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Lakers guard Kobe Bryant acknowledges shooting problems, but presence is still valued

Kobe Bryant

On one half of the sideline in the Lakers practice facility stood the media, either engaged in one-on-one interviews or watching what was happening on the other half of the practice court. There was Lakers guard Kobe Bryant with two kids of a friend. The competition featured a game of H-O-R-S-E and then a game of one-on-one with one of the kids that featured Bryant dribbling around him, blocking one of his shots and displaying some of his post up moves.

"No mercy," Bryant said, laughing afterward. "There’s nothing wrong with posting up a little kid. If he wants to play one on one, he knows full well what he was getting into."

While Bryant dazzled the youngster with his presence and skills, there were also times Bryant earned letters in H-O-R-S-E. This whole session was all in good fun, obviously, so there's really nothing to draw from it rather than some chuckles. But the reason I bring it up is that some of the missed shots mixed with his usual greatness symbolized the dichotomy Bryant is currently experiencing. And it's something that left Lakers Coach Phil Jackson saying, "Kobe playing like how he is, it's hard to judge who we are right now." 

Since returning from a left ankle sprain that kept him sidelined for five games, Bryant returned last week against Memphis and put together a dazzling 32 points on 13 of 19 shooting as well as his sixth game-winner. But in the following three games, Bryant went 19 of 56 (33%) from the field. But in the last two games he provided a facilitating role. In the Lakers' 99-90 victory Friday over the Philadelphia 76ers, Bryant had eight assists and was largely responsible for Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum combining for 43 points. In the Lakers' most recent win -- a 95-89 victory over the Denver Nuggets -- the Lakers veered out of the triangle offense in the second half and used Bryant on the post drawing double teams. It resulted in more open space, a season-high 12 assists and more opportunities for other players, such as Lamar Odom (20 points), Ron Artest (17 points) and Gasol (14 points). It's an effort ESPN Los Angeles' Kevin Arnovitz and the Kamenetzky Brothers documented well.

I asked Bryant whether there was a correlation between his shooting problems and his willingness to embrace the facilitating role, or if the adjustment is based more on the defensive matchups. He tactfully dismissed the former factor ("I think people make too much of it") and highlighted the latter factor ("I just do what the defense dictates"). The spirit of my question was more for clarity and insight into his thought process, but the reason really doesn't matter.

That's because he has helped the Lakers win games, both with his scoring tendencies (six game-winners) and his recent facilitating role. His recent role isn't something that's exciting fantasy league owners or fans wanting Bryant to win the league MVP. But even though the Lakers and Bryant are eager for him to improve his shooting numbers, it's really nothing to fret about so long as Bryant is productive in other facets of the game. 

Bryant appeared to embody that willingness to adapt, while also speaking candidly to reporters about his overall game. He said he's not worried about his current shooting numbers ("I had a lot of time off where I wasn’t able to shoot the basketball"). He didn't seem concerned with his decreased lift in his jumper or how healthy his ankle is ("For the most part, I felt fine"). And he was perhaps a bit too honest about his three of 17 clip against Denver ("I would say it is a little [messed] up").

Bryant's shooting troubles aren't new. His aggravated right index finger led to a field-goal percentage of 41.2% in January. And though there were games in which he did play a facilitating role during that stretch, there were others where his hurt finger didn't stop him from taking too many shots. This time around, however, Bryant has stayed consistent with one thing. Whether it's through a game-winning shot (Memphis) or by directing the offense (Philadelphia and Denver), Bryant's return has had a positive effect on the Lakers' offense (the following charts, courtesy of Statsheet.com, show his statistical effect against Memphis, Philadelphia and Denver)

versus Memphis

NBA

versus Philadelphia

NBA

versus Denver

NBA

--Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter. E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant splits the defense of Denver guards Chauncey Billups, left, and Arron Afflalo in the first quarter Sunday. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times.
 
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Surely it cannot be a coincidence that LBJ has decided on a new uniform number for next year: 6

This is Adam Morrison's number now, and there is roughly a 100% probability that Morrison will not be wearing this number as a Laker in 2010-11.

MM,

First off, you are going to HAVE to explain those charts. I teach Calculus and Physics and I have no idea what those charts mean.

Second, if the Lakers morph into the hybrid team that supports this Jeckyl and Hyde Mamba/Facilitator superstar, then the rest of the league really has problems.

