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Know thy enemy: The Western Conference, Part I

How do you know the Laker season is underway?  Besides watching last night's home opener, the barrage of KCAL ads and your general ability to read a calendar, since the games start on more or less the same date each year? 

Because we're busting out the ol' "Know thy enemy," that's why!

It's time to analyze, deconstruct and generally pick apart the Western Conference that houses Laker enemies.  All 14 teams.  All angles and aspects explored.  I've divvied up the contenders (and pretenders) into four categories, two of which will be posted ri ... gh ... t ...

Now.

TEAMS THAT DEFINITELY WILL BE WORSE THAN THE LAKERS

Minnesota Timberwolves
Give Kevin McHale credit.  He provided KG precious little help during his 12 seasons in Minneapolis, but the dude don't eff around when it comes to erasing remnants of the failed Big Ticket era.  And good call, by the way.  If you really want to rebuild, don't try to make the transition somewhat palatable.  Blow it the (bleep) up in the hopes of eventually becoming good by stockpiling young talent and cap space during those 3-5 years of being bad.  And make no mistake, this squad will be, as Homer Simpson once said, "crap on a crud."  Al Jefferson, Randy Foye (who'll be out a while), Craig Smith, Gerald Green and Corey Brewer could develop into one hell of a core.  But for now, expect the kids to experience mucho growing pains while being baby sat ... er, mentored, by Theo Ratliff and Mark Madsen.  And if McHale really wants to keep this inaugural rebuild atmosphere from turning poisonous, I'd advise making copies of Troy Hudson's and Juwan Howard's buyout papers for Antoine Walker.

Seattle Supersonics
Another team that could be good in a few years, but for now, yikes!  At least they've got one hell of a prospect in Kevin Durant to create entertaining losses.  To say this kid (who Kobe recently described as the longest player he's ever seen) can score from anywhere on the floor would be a comical understatement.  He also appears to have his head screwed on straight, which is fortunate, since the road to super-stardom will be filled with a lot of bumps in the immediate future.  Considering the Sonics are comprised of "one starter who can play but isn't a go-to guy" (Chris Wilcox), "starters who would come off the bench for almost any team other than Seattle" (Nick Collison, Damien Wilkins, Luke Ridnour), "solid role players who'll help but would likely rather be elsewhere" (Kurt Thomas, Wally Szczerbiak, Earl Watson), "youth movement dudes" (Jeff Green, Delonte West) and "the freakiest-looking kid I've ever seen in my life (Robert Swift)," Durant has already found himself in LeBron's company before even playing an official game.  He stepped into the NBA as his team's best player.

Portland Trailblazers
Greg Oden's out.  Reigning ROY Brandon Roy is battling injury.  Blazer fans are bummed.  And I'm totally suspicious.  Personally, I don't think either guy is hurt.  I think Kevin Pritchard looked at the roster and realized that despite this team's wonderful future, they're still too young to make much noise even at full strength.  So why not toss another season into the toilet, try to snag another freak-luck No. 1 pick, add O.J. Mayo to the Oden-Roy-LaMarcus Aldridge foundation and set this franchise for life?  For that result, I'd be willing to roll the dice and endure a crappy year with Joel Przybilla racking two points a game at center.  And no, that number was not a typo.  Remember, you heard this conspiracy theory here first.

Sacramento Kings
For what it's worth, there's definitely a team in the Pacific with more ill-matched or unimpressive parts than the Lakers.  You just don't hear about them, since nobody cares about the Kings anymore.  Save Nicole Richie-thin Kevin Martin, this rotation's core leaves mucho to be desired.  A star duo (Ron Artest and the thumb-addled Mike Bibby) that reportedly doesn't get along and has been on and off the block since about 1978, a small forward trapped in a center's body (Brad Miller), two power forwards (Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Kenny Thomas) who could lose their starting gig to a cat barely topping 220 pounds (Mikki Moore), and John Salmons, last season's mid-level-compensated addition whose name won't ring a bell for 9 out of 10 people reading this.  Hey, what's not to love, besides their terrible D and new coach Reggie Theus' rules, like no cellies on the bus and roadie curfews?  The perfect spirit-lifter during a sub-.500 season.   

