAT CENTRE LIKE ALL OF YOU, but here's the thing, if Kwame turns out he can average 15/10 a game and bring the D and that he turns out better than Bynum at centre in the next 2, 3 yrs, you guys just should just face that and choose him over Bynum, i know...that hurts. Now if Bynum becomes the star we all want him to be, then we obviously have a situation on our hands with 2 very good centres, but really, the option of trying to mold him into a power forward isnt the best here, although a lotta you hope it will be, since you get a 2 for 1 and keep Kwame, but seriously it's riducolous to try to force Kwame into a PF position when teenager Bynum hasn't even proved himself competent at centre yet, and to think that this will actually work, trust me, ppl rarely change unless they ABSOLUTELY have to, why the hell would Kwame want to change to a PF when he knows he can be a great centre...plus I'm sure Phil understands this, and that he has already given up on Kwame being a PF and is only using the dude at the 5 for awhile now, and lets just hope the guy keeps rollin...


Xodus, you of all people should know about the rude comments people are making in the blog lately. I can't believe you're actually endorsing Keven's post calling the hopefuls here "stupid".

Go figure.

And Keven, unless you're some kind of "expert" in the NBA or can see the future, I don't think you can call anybody "stupid".

KEVEN !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

you are missing the point, this not about kobe, it's about the lakers, so your loving kobe has nothing to do with this. GO LAKERS, WIN IT ALL! WHO IS WITH ME!!!!!!!!! forget the mvp accolades, that's gratifying to an individual, i need a f**king trophy, for bragging rghts, and as a reward for all the
bulls%%t i go thru everyday being a laker fan.

In the past, rightly or wrongly, the MVP award is generally given out to a player from one of the top few teams who stands out from his teammates. To get the award while not being on one of the top few teams, the player in question has to be head and shoulders abovee the other front-runners.

It is a coin toss if Kobe is enough better than Nash this year (and possibly Nowitzki and Billups) to overcome the fact that his team is not doing as well.

XODUS!!!!!!!!!!

you too believe that the lakers would go down to the suns, fine with me, nothing wrong with that. but atleast you are not insulting die hard fans who believe.

The Lakers have the "tools" to beat Phoenix. They certaintly arent guranteed to beat them. They're not even favoured. However, I feel there's enough "hope" for the Lakers to start performing consistently, and that's what it will take to beat the Suns or any other team...If the Lakers tank the last 10 games, even if they go mediocre 500, I seriously don't think they can beat the Suns, but if they step it up, play consistent D, then its not unrealistic to say they can beat the Suns.

Michael Teniente,

You're right. We need to force Chris Mihm into a biker gang.

Jon K,

Pretty rough on Adam but I still got to thank you for a great new word "knucklescraper!!"" I'll try not to overuse/abuse it!

Zen,

That's why I say that Kobe not only has to take the Lakers somewhere, but even after he does he will still have to wait until the next year to harvest the fruit of his efforts...In fact this is exactly what might happen in the case of Billups

emman... nice post.

I wish I was keven's friend. I would make him put his money where his fingers were and bet against that "Lakers will be swept" prediction. Easiest money I would have ever made.

To be honest, I didn't think the Lakers would stand a chance against the Suns. But in the past 10 games they are only 5-5 and looking very vulnerable.

I've always "hoped" we would win the first round, now I am starting to believe that we can win it.

Dude chill, I don't endorse him calling fans stupid, that's just well stupid. I just don't think believing the Lakers will get swept in the second round is a totally irrational thought. I personally think they will have a very good series in the first round and gain valuable playoff experience.

MikeT,

Being mean is just one way to win, and I think Mihm can be successful choosing other routes. My understanding is that Mihm is learning from Kareem this year. I doubt Kareem's going to teach Mihm to be mean, but I thought I have seen a lot of improvement out of Mihm this year in his under-the-basket play and shot-blocking.

Who exactly votes for MVP, does anyone know?
Cause let's face it, if its the media (no offense AK and BK) Kobe has no chance. Personally, I think there should be a clear cut definition, other than "making your teammates better"---which I hate. If that were it, it should be named "MYTB," not so catchy is it?

The Lakers will be okay, the post season is the post season, games are slower, more defenisively tailored and mental. Let's face it, Phoenix, Dallas, Spurs, whoever, they're all good, good enough to get there, but it's all about us. What will PJ employ to get us ahead? What will Kobe do? How will our relatively young team benefit from a post-season experience? Our team will surprise us, you'll see. It is its MO, surprise! Check out all the people that said we wouldn't make it to the playoffs (and we are---I'm sure of it), that Kobe can't be a leader, that Kwame and LO will never pay off---well SURPRISE! You're wrong...lol

Go Lakers!

I just thought I'd add this in because I forgot to mention it in my earlier post. Right now I'm working under the supposition that the Lakers will continue their hot streak into the playoffs and take that confidence into the postseason and steal two games from the Suns. But I do believe that if the Suns continue to skid into the playoffs the Lake Show has a chance for an upset.

Why? Partly because of the fact that they've now lost Amare twice in less than a year. If Amare had never come back the Suns would have been better off in my mind. The reason being that they had played great all season without Amare, and when they found out he was coming back the whole team was probably thinking they had a legit shot at a title. But just three games later they've lost him once again and that has to take the air out of your sails. I could see them struggling a bit going into the playoffs, leaving them vulnerable to a Laker upset.

Faith, yes, it's the media that votes for the MVP. I don't know if AK/BK will get a chance to vote but I'd hope they'd vote for Kobe or else all of us Bloggers will beat them.

Here's how the voting goes:
It's a panel of sportscasters/sportswriters in North America so no "european media" influence. 10 points for each first-place vote, seven points for each second-place vote, five for third, three for fourth and one for each fifth-place vote received. Total them all up for each player and you have your MVP. MVP is determined before the Playoffs start but it's not announced until close to the end of the Playoffs.

Unfortunately, I don't get to vote on MVP and neither does BK, the latter exclusion pretty much guaranteeing that Von Wafer will indeed recieve no votes this season.

AK

then we might as well throw in the towel on MVP...lol

Kobe could actually win if the top votes were split between Nash and Wade and Kobe gets most of the #2 votes.

But you're right, it doesn't look like Kobe's gonna get it unless the Suns finish the season weak like they've been doing all of March.

Brandon,

I never thought of the possibility of Wade and Nash splitting the 1st place MVP votes and Kobe nabbing most of the second place votes. It could happen, unless Chauncey Billups throws a wrench in the whole thing.

Xodus, oops, thanks for reminding me, I forgot all about Chauncy. I suppose in my mind, I have no idea why he's even mentioned in the MVP race.

C'mon, his team has the best starting 5 in the NBA, why is HE so special :) Even if you threw Smush into his place, the Pistons would still be dominating the East.

Yeah I've never agreed with Billups being an MVP candidate. Doesn't that contradict everything the Pistons are about? It just like (here I go with another Florida reference) Joakim Noah getting all the pub in the NCAA tourney, it was team play that got them where they are.

Funny all this talk about the Suns, when our next game is against the Spurs. Now that is confidence.

mike

Yup, Xodus, my thoughts exactly.

Mike, so what up about the Spurs on Thursday, what do you think?

BTW fellas, I'm dieing here, this 3 day lay-off for the Lakers has had me scrambling to read all the NBA news pages.

Can't wait for tomorrow's game...for sure I'll get some Pizza, a few friends over and really enjoy the game.

Prediction...Lakers 96, Spurs 87

Brandon,

Unless there is a complete breakdown...it's a win for us.
The Key match up is Cook vs. Mohammed. We must allow Cook to play the guy one on one on the defensive side of the game. If Mohammed can beat us, so be it. But containing the rest will net us the victory. The only way the other Spurs will be free to do damage against us is if we waste our time and energy on double downs with Mohammed and Duncan. I'm confident Kwame can hold Duncan, so the key is Cook vs. Mohammed. Also, if Cook gets an early start on the offensive end by hitting a few open jumpers, that would bring Mohammed out of the paint and allow for more offensive rebounds for our team. I like our chances very much.

mike

mike

Lakers in 4, easy.

Nice post and analysis by JJ. Don't really know if today's Suns are better than yesterdays Mavs. One thing is for certain: Either team will take down the purple and gold down in six or less when it really matters; the playoffs.

Unlike the Brokebacks or Queens, who are works in progress and clawing and feeling their way up, the Suns and Mavs, for the most part, are fine oiled machines who are primed for the run.

What would be more interesting (assuming the Queens don't continue wetting themselves and miss the playoffs altogether) would be a Queens vs. Brokebacks matchup in the playoffs. Sparks would fly! For that to happen, it will have meant that the Brokebacks had won a serious number of games in the playoffs (assuming too, the the Brokebacks made it there).

Mike T,

How about the Parker v. Parker match-up. Smush has problems keeping PGs in front of him and those are guys who aren't in the top 5 in scoring in the paint.

BIG GAME TOMORROW!! LAKERS 105 SPURS 99

 
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