Mike D’Antoni resigns: Lakers fans rejoice

The Lakers will have a new coach in 2014-15. Mike D’Antoni resigned from the Lakers last Wednesday. D’Antoni coached the Lakers for the past two seasons. In those two years, D’Antoni went a subpar 62-82. This season the Lakers had their worst season in Franchise History under MDA at 27-55 and will have a top pick in the NBA Lottery draft. Every Lakers fan called for management to fire D’Antoni, however Mike made it easy on the franchise and fans by resigning from the team. D’Antoni signed a three year contract with the Lakers, but the Lakers had a team option for his fourth season. The coach wanted Lakers management to give him assurance that he would be back for his fourth season as Lakers head coach, but the Lakers would not cave in to his demands. Since the Lakers decided not to pick up his fourth year, D’Antoni decided to walk. The Lakers are now off the hook for the four million dollars that would have been owed to MDA next season under his three year 12 million dollar deal.

The Lakers are very fortunate that Mike D’Antoni resigned after this season and before the NBA draft and summer free agency period. Now that D’Antoni or “Pringles” (called by fans) is gone the Lakers will have great leverage in pursuing free agents to attract them to come play in LA for the Lakers. The Lakers will also be able to draft a possible future franchise player in the lottery whom they can groom to be the next heir apparent after Kobe Bryant retires. Most players and free agents did not want to play for MDA so the resigning of the former Lakers head coach comes as a blessing in disguise. Players like Carmelo Anthony had no intent to play for D’Antoni, now that MDA is gone, LA seems like a paradise destination. Dwight Howard left the Lakers after the 2012-13 season because he didn’t want to play for D’Antoni.

Pau Gasol also displayed his displeasure with D’Antoni this year as said that D’Antoni does not use him correctly in the offense. Gasol was leaning to leave the Lakers in free agency this summer, but now that MDA is gone, Gasol might return to the Lakers with Kobe and the gang. Gasol wants to win championships and he wants to play for a coach that he respects.

The Lakers will have the chance to draft highly touted NBA prospects such as Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid, Dante Exum, Julius Randle, and more. With the departure of D’Antoni they can rest assured that the Lakers are headed back into a winning culture once again.

Free Agents available this summer include Carmelo Anthony, Pau Gasol, Dirk Nowitzki, Paul Pierce, Zach Randolph etc. In 2015 Kevin Love will be available if the Lakers are to pursue him, and 2016 Kevin Durant.

Coaching candidates for the Lakers include both college and NBA coaches. The Lakers are planning to make runs at the big and small names such as George Karl, Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson (recently fired by GSW), Kevin Ollie, Tom Thibedeau, Byron Scott, and Derek Fisher.

After a very bleak 2013-14 season the Lakers are hoping to turn the ship around and once again be in contention for another title before Kobe retires. The Lakers mantra has always been to win championships and they plan to do that once again through the draft and free-agency.

#Kobe30k

Kobe Bean Bryant is once in a generation, better yet once in a lifetime type of player. When I will be talking basketball with my future children and grandchildren Kobe will be the emphasis of how great the NBA was back in my good ol’ days. No player has scored at such a successful rate with such fluidity and grace. What I am concerned with is that our generation takes Kobe for granted, and with all the critics and haters they are missing out on true greatness. Kobe has already entered into the top 5 greatest players of all time. On Wednesday December 5th 2012, Kobe became the youngest of only the 5 players in NBA history to score 30,000 career points, and joins Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Karl Malone, Michael Jordan, and Wilt Chamberlain to accomplish such a feat. Not only that, but Kobe Bryant is the Lakers all-time franchise leading scorer. That fact alone is simply mind boggling. Kobe Bryant has scored more points in a Lakers uniform than the all-time greats such as Wilt Chamberlain, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, George Mikan, Shaquille O’neal, James Worthy, and the list goes on.

The most impressive fact is that Kobe Bryant has scored over 30,000 points and counting with 1 team (the Los Angeles Lakers) and has won 5 NBA championships to go along with it. Kobe not only scores at will but he also plays defense. There are a lot of players that are good offensively but they don’t play defense on the other end of the floor. Kobe does everything offensively and defensively. He is a 12 time All defensive team player (9x 1st team All Defensive, 3x 2nd team All Defensive). Kobe Bryant is one of those Hall of Famer legendary players that generations will speak of forever. KB24 is a 2x Finals MVP and a regular season MVP. The craziest fact is that Kobe Bryant has spent half of his life in the NBA playing for the Lakers and has logged in over 43,077 minutes in a total of 1,180 games. Kobe has proven to be the most durable workhorse in the NBA. Kobe is the ultimate warrior, year in year out playing through injuries yet never making excuses just finding a way to win games and contribute for the Lakers.