Especially when you figure in the fact that Cleveland doesn't exactly win every monster game from LBJ. His 40+/15-ish/15-ish loss to 'Melo being a good case and point.

The Lakers tend to win regardless of which role Kobe plays (a fact seemingly lost on the trolls). Kobe is really expert at manufacturing victory in a myriad of ways.

The fact is that the Lakers are the prohibitive favorite to win it all no matter which role Kobe plays. And, as the rest of the season progresses, we may see that the Lakers switch back and forth between these extremes depending on the current situation. These last 9 games have shown everyone on Earth that the Lakers really do have it all. That if you take them out of one style, they can still beat with the other.

Pick your poison, indeed.

--FEARless

GENTLEMEN START YOUR ENGINES
Lakers make quick work of the Pacers tonight, then head for the plane you got a long flight
Thursday & Friday you play back to back, Charlotte & Miami is where you’ll will be at.
This should be a three game sweep, if you play good “D” & your focus you keep
Maybe Kobe can even get some rest, Come out in the 1st half & hit them with your best
The Pacers are just a shell of themselves, so dispatch this team and save your health
Let Powell & Mbenga play a little more, get them ready for Denver & even the score
Although Denver needs home court & you don’t, Don’t give the Thugs what they want
Phil said Home court is not a must, “It’s not about the opponent, It’s about us”
Sounds like he’s putting on his playoff face, Lakers getting ready for the playoff race
Ron Ron’s game face is already on, his D on Carmelo was wicked & strong
Lakers it’s time to start playing your best, you have a ring, now win one for Artest
Last year it was so sad to see, Ron not participating in the Ring Ceremony
He took a discount to play with you, A ring for Ron-Ron is the least you can do.
And if this Ring for Ron you do win, In 2011 he’ll return the favor again
And so on & so on & so on it goes, how many titles to this Dynasty nobody knows
This we all do know is true, We’re the Champion LA Lakers who the Hell are you

@ MARK MEDINA, I know you are a humble and modest man but your threads of late have been...OUT FREAKIN STANDING SIR!

Mamba 24,

"Ron Ron’s game face is already on, his D on Carmelo was wicked & strong"...

So too, my friend, is your game-day verse...

--FEARless

THE Most Valuable NBA Franchise: $$$$$$$$ THE Freakin World Champion LA Lakers
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(You-Ever-NOTICE…> Holding The Line Against CHAOS)

Mamba, Jon K, Faith, LakerTom & the Lakers Blog Patriarchs (and the entire Lakers Blog family): Mini Banner Holder-ette has just been diagnosed with level 5 lead poisoning due to chipped (and CHEAP) paint in our apartment. She is fine, but please pray for her healing, health & safety. Thank you.
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I posted this yesterday but MM did not approve it. Please be respectful and allow this to be posted. I have given much to this Blog and I ask that in return that you honor my commitment to this community by posting this.

FEARless, I thought the charts were pretty self explanatory. It's organized by statistically categories and each player is given a certain color, which is explained at the bottom of the chart...

Utzworld - I approved all comments that have gone through up to this point. So for whatever reason, your comment that you said you left yesterday didn't show up for some reason. Just didn't want you to think I didn't approve any comments you posted yesterday.

MM

Tom,
"What would make Houston trade us Trevor Ariza for Luke Walton in the offseason?"
Luke Walton suddenly averaging a triple double. One can dream.
What do we play for? RINGS!!!
Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.
GO LAKERS!!!!
Posted by: Jon K. | March 02, 2010 at 07:59 AM
---

Seriously, all we are expecting from Luke is that he returns to the form that he had during his contract year, when he was averaging 11.4 ppg, 5.0 reb per game and 4.3 assists per game, while shooting 0.387 from the 3-pt area. We all remember how he hit that form: those extra hours spent at the gym practicing with his AZ buddy, Richard Jefferson.

Then right after securing a juicy 6-year contract, all of that extra practice is forgotten and his numbers immediately plummet down. I am beginning to suspect that he may even be intentionally tanking his numbers to make himself less attractive for a trade. Think about it, he gets the best of both worlds: a nice contract while playing with a championship team and living by the beach (he lives in Manhattan Beach if memory serves) in a great city. Well, that of course is a totally unsubstantiated conspiracy theory. For all we know, Luke might have really lost his touch.

