Some half season thoughts on the Lakers, Drew and Lebron.
Posted by: SPQR on Jan 26, 2011 - 04:16 PM
With the year about half way gone, I have some thoughts about what I have seen from our team and a few other subjects.|
For the Lakers, after some very bumpy moments and losses that should never have happened, they seem to be playing better. They don’t strike me as a shoe in to win the three peat, mostly because of Boston and San Antonio, but they are certainly a serious championship contender who merits high consideration as the eventual holder of the championship trophy. The talent to win it is still there. If the mindset, effort and smart application of what they have follows in the second half of the year, chances are good we will get that final leg of the bling trifecta.
The Lakers seem to be reacquiring their sea legs and equilibrium again, after losing it so suddenly and inexplicably. Defense, energy, enthusiasm, offensive flow, teamwork; all seem to be coming back as if a returning memories to an amnesiac. If the Lakers can keep going with they have been showing recently, build on it, they will be in fine shape come playoff time.
I really have to say that Saint Andrew of Bynum’s continued resurgence and exemplary play gives me serious hope, not only for this year but even the decade ahead to our eventual Kobe less future. To watch him play like he did last night against Utah was terrific. He scored, rebounded, played defense and blocked shots all with equal facility. He was just sublime in all phases of the game. I thought it was by far his best game of the year. The oft injured 23 year old is beginning to show why he has such strong adherents, and why those adherents have always looked on with a certain amusement at those other fans who dismissed Drew as a talentless none entity.
If the Lakers do win the title again, it will be because this kid, who has fought through so much in his short career, will have continued to improve and be the tipping point that pushes us past the Spurs and Celtics.
On a personal note, one of these days, during one of these blowouts, I would love to see Kobe and the team really force feed Saint Andrew, kind of as a thank you and reward for coming back like he has and giving the effort he is. It would be great to see him pop for 30 or more points. It would be exciting for him, for the fans and the team. It would really be fun for the kid, too. I have no doubt if Drew were on a team that featured him, he would be putting up 24-30 points a night. It would be a very nice gesture for his teammates to let him really spread his wings once in a while. Do they owe it to him? No. But it would be fun to see it happen.
The Lakers are now only 3 games behind Boston and 6 behind San Antonio. We have caught everyone else. We have given away enough games in the first half of the year. It is time for this team to charge down the stretch and try getting that home court advantage. Despite our blowout loss to San Antonio, there remains in a feeling that they can be had by us even if they have home court. I think we will show that yet during our remaining games with them during the season. But as I have said before, the Celtics with home court in the finals do worry me, and I think grabbing that advantage from them is very important. If we are going to do it, now is the time to start that drive.
At the half way point of the year, I think only Boston has the ability to stop us. That’s how I felt coming into the year. So here we are, so much closer to the playoffs, under the same circumstances. At this point, I think that’s a pretty good place to be and I will take it.
Switching gears a bit to one of LTB’s favorite subjects: Lebron James. No matter what one thinks of him as a person or how he left Cleveland, his efficacy on the court is being shown in stark relief with his old team the Cleveland Cavaliers. Last night they lost their 18th game in a row. Yes, their 18th. Think about it. It seems almost physically impossible for a NBA team to lose 18 games in a row. They now sit at 8 and 37, another mind blowing number. Last year, with Lebron, they had the best record in the league. How much impact does Lebron James have? This gives one a pretty good idea. Did he deserve those regular season MVPs? It would appear he was as good and deserving choice as any player could be.
Carmello Anthony wants out. He wants to be with the Knicks. He is going about it a bit different than Kobe or Lebron did. Lebron just sat back and left when his contract expired. Kobe yelled and screamed in public that he wanted traded. Melo has not said anything, but has made it clear, sub rosa, to management, that he wants traded. Three different men who wanted out. Three different methods. Which one is right? Which one has honor or class? Which is old school and which is selfish?
If you are going for old style loyalty, pride and character in the face of adversity, I would posit that none of them are. I would instead use the example of Steve Nash. He is a two time League MVP who has played the game on a level few have ever reached. He is now on downside of his years, his end, a championship less end, is plainly in site. Yet he still plays at a high, great level. Has he screamed to the press about wanting out? No. Has he told management to trade him to a contender? Nope. He just goes out and plies his trade as hard as he can every single night.
So who really has the class? Who is really unselfish, old school, implacable in their manhood and loyalty to his city, organization and fans? No, not Kobe. Nor Lebron, forget it. Nor Mello. It’s the aging wonder, two time League MVP Steve Nash who is showing what pride and old school back bone are really all about.
Am I knocking the other three for what they did, tried to do, or what they are doing now? No. Everyone makes their own decisions in life. Am I even saying Nash is smart or admirable for staying put and not trying to engineer a trade to win a title at this late date of his marvelous career? Not even sure I am saying that. But what I am saying is when it comes to team class, to fan and organization loyalty, to that old that old time, out of date, forgotten ethos of a bygone time, those physically much larger, bigger stars can’t hold a candle to the little man from Phoenix. Steve Nash may be the smallest in stature of the group, but when it comes to grit, heart, loyalty and backbone, he has it more than any of them.