Kobe Bryant has all the tools one could only dream to possess. He has the unguardable fadeaway jumper, the long range three pointer, the emphatic dunk, and even the baby hook. The problem for every defender is that no matter how good they guard him the Black Mamba still finds a way to score. The greatest thing about Kobe is his mentality to win. No matter the cost, no matter the outcome he wills his team to victory. I have never seen a player who has hit more gametying or gamewinning shots like that of Kobe Bean Bryant. The clutchness of Kobe is sheerly unmatched and his will to win and determination for greatness is unparalleled.

Not only has Kobe reached the elite status of 30,000 points for his career, but he is also playing at the highest level in his 17th season in the NBA at age 34. Kobe has shot the ball extremely well with career high efficiency at 50% while leading the league in scoring at 27.4 points ppg. Kobe is firing on all cylinders and is determined to win his 6th Championship Ring and the Lakers 17th. The Lakers found a gem in 1996 when they traded the Charlotte Hornets in the draft to gain Kobe Bryant for Vlade Divac. Kobe, Kareem, Magic, Wilt, West all will be known as Lakers Legends for life. Kobe is surely to be the next statue outside of Staples Center. When it is all said and done Kobe has the chance to become the NBA’s career leading scorer if he keeps at the pace he is now for the next 4-5 years. Regardless if Kobe breaks Kareem’s all-time scoring record of 38,387, Kobe will definitely enter the Hall of Fame as one of the greatest players to ever play the game of basketball.  Much love to KB24.

                                                              -Mamba Out

One down 81 to go

The hype for the new look revamped Lakers was more anticipated than Godzilla hitting the streets of Japan. The Lakers have tons of pressure to not only make the 2013 NBA Finals but to win it. That is what happens when you sign Steve Nash and trade for Dwight Howard. Not only did the Lakers make a splash in the off-season with its new superstar acquisitions but they emptied out the whole Pacific Ocean. The Lakers now have the highest payroll in the NBA with 100 million and expectations are through the roof for this team.

Last night however the Lakers that we thought we would see did not show up. For the first 2 quarters we saw glimpses of the at times dominant high flying OOP universe Lakers, but that was merely a shadow. Am I saying that Lakers fans should already hit the panic button and jump ship? Hell no! I still believe that the Lakers are the most talented team and even the deepest team in the NBA. However there are many things that did concern me about the Lakers opening day lost to the Dirkless Mavs, led by the ancient Vince Carter, Elton Brand, and Shawn Marion (aka the 2006 allstar team).

The areas the Lakers need to tighten up and real quick are free throw shooting, defense, offensive tempo, Princeton offense, and running in transition. The Lakers were abysmal from the free throw line last night at 12-31 for 38%. 12 of 31 is completely unacceptable, it is called a free throw because that’s exactly what it is a FREE throw. This mostly has to do with Dwight Howard who was 3-14 from the line or 21%. The last Laker to shoot a lower free throw percentage (with a minimum of 10 attempts) was Shaq who in 2004 who went 2-13 for 15%. Jordan Hill was also horrendous from the free throw line at 1-6 for 16%. If Dwight Howard alone makes at least 75% of his free throws or better the Lakers win their home opener. I think that with proper coaching Dwight Howard’s free throw percentage will go up but we just have to be patient as fans. The focus for Dwight in practice should be 2-3 hours of repetitive free throw shooting. Once you practice something so long eventually you master it and it will become second nature to him. The reason why Dwight will improve his free throw shooting and not be the next Shaq all comes down to his release. Shaq had no follow through on his shot, he essentially pushed the ball like he was shot-putting a peach into the basket. I don’t think that was Dr Naismith’s original intent for the game of basketball by the way. If Dwight can improve his free throw percent to a mere 75% the Lakers will have a much easier time holding leads and closing out games because than you can’t hack a Dwight. So far it looks like Superman has found his kryptonite and that is Free throw shooting.

