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Just as the force was passed along from Yoda to Obi-Wan to Luke...

December 11, 2009 |  9:44 am

.... so goes the triangle from Tex Winter to Phil Jackson to Kurt Rambis.

Tonight welcomes the Clark Kent-guided Minnesota Timberwolves into town, and with that arrival comes theYoda-luke unbroken chain of learning a successful system from a successful teacher. Rambis runs Minny's show, and considering his roots as a PJ protege, it's no surprise to learn he's running a triangular game plan, especially while gifted with the rare luxury of "time" while reviving a struggling franchise. Why not run with what's worked? Besides, as we learned in Star Wars, shining tried and true lessons from learned ones can lead to epically disastrous results. (Darth Vader, I'm looking in your direction, pal!)

Beyond the systems in use, there are other similarities between the squads. Rambis' team features a center straight out of high school, booming with potential but plagued by injuries and accusations of defensive indifference. A power forward who's dealt with the "soft" tag.  From there, however, the immediate similarities cease, particularly in the "overall talent" and "experience" departments. The latter becomes a particular issue when it comes to the Lakers and Wolves' system, famous for its difficulty to grasp.

But don't cry too much for Rambis (or at the very least, shed tears without expecting Phil to ease up on his protege). He's relating well with his players, wardrobe malfunctions aside. He's also gotten used to the NBA All-Star logo culture shock of trading in flip flops for galoshes.  And while the Wolves may struggle to win twenty games this season, but the foundation for the future is solid. Even the uber-critical Charley Rosen would agree.  Dude could be in situations considerably worse (like, say, Chicago).

In other Laker news, with the first wave of ballots now accounted for, Kobe Bryant stands tops amongst all ballers with 692,518. The honor is well-earned (KB24 is, after all, Randy Hill's quarter pole MVP), but unfortunately diluted a touch by Tracy McGrady managing 281,545 as the next runner up. Sure, T-Mac has gone 21 games without a single turnover, which is very impressive. But I imagine that's due in part to roughly zero minutes played over those same games. Well done, Houston residents and Adidas loyalists. Well Done. (A "we're not worthy" is in order to Canis Hoopus for a brilliant zing on the matter.)

NBA NEWS

    -More often than not, Knicks fans get punked every time they show up to watch their team. But an improv troupe made that experience much more fun. Maybe those wacky thespians can put a smile on the face of Donnie Walsh, who's miffed over the NY scouts not zeroing in on Brandon Jennings.
    -I'm pretty sure we've seen this movie before, but for the time being, Stephen Jackson is fitting in nicley with his new squad.
    -Hardwood Paroxysm takes a look at... and it's hard to believe I'm typing this... San Antonio's declining defensive prowess.
    -Learn what Yao Ming has learned via one of my fave conceits from Esquire mag.
    -Corey Maggette is getting booed in the Bay Area.
    -Jarrett Jack is flexible like a (cooperative) gymnast.
    -ESPN's Daily Dime examines players soon eligible (and likely?) to be moved.
    -Is Von Wafer about to reenter the league? OH, GLORIOUS DAY!!!

AWESOME VIDEOS


    - A terrific sit-down (then accompanying article) between disgraced Tim Donaghy and TrueHoop's Henry Abbott, who's wielded a shovel like a methed-out gravedigger in an effort to get to the bottom of the rogue official's claims.
    -The Basketball Jones geniuses Skeets and Tas are out to prove they love all 30 NBA teams and don't play favorites.
   
AK


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