Thursday, May 26, 2011
"I'm here to continue to try to help this organization carve a championship path that's already been laid," the former Cavalier coach told press. It's official the new era for the Los Angeles Lakers will be capped by the hiring of Mike Brown as head coach for starters. On Wednesday the two sides came to an agreement that suits up Brown for the Lakers sidelines. This move will signal the end of the legendary, troubling triangle offence that Phil Jackson implemented so well, but the defensive minded Mike looks to bring some skills of his own to the playbook. Some see it as a shame that former player and assistant Brian Shaw wasn't moved across the bench (this may even lead to his departure as he is being courted by Golden State) but Brown the leagues best coach in '09 brings more experience. Some may see this as a bad move but nobody can replace Jackson so let's welcome the talented Mike Brown to Lakerland. As superstar fan Snoop Dogg tweeted he may just be the best man for the job. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Whoever was going to take the legendary Phil Jackson's place as the coach of the Los Angeles Lakers was always going to have a big dry erase board to fill out. Still after seeking out old friends (Mike Dunleavey) and old foes (Rick Adelman) and even looking right at home (Brian Shaw) it appears the Lakers have found their suitor. The team will look to hire former Cleveland Cavalier and 2009 'Coach of the Year' Mike Brown to the STAPLES sidelines. The talented coach will look to make up to $4.5 million a season and would bring youth (41), success in Cleveland (272-138) and a knowledge of rival LeBron James (LeBron co-signs this move which Cleveland press are saying is a go) to this rebuilding contender. According to reports from the Los Angeles Times the Lake Show's executive vice president of player personnel, Jim Buss liked Brown for his strong defensive playbook. Still if Brown turns down the hardest dream job and shoes to fill in sports right now then Adelman and Shaw could still be in the mix. Still owner Jerry Buss told Sirius XM Radio that the Lakers where "very close" to getting a new coach. Now whoever it'll be out of this talented mix-sure it won't be the same without big Phil-the Lakers future looks in safe play-calling hands. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Times have been hard for the Lake Show of late and that's an understatement. Following their sweep out of the playoffs by Dallas and the retirement of legend Phil Jackson they have reluctantly been on the search for a new head coach. While assistant coach, Jackson protege, former champion and player Brian Shaw doesn't look like a sure thing as of yet the Lakers have had to look to the help of new friends and some former foes. Right now the only coach the Lakers have officially contacted is former Sacramento Kings coach Rick Adelman. Still the Lakers are still keen on their own Brian Shaw and an other assistant/former player Chuck Person, as well as former Lakers and Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy as reported by the 'Los Angeles Times'. Mike Brown is also an interest but he appears to be heading to North California to Golden State following former Laker Jerry West who just took a post at the Warriors as an advisor. The Lakers however will not poach current teams coaches like Portland's Nate McMillan or former 80's Showtime greats Byron Scott (Cleveland) and Kurt Rambis (Minnesota). Dunleavy has previously taken the Lakers to the finals in 1991 but Adelman has taken the Lakers to the brink with his Kings team. So who will land the hottest and hardest job right now in the NBA and who should? Sound off in our comments section below. It's anybody's game right now. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Death Of A Dynasty Part 2?
By Tim David Harvey
Embarrassing...that was the only way to describe the Lakers exit from the 2011 NBA playoffs last week. The defending champions offended their throne as they crashed out of the second round 4-zip to a team that used to never beat them...at all. Still as the Dallas Mavericks showed their real worth and contention, the Lakers sent their beloved leader and the most successful coach in NBA history off to retirement with his first ever playoff sweep. So with no Jackson, a lot of action and questions to be addressed how will the Lakers 'Iverson' this post, postseason purgatory?
Jerry Buss looks to put a stop to this with the help of Mitch Kupchak getting his Jerry West on and bringing in new franchise, championship talent. Rumor has it that Buss plans to take a 'wrecking ball' to the team and if that's the case who will go and who will form the new bricks and mortar to cement a championship contender back together?
Obviously Kobe is untouchable like Kevin Costner and this leader-when healthy-is unstoppable like Denzel Washington. The best when at his best, Kobe can take the Lakers to the promised land again, but who will get there with him? Mitch's last big investment Pau Gasol, arguably is the reason the Lakers ever saw June to July again in the first place, but recently the 'soft' comments have come back to add to Gasol's hard times. If that wasn't enough the 'zen master' was even enraged by some of his plays. Meanwhile in Memphis his brother Marc (who he was partly traded for) still hasn't reached for his fishing rod. Still despite these problems Gasol has still been and is a great second option to Bryant.