M/M I'm often your staunch critic for producing so many threads but I could not let this opportunity pass by of praising your quality of threads. I believed you have surpassed the KBros in so short a time. You're a buddy of many bloggers here perhaps by not participating in their minutiae of interest. To you, passion and business are two different aspects, you just deal with facts and threads and preserved your independence.

Well, LA Times should be proud of your accomplishments and got the best person to handle these cantankerous Laker fans.

I wish Mike T. and the past bloggers would be able to come back and join our merry-go-round. You'll enjoy those Jackson Journal and JJ essays as well as the AZ's banters and so many other insightful bloggers.

I also noticed that there are few trolls lately like the Celtics, Suns, Kings and Cavs. I wish you can allow them to post in order to have different flavors of opinions. Sometimes we get tired of reading too much homerism and dichotomy of waring factions. Some bloggers want to know the general opinion of fans in general. I am sure there are also decent fans and passionate ones too outside of the Lakerville community.

@FEARLESS, What can I say? Thank you sir, much appreciated.
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PRAY FOR THE HEALTH OF utzworld THE BANNER HOLDERS CHILD & FAMILY - BANDWAGON
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(01) MAMBA24 - OWNER - utzworld my brother all my thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family. It's a shame in this day and time that this kind of stuff still happens. Stay strong Brother!
Mamba24(Larry)


Glad Kobe's workin' on his shot. A good sign that he torched that kid one on one.

I'll take the over on his shooting % tonight.

Mamba24: You are a gentleman, a scholar... and the blog poet laureate. I appreciate all that you do, every single day.

Utzworld: I simply cannot fathom how you must be feeling. I know that all of the blog faithful will be sending healing energy and thoughts to your daughter, myself included.

Mark Medina: Damn, man. You are doing a bang-up job. Thanks for keeping it rolling and keeping it real.

Go Lake Show!

Edwin, Thanks a lot for the kind words. They definitely mean a lot. And knowing how you love to keep me on my toes, I'm glad I've gotten your good graces. I definitely love interacting with you guys, but I guess I'm trying to strike a perfect balance where I'm not imposing my opinion on everyone. I'll certainly share my analysis and opinion in posts, and step in when people have questions or I need to clarify facts, but I don't want to set an environment where people think if they disagree with my premise or whatnot, that I'll just argue with them or shut them out. The whole spirit, at least I think, with what the threads should entail is people feeling comfortable interacting with everyone and sharing their two cents, even if other fans disagree. That's all part of the discussion. I want to play traffic cop and then step in when necessary, kind of like the host of a party. I want to make sure everyone's having a good time.

MM

Utz,

As you have prayed for us in times of need, I'm sure the blog nation will pray for your Mini Holderette. Please give us even his/her first name to include him/her in our weekly prayers for the sick. Also, try to document all the findings, I think you are entitled to just compensation to cover his/her medical expenses.

Mr. Nano,

A 7.5 is still a strong quake and we're fortunate to hear from you. It may take some time for the Chilean people to pick up their destroyed properties but the way you handled yourselves in midst of misery is just outstanding. Every time we hear an earthquake disaster, it send chills to people who living on a borrowed time in California. We are also in the ring of fire. I hope the Good Lord will spare us during our lifetime as the faults try to hold on to geological pressures.

Call me crazy, but I believe that in 4 years Kevin Durant will be a Laker. I see it as clear as day. Sorry OAK.


Wes

utzworld - THE BANNER HOLDER

thoughts and prayers with you, bro. as a father I can appreciate how this must be consuming you. kids are strong, and Laker fans are fighters. those 2 add up to a good prognosis.

Edwin/all: Her name is Mikayla (hence her Blog nickname Mini Banner Holder-ette - and she is in line to take the mantle...she's the only one in the house who will watch all 4 quarters of a Laker game with me). Just turned 10 months old.

