Laker Rhapsody

26 03 2008

Brilliant… funniest thing I’ve seen on YouTube this year, perhaps the funniest ever (tho’ maybe not as funny as Dramatic Lemur – another HT to J. E. Skeets). First saw it over at Ball Don’t Lie, and it was created by Errki Corpuz & first shown on the Dave Dameshek Show.

Enjoy.





LA Story – ‘Danger’ & ‘Opportunity’

16 01 2008

Jan 15th, at Seattle: Seattle Supersonics 121 – LA Lakers 123 (OT).

I’m sure most LA fans breathed a sigh of relief at the end of this game, and yes, there were some alarming signs during this game. With the loss of Andrew Bynum to a knee injury against Memphis, and being ruled out for at least 8 weeks, the chance was always that Kobe BryantKobe was going to feel the pressure to step up his offensive presence.
And did he ever.
48 points in an offensive juggernaut performance, without doubt he was the reason the Lakers won this game… but he took 44 shots to get to that 48, and only had 2 assists and 2 rebounds.
Is Kobe returning to the player that wouldn’t pass, wouldn’t trust?
Is it time to worry?
No, it’s not.

If something this awful had to happen, it probably couldn’t happen at a better time.
Whilst there are games against San Antonio, Phoenix and Dallas in there, at this point in time, none of those teams are playing the best either. The rest of the schedule is against teams that should be beatable, even sans-Bynum. Do any of the big 3 – the Spurs, the Mavs, the Suns – look unbeatable at the moment? The Lakers direct rival in the Pacific, the Phoenix Suns, have started ’08 poorly… at least by their lofty standards. 4-3 thus far, including a huge loss to the Jazz, and a loss to the lowly Clippers. The Mavericks have started pretty well – except for that loss to Sacramento – but had a pretty average December, managing 9 wins against 6 losses. The Spurs are the Spurs. But they too have started the New Year sluggishly, matching Phoenix’s 4-3 record.
Whilst Bynum will be out, 2 games versus both Dallas & Phoenix, 1 against San Antonio.

The All-Star weekend gives nearly another week of no games for the Lakers (5 days without games)… that helps too.

Chris Webber, a Laker?There are rumours flying about at the moment about interest in Chris Webber. C-Webb would fit pretty nicely into the triangle offense – he passes & shoots well. But… is he physically fit? According to the LA Times, other options being explored are said to be P.J. Brown, and DJ Mbenga.

And Kobe… At first glance, his performance against the Sonics would have fans thinking that we’re returning to the “old Kobe”. Unfortunately I didn’t see the game, but everything I’ve read points to declaring that an ‘untruth’.
Blogging over at Yahoo, Kelly Dwyer stated

“Kobe took a series of really, really good shots that rimmed out.”

and

“He wasn’t a ballhog, he wasn’t being selfish…”

Filling in for Kurt over at Forum Blue and Gold, Rob L points out that statistically, he concluded that

“that Kobe rocks the casbah.”

Within, the other young Lakers now have to step up. The big complaint on Kobe Bryant was that he didn’t trust his team, he didn’t make them better. Well, thus far this season he has, and it’s paid dividends. Derek Fisher will be fine, so will Lamar Odom. I couldn’t see myself saying this a season ago, but the return of Vladimir Radmanovic will help too. The Lakers need players like Jordan Farmar, Ronny Turiaf, Trevor Ariza and Luke Walton to come up big over the next two months. The player that’s going to see the most pressure is Kwame Brown. If ever he had a chance to make or break his career, this is it.

With the loss the Phoenix Suns suffered against the LA Clippers, that now shoots the Lakers to the top of the West… at least for now.Kiki - ‘danger’ & ‘opportunity’

In Japanese, the kanji for ‘disaster’ is ‘kiki’ (pictured). The kanji is made of two others – ‘danger’, and ‘opportunity’.
Appropriate.

add to del.icio.us :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank





I’m Sorry Andrew, Maybe I Was Wrong

29 11 2007

Andrew Bynum to the hoopRecently at two different forums I’ve been involved in conversations regarding Andrew Bynum, the LA Lakers center who was much-maligned over the Summer – from many different sources, including here at With Malice… my basic argument has been that he’s responded well to that criticism, and has made real in-roads into repaying the loyalty that the Lakers front office has shown him.

Cutting and pasting now, this was one of my comments, in response to a guy discussing my Utah piece suggesting that the Jazz could trade Kirilenko for someone like… say… Andrew Bynum.

