Monday, December 2, 2013


A Simple Game.


Shreds...that's what the Lakers where supposed to be reduced to this year. Like the wrong sort of ticker tape, or commiseration balloons falling to an empty Forum floor after a Celtic celebration. Ripped up like the contract offer for Dwight 'the Houston we have a problem now Rocket' Howard. Ripped off like every Barnes, Jamison and even Chris Paul one-time Laker players wearing Clippers across their Los Angeles jersey. Torn down like the covering of all those championship banners by those same player portraits by the STAPLES neighbors in downtown L.A. Torn up like Kobe's Achilles. Pulled apart like Steve Nash's back and now Pau Gasol's ankle. Tugged apart like every twittering critic or hater. Still it doesn't rain in Southern California for long, the sun of purple and gold shine will come out again. After the darkest day comes the 'Hollywood Nights' and these back in black boys are switching currents like AC/DC, bolting up like Iron Man, with a Robert Downey Jnr/Tony Stark charming charisma for a new 'Showtime'. Looking fresher than their Sunday white's a young mix of raw talent and exciting play is giving reason for Jack Nicholson and the rest of Hollywood to stay in their seats. The same seats critics now need to take. Even with Howard's end long gone like the Bynum, Fisher and Odom glory days and the big three of Kobe, Pau and Steve struggling through injury, this Lake Show lives and dies for more than just the threes of super streaky Steve Blake or the names of the two Jordan's, Hill and Farmar. In killer Cali' in the midst of a purple haze there's four boys shining like the Four Tops. They're there for the Lakers as the team reached out for help. In this millionaire city it all started from nothing...


With zero on the chest of his jersey Nick Young is showing with his numbers that he's worth so much more. With sense after five, even Coach D'Antoni thinks we could be looking at our 'Sixth Man Of The Year'. A guy that thrives in this European style run and gun offence and crosses everybody up with his shots that fade deeper than his sneaker collection and his dunks that jam higher than his baby 'fro. It's that video game play that makes nightly highlights and social media sharing. Swagy P still has that confidence even with the more focused deletion of his Twitter account. The kind of confidence that comes from having Rihanna call your name courtside like a play by play. The kind of play that shines bright like a diamond. Beautiful like his hops in  the sky. Swinging between the big guard and small forward spots after being bounced around the league from Washington and Philadelphia. Here's one Clipper who actually swaps his blue, red and white locker for the real American dream of wearing Lakers purple. They'd love to have him in Lob City, but he's taking flight under the wing of Kobe. Balling like this was the playground but smashing and shushing any Smush Parker inconsistency comparisons. Reminding the fans of the young, promising Ramon Sessions on court. It's all good for the kid in this city, the cousin of the hottest rap star on the planet is about to make Kendrick Lamar proud by being one of the hottest hoopers in California. It's poetic justice and it's a rap. In this second chance season he's adding more first-hand reports to his resume of 43 point career highs and three, threes in less than a minute. With key threes, blocks and dunks to go with that look he's like an NBA Jam player on permanent fire, ready to heat up his team off the bench with a new ignited generation Vinnie Johnson microwave machine. The kid with the tattoos is about to ink even more of a reputation. He's in the right city to become a star, but he can pass too...


The one guy that can finish every perfect play with a punctuated power dunk. This X-Man is about to take over your mind and take the Lakers to the days of future past with his brand new brand of Showtime ball sharper than Wolverine's finger nails. You want to put this guy in the dunk contest with some of his teammates, Sportscentre's already racking up the 10's. This number seven seal is even making die-hard fans forget about the cult classic play of Lamar Odom. There's no sins with the man whose tomahawking any notion that the Lakers are one Kobe and done. He's more than just the highlights however or the funny moments of invading a Nets huddle with Steve Blake. Xavier Henry could just be the next big thing. You remember the Memphis Grizzlies draft day photo, looking and built like a young version of the R&B singer Tank and getting the compliments from the college scouting reports he was ready to roll out his arsenal of offensive weapons. He may be a long way from Kansas now, but he's even further from being waived like fellow Summer league standout Elias Harris. The former SLAM magazine diary keeper has a lot more entries to add to his personal profile in a career that is sports illustrated with dime shots and poster slams ready for an ESPN highlight. He flew and flew against a Pelican and the former New Orleans Hornet even clipped the Los Angeles sister team for a career high. He's not going to always break the bank in scoring, but he'll certainly have a go at the rim. The one thing that keeps X rolling is his energy and enthusiasm that makes not only his dunks consistent but his point production and staff stuffing too. Right now with Kobe out but about to come back on the come up this guy is on, putting down the heavy lifting. Muscling some strong plays and hammer drops. Right now dunk for dunk there's not many that can contest with king Henry...and then after X...


