Ron Artest: Half man. Half dog. Half brick.
"It's like two dogs with a tail, right? They got the tail. As much as they're chasing my tail, I'm chasing their tail. It's kinda crazy. I'm not chasing my tail. There's a tail in front of me. I'm chasing their tail. "
I get what Ron's saying, but if I may take the liberty of tweaking his analogy a bit... he may feel like a dog while pursuing his first championship, but he wouldn't be really be chasing the tail of another "dog" (i.e., the league's other 29 teams), because they're also currently without hardware, too. In reality, Ron's a dog chasing a trophy. A trophy with a tail (and theoretically legs, since it's leading Ron Ron on a circular chase)? Sure. Perhaps even the offspring of a dog and trophy who love each other and don't care who judges them, a back story I imagine is similar to the lovable cartoon character Catdog. I'm no expert in genetics (or animation), so I can't really say for certain. But in any event, it's a trophy with a tail pinned on it like a donkey, and Artest won't rest until the quest is completed.
From there, Artest's new physicality took an even more interesting turn, as he explained what lies ahead for the opposition attempting to stand in the way of Canine Ron uniting with a caudaled O'Brien. "As much as people are coming after us, they've got somebody that's going to be coming very hard. Even if the Lakers are complacent or whatever, which I doubt it. I know it's not true. But even if they were, I'm not. So, they're gonna continue to run into brick walls and everything. They're gonna continue into brick walls. So they might as well give up. Don't even play (the season). Just give up."
Granted, Ron said that while smiling and us media types were riffing along, so I would treat the "just give up" sentiment as more "tongue in cheek" than "bulletin board." But it did add another layer to the X-Man-ish mutant Artest was transforming into before our very eyes. Not just man and dog, folks, but man, dog and brick. I'm picturing a creature similar to "The Thing," but with a little bit of Rottweiler in the mix.
And probably a number shaved into the back of his head at some point. And fingers able to handle a very active Twitter account.
By the way, if you're thinking that I'm thinking "photoshop contest with tailed trophies and dog/brick Artest," then you and I are simpatico, friend-o. If you got the time, we've got the email. firstname.lastname@example.org. As I think has been well established, we live for this sort of wacky nonsense.
Well, Ron the Brick Dog's quest to wear a ring on his collar will be aided greatly by his ability to meld into the Lakers system, a process that's seen gradual improvement (most notably last night's effort against the Clippers), but has remained nonetheless a work in progress. In a way, I figured Artest might feel a little less pressure to make it happen ASAP, as his new team's talent level prevents them from being utterly dependant on an immediate "light bulb" moment. I figured wrong. "You always want to be held accountable," explained Artest. "Everybody should be held accountable, so to speak. You don't want to come to a situation, knowing that it's a championship team and just sit back... you might not win. So everybody's gotta put in that extra time."
The video begins with Ron talking about his late friend Mike Chatfield, a basketball mentor 37 recently claimed is the best he's ever faced, including Kobe Bryant and Brandon Roy.
On the flip side, even as Artest deals with the inevitable trial and error accompanying the early season, he remains confident in the D that's been his calling card. Like, really confident. "Confident enough that you're comfortable labeling Kobe an 'improved' defender" confident.
And finally, a little from Phil Jackson about Adam Morrison's rising comfort level, the proximity-centric preseason opponents (Charlotte aside) and his trio of backup guards.
Oh, when Phil refers to Lamar Odom as "the best" over Pau Gasol and Luke Walton, he was ranking their respective health. Of the three nursing injuries, LO basically had a full practice today and is considered probable for tomorrow's game against Golden State, while Pau/Luke were limited and remain doubtful.