Sorry, but no way in hell do they deal Bynum now. Not after being offered Kidd, and refusing. This is where the Lakers have put their future, and they’d look like right idiots to take Bynum now, after basically passing up Kidd, then later J O’Neal too… especially not for a guy who has obvious issues like AK-47.

Bynum has really impressed thus far this season. He’s only playing 25 minutes a game, yet averaging a double/double (11pts/10.2 rpg). He has a very high shooting % (57.6), shoots FTs well (72.5%) and gets more than a block a game… to put those statistics in perspective, Dwight Howard plays nearly 50% more than Bynum (37 min), gets 22 ppg, 14.4 rpg, and just over 2 blocks a game… and is considered to be the best big man thus far this season.
Bynum is in the top 10 in both points and blocks for centers (at 9th/6th respectively), and plays the fewest minutes out of any of the top group of centers.

If Oden started this year, and had these numbers we’d be declaring him to be doing very well indeed.  People often forget that Oden & Bynum are the same age.

Bynum just turned 20, and whilst he has a loooong way to go, he’s on the way. On various opponent blogs he’s been described both as a ‘beast’ and a ‘monster’. What’s he going to be like in a few years time?
No, LA will keep Bynum, as well they should.

Admittedly, the Kidd trade included other pieces from the Lakers as well, but the sticking point was Bynum.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m not backflipping now & declaring him to be the second coming (of Shaq?), but I can see that he’s going to be a valuable player to the Lakers… and can understand them not taking the plunge on Kidd.  Kinda…

I’ll stand by my comment on Oden.  I think far too many pundits forget that Andrew Bynum’s birth occured on October 27th, 1987.  Less than 3 months before Greg Oden’s January 22nd 1988.  And I’m not saying that Bynum’s destined to be as good as Oden… just that the numbers he’s having now would be acceptable for Greg Oden.

Who knows how good he’ll end up being?  Talent isn’t always realised.  And I also understand the quandary Kobe’s in – Bynum at his peak happens much later than Kobe being a viable option.  There’s definitely a conflict of interest there.  But one thing is definite: there is the promise of a very good center there, and I’ve changed my mind.  Keep him.

add to del.icio.us :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank





Los Angeles – good vibrations

20 11 2007

Absolutely enjoying being a Lakers fan at the moment.  The optimist in me says “We can beat any team on our night!”… the pessimist in me reminds my optimist that “It’s still early in the season”… The pragmatist within tells them both to “Shaddup, and enjoy it.”

 Here’s an example of why I’m enjoying LA:

(hat-tip to poster Sean P. over at Forum Blue & Gold)

add to del.icio.us :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank





Blogsifting: Bustin’ Out!

13 09 2007

Rio Natsume - bustin’ out

A veritable sports-feast is upon us now: the Rugby World Cup is on, NFL season’s just started… and the Twenty20 Cricket World Cup’s about to start! So with sports bustin’ out everywhere, let’s have a look at what’s out there in blogfrica (c’mon folks… STILL looking for a better term than ‘blogfrica’!):

  1. Most excellent blog, Deuce of Davenport thrills & chills us with the very weird Bad Andy!
  2. JP at Pyle of List takes us through an Interview with Tuberville
  3. DMtShooter at Epic Carnival (DMtS also writes at Five Tool Tool) hits us with a dissertion on Taunting in Football.
  4. Sons of Sam Malone – a look at Stephon Marbury’s growing weirdness
  5. South Africa’s RuggaWorld explores the Wallabies’ Beefing up for Wales (sounds like a Japanese restaurant a lil’, but rest assured, it’s a look at the Rugby World Cup!)…
  6. Kingpin blog, Deadspin checks out the growing mess that is the Beckham saga.
  7. Lastly, new blogger Steve discusses the chaos surrounding the LA Lakers in Change Looming in LA at Inside Basketball.

Enjoy your week, and your sports.





Carnival of the NBA, #46 – Made in Japan

16 07 2007

Made in Japan…

A cold dark shadow crept across the land, it’s chilling touch reaching out to everyone. A… void… an absence of a loved presence. Yes indeed children, the NBA season has drawn to a close. But do not fear – there are a few, a few brave souls who continue to strive for all that is good, just, and… basketball.
Like a shining sword cutting through the darkness, here is your Carnival. The Carnival of the NBA (#46)… Made in Japan (well… that’s where I live anyway!).

Golden State of Mind gives us three excellent entries: Report Cards (extensive, and well worth the read – Matt Barnes is one of my favourite players!); an in depth exploration of the Yi issue; Golden State waves goodbye to Jason Richardson.