There was Wesley crusher dunk for this next generation and his Johnson and Johnson play that wont guarantee no more tears for the opposition. Looking Tim Duncan worried but playing like an android this kids smarter than your new phone. 'Weside 11' on the west-side has also turned off Twitter to turn up his game to his jersey number, rocking Hollywood like Spinal Tap with every fluid move to the cup. You saw the reverse that pierced Paul and every other Youtube moment set to your latest favorite track. The only thing this former top five draft pick is busting is nets. He knows Phoenix like D'Antoni and Minnesota like the Mikan Lakers where his experience now lies. The former Syracuse Orangemen may be no 'Melo Anthony but his game is anything but calm. His above the rim, dribbling tall attitude makes him seem higher than his 6, 7 stature and his outside range makes him the perfect prototype swingman. He's draining long range bomb shots after short term blast from critics. Wesley Johnson is about to be household like his two-handed offers to the weeknight rundowns. Just catch him on the break if you can, Leo DiCaprio and everyone else in attendance can see just how this former wolf is about to make it Wall Street big. Just check the stat stock. The numbers are rising like the sneakers, it must be the boos that helped this kids mature. Cheers to him can even be heard in bars in Boston now. The former lottery pick is just that ticket now, all he's waiting for is the tape, because anyone betting on W can look for a celebration. In Motown against the Detroit Piston his motor city line of 27 points (on six three-balls), six rebounds, two assists and three steals was pure petroleum for the fast and furious age. That's all-round, all-game and all-star. If you thought this Lakers perfect starting unit left with Metta World Peace, than you're as wrong as war. This young buck goes to battle every night. Biting his opposition as much as his jersey. A jersey that will read Lakers for a long time. He's not the only one they thought weak...


Some may say he has a girls name, but with his game Jodie isn't about to foster anymore criticism. Rocking the Gary Payton 20 and the Kobe physicality if you're sitting in the binocular seats you may be confused at just who's moving below you. Sure it's no Hall Of Famer, but maybe the next great All-Star. Alongside the two dunking dynamos and his fellow former Sixer Young, this 26 and under unit is maturing thanks to this mans precision shot and coast to coast, basement to high-rise flow of play. The world belongs to the strong Meeks who can inherit it all. The former Wildcat that clawed his way to a 54 point record, including a benchmark 10 threes  is taking his point pouring play to the downtown area of L.A. With the franchise faces not making Figueroa, it's up to this man to anchor the team when X, Wes or Nick aren't scorching and scoring under the California sun. Able to go shot for shot with his fellow role players and also impress on the lay-up line this guy really is stepping up for a unit that has more than just four extra uniform options. This gifted player is giving the Lakers much more this Christmas like added sleeves. Up Meeks' cuffs link the tricks of a playbook trade that see more dry erase blue lines drawn to him. He may have been picked 41st in the draft but that number has some similarities to go with it's stupidity. Like the former champion 41, this pure shooter is throwing like Glen Rice. No wonder the Lakers picked up the second year option on the offensive specialist, when he's hot he torches everyone, leading the way and making everything click. With the dedication to defense to match that outstanding output on offence this player makes it all happen. Like the sequel to Star Trek it only seems like yesterday that he came into the league in 2009, but the coaches favorite is now a valuable veteran out of the darkness of doubt. A guy that can show this young core of Nick, Henry and Johnson what this games all about.

Sure it's all about Kobe. The money put up for that marriage for life contract proves that for better for worse. Still, Kobe needs more guns behind his long-range offensive artillery that keeps extending it's scope in his expiring years of play. With Steve Nash headed towards retirement and Pau Gasol towards the bench or block in some critics eyes, the storied, old Lakers have got younger and deeper. What an experience for this raw talent to go through to with the big names sitting in the crowd with the rest of the Hollywood stars too. As talented as this roster is across the board from proven vets like Chris Kaman, to the future promise of guys like Shawne Williams, it's all about four now and their power like those who can't pronounce the name of Marvel's God of Thunder. These guys have the dynamics and depth to now even give Oklahoma a bolt in battle. Far from the West's best the Lakers are a few years and pieces away from contention, but who knows what will happen with a little bit of health from their Kobe. If he utilizes his fab four, we could be looking at Basketball's moneyball unit that plays like the red, white and blue and strikes gold like Brad Pitt, swinging it out the park. It's worth a shot and strike, because just like Kareem Rush and Jannero Pargo stepping it up in the Hall Of Fame critical days of Shaq, Kobe, Karl Malone and Gary Payton, Nick, Xavier, Wesley and Jodie have proven themselves in troubled times for the worlds most famous franchise. You can tell just how much by how often they're seen on the clips of game highlights and this is just a brief introduction. These faces of the future are the latest Earl Clark, Trevor Ariza, Caron Butler, Maurice Evans, Shannon Brown or Marc Gasol draft rights that the Lakers want and need to hold on to. The soul of a team looking for heart, these four tops with similar streaking shooting and slamming styles and hustle plays can't be replaced. Nick Young, Xavier Henry, Wesley Johnson and Jodie Meeks are making sure this show goes on before Kobe's Hollywood night debut. Let's hope in this purple and gold light they don't fade to black.

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