What is Mike Brown thinking with this so called Princeton Offense? I could coach this team to a perfect season with all that talent he has been given. Forget the Princeton offense and reacting to what the defense gives you and making your offensive reads off that. Instead keep it simple and run the pick and roll with Nash to Gasol and Howard. The Lakers have the best passing point guard in the game but yet he is limited to coming off ball screens and not handling the ball. I am baffled how Mike Brown thinks that Pau Gasol should run point forward and not Steve Nash. The Lakers should not be running a read and react offense but they should be running an attack pick and roll offense. When the Black Mamba Kobe Bryant is on your team you must know that you always need to attack. Attack the front of the rim and get easy oops and run on the fastbreak with Nash to Howard. I hope by June I am apologizing vehemently to Mike Brown regarding this Princeton offense but for now I think the Lakers should push the offensive tempo and get out on the run and use pick and roll often. For gosh sake even resurrect the Triangle at least Kobe, Metta, and Gasol know how to run that!

The biggest knock I have from last night’s game was the defense or lack of it. There was no ball pressure, no defensive tenacity at all. The Lakers seemed disinterested on that side of the ball and more concerned with trying to know where to be in the new Princeton offense. Defense leads to turnovers and fastbreaks. Mike Brown is acclaimed for being a defensive guru but he clearly hasn’t lived up to his acclaimed title. Last night the Lakers gave up 99 points to a Dirkless Mavs team who had 3 vintage stars in the Protozoa era. It is on the coach to mentally prepare the players to play and sustain defensive pressure and intensity for 48 minutes. Last year the Lakers gave up 95.9 ppg. That definitely does not sound like a defensive genius to me. The Lakers need to honker down on Defense and make sure they are protecting the rim, causing turnovers, and contesting jump shots. There was way too many easy layups and dunks that were just from a lack of defensive effort. Also the pick and roll defense was nonexistent as the Lakers need to do a better job of switching and covering the open man after the screen.

Do I still believe in my Lakers? Yes of course. This new Lakers squad has just been assembled and it will take awhile to gel. They are working out there kinks and it might take a while before there is complete chemistry happening. As Metta said “chemistry is a bad word because it blows things up, I like to use love or togetherness.” The only thing that matters is that the Lakers are clicking and firing on all cylinders in June. The postseason is when the real season begins, but that doesn’t mean you don’t try to perfect your craft in the regular season. Dwight also chimed in “just because we have a talented team it’s just not gonna click. It takes time. Just gotta continue to stay focused.”

The biggest focus for the Lakers is to improve on free throw shooting, make that a priority for Dwight and the bigs; also pick and roll frequently with Nash and the Towers, and to play with defensive intensity and create turnovers forcing bad shots, blocks and getting steals in the open court.

“We have 81 more games to play and Rome wasn’t built in a day. That’s what somebody told me.” –Superman

Superman Returns! (D12 in LA)

The biggest anticipation of the whole 2012 season and summer offseason was where would Dwight Howard end up. Would D12 stay in Orlando, go to the Brooklyn Nets, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, or the Los Angeles Lakers. Anticipation soon turned to frustration as the Dwightmare saga continued for over a year span. One day he would say he wants to stay in Orlando then the next day he would demand a trade. It was like Brett Favre’s retirement all over again. After months of trade rumors and the Lakers even considering offering Andrew Bynum an extension, I truly had given up on the prospects of gaining Dwight and believed that Bynum would be the future Center for the Lakers. Then splash the waters of the Red Sea had finally parted. On August 11th it was announced that the Los Angeles Lakers had acquired the Man of Steel Superman Dwight Howard in a 4 team trade with the Denver Nuggets, Orlando Magic, and Philadelphia 76ers. The Lakers received Dwight Howard, Chris Duhon, and Earl Clark from Orlando, Philadelphia got Andrew Bynum from the Lakers and Jason Richardson from Orlando, Denver received Andre Iguodola, and the Magic received Aaron Afflalo and Al Harrington from Denver along with Josh McRoberts, Christian Eyenga from the Lakers, and from the Sixers Moe Harkless and Nikola Vucevic. Orlando has received future picks in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2017. Many have said that Orlando got the short stick on this trade but I definitely disagree they were able to shed salary while get draft picks and young players to build for the future. The Magic are using the Sam Presti model in OKC by building for the future in the draft. In fact if Dwight Howard didn’t opt into his contract last season with Orlando they would have received nothing in return and lost him in free agency. I feel every team won in this trade and it is a fair trade on all sides. Everybody got what they wanted. The Lakers got that big man and defensive presence, the Sixers got a big scoring center, Denver got an All-star athletic wing, and Orlando got young, relieved salary cap and future draft picks. We are just fortunate that David Stern kept his nose out of vetoing this trade (CP3 hiding in the corner).

