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  • LakerTom (Publisher) 8:12 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  



    DURHAM, N.C. — The first things you notice are the hands.

    You’ve been told about them by everybody — on the record, off the record, it doesn’t matter.

    They appear to shrink a basketball when shooting a hook, lefty or righty. They touch a rebound eight feet away and guide it into the basket in one motion. They hold the ball Michael Jordan-style in the post, one huge palm extended confidently away from the body.

    Jahlil Okafor isn’t Michael Jordan. He goes to Duke, not North Carolina. He’s 6 feet 10. But he’s expected to be the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft in June.

    He’s adored by the Cameron Crazies, fellow students calling him “Jah” and spending wickedly frigid nights in “Krzyzewskiville,” their camping tents supported by wooden pallets to keep from getting that much colder from the frozen dirt.

    They hope their sacrifice is enough to gain admittance into the first-come, first-served student section of Duke’s reverential but surprisingly tiny arena. There’s not much more time to watch Okafor, a freshman who hasn’t officially expressed interest in the draft, a mere formality at this point.

    His coach has already called Okafor the nation’s best college player, an impressive public display of affection from one of the top talent recruiters ever, particularly since Okafor was playing a year ago against North Lawndale High and Urban Prep West in the Chicago Public Red-West league.

    “What Okafor has done has been, I think, remarkable,” Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “Jah’s played well at a high, high level. Even if his stats aren’t 20-something points, he causes so much concern that someone can be open. Someone else’s game has picked up just by having him on the court.”

    His stats are typically high, though — 18.2 points and 9.6 rebounds a game despite plenty of double teams — and he plays a lot of minutes (31.1 on average) because Krzyzewski strictly adheres to a small rotation.

    There are Okafor observations like this from Danny Manning, the Wake Forest coach and top overall NBA draft pick in 1988: “He’s got really soft hands.”

    And from Ryan Kelly, a reserve Lakers forward who played at Duke and got to know Okafor last summer: “Really strong hands. No one’s taking the ball from him if he goes and gets it. For a big man to have skills like his and have the touch with those giant hands is really impressive.”

    Finally, from an NBA front-office official who requested anonymity: “He loves to score and can help someone immediately. Good hands too.”

    The Lakers own the NBA’s fourth-worst record, and if they stay there they’ll have a 10.4% chance of landing the No. 1 pick in the May 19 lottery. They’re hoping for better draft karma after falling a spot in last year’s lottery (from six to seven) and taking Kentucky power forward Julius Randle, who sustained a season-ending broken leg on opening night.

    Only a handful of things aren’t bouncing the right way for the 19-year-old Okafor. The Chicago Bulls won’t have a lottery pick, so there’s no chance he goes to his favorite team on draft day.

    More recently, he’s developed a problem of missed free throws, making only one of seven against Syracuse on Saturday and five of his last 22.

    Then there’s the biggie: The same way people talk about his hands in excited tones, they discuss his defense in a concerned, hushed manner.

    Okafor doesn’t protect the rim, some say. He takes plays off on defense, hasn’t quite figured it out like the Kentucky towers, Karl-Anthony Towns and Willie Cauley-Stein.

    Refreshingly, Okafor agrees with the assessment.

    “I feel it’s true. That is one of my weaknesses,” he told The Times. “I wouldn’t argue with that. That’s something I’ve been working with the coaches a lot this season, trying to get better at it.”

    On draft night, his skills on offense, including great footwork, a face-up jumper from the post and quick spin moves, will be simply too strong to pass up, outweighing his defensive deficiencies.

    When his name is called, Okafor will think of his mom, Dacresha, who died in front of him when he was 9 because of a collapsed lung likely brought on by bronchitis. He keeps her image as the screen saver on his phone.

    The first person he’d thank would be his father, Chukwudi, who took a sabbatical from work to watch Okafor play almost every game at Duke.

    “When I lost my mother, he was always there for me. He made sure I didn’t use it as an excuse to go down the wrong path,” Okafor said. “That’s part of my motivation too, my mother. There hasn’t been a day where I haven’t thought about her.”

    His mother played at a junior college in Oklahoma, his father at a small college in Arkansas, and Okafor always had basketball in his future. There are no “first memories” of playing the game. He’s just always been seen with a ball.

    “I’ve talked to a bunch of big men who told me they didn’t really start playing basketball until seventh or eighth grade,” Okafor said. “That wasn’t the situation with me.”

    Right now, he’s got to fix this free-throw thing.

