Saturday, August 6, 2011
The Lakers right now could get by with a little help from their old friends.
By Tim David Harvey
It's no new news that the Lakers are in a spot of trouble right now. The notion of sending legendary coach Phil Jackson off to Montana with a championship three-peat was a write off, as the Mavericks took Larry O'Brien back to Dallas this season gone. Sure the Lakers still don't have a whole lot to worry about. There are always trials and tribulations and things will get better in this new Mike Brown era, but the Lakers could use a little help. Perhaps they could of got it from some old friends they should have never lost touch with. Here's the definitive list of the best squad of Lakers alumni lost after the post-Shaq era. The players missed the most and who could really be used right now. They sure do make a good team.
MARC GASOL (CENTRE)
If it wasn't for Marc, there would be no Pau. Sure Marc's the younger brother but his draft rights held by the Lakers where part of the trade that brought Pau and all those championships to Laker land. Sure Kwame Brown was part of the trade where Pau Gasol was 'given' to the Lakers but in reality the way Pau's young brother has grown up, it has been a fair trade in hindsight. Sure Marc's the only guy on this list that has never donned a Laker jersey or logged a minute of showtime action but still he would of been more then most valuable as a player here. This post power is the centre of attention in Memphis and a solid, strong, big, 20, 10 guy. Sure with Bynum, Marc's absence is by the by, but it sure would of been nice to see two great brothers on the same team, you'll have to wait until Spain to see that now.
VLADAMIR RADMONOVIC (POWER FORWARD)
Vladamir was always one of those talents that could have had more of an output. From floppy hair and bandannas to buzz cuts and from skiing trips to slides out the rotation, Radmonovic has had his ups and downs. Still with that all said and done this tall, versatile forward is one hell of a talent. It seemed liked the Lakers gave him away to Charlotte for the talented Adam Morrison, but that was until Shannon Brown (he'll make this list if he actually does sign elsewhere) developed. That doesn't mean Vlad isn't missed however. With a bargain, Nowitzki like inside/outside game Rad is tall enough to go inside and has had one of the sweetest strokes from outside by any Laker present and past over the last decade. Right now Radmonovic would be the perfect guy off the bench, supplementing Gasol, bringing both shared and different talents off the bench. The Lakers already have a decent B-team but with Vladamir it would be the best in the league.
CARON BUTLER (SMALL FORWARD)
The Dallas Mavericks have a lot of fire-power-you don't win championships without big guns-but one of their best all round guys is Caron Butler. Even though a knee injury ushered Butler out of most of the victorious Maverick season. As this news broke out last season it hit former team-mate Kobe hard who is a close friend of Caron. Kobe still reiterates his disappointment of how the Lakers traded Butler. The Lakers practically let him disappear to the Wizards for Kwame Brown, but then again Kwame did bring the Lake Show Gasol. It was another trade disappointment for L.A. when they lost Shaq to the Heat for Odom and Butler himself. Still despite the losses, Bryant, Odom and Butler made for a wonderful three that could have lasted and won together. The Lakers liked Caron so much at one point they where even rumoured to be shipping Odom to get their Butler back in the past. If Caron was to ever come back (trade or free-agency) he'd be the most welcome return to the Laker family since the Lakers fished for Derek. A heralded defender in all aspects with an even more underrated, diverse offensive set. This strong player is built for all aspects of basketball and when he returns this Butler is going to be at it, for whoever he serves.
TREVOR ARIZA (SHOOTING GUARD)
Of all the people on this list, Trevor Ariza is one of the most missed Lakers by fans. Even with the much loved Ron Artest and the Ariza look-a-like, play-a-like Devin Ebanks the Lake Show loved the rising talent of Ariza. The swingman, who does it on both ends of the floor is still one of the most underrated players in the L and he practically gave L.A. their first ring post new millennium, three-peat. With great defence on and off the ball, gazelle like speed and thieving steals, this tenacious, versatile talent was a fast-break starter. He was also a fast-break finisher, with rim rocking dunks and twine, tweaking threes for days. There's no one quite like this guy, expect one man. The Lakers had a problem when Ariza signed with Houston, so it was a good job they inked Ron Artest, because it takes an enigmatic man to replace an enigmatic talent.
JORDAN FARMER (POINT GUARD)
It still seems strange that this UCLA grad is now in the Garden State, sporting a New Jersey with other former L.A. story, Sasha Vujacic (by the of some international duty). See, Farmar was always the man meant to take over Fishers crop at point guard once the clutch retired, but still, then again not everything works out. The Lakers are doing more than alright with the tough, sharp-shooting Steve Blake but still Jordan's missed here like legends in Chicago. A starter for the future this man has speed, finesse, and savvy in reserve. With his complete Point Guard skills Jordan could become a franchise guy. It's just a shame it won't be for the Lakers.
MAURICE EVANS (SIXTH MAN)
Basketball teams these years are nothing without their sixth men and reserves these days don't come much better or more underrated then Maurice Evans. With Mo Evans, you have no problems because this swingman covers more spots then Clearasil. With speed, finesse and athleticism. This guy doesn't just look like a prototype ball player, he is one. The slasher cuts through to the basket like Wes Craven cuts through college kids. As for his finishing talent, where do we start, his dunks are amazing and his lay-ups and finger-rolls are amazing grace, whether straight-forward or off-balance. This guys put down so many circus-shots like they where nothing, it's a shame he couldn't be a ringmaster here in Laker land. Now wouldn't that be something.
So there you have it, five guys and one in reserve that the Lakers may have replaced but still wouldn't mind a reunion with. Players that not only make up a team but helped make up the Lakers squad and now make the most of their contributions to their current sides. At the end of the day, no matter the colour, there's nothing like the Laker family.