It is sad to see Andrew Bynum leave the Lakers. He was just coming off his first Allstar season and was the number 2 option in the Lakers offense.  He posted 18pg and 11pg with almost 2 bpg. He was a force in the paint, when he WANTED to be. That is the key phrase that Andrew Bynum has the Randy Moss syndrome “He plays when he wants to play.” I have always been a huge fan of Andrew Bynum and believe he has great potential but the fact that he would literally take himself out of the play if he didn’t receive his first touch was just upsetting to watch. I know that he is a young 24 year old kid and has much to learn and grow because I am a month older than he is, and let me tell you immaturity and learning how to control emotions is something that is a process that everyone even myself goes through. Dwight Howard as well is not mature as we have seen his flip flopping trade demands and removals this season so they both even out in that category. But when the Lakers were able to land Dwight Howard I was ecstatic.

Here is why Superman has entered the building ala Staples Center. Dwight Howard is an absolute force on the defensive side as well as catching the ball under the rim. He is literally the reincarnation of Shaquille Oneal. The reason why I like the Dwight Howard trade is because Superman brings it on D every night. Dwight Howard has already been 3 time Defensive Player of the Year and he is only 26. Howard has also been to 6 All-Star games and reached the Finals in 2009 losing to the Los Angeles Lakers. So Howard knows what it is like to reach the big stage. Howard needs LA just as much as the Lakers need him. LA will repair Howard’s image and make him an even bigger star and Howard in return will help Kobe along with Nash and Gasol bring home a title to Hollywood. Another giant reason why Dwight fits the Lakers is because of the acquisition of Steve Nash on July 4th. Nash now has a set of keys to his new toys. Nash will be able to run the pick in roll to perfection with Gasol and Dwight and there will now be a new “lob city” in LA and the Lakers own the rights to the airspace. D12 will see a lot of alley oops; lob passes, tip-ins and offensive rebounds. Dwight is a player who plays off the ball more than Bynum would. Howard is one of the best offensive rebounders in the game and he will have many opportunities to get easy baskets from boarding the glass and tip-ins. In Los Angeles Dwight will no longer be option 1 like he was in Orlando so there is a lot of ease and no pressure on him now. All Dwight has to do is play Defense, rebound the basketball and get easy dunks. It is the perfect scenario for Dwight he will be on a championship caliber team and the pressure is off him to score 25 and get 20 rebounds. Also adding Dwight Howard he has the chance to follow in the line of great Hall of Fame Centers from George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and Shaq.

Shaq like Dwight was the first pick in the draft from Orlando and then moved to the Lakers. Shaq and Dwight both reached the Finals in Orlando and lost, both nicknamed Superman, both Dominant bigs, both gregarious personalities, and both wanting the chance to win rings. Well Shaq was able to win 3 titles in LA, and Dwight is looking to do the same.

Superman returns to LA and this time he has all the necessary pieces to ensure that the Larry Obrien Trophy returns to Los Angeles. Kobe Bryant is still one of the greatest players and scorers the NBA has ever seen, along with adding Nash who is the best passing point guard in the NBA, and Pau Gasol who is an athletic skilled 7 foot big man who can extend the floor. To add Dwight Howard arguably the best center in the NBA who is a force in the middle and a defensive block shot beast is almost incredulous to think about and literally makes the Lakers an unstoppable force and favorites to win the NBA Finals. Not to mention the Lakers still have Metta Ron Artest Peace who is still one of the best lock down defenders in the league with an improved bench of sharpshooter Jodie Meeks, backup point guard Chris Duhon, and resigning Jordan Hill and Devin Ebanks. The Lakers look to be very lethal and deadly just like the Black Mamba himself Kobe Bryant. If there was ever a statement that Kobe wanted to dethrone the Miami Heat and reclaim his glory as NBA champion it was acquiring Dwight Howard and Steve Nash. The Lakers have just taken the king out and said Checkmate game over. “Yall playing checkers, while we playing chess” –Kobe Bryant. That is why Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak are the best front office in all of sports, it’s because they are not afraid to make the big-time moves.

Kobe Bryant welcomes the return of Superman as he goes for his last hurrah as a world champion. This is the most talented team that has been assembled. I don’t believe that chemistry will be an issue because Nash, Kobe, and Gasol are all veterans and know how to win. Nash is hungry for his first title and Kobe is hungry to get his 6th. There could not be a better scenario for the Lakers than the upcoming 2013 season. Landing D12 to LA has made me giddy and brings the most anticipation for any season since the 2010 Lakers championship. Lakers fans are now rejuvenated and like Dwight said about his coming to the Lakers “excited.” Dwight is excited to put on the purple and gold and so are the fans. Not to knock Bynum but when you are not excited to be a Laker any longer and tell the world you could play anywhere well that means your time in LA is up buddy. Unfortunately we had to say good bye to a big-time presence but fortunately we get to say Hello to a larger than life Superman. The Lakers now have another chance to build a dynasty. They could possibly win not 1, not 2, not 3, well you know how the rest goes. Dwight has the keys to the franchise after Kobe retires and now can compete to win many championships here in LA. The Lakers don’t rebuild they reload.