    He missed his first six from the line against Syracuse. Before he shot the seventh, Duke fans stood and clapped encouragingly. He made it, little consolation for a player with only 52.5% free-throw accuracy this season.

    “I think he’s probably embarrassed about that,” Krzyzewski said. “He’s the best player in the country and so anything that’s a little bit wrong, we don’t like that. He’ll work at it. I have faith in him. Hopefully against Wake Forest [on Wednesday] he gets fouled and goes six for six, or 16 for 16, whatever they’re calling that night.”

    It can become irritating, but it’s not the worst glitch for a big man: Shaquille O’Neal and Wilt Chamberlain famously struggled from the stripe, Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan more recently.

    When NBA microscopes turn Okafor’s direction over the next few months, he’ll want to clean up as many on-court messes as possible.

    The goals are simple for now. Okafor is more concerned about responsibilities at Duke than the obvious financial boon awaiting him. The draft’s No. 1 pick stands to earn about $26 million over his first four years in the league.

    “There’s three banners I want to hang — ACC regular championship, ACC tournament championship and of course the national championship,” Okafor said with the wonderment of a teenager.

    There will be tougher tests than the Atlantic Coast Conference after summer blends into fall.

    Okafor will still have those hands, perhaps the strongest selling point of anybody in the draft.


  • DJ2KB24

    DJ2KB24 7:07 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    Two great college games on tonight. Unfortunately we lost to the Busy Bees, but Kentucky and Georgia got a good one going. Please no to Lin, he plays good then a couple turnovers. He did hit the almost game winner (Kobe-like). We knew he could, lol!

  • GDUBinDC

    GDUBinDC 5:47 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    Jordy’s lookin’ more and more like a rookie keeper. Looks like Mitch made a pretty good draft day deal with my Zards to acquire him. : )

    • GDUBinDC

      GDUBinDC 5:55 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Jeremy has actually resembled an NBA-level PG so far tonight.

    • MongoSlade

      MongoSlade 6:11 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Lin trying to play his way on to a roster next season.

    • GDUBinDC

      GDUBinDC 6:17 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Well, the ‘REBUILD’ continues. : )

    • Michael H (Editor)

      Michael H (Editor) 6:36 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply


      I think Lin’s improved game since the All star break ha as much to with Byron as it does Lin. He seems to have opened things up a little. Better spacing and more pick and roll. He is letting Lin do what he does and it’s paid off.

      As for Clarkson, definitely the steal or the draft. He could find himself on the all rookie team by the end of the year.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 4:40 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    Why Brian Shaw Became the Latest Phil Jackson Disciple to Fail 


    Why Brian Shaw Became the Latest Phil Jackson Disciple to Fail

    Bob Leverone/Associated Press

    LOS ANGELES — Brian Shaw‘s 56-86 record as Denver Nuggets head coach and firing Tuesday goes down in the books as another failure for Phil Jackson’s coaching shrub.

    Shaw’s failure also goes to show that maybe the Los Angeles Lakers didn’t miss out on that much by snubbing Jackson’s line of lineage and hiring Mike Brown over Shaw in 2011.

    Of course, Shaw would’ve had a greater chance at success as a first-time head coach if he’d inherited Jackson’s established Lakers format—and Kobe Bryant—rather than trying to create a new culture with some Denver folks who had some success and weren’t overeager to get a post-George Karl voice in 2013.

    Steve Kerr’s fantastic work as the Golden State Warriors‘ rookie head coach, however, proves such a transition is doable. The key is to have, as Kerr did, a true vision—and have the confidence to adhere to it amid the countless voices and demands that swirl around the head coach.

    As much as we all breezily criticize head coaches, the job is ridiculously tough. You can’t just stay in your lane and pick your spots to step out, as Shaw did as an outstanding assistant coach with the Lakers and Indiana Pacers. That has been the way for so many men working under Jackson over the years.

    But being the leader is far different than being one counselor.

    Kerr, notably, was not a Jackson assistant coach even if Kerr’s style was largely formed by playing and winning championships for Jackson. Kerr’s success this season is about as good an example of “preparation meets opportunity” as you’ll ever see—and he prepared, bottom line, to be the kind of head coach he wanted to be.

    The New York Knicks have to wonder what might have been if Kerr had gone there under new Knicks President Jackson.

    But even as Shaw’s failure in Denver eliminates one huge what-might-have-been scenario for Lakers fans who felt Shaw was a no-brainer as Jackson’s successor in 2011, let’s indulge another.