Sure he couldn't handle like minded player Dirk Nowitzki, but the truth is on his day there aren't many post players better skilled or more passionate. Part of the trouble is Pau plays at his best at the forward positions and he has been banged up somewhat at times filling in at the centre position, where he is rightfully sized in height but inadequately so in weight. Which bring us to our next problem. As good and great as Andrew Bynum is becoming, one of the last, true centres in the association has the injury question mark looming over his head more then Greg Oden does. Still for the amount of times Bynum's gone down, he's bounced back with consistent double, double avengence. Now that's something to marvel at.
Still it's one of these players that looks like the bait that will reel in a trade for a real, big replacement. With trading big stars before they become free-agents becoming the new 'LeBron decision avoiding' trend, Dwight Howard could bring some Magic to Los Angeles like it was '85 again. Said to be interested in playing for the Lakers as much as the acting opportunities that Hollywood has to offer (what you say Jack?), the defensive superman of the league could usher in the next era of big legends in Lakerland. Just don't tell O'Neal that this is 'Shaq part 2' minus the legendary skills and assists. Could the potential of Howard's end in Orlando birth a new, fresh start for the raw feeling Lakers? Kobe and Dwight would be the perfect one-two punch, with their combined prowess on both ends of the floor and Dwight's sheer power that could make the Blake Griffin highlight reel a sideshow at STAPLES once again.
Surely some Laker fans will react like Kobe on hidden camera back in the Jason Kidd days to the possibility of keeping Bynum (or even Gasol for that matter) with Dwight alright to come over. Still as much as they may say "ship his a** out", it's important not to forget what each player has done for this team and is capable of doing. With all the Eddie Murphy style trading places, and decisions leading to top jersey's becoming throwbacks in a matter of weeks these days it's important for a team to regain some cohesiveness and continuity these days (as good as Miami are doing). It's important to realize that even when a reign ends it's better to fall together then fall apart (isn't that right San Antonio? Keep your heads up!). At desperate times like this, desperate measures aren't always needed. remember this is the team that still won back-to-back titles, just because bad things have happened before things came in threes doesn't mean this team are done. As good as a trade for Howard would be there is still a vital importance at rock bottom times like this for a team to regroup and picks themselves up together. After all this is a team game, and not a money one...or at least it used to be.
Let's hope some of these exit interviews don't result in real exits. Sure it'll get us talking but sometimes silence and work is the best weapon. Word on the court is that Shannon Brown could be part of a potential deal but losing him after all the Lakers did last year to keep him would take the spark out of a team that desperately needs a plug like budding stars (and Shannon's one too). Able to heat up like a microwave (we see you Vinnie Johnson) Brown could go down as one of the purple and golds best bench players ever and will serve as that extra bit of sustenance needed when the team goes cold (and it's been real chilly as of late). Besides at times like this only his 'out of your seats, on your feet dunks' can raise the spirits. Also after his Game 2 flagrant led to a Game 3 suspension a lot of unfair blame is heading Ron Artest's way and it was last year where he said you could blame him if they lost, not this one. Ron made a mistake but last year he made the engraving on Larry O'Brien. People should stop throwing 'bows at Artest in return because his passion was needed and he is still one of the best perimeter defenders the league has to offer and God knows Matt Barnes, Devin Ebanks and the Lakers need him now.
Speaking of flagrants along with Gasol, Odom went out and 'hit the road Jack' more like a chump then a champ but still this 'Sixth Man of the Year' is one start and one All-Star away from being even more important to the Lakers then he already is. It was his consistency that kept this erratic Laker team going all year. The only wood he should be kept on is the pine and the floor, if the Lakers put this guy on the chopping block then they may as well stick the knife in their own backs. This versatile, dynamic talent is what's keeping the Lakers together. If only they could clone him five times over. Then you'd have a team. Speaking of the bench, it may be time for Derek Fisher to start coming off it more, as age is getting the better of him and the Lakers are in need of a new starting point. Maybe they shouldn't have let go of Jordan Farmer so easily (sorry Steve Blake, you still did good). Derek can still fish for clutch off the bench, he's still capable, but it's time for him to go ultra-Robert Horry come playoff time and be the man the Lakers know and love. Another straight 82 can wear out even the most durable of players...which Fisher is.