The guys at Pistons Notebook tell us about the FIBA Americas – a look at who is playing for the US team, and who should start.  Excellent article, and a must read.

20 Second Timeout gave us his impressions of the draft (and the wild spending by Paul Allen).

We’re given a tribute to Derek Fisher in Win or Go Home‘s A Utah Fish No More. One of my all-time favourite players. Guy is all class, and in this day & age, that really means something. WoGH also explores who’s likely to join the Jazz

Girl in KimonoAre NBA Players Like Fine Wine? is the question proferred to us by Miami Heat Wired. A look at the Miami Heat’s veterans…

Matt at Blog a Bull wonders if he’ll ever be able to cheer for Yannick Joakim Noah in Your Newest Chicago Bull. Jury’s still out for Matt, but if I was a Bull-fan, I couldn’t (be a fan). Not after I read one comment comparing him to Sanjaya.

At Bullets Forever, we have two articles. One that offers responses from DC bloggers on the Wizard’s draft (So how do your bloggers like the draft), and the second explores the Juan Carlos Navarro situation (and made reference to the Kwame-Brown-for-Caron-Butler trade… which as a Lakers fan still hurts).

“Where to go from here?” is a question I’m sure a lot of front offices and fans are asking at the moment. CelticsBlog.com asks that very question for Boston in Writer’s Blocked.

Clips Nation‘s ClipperSteve got to do an interview with Jared Jordan. Can he make it in the big time? Read this article to find out what the author thinks…

So… what’s Shaq up to? Shaq’s Fat Camp of course! Pyle of List recaps episode 3 on Shaq’s Fat Camp Episode III.

Ego is not a dirty word? Green Bandwagon looks at Egos… percieved slights are just as real as intentional insults (if anyone can get a message through to Shawn Marion, tell him we’ll organise a Lakers cheergirl in a Shawn Marion uniform… but only if it’s in purple & gold!).

Corey Brewer’s a wolf. A Timberwolf. Whilst watching the NCAA final, this guy was the ‘Gator I was most impressed with. I Heart KG explores why he’s a great pick at #7 in the NBA Draft.

in kimono…Darren Heitner explores Greg Oden’s character development in the very illuminating Greg Oden’s First Endorsement Should Be For Hand Sanitizer at I want to be a Sports Agent.

The guys at HoopsAddict bring us two excellent articles. One from Kinnon Yee explores how the acquisition of the gunner Jason Kapono changes the Toronto Raptors… in the second, Ryan McNeill gives us an excerpt from Filip Bondy’s book “Tip-Off: How The 1984 Draft Changed Basketbal Forever that looks at the 1984 draft, the Philadelphia 76ers of the time, and ‘shapes’ in The Imperfect Fit.

Red’sArmy.com‘s Matty G Thanks Delonte West for Everything. Even tho’ I’m not a Boston fan, I really like Delonte. You gotta admire the way the guy plays.

MVN Basketball has a host of writers I like to read… Jon Burkett gives us two articles, the aptly-named What the Yi is going on? (written in the NBA Draft University section) and he cheers Hooray for Thadeus Young (within the Passion and Pride – Philadelphia 76ers section).

Another MVN basketball piece from Wolves Watch – Minnesota Timberwolves, (where even tho’ it’s not mentioned – as a Laker fan I get excited when I read KG trade pieces) Too Late To Trade KG? Nope.

Signal To Noise explores the NBA free Agency (neat picture of Ron Van Gundy too)…

NBA Glue presents an article exploring free agency in 3 pieces. The first & second look at NBA Glue‘s Top 10 free agents (I love lists), whereas part 3 explores where are the likely destinations for some of those agents.

Seth of Posting and Toasting (part of the SB Nation group) gives us the absolutely bizarre Stephon Marbury on YouTube… words do not suffice.

Spencer Hawes learns basketball from… YouTube? Sactown Royalty exposes Hawes’ youth.

David Stern makes sure the money keeps rolling in… Sportsbiz explores the extension of NBA digital media rights to it’s broadcasting partners in NBA Extends TV Deals.

TWolvesBlog.com weighs the balance in any trade involving Kevin Garnett in What Have We Become?… I sympathize, I for one would love him to come to the Lakers, but I cannot imagine a world where there’s a Minnesota without KG.

History. The NBA has it by the ton (metric or imperial!)… and none more so than the Boston Celtics. LOY’s PLACE explores the history of the C’s in A Dose of Celtics History Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Lastly, my own (With Malice…) exploration of one of the ailments of the NBA players today, in two parts: When arrogance rules supreme part 1, and part 2.