    After Brown struggled and was fired after barely a year as Lakers head coach, the Lakers made the decision that for second-guessers is second only to the Chris Paul trade veto in turning the Lakers’ fortunes. The Lakers hired Mike D’Antoni as coach instead of Jackson again.

    Jerry and Jim Buss didn’t want to go running back to Phil to save them again, yes. But there was no belief that Jackson offered a long-term solution. No one thought Jackson would coach long, and the Lakers wanted a sustainable new direction.

    Jackson coming in immediately to coach the Kobe-Pau Gasol-Dwight Howard-Steve Nash superteam, with the understanding that Kerr, having established his family in San Diego, would be the Lakers’ future head coach…now that would’ve been something to behold for years to come.

    Whenever Jackson was talking to other franchises, including as an advisor in the Detroit Pistons‘ 2013 coaching search, Jackson already had Kerr in mind as the ideal head coach candidate.

    Although Kerr ramped up his focus on finding a coaching job only recently, he has said he knew since returning to the TNT broadcast booth in 2010 that he would coach.

    What might have been for the Lakers is reality for the Warriors, who are building their own West Coast marquee franchise under the front-office leadership of Joe Lacob, Peter Guber, Rick Welts, Bob Myers and Kerr—with the big move to San Francisco yet to come.

    David Zalubowski/Associated Press                                 
    Brian Shaw struggled to harness Denver’s young talent.        

    By contrast, after so many near misses for top jobs, Shaw stepped into a far shakier situation in Denver. Just before firing Karl as coach, it had let general manager Masai Ujiri leave for more money from the Toronto Raptors.

    Shaw, as he’d learned from Jackson, wanted to install system basketball (although not the triangle offense). But Shaw drifted away from his principles as time went on, and his messages weren’t getting through to players who were mostly overpaid second-tier guys anyway.

    The irony is that Shaw’s strength as an assistant was being the guy who could get along with players yet command respect. He did neither well as time went on as Nuggets head coach.

    The widely repeated Denver Post report about Nuggets players breaking their huddle by announcing “six weeks” remain until season’s end was actually them repeating Shaw’s message they needed to break a drought of six weeks without winning at home. Nevertheless, it was believable because of how much was going wrong in Denver. Now, Shaw’s firing is the story, and so is the lesson from it.

    Everyone learns from everyone, and everyone steals from everyone. But even if you learn and steal from the most successful coach in North American pro sports history, it will only work if you know and trust that your personal leadership style and basketball vision are special.

    As Kerr often reminds, he has the leeway of some great Golden State players to cover for him. It’s why it made so much sense for Kerr to refuse the honorable anointment of being Jackson’s first head coach with the heralded New York Knickerbockers…with the shoddy roster.

    Jackson’s disciples, as Shaw realized, are not going to be afforded any extra time to build their programs in Jackson’s triangular mold. The terrible records as NBA head coaches posted by Jim Cleamons, Kurt Rambis, Frank Hamblen and Bill Cartwright made sure of that.

    So aside from Derek Fisher suffering through that shoddy Knicks roster for now, the likes of Cavaliers associate head coach Tyronn Lue, Lakers assistant Mark Madsen, Warriors assistant Luke Walton and Auburn assistant Chuck Person in the future NBA will have to find great head coaching situations or be truly great head coaches.

    As Jackson and Kerr know, it’s quite preferable to have both.


    • LakerTom (Publisher) 4:49 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Phil Jackson’s coaching shrub. LOL. The key is to realize that the Triangle is not going to work in today’s modern NBA or with today’s modern players, which is why Kerr really took the Warriors job over the Knicks. The Warriors offense is about as far away from the Triangle as possible. It’s basically Mike D’Antoni’s offense with an equal emphasis on defense.

    • MongoSlade

      MongoSlade 6:07 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      It’s got less to do with the system and more to do with the talent. Kerr feel into the best situation possible; he would have be a complete moron to screw that up.

    • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

      Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 7:01 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      This line is ludicrous: Steve Kerr’s fantastic work as the Golden State Warriors‘ rookie head coach, however, proves such a transition is doable.

      The dude walked onto a ready-made contender, Mark Jackson laid the ground work for this success. Randy Pfund would have done well with this team. Kerr installed some plays, made some tweaks in defensive coverage and scouts opponents. He lucked into the seaosn where both Durant and Westbrook are injured, Pop managing minutes more than ever, and a Laker implosion. His best move so far was simply making the smart choice. The weak choice, but the smart one.