I wish Mike T. and the past bloggers would be able to come back and join our merry-go-round. You'll enjoy those Jackson Journal and JJ essays as well as the AZ's banters and so many other insightful bloggers. Posted by: Edwin Gueco | March 02, 2010 at 09:13 AM

And so it came to pass after years of wandering the desert The MAGNIFICENT CALVES decided it was time to return home. The Prophet Mike of T. like most Prophets was not honored in his own home The Lakers Blog, but as time passed the sacred words of The Jackson Journals began to resonate in the hearts of Laker Nation. From Edwin Gueco to Mamba24. From Jon K. to Mr. Nano, they all yearned for those pearls of wisdom such as “I’M MIKE T, WHO THE HELL ARE YOU’ yes Laker Nation now you know Mamba24 stole the saying “Were’ the Freaking Lakers Who the Hell are You” From the secret tomes of The Jackson Journal. I now confess my sins and ask Mike T for forgiveness: BROTHER MIKE I HAVE SINNED PLEASE FORGIVE ME. I only ask that you do not hold my transgressions against Laker Nationand return, yes RETURN to this Laker Nation who sorely needs your wisdom and guidance. Many changes have beset the kingdom while you have been away, but I am sure that upon your return there will be harmony once more in the Kindom. And great shouts of joy erupted at the thought of the return of MIke of T...TO BE CONTINUED

The Cavaliers can own the regular season. Lakers are still the champs....

http://whybedumb.com/index.php/2010/03/the-cavaliers-are-the-best-team-in-the-regular-season-at-least/

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PRAY FOR THE HEALTH OF utzworld THE BANNER HOLDERS CHILD & FAMILY - BANDWAGON
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(01) MAMBA24 - OWNER - utzworld my brother all my thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family. It's a shame in this day and time that this kind of stuff still happens. Stay strong Brother!
(02) THE OUTLAW – DRIVER - Utzworld: I simply cannot fathom how you must be feeling. I know that all of the blog faithful will be sending healing energy and thoughts to your daughter, myself included.
(03) EDWIN GUECO – RIDING SHOTGUN - Utz, As you have prayed for us in times of need, I'm sure the blog nation will pray for your Mini Holderette. Please give us even his/her first name to include him/her in our weekly prayers for the sick. Also, try to document all the findings, I think you are entitled to just compensation to cover his/her medical expenses.
(04) #4 -
(05) VMAN- utzworld - THE BANNER HOLDER, thoughts and prayers with you, bro. as a father I can appreciate how this must be consuming you. kids are strong, and Laker fans are fighters. those 2 add up to a good prognosis.
(06)

Utzworld,

I will include your daughter in my devotional prayers. You can count on your Lakersblog family.

MAMBA24, please include me in your bandwagon

Mr. Nano,

I pray for you and your family's safety and your country as well.

M/M,

You are doing a wonderful job.I have not posted so much on this blog until lately although I have been a follower for 2 years now. I am still a newbie compared to most bloggers here.

M/M, You are doing a wonderful job.I have not posted so much on this blog until lately although I have been a follower for 2 years now. I am still a newbie compared to most bloggers here. Posted by: Jeanette | March 02, 2010 at 09:52 AM

Sister Jeanette, you may be a Newbie but you are a Goodie! I enjoy the fire and team spirit you bring to the Blog. Keep on keeping on.

Utz,

I was just wondering, have you moved to another apartment? Have u informed the City on this dangerous habitat?

Mamba24,

Indeed, words of wisdom from the soul of the blog -Mamba 24.

Can we please start a bandwagon for Mikayla? As the holder of the mini banner, she should be cleansed from this lead immediately heal through the power of the blog prayers.

"there is roughly a 100% probability that Morrison will not be wearing this number as a Laker in 2010-11.

Posted by: jimjoyce | March 02, 2010 at 08:25 AM"

I disagree, wearing a jersey while sitting on a sofa in Oregon while watching NBA-TV may prove to be comfortable. He is so bad, I'd trade him for Radmanovic...at least 40% osmosed thru the cranium.

Hey guys we got a new post up. Feel free to chat on old threads and repost any into the new one.

MM

Mornin' Blog Crue:

First, my best positive energy goes out to our Mini Banner Holder-ette. We hold up a banner of our own just for you, sweetie.

Just wanted to pop by and say that it's good to see so many of the regulars posting again in such fine form. It was getting a tad dreary in here for a bit. Of course this was not the fault of my beloved regulars, but it is good to once again see the things that make this blog family so special and to turn back the tide of trolls, haters, fakers, etc.

