Tuesday, February 4, 2014


Hollywood Highlights.


Adapted from a 'Top 60 "Microwave" Players Of All-Time' feature for 'Basketball 24/48/82', heres a look at the best Laker bench playing spark-plugs in team history. Seconds out...

Nick Young-It really is frustrating out there in La, La Laker land, when the point production of a team lacking an injured Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and on and off Pau Gasol relies on the streaking (at times super and others slumping) of a guy who calls himself Swaggy P. Still, there's more to Nick Young than big hair and bright sneakers. A 'Sixth Man Of The Year' award this year may show that but more likely the maturing of Young over the seasons will. Despite those off target shots and those ones that rattle all around world of the rim before going in when Nick's on time it looks like he could hit anything fading as far as his back'fro. Besides Kobe shot air balls in his first year.

Byron Russell-Byron Russell isn't just the guy that Michael Jordan hit his "last" shot over, he was also a key contributor to the Karl Malone pick and John Stockton roll of a Utah Jazz team that at least deserved a championship. A much greater defender then that shot proved, Byron played out his career behind Jordan in Washington and with Kobe as a Laker but the swingman still proved he could come off the bench and play with the best, somewhat like them.

Tracy Murray-How this guy wasn't an All-Star is crazy, because in the golden era of the league he was one of the best scorers, especially when he came off the bench and into his own. The underestimated usually become the underrated and that was something Murray could use to his offensive advantage for the journey worth of teams this man hit the road with. Up North in Toronto Tracy even hit career highs, leading the team like McGrady never got to. Those who freeze this Canadian side out are just cold to the game and how hot this guy was not only off the bench but as a star in his own right and record.

Chuck Person-Back in the later days of his career Chuck was signed by the Lakers as an extra person on their roster, but he never made it to training camp. Now he works for the Lake Show as a coach and who else but to teach the likes of this great three point shooting team exactly how to do it? In his prime during prime time only his brother Wesley (honourable mention maybe the siblings should share this spot) was more accurate from around the arc. When it came to threes there was no need for good luck with this Chuck.

Aaron McKie-The almost champion 2001 Philadelphia 76ers was more than just Allen Iverson or the offensive answer of Dikeme Mutombo. Off the bench 'Sixth Man' of that year Aaron Mckie did more than let it rain. He let it snow like his teammate Eric. A points machine he may have lost to the Lakers and eventually retire with them while barely logging a quarter worth of minutes, but when it came to each period of the game and his career not even the best could keep up with his point production.

Jimmy Jackson-Jimmy Jackson could score with the best of them and like a Jalen Rose, Chris Webber and Juwan Howard 'Fab Five' out of Michigan he formed the three J's with Jamal Mashburn and Jason Kidd who he could share the ball, but not Toni Braxton with. If more didn't happen more could have happened there and the somewhat outside star faded to the bench in his later career where he became a different type of Kendall Gill like contributor who could score.

Cedric Ceballos-In one Slam Dunk Contest Ced Ceballos sensationally strapped a blindfold over his eyes and dunked his way to victory. In games the Phoenix/Lakers star could see his fair share of dunks and plenty of points too. Like 'NBA Live' he was the perfect video game player who could light the scoreboard up like the best of them in the golden era. He was also part of that '96 Vlade Divac, Eddie Jones, Elden Campbell and Nick Van Exel forum of Lakers players who were about to meet one big guy and some high school kid.

Antawn Jamison-The current Clipper may have not had as great a time on the other side of L.A. as he did when he was leading the Cleveland Cavalier, but the current reserve has tweened between being a franchise player and a point producer off the bench. Either way the ever underrated one of the greats has been a star and a scorer no matter the time or shine.

Lamar Odom-It may be hard for fans to keep up with the Kardashian tabloid drama of Lamar these days but the Los Angeles son who has been cursed as a Clipper gifted the Lakers with their most productive player in their most recent championship years...a team led by a certain guy called Kobe..

Glen Rice-Forget what they said about his wife or Sarah Pailin, the father of one of the latest crop of Rookies past something down a generation to Glen Rice Jr, like Tim Hardaway has to his junior namesake. From Miami to New York he was hot from downtown like South Beach still past ten or Manhattan in the A.M. in July but the purity became more potent under the sun of a solo stint in Los Angeles. As a third option off the bench between the Shaq and Kobe Laker duo he hit the big threes before Horry's closers on the way to the first chip of the champions three-peat.

Ron Harper-Those who never saw this guy before he blew out his knee wouldn't believe he was a former Slam Dunk champ and next Jordan like player leading the orange of Cleveland (damn that 'Kenan & Kel' soda...I don't love it) decades before they saw wine and gold again with the 23 of LeBron James. Still Phil Jackson knew what he was dealing with when coaching the guy who successfully changed and revolutionised his own game post-injury before Grant Hill to the more defensive dominant side. Still able to rack up a three and even the odd dunk alongside all those rings he backed up Michael Jordan and was credited at mentoring Kobe Bryant by the air apparent himself. Bridging the gap there's the connection that needs no more introduction or conviction.

Norm Nixon-When Magic Johnson joined the Lakers it practically ended the show for their one-time leading point Norm Nixon in a Nikon like camera flash. I guess that's just the norm when it comes to the greatest playmaker of all time. Still this all lead to N.N. being a brilliant back-up for some time. The great player however deserved more from NBA Point Guard legend and Lakers lore, but sometimes people are just blinded by Magic.

Cazzie Russell-You know this guys good when Pulitzer Prize winning legendary Times columnist and word of L.A. to Chick Hearn's voice, Jim Murray wrote about him. 'Mr. Two-Two-Two Points' as Murray dubbed was gold off the bench like the M.J. necklace he wore around his neck. When it came down to the clutch throat of games Cazzie would never choke. Russell collected up points like Celtic rival Bill did rings. I hope that does the late writer and his muse justice.

Byron Scott-Magic Johnson threw the no look passes and Byron Scott finished them when everyone in Hollywood was watching him sub in and finish the Showtime break like James Worthy and A.C. Green. Like those two maybe he would have been a bigger star if not surrounded by names like Earvin and Lew Alcindor who became Magic and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. I'm sure the Shannon Brown type Laker player who was dunking when that kid was in diapers is settled with all those championship rings though.

Michael Cooper-Behind every scene of Showtime was the show-stopper who did the best boy dirty work. A key grip on the Lakers D who could even stop Larry's legend. Now that's true magic in the Johnson/Bird era. Oh and he could dunk too...matter of fact, at almost 60 he still can.

Derek Fisher-Who is the one Laker in history who could clutch on to almost more game winning shots then Big Shot Bob? Kobe? Jerry West? A running Magic hook? Nope but the Fish that saved L.A. in less than 0.4 seconds. From the head-band years to silencing a Philadelphia crowd with one finger this guy did more than sweat the small hustle play stuff. Through all his heroic shots though none was greater than returning from his daughters hospital bedside to lifting the Jazz to the same heavens he pointed to after checking into the second half.

Robert Horry-Just read the license plate of his car. Who else but the ultimate last second, clutch game-winner not named Jordan, or ring bearer not called Russell? Even if he didn't show up in the first or third, every Vlade Divac critic should read a paper or something. Even Kobe and Phil Jackson knows no one can't touch big shot Bob in the clutch of championships. The quick draw Texas champion from Houston to San An, by way of L.A. leaving everyone of his opponents in the rear-view...'7RINGS'!

Ding...We're done!

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