      Shaw walked onto a Nuggets team going super nova after Carmelo bailed and George Karl stopped caring. He needed a break, more than anything else, and of all the coaches to coach any sport Phil showed how taking breaks can contribute to a fresh outlook and helping find the energy to slog through the regular season but still have something left for the playoffs.

      So comparing the two is really just plain dumb. Of all of the coaches to roll off the “shrub” Shaw walked into one of the worst situations. Furthermore, of all the Jackson Five to try their hand at head coaching, Shaw ran the least of the triangle, if anything he made sure to distance himself from it as a be-all-end-all to competing. So to say he’s a “failed Jackson disciple” isn’t quite accurate. Rambis was a failed Jackonsian Disciple. Shaw was a falied head coach who has coached with Phil Jackson in the past.

      Sometimes Kevin Ding sounds like a complete doofus. This is one of those times.

  • DJ2KB24

    DJ2KB24 1:15 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    Ya’ll gotta be switching back and forth with Lakers and Kaintuck tonight.

    • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

      Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 1:38 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Cannot, in good spirit and conscience, support collegiate athletics as currently constructed. Two steps above slave labor, in my opinion.

      • DJ2KB24

        DJ2KB24 3:05 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Ya gotta point. On the other hand we should allow this kids to start in “D” League for a year (pay them), but they do have an opportunity for a Free College Degree.

        • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

          Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 7:12 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Something I’ve brought up several times, same could go for the minor leagues in MLB and…arena football?

          But I digress, until something is done to make the distrubution of that one-sided money making machine I want nothing to do with it. I’m right there on the NFL, too. Even if a team comes to LA (and especially if it’s just another re-tread from another burg) I have a hard time supporting the NFL with my time. I certainly don’t spend any money on the NFL channel or attend it’s games or purchase their products.

          Of all the sports I feel baseball has the best CBA, it rewards performance. Oakland has shown you don’t have to spend a fortune on salaries to compete and the Yankees have shown that spending a fortune doesn’t guarantee anything. I hope that the NBA moves in a direction more like that. The thing to consider is the sheer volume of games that the MLB teams play to help generate revenue, sell product, etc.

          The NBA owners have recouped their foolish investments and have found a good structure to move forward within, but the cap is too low and they need to increase tools a GM can use to sign players. Also, I’d like to see something like the old sign and trade rules. I think the current age limit is fine and all parties would be wise to leave it as is. It should be 18, but it’s not worth losing .3% of the BRI over in negotiationss. (all hypothetical, of course)

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 2:11 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Thank God for DVR’s. Always fun watching Kentucky. Keep your eye on Trey Liles. He could be a sleeper.

    • NBA4ever

      NBA4ever 5:29 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      College basketball is horrible, an inferior product to the NBA

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 12:39 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    Lakers Nation Roundtable: Top Free Agency Target This Summer 


    This summer will be one of the most important in the history of the Los Angeles Lakers’ franchise. Coming off of what will be a second straight awful season, the Lakers will be looking to drastically improve the talent on the roster and free agency will be a major part of that.

    The Lakers could be armed with as many as four draft picks, but there is no guarantee that those players will be able to contribute immediately to next year’s team. Free agency, however, could bring the Lakers a big-name that’s recognizable to fans and is more likely to make an immediate impact on the fortunes of the Lakers.

    There is no shortage of possible additions at every position and the Lakers will likely explore a number of options once the time comes. From point guards like Rajon Rondo and Goran Dragic, to wings like Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler, to bigs like Marc Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge, and DeAndre Jordan, there are plenty of ways the Lakers could go.

    So we asked our panel of experts, which potential free agent should be the Lakers’ top free agent target this summer? This is what they had to say:

    Nathan Kim (@Kimchiz): There are a number of star players that will be free agents this summer. I believe the Laker’s should make a run at many of the players available as they have financial flexibility and are in dire need of talent. If I were to only choose one free agent however, I would choose Marc Gasol.

    The Lakers front court is dismal with the likes of Robert Sacre, Carlos Boozer, Tarik Black, Ed Davis, and Jordan Hill. Many of these players are a bit short and should actually be playing the power forward position. The team needs a true center that can protect the rim as well as handle the ball offensively. Gasol can do both of these things and more.

    He would take the pressure off some of the guards and allow for better spacing of the floor. The current Laker bigs are either offensively incapable, or tend to shoot the ball mid-range. A quality center would match Byron Scott’s old-school defensive-minded coaching style as well. The greatest need for the Lakers is a star big man, and I believe Gasol is a perfect match.