So what does that leave the Lakers left with? It's clear the Lakers need to keep their window open this Summer but as much as opportunity knocks it's easy to find it sitting right next to you at home. There may be some rust but seldom used forward Luke Walton could have been the assist over turnover king that the Lakers shouldn't have passed on. Right now Luuuuuuke; the STAPLES favourite staple has been receiving as many minutes as Joe Smith and Theo Ratliff and Walton is nowhere near being as old as those guys (although they are still effective, ready for another go round guys?). Luke could of been the Rick Fox actor that would have played his championship role to a tee. Besides this work hard, go hard talent is the only surviving Laker player from the older championship years sans Kobe and Fisher (and Fisher's Laker life comes with a North Californian and Northwest asterisk).
Still, obviously the Lakers are broke, so they are in need of some fixing. Aside from a big acquisition like Howard, there's plenty available on the free-agent market to play with. Guys like Jamal Crawford, Carlos Arroyo, Kenyon Martin, Shane Battier could help round out the team and give it the different dynamics needed for a fresh star. While there would be no harm in rekindling with former Lakers like Caron Butler, Sasha Vujacic, Vladimir Radmanovic or Ronny Turiaf for their experience and missed talents, but let's not go down the Kwame Brown road again. Sure the Lakers are in need of some fresh air, but at the same time they also need some breathing space and room to think things over before they make any drastic decisions.
Besides the Lakers have one pressing matter to attend to. As legendary, great and as grateful as it has been, like Jack Nicholson this is as good as it gets for Phil Jackson and bar asking the Lakers favourite fan to move over a few chairs, nobody is going to have as great an influence on the Lakers bench as the greatest coach of all time. Still as we show our appreciation to the greatest, we must remember the rule about all good things. For the Lakers to move on and get back up they must actually move on and Phil's mentoring to former Lakers championship great Brian Shaw could transpire into the next great, role player to head coach legacy. Still, even if that's not to be like Rudy T back in 2007, there will be many willing to pick up the dry erase left in Jax's place (Jerry Sloan anyone?) even if they aren't so willing to make shapes, or heads or tails out of the triangle.
So there you have it. It may have been all good a week a go and even better a year ago, but remember the Lakers have been here time and time again. Isn't that right Detroit? Kobe's walked off in a purple jersey, head down with ticker tape falling behind him before. Last week almost looked identical to 2008 bar the lack of green and the walking to the left like Beyonce. So don't think the Lakers glory days are irreplaceable. Honestly they've been humbled before. All they need to do is put this pride on rocks and this moment on ice and swallow it all together, most definitely and absolutely. For next season's a new year and the Mamba is ready to come out spitting with his venom. The doberman will be ready to get his team and reputation out the dog house and serve the critics and haters with their own helpings of humble pie. There's your food for thought. Now who's ready to do the dishes? TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Monday, May 9, 2011
L.A., Minnesota, Orlando, Chicago.
By TIM DAVID HARVEY
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER-DERRICK ROSE: Not just this years best player but arguably the best Point Guard in the league right now...not to mention top 5 of all players...at least. With his all-round game Derrick evened the score with Rajon Rondo and showed that the league wasn't just about Chris Paul and Deron Williams or Kobe Bryant and LeBron James for that matter. Without him sure the impressive Chicago Bulls could make a charge at the playoffs, but with him dishing, dunking and duking it out they could stampede the whole thing. His value could be weighed in gold...championship gold. That's how much he's worth. Chicago's first MVP since Mike and the NBA's youngest ever. You best believe history is being made.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR-BLAKE GRIFFIN: From the YouTube's to the playgrounds Blake Griffin owned the dunk psyche of every fan in the world. Part Vince, part Shaq, part Kemp, part 'Chocolate Thunder' this mans air diesel, sweet dunks reigned supreme. Still re-defining the dunk and excitement wasn't the only reason B.G. was the L's greatest rook, (with all due respect to the concrete tough John Wall). Blake's all-round game took as good a shape as his chiseled physique, besides those lay-ups are just as nice as those dunks...depending on how old school you are. Right now this Griffin is a monster, but when the rest of his game develops that's when he'll be really scary. This is why unquestionably and unanimously Blake is your Rookie of the Year.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR-DWIGHT HOWARD: The third times the charm and Dwight Howard became thrice as nice for his third straight defensive honor. The NBA's new Ben Wallace (with an offensive set) you would never know that the dude is such a take no prisoners beast with that award-winning, family-friendly smile. Dwight isn't just one of the associations best players he's also a no fly zone shot swatting machine able to change the tempo of the game with one hit. Big in Florida like Rick Ross this Magic man is a boss in his kingdom. They may call his team a Mickey Mouse one but next to our hip-hop generations, Bill Russell everyone else looks Minnie. Sure this defence didn't help much in their Eastern postseason assault by Atlanta but still at least Dwight kept one title on guard.