#17 Ring will go through #17

The emergence of Andrew Bynum has proved to be highly valuable for the Lakers and their quest to claim their 17th Larry Obrien Finals Trophy. Bynum aka Beast Bynum has had the best season of his young career so far. He finally has played through a full season with no major injuries or watching his teammates from the sidelines. Bynum only 24 years old (and a month younger than myself ) is putting up career numbers 18.7 ppg, 11.8 rpg and 1.9 bpg. Andrew at only 24 is already in his 7th season as part of the Los Angeles Lakers and was named a starter in this year’s 2012 Allstar Game alongside fellow teammate Kobe Bryant. With the play of Bynum and the back injury sidelining Dwight Howard, Andrew has become the CENTER of Attention as the most Dominant Big man in the NBA. LA Lakers coach, Coach Mike Brown said “Andrew Bynum has the ability to change the course of a game without even scoring a single point.” That is a credit to not only Bynum’s size but his ability to block shots, grab rebounds, contest shots, and even find open teammates. Bynum this season was such a beast that on April 4th 2012 against the Spurs in San Antonio, he became only the 5th player in Lakers history to record 30 rebounds in one game. The following game on April 13th against Denver he scored 30 points on 8/11 shooting. Beast Bynum is so versatile that he can score but, also he drastically can change the outcome of the game with his defensive prowess, shot blocking ability, and rebounding tenacity. Even game 1 of this first round matchup between Denver and Los Angeles we saw how Dominant Andrew Bynum can be without even the need to score. In that game Bynum recorded a triple double in the playoffs with 10 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 blocks. It was the first since playoff triple double since the Magic Johnson era. The biggest factor was the 10 blocks!! Bynum controlled the defensive paint blocking and altering almost every shot near the rim. The 10 blocks tied a playoff record with Mark Eaton and Hakeem Olajuwon.

Andrew Bynum at 7 foot and weighing 285 is one of the strongest loads to ever play in the NBA but his athleticism and skill set is unparalleled. The thing that separates Bynum from superstars like Dwight Howard, Shaq, and even Wilt is that Bynum can actually shoot. He is a big man with touch. This season Bynum averaged 69% from the free throw stripe which is unheard of from a dominant Big. Shaq, Wilt and Howard are all career 50% free throw shooters. So if Bynum can beat you down low, and has a good midrange jumper, and has even hit a three in the regular season how can you stop him? The answer is you can’t! With Shaq and Howard you do the hack a shaq technique, but it doesn’t work with Bynum. The only way Bynum can be stopped his from himself. Bynum this season has come to the realization that not only does he belong in the NBA but that he is an unstoppable beast. So when Bynum doesn’t get his necessary touches under the rim he will sometimes check out mentally. The big man needs his food and he likes to eat, so feed him the rock. Bynum who is unstoppable needs to realize that when he isn’t get the touches that he wants he can’t lose mental focus. Bynum has admitted to checking out of games and defensive lapses. If the Lakers are to win the Championship like Kobe and Lakersnation believes it will then Bynum needs to hone in on complete and total focus for 48 minutes. I would even say Bynum should concentrate more on his defensive game and offensive rebounding more than scoring. Sometimes the best way to score is to get yourself involved defensively and on the glass. Everyone knows Bynum can score, that is not the question, but for the Lakers to be Champions Bynum needs to be committed to playing Defense and Grabbing Rebounds. The little things might not be glamorous but glamor will come by doing the little things. For the Lakers to reclaim their Title and win #17 it will be all up to #17 Andrew Bynum and his determination to help his team with all aspects on the floor. Complete hunger, desire, focus, tenacity, and will makes Champions. Kobe Bryant is forging his DNA onto young Bynum and when he masters it all like his sensei #24 Black Mamba Kobe Bryant, then we will see the eliteness of a great Center whose mission is to bring home #17 ring back in the streets of Figueroa.  This Lakers team has the capability of going all the way now it depends if Andrew Bynum will be totally engaged until he hoists up the gold trophy.