    Gasol is currently on the Memphis Grizzlies who are currently second in the Western conference. Although, it would seem unlikely that Gasol would leave such an exceptional team, there is still a chance that he may want to follow in his brother Pau’s footsteps. Furthermore, if the Lakers are able to get a top draft pick, Gasol may be more enticed to come wear the purple and gold next season.

    Ryan Ward (@Lakers_Examiner): There’s quite a few free agents I believe the Lakers should target in the off-season. Unfortunately, only one or two of those players set to become available will be attainable in my opinion.

    The number one target for the Lakers in free agency should be Rajon Rondo. Kobe Bryant is a big fan of Rondo’s and has already promised to recruit him in the off-season until the veteran point guard makes his decision.

    Rondo has championship experience and is a true pass-first point guard. He’ll have the respect of Kobe right out of the gate and that might transcend to head coach Byron Scott quickly as a result.

    Along with being the right player in the backcourt alongside Kobe next season, I don’t think he’s a max player meaning the Lakers might have more financial flexibility going with Rondo.

    There will be a lot of talk about Goran Dragic still being a target of the Lakers come July, but I can’t see him leaving the Miami Heat if they are willing to give him a max deal. GM Mitch Kupchak and company will likely still gauge his interest in coming to Los Angeles even if it seems like a foregone conclusion he remains in Miami.

    Rondo will be on a short list of free agents this summer which includes Marc Gasol, DeAndre Jordan, Greg Monroe and LaMarcus Aldridge. All of these players would be ideal for the Lakers, but Rondo seems the most likely to leave his current team in favor of Los Angeles.

    Corey Hansford (@TheeCoreyH): Some of the biggest names in free agency, like Marc Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge, are not feasible options for the Lakers in my opinion. I just can’t see those guys leaving their situation. I do, however, believe the Lakers need a big man, which is why their top target should be DeAndre Jordan.

    I was unsure of Jordan coming into the season, but his play since Blake Griffin went out with injury has been outstanding. He would give the Lakers a true rim protector who will control the backboards and be the heart of the Lakers’ defense.

    Obviously his offense still leaves something to be desired, but it has improved and if the Lakers are able to get a point guard, or Jordan Clarkson continues to develop, they will be able to get Jordan enough buckets to keep him satisfied.

    With the Clippers already owing so much money to Griffin and Chris Paul, they might not be able to afford to pay Jordan max money, which is why the Lakers should swoop in with the max offer to try and snatch him away from their Staples Center co-tenants.

    Jordan would give the Lakers a big man for the present and future, and honestly, I would just enjoy taking away one of the building blocks from the Clippers.

    Russell Valenzuela (@RussVal4): The Los Angeles Lakers aren’t going to solve everything this off-season. Any rebuild is still going to take at least another year. Getting Julius Randle back from injury and potentially a top-five pick in the upcoming draft will certainly help.

    In terms of free agency, the Lakers should target wing players who could fill in and be good role players. A good, viable option for the team to target would be Tobias Harris from the Orlando Magic.

    Although he will be restricted, Orlando could have a tough time matching an offer the Lakers or any other team present. The Magic currently have a young core and also have to consider the futures of their guards, Elfrid Payton and Victor Oladipo, when considering a Harris return.

    Harris would fit into the roster perfectly as he doesn’t need to be a number one option to productive. He’s a long, athletic wing with good rebounding ability. Another positive for Harris is his youth. By the time next season begins, he will be just 23 years old and still capable of improving vastly along with the rest of the younger players.


    • LakerTom (Publisher) 12:42 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Hard to prioritize free agent targets without knowing whether we took a point guard, center, or wing for our top 5 pick, assuming we keep it.

    • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

      Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 1:09 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I think the Lakers will value a free agent over a draft pick, if they can get equitable value in getting rid of the pick they’ll pull the trigger, Frankly, since we have glaring weaknesses at literally every position except back-up PF it almost doesn’t matter what moves the front office makes so long as they bring improvement and a talent upgrade.

    • MongoSlade

      MongoSlade 1:30 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      At least a coupla these guys have a realistic expectation of the players we’ll actually be able to attract. Dudes like Rondo, Harris, Robin Lopez, Wes Matthews. Not superstars but solid building blocks. If we had signed these types of guys the last 2 summers then maybe we would be in a position to attract top tier free agents now.

      • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

        Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 1:45 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Harris and Matthews are on my list of guys we need to make a run at. Never been sold on the Lopez bros. Too injured, not impactful enough to consider being max guys, but there is definitely talent there. I’d be into either on a J-Hill type of deal.

        Rondo is a big question mark, for me, because he has the potential to turn the team around at the PG position or sink us for 4 seasons and a max slot. I’d rather draft a slew of guards and sign size.

        • MongoSlade

          MongoSlade 2:11 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          I’m not sure if Rondo still gets max money.

          • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

            Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 2:26 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            If it comes down to a bidding war than I like our chances, even if we’re not the highest bid. I’ll wager that Rondo and Carlisle will never be on the same page and that is the primary source of friction. Carlisle goes through PGs quicker than almost any coach in the Association.

            Rondo at least respects Kobe, and hopefully sees a little of himself in coach Scott’s old school ways. For a decent contract I’d definitely take a shot at Rondo, again, something in the Jordan Hill range is about as high as I’d go.

            But what do I have to say about? Same as anyone here, I s’pose.

          • LakerTom (Publisher) 4:36 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Only a fool would pay him anywhere close considering his injury history and attitude issues. I hope we don’t make the mistake of signing him. It would just show the front office is hanging onto false hopes of competing before Kobe retires. Nothing would derail the rebuilding process as much as signing Rondo.

        • LakerTom (Publisher) 2:17 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Doubtful considering his attitude and issues with coaches. I would love to steal Matthews away from the Blzzers or Danny Green from the Spurs.

          • MongoSlade

            MongoSlade 2:27 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            I think it’s more the injuries than the attitude stuff. There was a time when he was in the discussion for the best pg in the game.. even with the attitude. But not since the injuries.

    • yellofever

      yellofever 1:40 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      dam we have that same roundtable here like everyday!

    • GDUBinDC

      GDUBinDC 1:48 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I agree with Kim even tho I know we don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of landing Marc.

    • GDUBinDC

      GDUBinDC 6:23 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Man, I sure do hope they don’t sign Rajon.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 12:14 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 12:15 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Will always respect and love Vlade Divac. Good move by Kings.

    • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

      Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 12:40 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Vlade’s first move: Pack of smokes in every locker.

    • yellofever

      yellofever 2:50 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      vlade was a smart player but he was notorious for killing scoring runs.. Magic would be running the break the crowd would be rockin goin Wild then vlade would try some stupid behind the back no look pass throw the ball away and stun the crowd.. suck the air right out of the building.

    • NBA4ever

      NBA4ever 5:24 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      One of my all-time favorite players to watch when him and Webber were together. Much more than a basketball player, I was fortunate to meet and talk to him multiple times.

      • NBA4ever

        NBA4ever 5:28 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        The Lakers were considered crazy to use a 1st round pick on a foreign player at the time…..years later they were considered crazy for trading a starting center for an unproven high school kid. I think both of those decisions turned out great and those types of decisions are what separated us from the rest of the league, not our money.

        I miss those days, I miss Mr. West and the Doctor :(

        • MongoSlade

          MongoSlade 6:33 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Money allows you to take bigger risks. Especially in the old financial system.

          • NBA4ever

            NBA4ever 7:11 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            True, but it was a genius move….it also cleared money to sign Shaq

      • GDUBinDC

        GDUBinDC 6:24 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I always liked his passing game, too, NBA.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 11:36 AM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    Something to consider when the question of how Goran Dragic is worth comes up in the off-season:

    “Had it been any other opponent, Dragic said he wouldn’t have played through the back spasms that have pained him for a few days. But this was the Phoenix Suns, the team that called him selfish after trading him to Miami last month, and Dragic’s new teammates wouldn’t let him down.”

    from the game breakdown on ESPN.com

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 10:00 AM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    • GDUBinDC

      GDUBinDC 10:09 AM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Looks like the ‘rebuild’ is still on track. : )

      • keen observer

        keen observer 10:18 AM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        This “rebuild” stuff is laughable. Call it what it is: TANKING. Tankaholics out there can’t sugarcoat their true feelings by labeling it something else. A so-called “fan” can’t mask his or her shame with labels.

        • AK27

          AK27 10:24 AM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Silly argument.

        • GDUBinDC

          GDUBinDC 10:54 AM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          ‘Shame’??? U’re a riot, keen. : )

          • AK27

            AK27 10:57 AM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Do you not feel crushed by his righteous indignation, G ? lol

            • GDUBinDC

              GDUBinDC 10:59 AM on March 3, 2015 Permalink

              The guy just amuses me with his ridiculous views sometimes. I mean how arrogant and pompous does one have to be to feel that they’re entitled to set the standard for what constitutes a true Ls fan … friggin’ laughable.