SIXTH MAN OF THE YEAR-LAMAR ODOM: If you really look at this award and the talent it rewards it really epitomises one thing; unselfishness. Lamar Odom is a testament to this. Technically the Lakers sixth starter just imagine what he'd be like if he went for self a bit more. NO! The team-first mindset of Lamar is what makes him the special, all-round, diverse talent that he is, that's why Laker legend Pat Riley said he was like Magic back in the day. This is no trick. He should have been an All-Star this year, no fiction, but in reality L.O. knew it wasn't all about him. Being team-first and unselfish is a quality the struggling Lakers need now more then ever. With the defending champs inconsistencies making a three-peat in Phil Jackson's final year look uncertain at least there's hope with their one constant, Lamar Odom.
MOST IMPROVED PLAYER OF THE YEAR-KEVIN LOVE: Hate it or love it Kevin's always been this good. Sure he's getting better all the time but this year is where the league finally showed some heart and appreciation for Love seeing what he's really worth. Still this special K's vision has been 30, 30 in hindsight (we see you Moses Malone) and to go with those record numbers take a look at his 20 point, 15 rebound average. That's MVP numbers right there. Most teams would kill for a 20 and 10 guy but Love murders the opposition with 5 more boards (he could even wake up with 6 more). Plus, with his unselfishness you know those extra boards lead to extra points...for his team mates that is. You know Kevin could average 25, or even 20 and 20 and he'll sure better his best averages before his careers out and he wipes the glass for the last time, but that's a long time coming. Minnesota can now get over the mini Al Jefferson era as with Beasley and Love the 'Wolves have their best set of teeth since Garnett and Marbury/Sprewell/Cassell/Hudson (delete where appropriate, the control has now shifted). From now on expect Minneapolis to chase the West's best...Lakers that is and expect Love's numbers to Wilt...Chamberlain that is.
COACH OF THE YEAR-TOM THIBODEAU: After much analysis although T.V. guy Doug Collins stepped into the coaching rejuvenation machine with his Philly Sixers, the master of the dry erase this year was Tom Thibodeau, as the Chicago Bulls coach wiped the floor with the competition. I guess the legendary teaching of Rivers was just what the Doc' ordered. Still Doc Rivers may regret this as his former student and assistant may just beat his master. The Bulls have shown they can beat the reigning Eastern Champion Celtics and they are a clear contender to take Larry O'Brien even though all the talk is on the Lakers problems or trashed towards Miami. Thibodeau has shown he can harness the worth of his MVP Derrick Rose, the enthusiasm and passion of Joakim Noah, the rolling post deliveries of shrewd free-agent pickup, Carlos Boozer, the scoring of Luol Deng and the dynamics of the rest of the team and tie it all together to give the team it's first contention pull since a man named Mike Jeffrey took the air out of the United Centre. Now whose better then that? TIM DAVID HARVEY.