Lakers: One Chess Piece Away

Lakers beat the Celtics on Sunday proving that the rivalry between the 2 most winning franchises is still in tact. The Lakers this year have been DOMINANT at home cruising to an 18-2 home record, but have been abysmal like an upset stomach needing Pepto Bismol on the road albeit 7-14. The Lakers have been 2 different teams apart from the Staples Center. At home the Lakers are unstoppable, but on the road they look anemic and out of sync. The biggest play of the Lakers vs Celtics game Sunday was a play drawn up in a timeout by Kobe Bryant. Kobe knew that the Celtics would expect the ball to come to him, so he decided to feed his power Big Bynum who was beasting all game let alone this season. The ball entered Bynum’s hands deep into the post and Andrew lofted up a sweet skyhook ala Kareem Abdul Jabbar which was the final blow to put the Celtics away. The Lakers now own the season series 2-0 against the Celtics, and it was another signature win for the Lakeshow. The other big wins for the Lakers this season was the 93-83 10 point blowout of the “Mighty” Miami Heat, a game in which the Masked Mamba dominated with 33 “payback for Dwade breaking my nose” points, and Bynum Gasol and Metta World War added a combined 44 points. It seems that Metta World Peace becomes Metta World War when the Lakers play big games vs top teams. Dwayne was ejected from that game and the Lakers and Kobe had sweet revenge against the hated Heat. The Lakers also beat the reigning champion Mavericks in Dallas 96-91. The key thing for the Lakers is to FEED the Bigs cuz they HUNGRY hungry hippos! Bynum is having a career year with 17 ppg and 12 rpg even starting in his 1st All Star Game. Pau Gasol has stepped it up lately and is contributing with double double games and he is averaging 16.6 ppg and 10.5rpg. The Masked Mamba has been unstoppable. Everyone expects it, it is just Kobe being Kobe. Kobe the Closer Assassin is averaging 28.8 pts looking for his 3rd scoring title and hopefully his 6th Championship ring.

So what does this team need in order to get back to the Finals and win it. Well the Lakers are just one chess piece away from winning it all. The coveted piece the Lakers desperately need is a YOUNG Athletic scoring point guard. The Lakers need to a Deron Williams or  Rajon Rondo to get back into serious contention. DWill would open up the floor so much for the Bigs with his innate passing ability as well as his ability to drive to the lane and score, not to mention that he is a terrific 3 point shooter (something the Lakers lack). Dwill is perennially the best point guard in the game, and if the Lakers were able to sign him than they would be able to hoist the #17 Banner in Staples Center. Rondo is also a great fit for the Lakers as he can lob it to Bynum as well as penetrate to the cup himself. The Lakers desperately need a point guard to signing an elite young point guard not only helps the present but also the future. Forget trying to aquire Dwight Howard, Bynum has proven to be just as good if not better. The Lakers real concern is starting point guard and bench play. The Bench for the Lakers is non-existent and looks like a jv girls basketball team. Derek Fisher who is clutch is even old in dinosaur years as he gets torched on a nightly basis on the defensive end. Steve Blake is not much better? Im not sure why he even has a job in the NBA. He does nothing right. He cant shoot or hit the wide open 3 ball, he cant defend, not a good passer, and he cant drive to the lane and score. The only bright spot for guard play other than Kobe Bryant is the Mini Mamba aka Andrew Goudelock who has proven he can hit the perimeter jumpshot as well as penetrate to the hoop and score. So for the Lakers to stop being inconsistent on the road and play like they do at home, they need a young scoring athletic point guard. I would prefer Dwill over Rondo for the fact that Rondo is an inconsistent shooter and relies on beating his opponents off the dribble. Ultimately if the Lakers play inside out and feed there Twin Towers like we have seen against Boston, Miami, and Dallas then nobody can stop them. Bynum and Gasol need to demand the ball and stay physical and Ron Metta Artest needs to go World War on cats and start the rumble in the jungle. Kobe will remain the Black Mamba and strike at will, but the Lakers need a younger point guard who is a proven scorer and facilitator to bring them back to that Championship level. Lamar Odom is really what the Lakers miss in terms of bench play, he was a do it all type of player that our second unit lacks right now. If the Lakers believe they can contend for a Title they need to tighten up on bench play as well as go after a solid young starting point guard. Lakers Management will either wait until the offseason to make a Blockbuster free agent signing, or they will try to ride this thing out. The trade deadline is only 3 days away and it appears that Mitch Kupchak is being forced to sit on his hands by management and try to clear as much cap space as possible. Jim Buss is trying to save money and make a profit and appears unwilling to spend to get maximum output type of quality players. We will see if the Lakers can make a trade for Deron Williams or Rajon Rondo, but by my estimation the Lakers might only make a few small tweaks if any and keep this current roster in tact. From here until March 15th its all a waiting game, like Dec 24th and hoping to wake up in the morning to unwrap an Xbox 360 underneath the Christmas Tree. Will the Lakers land a 360? We will just wait and find out.