            • keen observer

              keen observer 11:58 AM on March 3, 2015 Permalink

              Name calling. How lovely. Every time the truth is uttered it is “arrogant and pompous.” lol

            • keen observer

              keen observer 12:39 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink

              What kills me is at least I wasn’t passive aggressive about it like you were, GDUB. Why can’t you guys deal with straight talk?

            • GDUBinDC

              GDUBinDC 1:46 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink

              U wouldn’t know the ‘truth’ if u tripped over it, keen. The ‘truth’ as u know it, only exists in the delusional world of the so-called ‘keen observer’.

            • keen observer

              keen observer 2:02 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink

              Au contraire, sir.

            • mclyne32 (Director) 2:07 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink


            • keen observer

              keen observer 2:40 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink

              Look what the cat dragged in. The Great Ranter.

        • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

          Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 12:43 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          It’s when you take someone’s opinions as a fan and make them a “fan”. They’re all welcome to their opinions, straight talk or no, begrudging them and belittling them doesn’t make you any smarter. Rather it makes you come off as a pompous blow hard. I don’t think I’m going too far out on a limb by saying none of us are “right” here, there are just thoughts, hopes and ideas.

          I think that’s mainly what folks take umbrage with in regards to your posts, dude.

          • keen observer

            keen observer 12:46 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Blow hard, huh. Nice.

            • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

              Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 12:49 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink

              I’m sure some folks round here (and other places) think I’m a blow hard as well, opinionated folks often are. Nothing meant by it, just that you often strike a very opinionated and confrontational tone. Which is why some folks seem to single you out, I believe.

              Just observating. You know? Got as much truth behind it as thinking that the groundhog determines winter’s length and severity.

            • AK27

              AK27 12:49 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink

              Yeah, belittle or insult folks every so often and they don’t even have the decency to be nice in return ? What is the world coming to !

            • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

              Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 12:55 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink

              Note I did not say, “Belittling people makes you a blow hard…” only that it alters the perception of you to allow that tag to be considered apt.

              I think you have some very valid points and opinions but you obfuscate them with the tone and syntax of your posts.

            • keen observer

              keen observer 1:31 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink

              Pardon me if I think that not being honest is worth commenting on. Replacing the term “tank” with “rebuild” is about as dishonest as it gets. Rooting for your team to actually lose games and being disappointed when they put forth a strong effort and win isn’t being much of a “fan” any way you slice it. When GDUB put “rebuild” in italics, I thought he was just mocking out the term, so I essentially agreed with him. I just don’t think things like that should be sugarcoated, which is exactly what Tom did when he decided to alter the truth to a fake new meaning. What he is saying is that if you don’t believe in tanking, you don’t believe in rebuilding, which are 2 entirely separate concepts. If that is pompous, arrogant and makes me a blow hard, then I am proud to be all of those things. I prefer the truth.

            • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

              Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 1:52 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink

              No pardon needed, frankly I share your view and I root for us to win each and every game we play. It’s just how I’m wired.

              But it doesn’t faze me in the slightest if others want the team to tank, rebuild, retool, reconfigurate, restabilize, recharge or renovate the Lakers. Because, at the end of the day, they have as much power as I do to make that happen. Nada.

              So let the tankers cheer every loss, I’ll keep referring to that article about what a terrible job Hinkie is doing with the 76ers by creating a culture of losing on the court, regardless of what corporate thinks the culture is in the office.

              But I do think the tankers are as much of a fan as I am, they just see a different path to the same destination and every hiker or wilderness fan knows there’s always a different way to get to the top, but never a short cut worth taking.

            • GDUBinDC

              GDUBinDC 1:56 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink

              LMAO @ AK

            • keen observer

              keen observer 2:09 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink

              Jamie, that’s where we disagree. A real fan never roots for his team to lose, so I see the Tankaholics as a shameful breed of “fan.” The fact is that the Lakers stink and are going to lose a lot more than they win anyway, so it is highly probable that we keep the pick. If that is where the chips fall, great. If not we still have 2 or 3 picks in the upcming draft, we have our pick in 2016 anyway and we will likely be a lottery team again. I’m sure Tom will fall in love with some college player out there who will be our “next franchise player.” It just won’t be Willie Cauley-Stein unless he announces that he is going to play his senior year.