Memphis Grizzlies
I'll be watching this rather lousy team for three reasons and three reasons only. 

1) I find the career path of Darko Milicic bizarrely fascinating (as well as his thoughts on FIBA refereeing). 

2) I'm just curious to see if Darko's presence motivates Stromile Swift, since Milicic snagging his minutes would soldify Swift as the worst No. 2 pick of the last 10 years.  Or vice versa, if Swift holds him off.  A historic "Battle to Suck Less" is in the works, people! 

3) After bringing in Pau Gasol's best buddy Juan Carlos Navarro specifically to appease the disgruntled star, I'm curious to see who G.M. Chris Wallace will swap out to add Jose Calderon, Jorge Garbajosa and Sergio Rodriguez and surround Pau with all his boys.  Will they put together a $100,000,000 package to lure Fran Vasquez out of hiding?  Whatever it takes to make Gasol "gruntled," a transformation that won't likely happen, since I'm pegging these guys for about 35 wins.

Los Angeles Clippers
Best-case scenario to stay afloat until Elton Brand and Shaun Livingston hopefully return in February: Corey Maggette becomes an efficient scoring machine, prompting Mike Dunleavy to wonder what the two ever fought about.  Chris Kaman proves that last season was a hiccup in an otherwise steadily improving career.  Rookie Al Thornton builds on a monster preseason.  Tim Thomas actually steps up for a team that needs him to become tougher and motivated.  Cuttino Mobley remains steady.  Ruben Patterson's bulldog attitude permeates throughout the squad.  Brevin Knight and Sam Cassell remain healthy enough to patch together a season's worth of quality point-guard play and leadership.

Worst-case scenario to stay afloat until Elton Brand and Shaun Livingston hopefully return in February: Corey Maggette becomes an inefficient shooting machine, prompting he and Mike Dunleavy to come to blows in a liquor store parking lot.  Chris Kaman continues looking easily distracted, just with shorter hair.  Al Thornton hits the rookie wall in January.  Tim Thomas remembers he gets the exact same paycheck no matter how he plays, which makes hitting cruise control a no-brainer.  Cuttino Mobley's biggest 2008 accomplishments revolve around his wardrobe (dude can dress).   Ruben Patterson's bulldog attitude gets him suspended twice by the team for "conduct detrimental."  Brevin Knight misses his usual assortment of games while Cassell nurses even more injuries, eventually getting dealt at the deadline to a contender that he guides to a title playing 18 mpg. 

I'm not sure either scenario will shake out exactly as described, but call me crazy: I'm picturing an outcome closer to the second than the first.   

TEAMS THAT WILL BE ABOUT AS GOOD AS THE LAKERS, MAYBE A LITTLE BETTER

New Orleans Hornets
Do yourself a favor.  If you're vacationing in the Big Easy and talking hoops with a local, don't bust out a sob story about the Laker injury woes, because you're likely to find a little spit in your gumbo.  Say what you want about the purple and gold's crummy health, but the Hornet starters missed a combined 133 games, 69 alone by Peja Stojakovic.  But even with that staggering number of contests featuring Hornets in suits, they still managed to make a serious playoff push.  If they can stay out of the trainer's room, this is a team equipped to, at the very least, nudge the Lakers further down the Western Conference ladder.  David West is the NBA's best "almost 20/10 player that nobody knows who the hell he is."  Tyson Chandler is beating Kwame Brown and Eddy Curry in the quest to be the 2001 high school draft class kid that almost lives up to the hype (as a defensive specialist/rebounding machine who alters roughly a zillion shots per game).  And with all respect to Deron Williams, Chris Paul still has my vote for league's most promising young PG.  Add Peja's triples, Bobby Jackson's ability (when healthy) to score in bunches, Mo Peterson's shooting and defense, plus solid role players like Rasual Butler, Ryan Bowen and Jannero Pargo, that's a team that can provide fits around the league.  Or at least beat the Lakers, whichever comes first. 

