Settle Down, the Lakers Don’t Suck
Lakers fans — It’s only one game, you’re still a contender.
Thunder fans — You were the favorite to win the West regardless, calm down.
Heat fans — You’re not a lock for the repeat just yet. Relax.
Knicks fans — We have nothing to do with this, but I thought I’d just tell you that we’re still slightly above average, and not a contender.
I can already see Skip Bayless’ wrinkly forehead scrunching together, yelling at the caricature of a caricature of a black man known as Stephen A. Smith that the Lakers are overrated and have no shot at winning a championship. Now, maybe that won’t be his opinion, but regardless, prepare yourself for a day, a week, or maybe even a month of nonsensical ESPN storylines about the Lakers’ so-called problems preventing them from winning a championship.
DON’T WORRY GUYS, MIKE BROWN KNEW IT WOULD HAPPEN, NOT A BIG DEAL OKAY
Well, completely idiotic, yet out-of-context quote aside, not really. The Lakers do have a few glaring problems, especially evident after this one game, but that doesn’t change the fact that they will be a very good team competing for an NBA championship come playoff time.
PROBLEM: The Lakers’ coaching staff is comprised of more than a couple of coaches who have been previously fired for being terrible at their jobs. To counteract their star players are head coach Mike Brown (fired in Cleveland), assistant coach Eddie Jordan (fired in Washington), and assistant coach Bernie Bickerstaff (fired in Charlotte). Brown, a defensive-minded coach, is installing the Princeton offense in Los Angeles.
ANSWER: No doubt Mike Brown is not a great coach, but that doesn’t mean his team can’t be great. They handed him the keys to a Ferrari, and at first it seemed like a smooth ride, but eventually he swerved off the road and drove into a mailbox. It’s a process.
But I think Charles Barkley said it best when he said, “I want my accountant or my lawyer coming from Princeton, not my offense.” Mike Brown, you can continue to use this antiquated, college-oriented offense, or you can recognize that your starting lineup has maybe the greatest scorer of all-time, the best passer in the NBA, the most athletic big man in the NBA, the most fundamentally-sound big man on offense in the NBA, and a small forward who can throw elbows like Anderson Silva (not entirely sure where that comes into play on the offensive side of the ball). They don’t need to be restricted by such a rudimentary system. I’m sure the offense still needs time to work out the kinks, but something just doesn’t feel right when it seems like Pau Gasol is the cornerstone of your offense, and you have Kobe wide open on the wing not getting the ball.
By the way, new drinking game idea: every time the commentators say the words “Princeton Offense”, take a shot. Beware! If Reggie Miller is calling the game, you’ll be heavily inebriated by the middle of the 2nd quarter, and potentially comatose by the 4th quarter.
Oh, and great job “specially-hired Dwight Howard free throw coach” guy. With every one of Dwight’s 11 missed free throws (3-14 on the night), you were pushed closer and closer to the unemployment line. This game probably had you sweating more than half of the players.
PROBLEM: The Lakers’ bench is not deep by any means, and they will be relying on heavy contributions from a few less-than-stellar reserves including:
Accomplishments: Traded for Vince Carter during an NBA Draft about 33 years ago; Was good when I was in elementary school
Accomplishments: Knicks failed lottery pick #119; Has dreads
Accomplishments: Vaguely resembles Dobby from Harry Potter; Vaguely resembles a chihuahua
Accomplishments: Scored 50 pts in a college game; Pulls off the name ‘Jodie’ as a male
ANSWER: NEWSFLASH! Benches aren’t a necessity in today’s NBA game for a team like the Lakers, they are a supplement for the teams without multiple superstars. The two teams in last year’s NBA Finals did not have good benches. Remove James Harden from the equation, and I can barely pick out 3 players I would want on my own team. Yes, players on those benches happened to step up at pivotal moments during the playoffs like Mike Miller in Game 5 of the Finals, but the players themselves were not highly talented role players like everyone seems to think you need.
As long as your bench players have one skill and can manage to perform that skill in games, you will succeed. Antawn Jamison (who I sold short before, he happens to be a good player) needs to provide scoring, Jordan Hill needs to rebound, Steve Blake needs to take care of the ball, and Jodie Meeks needs to hit 3′s. If those players can perform those tasks on most nights, the Lakers will have no problem winning 50+ games.
PROBLEM: The Lakers are old, they’ll wear down by the playoffs, and fall short of expectations because of injury.
ANSWER: “Old” is not synonymous with “injury-prone”. Yes, Steve Nash can’t play 40 mpg anymore, but he’s also been one of the healthiest NBA players on a consistent basis. Kobe Bryant, who I guess you could consider injury-prone, would play through any ailment short of a severed-off limb, and happens to be at his best when he’s doing so. That’s part of the deal with these guys, and something we all knew going into this season. They’re in the last chapters of their career, looking to win a title (or titles) before they can call it a career. This is nothing new, and not some sort of illuminating revelation we’ve come to see because they lost to the Mavericks tonight.
PROBLEM: Opposing point guards will be able to score on Nash and Blake at will. Most defenders are like the tolls where you have to wait on a line, and inevitably pay an extremely unhappy-looking person $1.25. Nash and Blake are the E-ZPass lane.
ANSWER: Yeah, I got nothing for you here. Darren Collison and Roddy Beaubois looked like Russell Westbrook out there tonight, and Russell Westbrook will probably look like one of the Monstars after they took the NBA players’ powers. Except the doofy-looking Shawn Bradley one…he still kinda sucked. But this will be a season-long issue, occasionally quelled by the fact that Dwight Howard is by far the best defensive presence in the NBA. I fully expect Damian Lillard (my Rookie of the Year sleeper) to make a name for himself tomorrow night with an eye-opening performance.
PROBLEM: The team has no chemistry because Mitch Kupchak basically threw a bunch of pieces together that are only united by the fact that they want to win a title. It’s the Gary Payton/Karl Malone team of 2003-2004 all over again.
ANSWER: I can see the similarities now…an aging point guard looking for his first ring, as well as a big man with back problems who’s been to the finals before, and he might just want to have sex with Kobe’s wife…no. I can’t say if Dwight Howard and Karl Malone share the same taste in women, but I can say that this is an entirely different team, and it’s just way too early to make those comparisons. Again, it’s been ONE GAME. The Lakers acquired a two-time MVP as their floor general and the best defensive NBA big man in about a decade. Give. Them. Time.
I’m not saying I think the Lakers are going to win the NBA championship (the Heat are the best team in the NBA until proven otherwise), but I think they deserve the respect to not be counted out after their inaugural game of the NBA season. This team is still very much a contender, and given enough time, could prove to be an extremely difficult match-up for the Heat (who will almost assuredly win the East) if they can make it out of the Western Conference. Yes, tonight they were beaten by the Dallas Mavericks without Dirk Nowitzki, the same Dallas Mavericks who many predicted would finish the season without making the playoffs. Eddy Curry, who can usually be stopped with a photograph of a cheeseburger, managed to not only score, but score 7 pts. That is not a good sign by any means, but nobody said it would be easy. The Lakers will have their woes, but remember: it’s one game, and this season is far from over.
Posted on October 31, 2012, in Features, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA and tagged Eddy Curry is Fat, EVERYONE CHILL THE FUCK OUT I GOT THIS, Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.