Oh and Mamba24: I...I think I love you. There. It's been said. (lol)

LakerLass

Oh and Mamba24: I...I think I love you. There. It's been said. (lol) LakerLass Posted by: LakerLass | March 02, 2010 at 10:45 AM

Stop that LakerLass, Stop that right now before I swoon! Lol!
Mamba24

FCM- i like the graphic representation of the players' contribution. A pretty nice way of evaluating, although i'm sure that since Fish got a fair amount of his color in some games the system will be dismissed as worthless. Go figure. Actually, it seems that each player didn't have a uniform color across the graphs, which was a bit confusing, but in a 'hey, i figured it out on my own so i must be smart' way it was very reassuring.

Nano, Utz - much love to you and your families, i will be thinking of both of you. As always, it's amazing how supportive this blog family is in times of trouble. Unless of course you happen to actually play for the Lakers, of course.

@Mini Banner Holder-ette, Get well and good luck child.

*
PRAY FOR THE HEALTH OF utzworld THE BANNER HOLDERS CHILD & FAMILY – BANDWAGON
* (ALSO PRAY FOR MR NANO & HIS FAMILIES RECOVERY FROM THE EARTHQUAKE
*
Mamba, Jon K, Faith, LakerTom & the Lakers Blog Patriarchs (and the entire Lakers Blog family): Mini Banner Holder-ette has just been diagnosed with level 5 lead poisoning due to chipped (and CHEAP) paint in our apartment. She is fine, but please pray for her healing, health & safety. Her name is Mikayla (hence her Blog nickname Mini Banner Holder-ette - and she is in line to take the mantle...she's the only one in the house who will watch all 4 quarters of a Laker game with me). Just turned 10 months old.Thank you.Posted by: utzworld - THE BANNER HOLDER | March 02, 2010
*
(01) MAMBA24 - OWNER - utzworld my brother all my thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family. It's a shame in this day and time that this kind of stuff still happens. Stay strong Brother!
(02) THE OUTLAW – DRIVER - Utzworld: I simply cannot fathom how you must be feeling. I know that all of the blog faithful will be sending healing energy and thoughts to your daughter, myself included.
(03) EDWIN GUECO – RIDING SHOTGUN - Utz, As you have prayed for us in times of need, I'm sure the blog nation will pray for your Mini Holderette. Can we please start a bandwagon for Mikayla? As the holder of the mini banner, she should be cleansed from this lead immediately & healed through the power of the blog prayers in our weekly prayers for the sick. Also, try to document all the findings, I think you are entitled to just Compensation to cover her medical expenses.
(04) #4 -
(05) VMAN - BANNER HOLDER, thoughts and prayers with you, bro. as a father I can appreciate how this must be consuming you. kids are strong, and Laker fans are fighters. those 2 add up to a good prognosis.
(06) JEANETTE - Utzworld, I will include your daughter in my devotional prayers. You can count on your Lakersblog family. Mr. NANO, I pray for you and your family's safety and your country as well
(07) LAKERLASS - First, my best positive energy goes out to our Mini Banner Holder-ette. We hold up a banner of our own just for you, sweetie.
(08) phred – MR NANO, Utz - much love to you and your families, i will be thinking of both of you. As always, it's amazing how supportive this blog family is in times of trouble. Unless of course you happen to actually play for the Lakers, of course.
(09) JUSTANOTHERMAMBAFAN – utz, Mr NANO - hope you and your families are all ok. My prayers are with you both.
(10) JON K - MrNano (the earthquaked), Are you okay?
(11) CHIC N STU - Welcome back Mr Nano, I hope you and your family are doing well. Utz our prayers.
(12) MARK G. - @Mini Banner Holder-ette, Get well and good luck child.

MM, you're doing a great job, but I'm with Fearless here, in no universe are those charts self-explanatory.

I also wish you and Micky (My nickname for Mikayla) the best, UTZ. Lead poisening? That sounds terrible.


Wes

Waitaminute Will you guys be realistic, this isn't fantasy football...there is no way to get LeBron withoug giving up 3 key players, one possibly Kobe, and he wouldn't want LeBron as a teammate anyway...this is Kobe's team, it's been to 2 finals in a row, this year will be 3....and you're willing to rebuild at this point.STUPID!!!!!!!!!

Hey "MAMAB24"

quit screwing around and pick your own name, you have one intentionally similar to Mamba24, a true positve blogger, get your own life somewhere else. Outahere!!!!

Ask James why he selected #6??