Golden State Warriors
Call me cynical, but I don't see Golden State improving much on last season's surprise success down the stretch.  Maybe it's because I think Baron Davis can't stay healthy enough.  Maybe it's because I think they don't have enough front-court scoring.  Maybe it's because I think they don't have enough D, whether front, back or middle court (if such a term even exists).  Maybe it's because any team with Stephen Jackson as a tri-captain seems pretty much destined to go off the rails like a ... wait for it ... crazy train.  But until the Warriors actually fall back into the mediocrity I'm predicting, they finished 2007 with the same record as the Lakers, so they deserve my treatment as more or less equals.

Incidentally, does everyone agree that last season wasn't a question of Dirk Nowitzki simply crumbling in the playoffs but literally being scared of the Warriors?   As in, "I'm frightened of these guys and I want my mommy!" Granted, between Davis, Jax, Al Harrington's mohawk and Matt Barnes running around like a tatted-out meth fiend from Fresno, the Warriors put out a decidedly edgy vibe.  But at the same time, the dude is 7' 0" and freakin' German!  Shouldn't that make him sort of tough?  I don't like tossing around the "soft" label, because I think it's often a cliche.  But I've been questioning Dirk way before the Mavs got bounced.  I was actually pretty relieved to hear Mark Cuban say that Dirk was off the table in a theoretical Kobe swap.  I'll take Josh Howard over Nowitzki any day of the week.

Part II to follow soon.

-- AK

 
Comments () | Archives (226)

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Michael A,

I didn't see anybody curse backwards.

AK

There's one simple move out there that would boost my spirits on the Lakers. Pull Magic out of the TNT studio and put him in control of basketball operations. Let Magic have the final say on all decisions basketball, and no matter what happens this year, I'll be content.

Why Jerry Buss isn't using Magic as a resource on basketball is mind boggling to me. The guy is the smartest basketball mind in the organization, has been for years.

Save us fans Magic. Pull some strings and become the head of basketabll operations. How could Jerry Buss say no if Magic decided he wanted to make basketball decisions for the Lakers? Magic should be that 'one voice' he was talking about.

It would be an instant boost of credibility for the franchise.

AK,
"I didn't see anybody curse backwards."

If you replay your live chat from yesterday at 78 PRM, you can clearly hear "Read Auerbach is dead."

Mamba24,

Will you at least provide us with a list of blogs you are willing post on?

How long have you been a "Laker fan"? Since the late 90's?

If you are a true Laker fan your loyalty will be to the team, not the individual. These players today will burn you every time. I've been a fan since Kareem was by himself on the Lakers, prior to the Magic/Showtime years. Those Showtime years were the best of times being a Laker fan.
The Shaq/Kobe years were a soap opera. It was great winning 3 in a row but you never knew what was gonna come next in the drama dept.
They should have worked out their differences. All involved are to blame. Maybe had Jerry West still been in charge this would have been worked out.
I was a big Kobe fan, Supported him through all of his drama, sided with him when it when it came to Shaq. I hate to admit it but I was blind.
I now see Kobe as a selfish individual who will not make his teamates better. The greatest of all, Magic Johnson, took a less talented team than Kobe has right now, to the finals in '91 because he could elevate everoyne's game. Kobe cannot do that. If you watch any Laker game the action stops when he has the ball. There is no flow to the other teamates.
Basketball is a team game. Kobe is a great individual player but not a team player.
I'd like to apologize to Shaq and tell him the Lakers traded the wrong guy. If the Lakers had traded Kobe instead to the Heat for Dwayne Wade and Lamar Odom and Caron Butler, we may have had a few more championships. Shaq was just a big sensitive kid who just wanted to be loved. If the roles were reversed I bet Shaq would have shown the fans more loyalty even if the team sucked, especially if the fans had been as loyal to him as we were for Kobe.
Kobe bent us (the fans) over like the Denver accuser and is now trying to leave us as though we didn't matter for nothing.
I feel used like a 5 dollar ho. So Shaq, I'm sorry for being blinded by the Wonder Boy while you were here.

I hope management does not cave into a bad deal with any team. They actually have control of the situation. They can hold out for the best deal and make Kobe suffer the fans rath while he waits. Then maybe he will wave his veto and the Lakers will get what they want. If not, then sit on his contract and let him opt out in 2years. The Lakers will have 20million plus to give to the best free agent in the market. Lakers, you do not have to do a bad deal twice. Shaq was enough. Don't do it again. True Laker fans will be patient and ride this out. Kobe in the mean time, if he's stubborn. will be 31 in 2yrs and not what he used to be. His image will be tarnished forever.
That will be satisfaction enough for me.
What comes around goes around.

The Lakers front office is as dumd as they come. You don't trade Kobe you get him help Deng isn't going to sign an extension, the bulls don't want to pay him more than 50 million because they won't be able to keep gordon too.

During free agency a team will sign Deng for max dollars you can bet your life on that one. The bulls won't, what you do is swing a deal to get Deng. Kobe wants to play with Deng, he see's what Deng will become the bulls will give him up if you give up Bynum.

Lakers add Odom to take the deal over the top and add Farmar/ or Critter and the bulls add Wallace to fill Odom's salary. Both rosters are helped tremendously and the Lakers look like one of the best front offices in the league again.

Instead they want to trade the best player in the game and watch him win championships with Deng in Chicago. The fall of a franchise or do the Lakers believe OJ Mayo is the next Jordan........ IDIOTS!!

there's too many posts to sift through but reading this morning's ESPN thingy, doesn't it sound like Artest was headed to Chicago? It would make sense. Deng comes here, Artest fills Deng's slot in Chicago, who knows what Sacto would get or what Chicago's pieces would be but that's my take. I wonder if this was turned down flat by Kobe and his people or are they open to work on this? Remember, Kobe wanted Artest here, right?

Now... are they being childish and DEMANDING Deng stay in Chicago and refusing the chance for Kobe and Artest to play together, just to spite the Lakers? If so, I say let Kobe's buttocks rot on the Laker bench for the rest of the season, just make him sit at home and stew until he agrees to a better deal with better terms. At this point, I would dare Kobe to opt out and try and get as much money as he can make here, his advertising dollars will be reduced because he will be so hated. If Kobe wants to play dirty, only agreeing to go to ONE team and DICTATE the terms of the trade in his new team's favor, then there are certainly levels the Lakers can take it to.

HAB-

It's rare in hoops b/c no trade clauses are practically unheard of. The closest thing is when a player who can opt out or is due for an extension "vetoes" a deal to a team because he makes it known he won't sign/will opt out with that new team, so they back off. But in terms of having literal veto power, I can't think of another example.

I don't necessarily think it means he has to sit, though. This sort of thing will happen in other sports where no-trades are more common, baseball being the best example.

BK

I"m happy a player controls their own destiny. Never before has a player had this kind of power, it's business. Organizations don' t give a flying F about you, when it comes to money they would kill your mother. The Lakers supported Kobe because how good he is if it was Sasha they would have cut ties.

Produce and they love you, fail and they would spit on you. It's the nature of the beast so Kobe do what you need to do. It's business, you know if you were a bum they would screw you over and laugh in your face.

So do what no man before you has ever done, be a player GM put the people around you You want to play with. In the process do to a franchise what THEY have done to players in every sport.

If you destroy a franchise on they way out so be it!! They would destroy you!!

And yea I like Kobe respect his game. I worship no man but I also don't give a crap about the name on the front of the jersey. Jerry Buss doesn't give a flying F about me so why should I care about his business?! It's a product I look at sports as a analyst not some crazed fan.

To be honest I could care less is the Lakers win another game. I respect Kobe's game, he's the most entertaining and I hope he can get to a winner. I like Garnett the same way hope he wins but to say I ride or die with a 80 year old caucasion man's team lol yea right.

P.s. it's not a black white thing it's a "real" thing. I can identify with a basketball player a lot better than the owner of a team. My dad played division 2 ball. Kobe's doing what's best for him F everyone one else get yours.

R.MANIER,

great post. many laker fans feel the same way as you - including me.

TaosHum,

great post as well. you know your stuff, glad to see that we actually agree on something.

Thanks, BK..