All He Does is Lin

Linning, Linsanity, Lincredible, All he does is Lin, Linning Streak, Linfamous, BalLin these are all adjectives used to describe New York Knicks point guard the Asian Sensation Jeremy Lin. Lin has became the new Tim Tebow. The popularity of Lin has grown so fast that he has transformed from the nerdy girl to the popular hott cheerleader. There are some players that are naturally more gifted, more athletic, and just flat out better athletes, but like Tebow, Lin has risen to the occasion and has taken full advantage of maybe his last chance at success. Tebow and Lin are not the best athletes but there is one thing I know for sure is they both know how to win. They may not be the most talented but their hardwork, determination, and will have helped them to win and succeed in the highest level of professional competition. The great thing about Lin as well as Tebow is that they both are humble men and they give credit to their Lord Jesus as well as their teammates and coaches. Give honor to whom honor is due, and that’s exactly what Tebow and Lin express with their play and conduct on and off the field.

After Lin torched by beloved Lakers for 38 points on 10-13 shooting I knew this kid became the real deal. Jeremy is BalLin, in the last 5 games he has averaged 26.8ppg, 8 apg, 4.2rpg, and 2 steals per game. The Asian sensation is on a winning Streak and can’t be stopped. Lin has led the Knicks to a 5 game Linning streak in his first 5 starts of his career as point guard for the New York Knicks. On the biggest stage NY and playing in MSG (Madison Square Garden) Lin has played some of the best basketball of any player this year. To overshadow Kobe Bryant in MSG is Lincredulous that just does NOT happen. Kobe had a great night by all means scoring 34 points and 10 rebounds getting a double-double, but some how Lin blew up to score 38 points and lead his team to a victory in MSG where the Lakers have owned them going 9-0 for the last 5 years. For Jeremy Lin’s first 5 games as a starter he scored 25 against the Nets, 28 vs. the Jazz, 23 and 10 reb against Washington, 38 against the Lakers, and 20 against the Minnesota Timberwolves. With the absence of Carmelo Anthony (injured groin) and Amare Stoudemire (death of brother) Lin has done the Greg Jennings and put the team on his back doh! Lin has found the right system with Mike D’Antoni, run and gun, pick and roll offense and he has ran with his new opportunity to shine on one of the biggest stages in sports.

Lin has literally blown up the Twitter world as well with his name Trending throughout the day, he has became an overnight sensation, and he now gives hope to all of those Asian kids playing basketball through out the world.  Jeremy Lin’s roots start out as a college player at Harvard University. I know what you’re thinking. Harvard? Yes Harvard. Lin was not recruited heavily out of high school and the only schools that showed interest in him were Harvard and Brown University. Lin chose to attend Harvard without an athletic scholarship and merely as a regular student who also played basketball almost like a walk-on. Most college coaches overlooked Lin and said that he could not play basketball well at a higher level. Former Cornell head coach now at Boston College, Phil Donahue assessed the play of Lin by saying, “But he didn’t look that athletic, and he didn’t shoot it all that well. Even after his freshman year at Harvard, you didn’t give it a second thought that we made a mistake.” The fact is that every major college overlooked Lin. The same thing happened to Lin in the NBA draft. Honestly nobody in their right minds examines the draft board and takes a second look at an Ivy League player from Harvard, especially an Asian point guard. So like his college recruitment no NBA teams thought Lin was worth drafting. In the 2010 NBA draft Jeremy Lin did not hear his name called from the 60 other names.