NBA PLAYOFFS-WESTERN CONFERENCE SEMI-FINALS: GAME 4. LOS ANGELES LAKERS 86-122 DALLAS MAVERICKS
There will be a new NBA Champion this year...will it be Dallas? Finally shaking the 2007 best record/first round exit (we see you San Antonio, you'll be back too) the Mavs made the defending champs look like chumps as they blew out the Lakers 122-86 and sent Phil Jackson into retirement wit his first playoff sweep...on the wrong, receiving end. The most successful coaching tenure in NBA history ended with crushing defeat. Still Phil shouldn't and won't be remembered for this, he's done so much more and could only do so much as his Lakers fell apart to the incredible Texan team. Congratulations to Dallas who proved they are basketballs real mavericks. As Jason Terry, Peja Stojakovic and others rained threes the purple reigns end was highlighted by Bynum and Odom's ejections. As these Jacks hit the road and return home early to Los Angeles a lot of questions will need answering and a lot of problems addressed. As for Coach Jackson (as he'll always be known to us) it's time to put his feet up and relax...he's earned it, good luck. "It's been a wonderful run," he told press. It sure has Phil. Thank you. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Saturday, May 7, 2011
NBA PLAYOFFS-WESTERN CONFERENCE SEMI-FINALS: GAME 3. LOS ANGELES LAKERS 92-98 DALLAS MAVERICKS
Phil Jackson may coach his last game tomorrow night and by then if the Dallas Mavericks keep this up we may have a new NBA champion this year. As on Friday night the Los Angeles Lakers where lost in sea of blue 'Beat LA' t-shirts as they where hit hard by the Mavericks and their fans 98-92 in Texas. Without Ron Artest the Lakers battled hard but when Lamar Odom's start couldn't change things as the Lakers failed to finish off their opponet. Even Fisher's clutch three was only grabbing straws as the Mavericks European shooters shot the lights out en route to an 18-6 run and eventual win. Dirk Nowitzki had 32 points, besting Kobe's 17 but it was one-time Sacramento foe Peja Stojakovic who exacted revenge on the Lakers with 11 points in his clutch fourth to make 15 for the night. The Mavericks balanced attack helped tip the Lakers like Antonio McDyess as the Texan titans Jason's scored in bunches too. Terry heated up 23 from the microwave, while the Kidd known as Jason had 11 points and 9 assists against the defending champion Argonaut. Kobe's 17 points wasn't disappointing but what was the number of looks he got in the fourth quarter to lead to only four points. Still Bynum had an impressive breakaway dunk and an even better 21 points and 10 rebounds, while Odom's start ended him with 18 points."We're disappointed," Phil Jackson said "But we still believe we're going to win the next game and we'll go from there." Phil sounds confident that he and his Lakers won't be swept away. One things for certain though, if the Lakers didn't respect the Mavericks, they sure do now.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
NBA PLAYOFFS-WESTERN CONFERENCE SEMI-FINALS: GAME 2. LOS ANGELES LAKERS 81-93 DALLAS MAVERICKS
After the Mavericks drew second blood in Los Angeles the Lakers must go hard or go home for good in Dallas as the series moves to Texas. The Mavs have the Lakers by the fundamentals as they now lead 2 games to nothing following a 93-81 win. If the Lakers used their home-court advantage and tied the series up we'd be looking at different story but instead Dallas' double-zip lead have now given the Lakers serious concerns to add to the worries of their current problems. Now the Lakes need to address these problems. Sure Dallas have blown series leads like this before and L.A. have overcome similar deficits, (especially with teams like Dallas) but Game 3 is a completely different ballgame. Dirk Nowitzki scored 24 while Shawn Marion had 18, while Kobe had a Jordanesque 23 for the Lakers to go along with Ron Artest's one elbow and game suspension. "If you would have told me before that were going to win both games, that would have been hard to believe,'' Dirk told press postgame after he and his team dug deeper for victory and control to the tone of the series. Gasol's 13 points and 10 rebounds was good but his abilities to contain like-minded player Nowitzki suffered. Still the Lakers fans shouldn't have jeered him or his team. Right now if the Lake Show is going to go on everyone needs to be behind them. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
NBA PLAYOFFS-WESTERN CONFERENCE SEMI-FINALS: GAME 1. LOS ANGELES LAKERS 94-96 DALLAS MAVERICKS
The Lakers are either doing their best Muhammad Ali impression and taking blows in the first round on purpose...or they really are in trouble. After surviving the Hornets in the first round Los Angeles lost the first game of the Western Conference Semi-Finals 96-94. Just one bucket and one game separates these Western legends. Dirk Nowitzki (28 points) was again clutch but this time from the free-throw line as his charity baskets and some Gasol and Bynum turnovers was all she wrote. The Lakers rallied from 6 down at one point but the best closer in the game Kobe Bryant couldn't open up in the clutch. With no such look the Lakers are now being run out of their own town by the Mavericks, still the Lakers know it's time to put on for their city. Dallas haven't beat L.A. yet. Everyone will be quick to right the Los Angeles Lakers off but this is wrong, after all they are still the reigning champs and one of the best teams in the league. The purple could still hit gold, as basketballs royalty looks for their crowning achievement this season. Still Dirk and his saddled up Mavericks are looking to rope in Game 2 and take control of the series. "This team can beat us, it's clear,'' a "highly concerned" Kobe told press. The statement has been made. It's on. TIM DAVID HARVEY.