He selected #6 coz it was worn by Celtics great Bill Russell (who has won most rings), and Dr J (Julius Erving).

So, if #23 should be retired, then shouldn't #6 also be retired, give that Russell won the most number of rings, and I honestly dont believe they're going to get more rings than his as a player!!

Hey "MAMAB24"quit screwing around and pick your own name, you have one intentionally similar to Mamba24, a true positve blogger, get your own life somewhere else. Outahere!!!! Posted by: humanomaly (aka "The Anti-Crust") | March 02, 2010 at 12:14 PM

ROFLMFAO!! You got me bro! Hahhah, Shessh, everybody's a commedian! Lol!
mAMBA24

First, let me say that my best wishes and deepest sympathies go out to both utzworld and mr. nano, and their families in what must surely be very trying times for all of them...

Utzworld, your story is so appalling as to be almost unbelievable in this day and age, but of course I know that it must be true or you would never post such a thing here. I am horrified to think that there is still old flaking lead-based paint out in our communities for children to find, play with and get sickened by. If they can make the effort to clean up after old asbestos usage, I don’t understand why they can’t eliminate the most egregious hazards posed by the legacy of residual lead in residences as well. I hope your daughter is not harmed in any noticeable way by her tragic encounter with this disgusting reality.

Mr. Nano, I can only hope that your family is bearing up at least as well as can be expected in the aftermath of that recent devastating massive earthquake off the Chilean coast. I have a hard time registering what an 8.8 magnitude quake must be like, although I distinctly remember the San Fernando quake of 1971 back when I was still a child but of course that was only a 6.6, a full twelve orders of magnitude less than the monster which struck your country just the other day. Please remember that the immediate effects things like these leave behind all pass away eventually, even if we never forget the personal horror and tragedy they leave in their wake.

All that being said, and sincerely heartfelt, I must now offer my caveats to the commentariat...If you are easily offended you might want to stop reading here and scroll on down to the next comment...

Since I do not pray, I have no particular desire to be added to a prayer bandwagon. I hope this does not diminish my previous solicitudes in the eyes of utzworld or mr. nano, and I don’t begrudge anyone else the right to believe whatever they wish, but when push comes to shove I’m just not a bandwagon type of guy.

I’ve always had a problem with the bandwagon concept, as I will probably always associate it with the bandwagon fallacy of logic and rhetorical analysis, and ugly memories of angry mobs. However, I do not want to in any way denigrate Larry’s contributions around here in this regard. In fact, I am actually starting to warm up to his particular implementation of the idea, as he has made it into more of an accounting tool than a weapon to be used against those we don’t agree with. I know that there is no evil intent involved but we all have our personal foibles and this is one of mine. I apologize to anyone who is offended by this and beg your understanding. None of us is perfect and I’m probably further away from that unachievable aspiration than most...G’day to all!

FEARless,

"I teach Calculus and Physics..."

Please tell me more...what subject was your degree in, I would guess Math since there are so many more graduates in this field than in Physics, but either way I am fascinated to find such a fellow traveler amongst the commentariat...

I tried to teach AP Physics and Chemistry at the outset of my professional career but I couldn't hack it and ended up leaving for a much better monetary offer in Aerospace. I've always felt a bit guilty about this and as a consequence I have an inordinate respect for those noble altruists who suffer through the personal and financial difficulties of teaching. I salute your choice of profession and your dedicated persistence in sticking with it. You will have much more of a tangible effect on future generations of our descendants than I ever will and I hope that you will always remember that this is your biggest and most justly earned reward, and the legacy that all good teachers should be most proud of.

phred,

"...it seems that each player didn't have a uniform color across the graphs, which was a bit confusing..."

That was the only part that wasn't confusing for me, as I am colorblind...

Mamba24,
Please add me to the Utz bandwagon as he who dispenses so many prayers deserves many in return.

The same sentiments to Mr Narno and his family.

Aztronut,

I KNEW it! I KNEW it. You are a kindred spirit. Even if we don't always agree, we obviously think alike. I teach Calculus, AP Calculus, Physics, AP Physics and Trigonometry. I am the head of both the math and science departments here. Though its a pretty small school (100 students total for High School).

MM, is every horizontal line on the chart 100% of the team's contribution of each stat? So, you get to see what percentage of the total of that stat each player represents? However, in this context, that chart looks so "dry". It doesn't quantify at all how each stat compares in importance to the overall flow of the game. For instance, the horizontal size of blocks is the same as steals. This implies equal weight for every stat.

I think it is cool looking, but misleading.

Oh well.

Mamba24, put me on the utzworld bandwagon pronto, without delay!

--FEARless

utz, my prayers and those of my family are with you!

Aztronut,

BTW, I did it in reverse. I went into computer systems administration instead of finishing college. Made a pile of dough. Got laid off. Couldn't get re-hired (it was now post .com bubble) -- did I mention I left college to do this? Went back to school, got my degree in Computer Information Systems, and became a teacher.

I'm really teaching in a effort to ride out this recession. Trying to get re-hired in my field is quite daunting and frightening. There is now a glut of highly qualified people and not nearly as many jobs to fill. But, teaching is paying so little...

Sux all the way around.

But, they tell me here that I'm the best math and science teacher they've ever had in the history of the school (25+ years). So, there is that. They don't cash "atta-boys" at the bank, though.

--FEARless

FEARless,

I understand your predicament completely, altruism only goes so far. I wish they would pass a law that no elected representative in the local, state or federal government can make more money than the lowest paid teacher in the country. I'm serious about this but I know that it will never happen, and even if by some miracle it did, it could only apply to public schools.

I too did my teaching tour at a private high school just outside of LA, but I quickly learned that I'm just not cut out for the intense interpersonal interaction required to teach. I'm not what is commonly known as a "people person"...surprise, surprise?

I ended up doing astrodynamics, first in support of the USAF satellite control network, then Iridium if you've heard of that "phone system in the sky" and finally navigating interplanetary exploration missions in support of NASA projects. I'm quite fortunate I know, I always wanted to be an astronomer but CSULB didn't even offer a degree in that subject. Everyone pushed me to go into Math, so I ended up in Physics and now I'm as close to being an astronomer as I ever could have imagined.

Congratulations on reaching the pinnacle of your profession, unfortunately that doesn't involve a lot of monetary rewards, but I'm sure you've made impressions on young minds that will last a lifetime.

FEARless,

"They don't cash "atta-boys" at the bank, though."

That reminds me of another story, when I was first working as a subcontractor to the AFSCN one of my managers was indignant over the fact that they were asking everyone to work uncompensated overtime. He told me that the running joke around there was that anyone who worked uncompensated overtime got an "atta-boy" and if you got two "atta-boys" you were a confirmed idiot!

That one ranks right up there with other sage advise I got from mostly ex-military engineers at the beginning of my career such as, "don't be first, don't be last and never, ever, volunteer for anything!" This kind of stuff has served me well over the years. Like I said before, I got very lucky...

Aztronut,

I'm that unique nerd that actually "fits in" socially. I've been quite lucky in that regard. But, my Mom and I worked very hard on making me that way. Being an athlete as well helped tremendously. Being an elite athlete made me popular (and when you are popular, you are no longer weird, you are "eccentric"). I also had the opportunity to skip High School (I was accepted to John Hopkins University at 11), but I ultimately turned them down in favor of Prom and girlfriends, and relationships and stuff. Probably my best single decision of my life.

That decision pays dividends while being a High School teacher (and any sort of teacher for that matter).

It is quite rewarding. I just hope I don't loose my house in the meantime...

--FEARless

FEARless,

I skipped high school while I was enrolled, seriously, I skipped classes over half the time and still managed As and Bs. Then I thought I could pull off the same trick in college and it worked for everything but Physics and Math. Which is why when I finally buckled down 5 or 6 years into it I decided to focus on Physics and ended up blowing by all of my competition...by the time I left grad school I was a 4.0/4.0 and the top student in the Physics dept.

I too was rightfully considered "eccentric" and still am I'm proud to say, although I never attended school enough to be on any of the sports teams, I used to beat those guys all over the playground. These were the same guys that won CIF titles two out of the three years I was "in" high school, in both basketball and football, and I even think that we won one in baseball too but I was never quite as good at that, even though I still love to follow it. I always hung with the rough crowd, the criminal element, and did all those "evil" things that got me a police record as a minor. I'm not anti-social because I'm a nerd but because I think people are generally assholes, present blog company excluded of course...

As I always say, all it takes is a controlled effort and a single-minded porpoise...SLATFATF!

Ahhh, High School...

Well after deciding to go to high school instead of college, I became thoroughly bored with it by my Sophomore year. So, I "skipped" it as well. However, I chose a little more socially acceptable way to skip class; I joined a lot of clubs and student government (I was class president for three years). Which meant I could leave classes with an excuse almost any time I wanted to.

I got A's on all my tests, anyway, though I didn't do much homework. Because of that I graduated with a 2.88 GPA. That pretty much meant my dream college was out of the question (Cal-Tech). But, my SAT scores were very high and I was the highest scorer in the nation on the ASVAB, plus I was undefeated in track in three events for my Junior and Senior years, so I got to go to UCLA with two full scholarships.

I'm currently trying to figure out how I can go to Cal-Tech for Grad School and/or find a job at JPL (my dream employer). In this economy? Well, I can still have them in my dreams...

At least this port I've found in this storm is rewarding and fun and it does give back to the community. I just hope it doesn't destroy me financially while I wait this thing out.

What type of Physicist are you? Theoretical? Quantum? Astro-?

DUH! Your name is Aztronut! I bet you are an Astrophysicist!

Physicists, by and large, are very cool people. I had thought your moniker was a harbinger of your scientific tendencies, but I wasn't really sure.

--FEARless

PS. Let's hope the Lakers put their things down on the road trip so people stop talking 'bout Cleveland for a minute or two.

FEARless,

That’s kind of ironic, in that I work with a bunch of ex-JPLers and they all hated the place. Loved the work but hated the system, which is why they came over to us and started this relatively new space navigation practice that we are still trying so hard to expand to other missions. We are the only private entity to ever have performed navigation operations in support of NASA missions and JPL is still trying like hell to strangle us in the crib, as their only competition, using all of the political power at their disposal. I could go on and on about this but I won’t bore you with the details...

We have a handful of planetary exploration missions that we’re involved with but the primary navigation responsibilities are currently limited to New Horizons and MESSENGER, which is scheduled to arrive in orbit about Mercury next year. I consider myself a theoretical physicist and my focus in grad school was in optics, or more specifically Fourier Transform Spectroscopy, an interferometric technique that has gained a lot of traction in astronomy lately with the twin Keck telescopes atop Mauna Kea and various other instrumental applications.

However, at work I am mostly limited to engineering tasks, as I am currently the lead navigation analyst for the MESSENGER mission to Mercury. I sit in front of my computer all day and mostly process tracking data from the Deep Space Network of radio antennas to create updated spacecraft trajectories. A huge proportion of my time is spent waiting for various software programs to finish executing, which is why I have so much time available to scour the internets and post commentaries on the Laker blog.

I too always pined for Cal Tech and their famous graduate Physics department but never actually got around to applying. My SATs were also very good at around 1500 (800/800 Math and 700/800 English) and my GREs were even better at 2300 (800/800 Math, 800/800 Logic and 700/800 English) but I’m satisfied with where I ended up and can’t really see going back to school at this point unless I were to miraculously become independently wealthy. Even then, I doubt that I would quit my day job. I still enjoy it too much for that...

I’ll always owe a debt of gratitude to my high school Math teacher. I had the same guy for all three years, because I was in accelerated studies, and he let me get away with murder, literally. I used to come in to class the day before a scheduled test and get all of the prior homework assignments and then come back about 2-3 weeks later and take the test after I had completed my independent study of the material. He never batted an eye about this and I only ever cheated on one test, I just felt too guilty about taking advantage of him to do it any more after that, and ended up getting college credit for AP Calculus in my senior year. I had to work my tail off in college to catch up but the end result was that I learned my mathematics more thoroughly than most and that paid big dividends forever after.

My moniker, aztronut, actually has more to do with my hobby of amateur astronomy than my professional fascination with astrodynamics. I’m the proud owner of 13 telescopes and 6 pairs of binoculars and have a small private astronomical observatory in my backyard here in Phoenix, the heartland of astronomy. Well actually, that would more rigorously be considered Tucson, where I was born, which is a much nicer town with darker skies but unfortunately Phoenix is where the jobs are.

BTW, this is one of my favorite activities around here, having semi-private conversations on long-dead threads. If you’d like to keep it going just post a response here and I’ll keep checking back. Thanks for all the fascinating observations and friendly interaction...


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