However Lin was able to get invited to the NBA summer league where he posted decent enough numbers (9.8 pts, 3.2 rpg, 1.8 apg) to capture a contract from the Golden State Warriors. With the Warriors he played in 29 games (no starts) and averaged 2.6 ppg, 1.2 rpg, and 1.4 apg. The Warriors eventually cut Lin after his unimpressive resume at Golden State. The Houston Rockets were up next as they offered Jeremy Lin a contract. The Rockets claimed Lin off waivers and assigned him to their D-league (minors) where he was cut once again to clear room for the signing of 7 foot Center Samuel Dalembert. On December 27th 2011, Lin’s future started to change; he was picked up by the New York Knicks off waivers. If you told me this same Lin would become a starter and average over 26 points per game with the Knicks in 5 starts and score 38 points against the Lakers I would say there is no way in Hell! Hell would literally have to freeze over for this kid to start let alone post 26+ ppg. That is exactly what happened, Hell froze and Linsanity took over. It is Linsane how fast Lin has grown in popularity but it is more Lincredible how fast he has acclimated himself to the pro game in such a short time. His play during his last 5 starts has been nothing short of a Tim Tebow 4th quarter miracle win. For a guy that was not recruited and also undrafted to have this kind of success especially in the NBA is almost unheard of let alone nearly impossible for the fact he is of the Asian decent. We have never seen an Asian point guard play in the NBA let alone score big points and lead his team to consecutive victories. In Lin’s first 4 starts he has scored 109 points which is the most of any player surpassing that of Allen Iverson, Shaq, and Michael Jordan.

Lin’s upside and potential is great, and I do think he can flat out ball, he has the shot and the quickness as well as the decision making to be a great point guard in this league. The fact is that he has only played 5 games and all without Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire. Do I think his numbers will increase when both Melo and Amare get back? Absolutely. How could they not? Amare and Melo are both superstars who demand the ball to be in their hands. Melo needs to dominate the ball by bringing it up and driving to the hoop. Melo creates his own shots, and Amare needs his touches as well. The concern is more for how will Melo and Lin play together. No question that Lin can run the pick and roll with Amare all day or feed the big man down low like the glory days of D’Antoni’ Suns with Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire. But the fact is Carmelo demands the ball in his hands and he is not the player to have a shot created for him. Carmelo will not come off of down screens and catch and shoot. That is not who he is. Instead Melo is a point forward similar to Lebron and he loves to dribble drive and penetrate to the hoop. So how can a scoring yet unselfish point guard like Lin and Carmelo exist? Virtually they cannot. The only solution would be for Melo not to bring up the ball and not have as many touches in the game. For Melo and Lin and the Knicks to be effective, Melo needs to learn to play without the ball and post up as well as roll off back screens created for him like Ray Allen does in Boston. I think Melo and Lin will be most effective if Melo can learn the post up like Kobe Bryant did a few years back and score on smaller defenders without bringing the ball up in the front court. Melo can utilize that turn around jumper with his post game or take it strong to the rack. That is the only way that Melo and Lin can survive together. Then again you forget about Amare Stoudemire. Amare needs the ball in the post as well. So it is inevitable that Lin’s numbers especially points will drop down. I think that when the big 3 (Amare, Lin, and Melo) and Chandler are all on the court at the same time that Lin will increase in assists but his points will take a severe hit. Forecasting Lin to be averaging 12ppg with 9apg and 5rp. Still good numbers but a significant decrease from his 26 ppg right now.

Lin is very fortunate and he reiterates the fact in his interviews as he thanks God for his new found opportunity with the Knicks. J-Lin has found the perfect system with D’Antoni that fits him exactly. The pick and roll offense along with the run and gun nature high tempo is exactly the type of offense that has helped Jeremy succeed. If Lin was in a different system lets say the half-court set he might not have the same results that he has now. It truly has been Linsanity the way he has played these last 5 games but when you hear people say that he is better than Kobe you must tell them to pump their breaks. Kobe Bryant is an all-time great, 5x NBA Champion, 2x Finals MVP, 2x Scoring Champion, 2x Finals MVP, 1 regular season MVP; and Jeremy Lin essentially has only had 5 career starts but put up some impressive numbers. Jeremy Lin’s career is so short you cannot compare him really to anybody. Yes he is really good, but no, he is not anything near the level of greatness of Kobe Bryant. To say that Jeremy Lin upstaged Kobe is ridiculous. He scored more than Kobe at MSG which nobody does, but it is also 1 game and in that same game Kobe had no help from Bynum and his bench was non-existent yet Kobe still scored 34 points and 10 boards. So please no more comparisons between Lin and Kobe or Lin and any other player. Let Lin be Lin. Lin is a unique talent to the NBA and he is something the NBA has never seen before. He is an Asian American point guard leading the Knicks in scoring and wins.

Will the Linning Streak continue? Will Linsanity remain? I think so, but when Melo and Amare come back Lin’s points will drop quite a bit but his well rounded game will stay in tact. The good thing about Lin is that he is unselfish and does not need to score unlike his teammates Carmelo and Amare. Lin will be a true point guard and as he will facilitate to Melo and his bigs (Amare & Chandler). All I can say so far is that what Jeremy has done in his first 5 starts is truly Linsanity!