Makes sense.

Ex - the only problem with that scenario, which I think would have been a good move, is that it might ahve made Kobe lose it even earlier. For sure the voices calling for Mitch's head, or for Jim Buss to be fired, would have been louder.

VMan,

Thanks for narrating how Pat Riley became a coach.

I remember Chick saying at that time, that both Pat Riley and Jerry West consulted him separately on the coaching job without the other one knowing they consulted their old buddy. Pat was then an assistant of Chick, he said: "what do you think of the coaching vacancy of the Lakers? I don't have the experience, can I apply? Chick in his humorous ego said: " if you can be my assistant, you can be a coach too." Later on, JW consulted Chick as well, "JerryB approached me for the job, I don't want to be a coach, I've been a coach before and I just couldn't stand losing, it affects my health, who do you think can coach?" Chick just smiled, did not give the name of Pat but he knew then that Pat would surely be the next coach.

Life then was so simple, no extravaganza, no drama everything is honorable just like what you said: Magic approached it in the most professional way and he would like to seek employment elsewhere? The same situation with Kareem, he was not satisfied with his contract when he learned that he became just 2nd to Magic, he talked to Jerry B quietly and everything was resolved in the next few days w/o a bonfire. The media released the news, did not speculate, did not decide for the owner or the player, did not engage in rumor mongering, did not spin, did not compete for Nielsen ratings. Well, 25 years later, people have changed there are just too much information available, everyone has their own media empire through their websites. Fans have cell phone camera for instant interview. All of them are telling the "truth". They want to float an idea, they go for news conference ala OJ, the circus begins, buzzword over the net all the way to Timbuktu everyone knows Kobe wants to be traded because he emptied his locker, he skipped practice on a fake injury, he just uttered: "let it be". The same story with JB, now at 74, supposedly more stable and wiser, sipping a Hawaiian punch telling reporters few weeks ago, "my Superstar is available I'm listening for offers" on the first day of practice. lol ...the world has turned counter clockwised 25 years later on the subject - how they communicate.

By the way, call me crazy, but I'm not convinced that Memphis is going to be that bad this year. It wouldn't surprise me to see them linger around the 8 spot if everyone stays healthy, Darko plays well, and they get some good minutes from Lowry and Conley.

BK

BK,

I would call you crazy, but hey, if I'm wrong, wouldn't be the first time.

AK

Actually BK, I agree with you. I think Memphis will fight for a spot. I don't think they'll get it, but they'll be in the mix.

I might call you crazy anyway.

EX,

"Kobe is beginning to see the position he is in; any trade that approaches fair value will gut the team he is going to"

In addition to that, he is also finding out, no team out there will agree this time of "no trade clause". Supposing the Bulls are no greener pasture what happens to his power of no trade clause if bulls chose to ship him to Toronto or to Minny he becomes frozen there until he retires. It's not to late for him to soon realize, there is no place in Chicago and elsewhere to be near with his family in Newport Beach. Will Vanessa trade the cool breeze in NB to Lakeshore (w/c can be freezin' at windchill below -50 F at the height of winter)? I doubt if Vanessa would drive their SUV in an arctic place.

With regards to our conversation, last night, I just read two old stars who are still reliable: C-Webb and PJBrown are available for minimum. I just doubt whether they'd agree w/ the Lakers. Nowadays, in the eyes of an NBA player, Lakers are like molten lava, they're just to hot to handle.

Oh please, save me the talk of Ungreatfulness, about Kobe owing the Laker Front office because of his tribulations in Eagle CO. Like someone said, if it was a Sasha or someone else then they would have him sit out. Anybody here heard of what happened to that Sacramento Kings player? Yes folks, he's been charged with sexual assault...the kings made him sit this one out. If it was Kobe NO! This is the NBA, not the NFL. The NBA is more fan-friendly than any other league in the business. The league is so fan friendly that they grant open practises and teams like the Lakers can't even practice and employ defensive sets why? because watching a basketball team practice defense is not electrifying, not marketable. So whoever thinks the Kobe owed the FO think again, it would be thier ass that gets burned, Shaq was dominant but does not have half the flash that Kobe has. Besides, remember all those buzzer beaters Kobe drilled after a court appearance and flying back from Colorado just an hour before the games. (The one he did in Denver to make the Lakers clinched the Division was my sweatest memory of sticking it). He average damn near 35 points a game whenever he played after a court date. He was the one to give the Lakers thier only win in the 2004 finals...it was he who took the game over when Shaq fouled out in the 2000 NBA Finals to take the critical win over Indiana, it was him taking over that crucial game in the Finals against the sixers. If you ask me, the only finals MVP Shaq should've won was the third when they swept the Nets.