And that’s the end of issue #46 of the Carnival of the NBA… make sure when you visit the sites that submitted to have a look around. Each & every one a gem…

The End…

add to del.icio.us :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank





NBA Players… when arrogance rules supreme (part 2)

12 07 2007

Time for a rant (second part of a 2 part diatribe, part 1 found here)…

Waaah waaah waahAs the NBA off-season unfolds, I have become more & more dismayed at the attitude that many players are displaying recently. In a recent opinion I posted on Kobe, I used the term ‘divattitude’ as a pun on ‘diva’ & ‘attitude’… well with the way this trade season is unfurling, it’s becoming quite a common state of mind. What happened to playing for the love of the game? Yeah, I know – how naive of me! Still… with these guys getting so much money, you’d think they would be happy to play, that they’d want to do something to earn their bucks.

No such luck.

We have perhaps the most storied franchise in NBA history being told by not one, not two, but THREE players – “I don’t wanna play there” (Kevin Garnett, Shawn Marion, Jermaine O’Neal). We have stories floating around of Paul Pierce being close to demanding a trade… When did the mighty Green die and become the Vancouver Grizzlies? Yes, I know that Danny Ainge has really ridden the franchise into the ground, but c’mon: players under contract stipulating where they’re going to play (as far as I know, only Kobe has a ‘no-trade’ clause)? I realise that they can threaten to walk (after their contract is over), but it really pisses me off to see them do that… to unfairly affect trade destinations.

We have the best player in the League – Kobe – performing almost weekly backflips on his “I-wanna-be-traded” scenario. For those who can’t keep up, in a definite softening-of-stance, Kobe told the press the other day that “We’ll just have to see where it goes.”(as far as still demanding a trade). Still… given we’re talking Mr Bryant, that could be very literally yesterday’s news by tomorrow.

Two years ago, Zach Randolph declared “I don’t think my role of playing 13 or 15 minutes a game is acceptable. I deserve to play 25-plus minutes, but if they want me to play 12 minutes, then they can just put me on the inactive list. I mean, those are rookie minutes.” Yup. Have fun with your New York Minute Zach… especially while you get to watch Portland develop into one of the League’s best teams over the next few years.

To get rid of him, Portland took on one of the great lemon contracts of our time – Stevie “Franchise” Francis (would that be a McDonald’s franchise Steve?). And it’s testament to how well-loved he is that he’s not even required to show up. They paid him $30 million to not show. Scary that New York are ecstatic to get Randolph, given it means Francis is gone. I don’t know who this situation is a bigger indictment of: Francis or Randolph.

We have Marcus Camby – just prior to the NBA Dress-code being introduced declaring it would never work – “I don’t see it happening unless every NBA player is given a stipend to buy clothes.” Err… hello Mr Sprewell.

The Yi Jianlian saga continues to unfurl, with SI.com reporting that Milwaukee’s Larry Harris stating:

“We’re not trading him,” Harris told SI.com. “We like him and we think this is a great opportunity for him. He’ll get a chance to play a lot of minutes right away for a good team. What more could [he] want?”

What a mess this is. Milwaukee pick Yi with the 6th pick in the draft, and his ‘people’ tell Yi… Bucks be damned.them that they don’t want to play in Milwaukee, they want to play in a town a) that’s a bigger market, & b)where there’s a larger asian population. Then they (Yi’s management team) enter into ‘trade discussions’ with other teams… regardless of the Milwaukee Bucks. Yi’s Chinese agent Zhao Gang said in the China Daily that he was already in contact with teams who were showing an interest in Yi. Err… huh? Isn’t that supposed to be the role of the management of the Bucks??? And Yi is refusing to talk about any of it…

The thing I just don’t get, is that very few players seem grateful… now we even have guys entering straight from draft, complete with what used to be a 5-year-veteran sense of entitlement. Yi’s refusal to play in Milwaukee disgusts me. Zach Randolph – the Blazers are much better for having traded him. Francis? I hope he falls the way of Latrell Sprewell. Even despite being a Laker fan, Kobe makes my head spin… or maybe more truthfully because I’m a Laker fan. His puerile, petulant posings drive me to the point of nausea. The ‘you-know-if-you-send-me-there-I’ll-walk’ postulations of Marion, KG & Jermaine really disappoint me. I thought all three were better than that.Yay Fish! It’s almost enough to make me like the Spurs, if they weren’t so like porridge… filling, but oh-so-bland.

Give me players who play with the unabashed joy of the game… I’m sick of on-court-divas.

Thank god for Derek Fisher.

add to del.icio.us :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank