Dec 20, 2014

Why the Lakers must make a move by the trade deadline

It has been an arduous season to say the least. With a roster filled with a lot of players with 1-year deals, the Lakers aren't exactly in contention. Not even for the playoffs as it stands. The bright spots have been the play of Kobe Bryant, who after a major injury, has proved doubters wrong and Nick Young who continues to play well. Ed Davis has also surprised us with this level of play,hustle, and defense. A great find by Mitch Kupchak. It simply isn't enough for this storied franchise.

If the Lakers want to be in contention for next year and beyond, a move must be made by the trade deadline. They need a future point guard who will lead the way. They are missing that key piece desperately. Lin has had his up and downs this year. He's over thinking the game instead of it coming to him naturally. Price has been solid defensively, but lacks offensive punch. Rookie Jordan Clarkson has seen very little playing time, which is not uncommon for rookies. The biggest hole the Lakers need to fix is certainly in this position.

If the Lakers need to give up a big man and an extra player to get a prototypical point guard, then let it be so. In order for the Lakers to lure in a big name free agent next season, they need one other player other than Kobe Bryant. It's going to be difficult to get a big name to come to the Lakers next season if that player feels like there's no chance the Lakers can contend for the playoffs or even the title. Jim Buss has said that if he doesn't make the Lakers contenders in 3 years that he would step down. This year is year one and it hasn't looked good. Kobe's career is coming to an end and if they want to at least make the playoffs in his tenure then they must do something at the trade deadline to further enhance their position to land a key name this off season.

Dec 17, 2014

Kobe surpasses Jordan in scoring. What is the significance?

With 32,293 points, Kobe Bryant surpassed Jordan for 3rd on the all-time scoring list. That achievement in itself is amazing. Yes, it did take Kobe longer to achieve this goal, but Kobe wasn't even supposed to be at this point. How is that you ask? Well, after a devastating torn Achilles injury that would end or even slow down a players' career, Kobe has been playing like the Kobe of old except that he's 36 going on 37. That in itself is pretty darn impressive. 

There will always be comparisons between Jordan and Kobe respectively. You can say that Kobe is the closest thing there is to Jordan in the modern basketball era. What makes them so close in comparison? It's easy... their competitive nature to go all out and do whatever it is necessary to win the game. Jordan is considered to be the greatest of all time, and I have no arguments whatsoever about that. If you want to talk statistics, I would choose Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the greatest of all time, but that's a different argument and story. 

Kobe has had an illustrious career. Coming into the league at just 17 years of age, and missing key shots in the playoffs during his early career. That never stopped Kobe from being one of the best. Kobe's failure is what drives him to succeed even more. As Kobe's career is coming close to and end, he will no doubt be one of the greatest when it's all said and done. Kobe could of technically won 7 championships in his career if he didn't lose to the Detroit Pistons in 2004 and the Boston Celtics in 2008. It would be a completely different article if that ever happened. Having 5 NBA championships is no easy task and no one can ever take those away from him. There will forever be a link between Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan. Kobe will never be Michael. Kobe is Kobe. For what he has done for the game of basketball will never be forgotten, and we'll just sit back appreciate his greatness. 

Nov 10, 2014

Lakers get their fist victory of the season

Some started to believe it would take awhile for the Lakers to win their first game of the season. It took 6 games for them to finally get that long awaited victory. Kobe has said that he's wanted the team to be consistently aggressive. The Lakers had 5 days to rest up and practice. It certainly paid off.

At the start, it looked like the the same old Lakers and that maybe their first victory would be put on hold once again. The team turned things around in the second half. Lin became much more aggressive and avoided turnovers. Ball movement was far better and the bigs were much more involved offensively. Points were spread out more evenly as the Lakers starters: Lin (21pts), Bryant (21pts), Hill (12pts), Boozer (16pts), Johnson (5pts) were more balanced. Defense was good as the Lakers held the Hornets to just 92pts total in the game.

The Hornets were led by Jefferson who had 23 pts and Walker who had 17pts. The Hornets were 3-3 coming into the game, but the Lakers played with more desperation. It was only one victory for the Lakers, but it was a victory that was very much needed. The team has to continue to play good defense in order to compete in such a tough Western Conference. They travel to Memphis on Tuesday to face the Grizzlies who have a record of 6-1. It's definitely not going to be an easy task, but if the Lakers can play hard nosed defense they could certainly surprise them.

Oct 29, 2014

Lakers fall in their season opener, Randle suffers injury

The Lakers were hoping to start off the 2014-2015 season on the right foot. Instead, they were routed by the Houston Rockets and suffered a big blow when the Lakers' 7th round draft left with a leg injury. Lakers only shot 35.4% from the field. The offense just didn't flow as the Lakers seemed like they were running motions on the court. The Lakers were led by Bryant and Boozer. Bryant had 19pts, while Boozer contributed with 17pts. It wasn't enough as the Rockets were efficient on both offense and defense.

The Lakers did make a surge in the 3rd quarter, but couldn't capitalize on turnovers. The Rockets were led by Harden who had 32pts, followed by Ariza and Jones both contributing 16pts a piece. There was also a little scuffle that ensued when Bryant and Howard got into it when Howard swung his elbow and hit Bryant in the jaw.

Things got worse for the Lakers, who have already lost Nash for the season, when rookie Julius Randle suffered a broken tibia. He had to be carried off in a stretcher while his teammates surrounded him. Really heartbreaking for Lakers fans, as Randle was just starting his career. It may be put on hold now. The Lakers were riddled with injuries last season, and now it looks as though its repeating. The only thing the Lakers can do is go out and play hard every night regardless on who in on the floor. They can't rest as they face the fast running Phoenix Suns tomorrow night. 

Oct 13, 2014

Lakers still trying to figure things out

Last night's game against the Warriors ended up in another double digit loss in the preseason with the Lakers losing 116-75. The game felt like it was over once the first quarter ended. Stephen Curry had 10pts in about one and half minutes. From there, the Warriors were shooting the lights out once again. The Warriors are one of the most dangerous shooting teams in the NBA, and they showed why.

Now, this is the preseason and its still early, but the Lakers have struggled on defense and offense the past couple of games. Bryon Scott has made it adamant that defense would be their main focus. Well, they have a lot of work to do before the season starts. The Lakers are considered to be a young team with the exception of Nash, Bryant and Boozer who are seasoned veterans. Players are still trying to get used to each other and their playing styles. It will take time and we'll most likely see some growing pains as the season progresses. The more games played, the team will eventually feel comfortable and play as a cohesive unit. Health is key for this Lakers team, and so far it hasn't been kind to them. Lin, Clarkson, Henry, Young, and Kelly have been injured, but the good news is four out of the five will possibly see action soon. Nick Young will be the only one who will miss some significant time when the season starts. 

There shouldn't be panic as it is too early to tell what this team can achieve, but they do have to start playing better as a unit. 

Oct 7, 2014

Kobe solid in preseason opener against the Nuggets

It was a long summer for the Lakers, but the team got back at it against the Denver Nuggets in the preseason opener. The focus was the health of Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash and whether or not they could sustain their energy in their first game. Kobe's first shot was an airball, but quickly scored on his second attempt on a fade away jumper. Kobe finished with 13 points and 5 assists. He looked great out there. Wasn't hesitant when jumping, and played solid defense. Nash had 11 points and 5 assists. Nash looked really good and fluid out on the floor. 

Both rookies (Randle and Clarkson) were solid as well. Randle has a quickness in a big man that you don't see too often. He handled the ball well and made some good decisions. Clarkson missed a lot of shots, but wasn't shy to shoot the ball. These two will certainly have a good NBA career if they work hard at it. Another surprise was the play of Ed Davis. Here's a guy who hasn't been really given a shot in the NBA with his previous teams (Raptors and Grizzlies). He's got a lot to prove and he played surprisingly well in the preseason game. Made some good high percentage shots and blocked some as well. 

Bryant who's in his 19th NBA season looked like the Kobe of old, with his patented fade aways, and jump shots. The healthier he is, the more the Lakers can win some games. The next preseason game will be on Thursday against one of the best back courts in the game with Curry and Thompson. 

Jul 30, 2014

Byron Scott is now head coach with lots of work to do

Los Angeles native Byron Scott was named head coach of the Lakers. A storied franchise whose luck with coaches before Scott has been less than mediocre. Scott was part of the 'showtime' era, in which he won three NBA championships. During Scott's press conference, Laker legends Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Jamaal Wilkes stopped by to talk and support their former teammate. When Laker legends show up like that, you know that it is something special. 

Scott's first agenda is for the team to understand and play defense. He has been emphasizing it time and time again. Rightfully so, since last season, the Lakers ranked close to last in the league. Not only is Scott a former Laker, but he understands the brand and what it means. He will instill that sense of pride to the current Lakers on the roster. The roster, which was constructed in the last month or so is a mix of young talent and a few veterans. Nash, Bryant, and Boozer will have the most experience on the roster. Last year, health plagued the team resulting in multiple different lineups throughput the year. Players like Nick Young, Jeremy Lin, Xavier Henry, Wesley Johnson, Jordan Hill, Ed Davis, and Julius Randle will be heavily counted on through a tough NBA season. Scott will have to mold this team to compete in a extremely tough Western Conference. There's certainly a lot of work to do. Scott will also have to put together his coaching staff, which will presumably be done soon. 

There was never this much excitement heading into a season. A new coach with Laker ties, and a young roster will definitely be interesting to watch. Is this a championship built team? Maybe not, but they can compete if they learned to play together as a unit and toughen up on defense. The Lakers will try to make the playoffs with Scott at the helm.  Scott still has a lot to prove coaching wise. He will be ready to take on the challenge and see if he can lead a Laker team to the promise land in years to come. 

Jul 23, 2014

Bright future for Randle

The Lakers 7th pick has high expectations. Randle is the Lakers highest top 10 lottery pick since James Worthy in 1982, who was selected number one overall. Randle didn't play in the teams first summer league game, and didn't know if he would play in the tournament. Randle didn't sign his contract until hours before the second summer league game. 

After watching this 19 year old play, Laker fans have something to be excited about. Randle has excellent ball handling capabilities and quickness. He can put big and tall defenders at a stand still and can go around them. He can post up small big men with his size. His ability to get to the basket is uncanny and the quickness for his size something that can truly benefit his game. He can also grab boards and is relentless. The characteristics he has in his game reminds us of James Worthy, who had a similar way of playing. Worthy could also post up, use his quickness to get to the basket, and was a good rebounder and defender.

Randle will get to learn from Kobe Bryant who has had a stellar career. His guidance will definitely help Julius down the road. Carlos Boozer, who is a new Laker addition, has been around the league as well and is a seasoned veteran at the power forward position. Randle will be set up with all the tools needed to have a great career in the NBA. Of course, he's got to work hard and earn it. There's no doubt that the Lakers picked up a gem in Randle. We'll wait and see how his career grows with the Lakers.