Come on...answer me this people...when Wade got hurt in his first year playing with Shaq...how come Shaq could NOT take care of business and carry the team (Miami) to the Finals? Sure it was Detriot but oh please, Ben Wallace is no match for the obstacles he faced during the Kobe years in the West. When they won it, Shaq was averaging just 9 points a game, it took the refs sending Wade to the line after countless walks for them to win the title against Dallas. And people talk about the Lakers traded the wrong guy...first off, Kobe was a Free Agent. Alot of people didn't know (including in here) that when the tension surged with Kobe and Shaq,..he pondered asking for a sign and trade deal (when he signed the first time after his rookie contract)...that was a real interview/report...not a rumor. All Kobe needs is a better supporting cast. If anyone is greatfull, it is the front office because had Kobe bolted (he didn't because his heart belonged here) The Lakers would be nothing but a glorified Hawks team with Lamar Odom being a more Pu**ified Joe Johnson. Even Shaq came out and said he believed Kobe this summer when he said they lied to him, because they did the same thing....Does the media control some people or what. Even with the crap they throw at the gullible audience, its still easy to pick out what really makes sense...we all see the games. But there goes my two-cents. I do hope Kobe stays, but if not, hey I got league pass so I'ld watch him because he's my favourite player...the Lakers will always be my favourite team.

By the way, Kobe was hated from the start, even when he stood on the podium in 96 and declared for the NBA....he was hated then, and he's hated now....I don't think thats a big deal to him. So people should stop going around saying this is damaging his image. What Image? The guy had none from the get-go.

Edwin,
I would not want Webber on the team - he is no good AT ALL defensively anymore. Brown would probably be a decent addition, but I don't think either Webber or Brown would play for the minimum. And do you want to use up the development minutes for Turiaf and Bynum on someone who is not going to make you a contender? All they would do is slow down the development of our younger players.

Michael A,
I agree; I think that if Kobe were involved in the decision, though, he would buy into a real rebuilding process.

Ex - I don't know about Kobe buying into that. Rebuilding takes a good two to three years if you're lucky. Kobe doesn't have that kind of time to wait. I think he would have wanted to bail earlier.

Average Joe, Blkthght06,

I am on board with your statements 100%. Heck, I will even use that hated 125% (how anyone can commit over 100% I do not know).

The FO needs to make a statement that they are 100% (or 125%) behind Kobe and they need to ship some people out of there.

I would start with Cook. How did he get that contract again?? If this contract was awarded 20 years ago, it would have been reported by Sarah Purcell on "That's Incredible". Truly a sham. I am 125% convinced that the Cook deal is a money laundering scheme. Just a thought....

Also, the press needs some new material. We need a cold front to blow over us so that the news can dedicate their whole broadcast to "STORM WATCH 2007 with the LIVE DOPPLER 7000HD"!! Then we can all watch a light green spot blow past LA and this Kobe story will be......"Gone with the wind". hahaha.

And last.....for those that boo'ed Kobe. You all would have cried if he would have not played. You all would have whined that you paid good money and it was wasted because there would have been a blow out.

Ok....last for sure......MATH!

Lakers - Kobe = losing by blowouts
Lakers + Kobe = anythings possible and good times.

peace people.

janaya

Ex,

I was not thinking of Turiaf and Bynum. But on Cook and Sasha, Webber can score and could attract double team. PJ can hustle and do some damage in the post.

"Please accept my olive branch and we can debate on topics intelligently in the future with out the name calling.

I was just wondering, have you ever coached or taught? You seem to have alot of insight and are passionate about the game."

Sure I'll accept your olive branch. I look forward to basketball debates.

I've been playing basketball all my life. I'm 48 years old and I starting playing in the 3rd grade. Back in the day I could really shoot the ball.

I've never coached before. Well, once I did coach some kids. I don't think I could be a head coach but I think I could be an excellent assistant coach. I mean I don't think I can put a game plan together. But if I saw a head coaches game plan I think I can perfect it. I think I can show the players how to execute the game plan.

I don't believe in letting professional players "fiigure it out." I believe as professional players they should be instructed how to go about doing things. It's the coaches job to instruct or teach to maximize execution. That's why a guy gets paid 10 million a season.

The coach is handling millions upon millions of dollars in player salaries and for that coach not to instruct to maximize execution is a crime.

mike

OldSchool,

I appreciate that you want the game to be played, "the right way". However, fans don't flock to see teams that play that way. Those games in those arenas do NOT sell out. Period.

Heck, LaBron himself, the ultimate "team" player right now in the NBA, could not raise the dismal raitings of the Finals. I say LaBron is the ultimate team player because he *can* do many of the things that Kobe can and instead tries to get his team mates involved. Yet, no one wanted to watch.

This is still a business, dude. The majority of NBA fans don't play, and therefore don't really appreciate the things you are talking about.

However, Kobe only played the way you mentioned in quarters 2 and 3, when the whole squad stunk up the place. I really don't see you bashing the rest of the guys for similarly not playing their games the right way either. I mean, what exactly did Cook do? He's the new $50 million man on the team. Shouldn't he be required to earn his pay? What did Vlad Rad do? Isn't he pulling down like $35 million himself?

Did you read the breakdown of the dimes Kobe dropped in the fourth quarter? There were 12. Only Farmar did anything constructive with them. Luke kept passing the rock back to Kobe, usually with the clock winding down. Luke had the golden opportunity to help facilitate the team concept and simply didn't. Wait, he's getting a pile of cash, too. Isn't he? He should know how to play the game as well. AND, he actually had the ball in his hands with which to do that very thing.

He didn't.

Most shooting guards in this league don't drop 12 dimes all game. There are some that don't drop 12 dimes in a week of playing. I'm not sure what the problem is, but that's a lot of passes from a guy who's supposed to be a ball hog. I just don't get why people aren't really assessing what is really happening. But, when you go back over a game using TiVo, then it really becomes obvious why Kobe gets so frustrated. He's often vilified for something that he isn't doing.

Guy is passing the ball. Guy is hitting the open man. I'm tired of people pointing out that one play were Luke was open on the break and Kobe didn't pass him the ball. Luke had just botched the previous six, count 'em, six passes from Kobe. Luke got half of Kobe's passes that game. Half. Luke was Kobe's option #1, and people are crying because Kobe didn't hit him one time on one play.

PA-Lease!

Instead of blaming Kobe. Praise the two dude who seem to know what to do with the ball once they get it. Farmar and Fish. Fish did what he's supposed to do, he shot the ball and made his wide-open jumpers. Farmar moved the ball through the offensive set. You know, what a point guard is supposed to do. I don't know what the rest of those stiffs were thinking. But, once you get the ball, you can't go blaming Kobe for your ineptitude. These are supposed to be grown men. They need to stop being babies.

All the foibles and shortcoming and we lost by 2. Doesn't sound like panic time to me. If Luke played like Luke and facilitated the offense, we win. If someone hits a FT, we win. If someone gets Kobe's back just once we he got screened off T-Mac, we win. If Phil calls a stinkin' timeout or two, we win. If the ref calls the rake job of a foul on Kobe at the end of the game, we win. If Kobe's wrist isn't hurting so he could possibly hit a free throw, we win.

Every dude on this team needs to man up and play like men.

--FearlessWhackJob

You know,

A lot of you used a one-game sample to prove that LBJ is better than Kobe by using the Laker's season opener.

Well, based on the same sample, Kobe still comes out on top; LBJ just shot 2 for 11. Ouch!

--FearlessWhackJob

 
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