    • DJ2KB24

      DJ2KB24 11:51 AM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      No Davis, no Black? Man I was hoping to see a match-up with Whiteside and Davis, see who really got game!

      • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

        Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 12:47 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Davis is getting paired with Lin in every line up coach Scott throws out there. Which is smart because there’s no telling how it shakes out in the off season. We may find Lin for cheaper than Dragic to be very palatable (can’t believe I typed that, but there it is…sitting there) and Lin and Davis play pretty well together.

        My personal Nostradamus on this one is Lin moves on and we overpay at the PG position for an older (now back-injured) Dragic. I hope that doesn’t happen, but that’s what my gut is telling me.

        • yellofever

          yellofever 12:59 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          man our taste buds are way off then cause resigning jlin is far from palateable to me but much closer to regurgitatable

          • DJ2KB24

            DJ2KB24 1:07 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Lin, to me, is a dribbler and head down driver. Hasn’t really helped any team anywhere.

            • yellofever

              yellofever 1:14 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink

              DJ true that! he’s a slightly better dribbler than dfish but way more out of control. haha. his problem is he just don’t know his place in the totem pole. still in denial. he need to get his azz to the back of the line!

          • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

            Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 1:07 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Ha! me too, yello, but it’s not out of the question. I do like the synergy betwixt Davis and Lin. Lin is really good at keeping his center involved by setting him up for some easy hoops. A skill or trait that is often overlooked but seeing how Chris Paul has steadily spoon fed DeAndre Jordan confidence building alley oops and open looks for the last few years shows us the value of keeping a big man engaged on offense, even if there are massive holes in his game (can’t really shoot outside the paint, can’t hit free throws)

            Lin for the mMLE as a back up wouldn’t be the end of the world. I think he moves on tho

            “regurgitatable” is hilarious.

            • yellofever

              yellofever 1:17 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink

              hey Jamie man oh man you actin like daddy worbucks right now tryin pay jlin the mini MLE.. I was thinking temporary 10 day contracts at a time haha

            • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

              Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 1:53 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink

              lol if only, too bad he’s making mad benjamins to suit up for the P&G.

          • GDUBinDC

            GDUBinDC 4:52 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            That makes 2 of us, yello. I’ll be through with both Mitch and Jimbo if they bring him back next season.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 9:59 AM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    • keen observer

      keen observer 10:07 AM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      With Brian Shaw out in Denver, I'm told Mike D'Antoni would definitely have interest in the job.— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) March 3, 2015

      • keen observer

        keen observer 10:08 AM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I hope they hire MDA. That would guarantee Denver winning more games than they should like the Lakers did last season.

      • LakerTom (Publisher) 12:14 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I still love Mike D’Antoni as a coach. He would be the perfect fit for Denver.
        You have to wonder about the ownership, though. That would worry me.
        Hope Mike gets a shot at Denver. It would be fun seeing his teams in that altitude.

        • yellofever

          yellofever 12:25 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          before MDA is rehired in the nba he should seriously consider enrolling in some public speaking classes or even toastmasters.

          • LakerTom (Publisher) 12:28 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Half the NBA is running stuff that Mike made standard on offense.
            He may not be the best press conference coach or defensive coach
            but he knows how to teach and coach a point guard driven offense.

            • yellofever

              yellofever 12:32 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink

              i don’t disagree .anybody that can make jlin look like an all star is a genius and deserves to be shrined in the HOF !

    • yellofever

      yellofever 12:04 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      what? another Asstnt fired from the Phillip Jackson coaching tree? how can that be!

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 6:12 AM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    5 Stars Who Could Be Worth Trading the No. 1 Pick in 2015 NBA Draft 


    Last year’s top NBA draft pick, Andrew Wiggins, was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers as part of a deal for Kevin Love. It was weird.

    Let’s get weird again.

    Instant turnarounds are still a priority in today’s NBA. It’s getting harder and harder to pry stars away from incumbent teams via free agency, but the concept of wheeling and dealing is alive and well.

    That brings us back to the No. 1 pick in the 2015 draft, which could be used on Jahlil Okafor of Duke, Karl-Anthony Towns of Kentucky, D’Angelo Russell of Ohio State or another one of this year’s top prospects.

    Any one of the Association’s worst squads would do well to continue rebuilding around such touted talent. But those looking for an added kick, for an immediate leap, could also dangle the position in negotiations for star-level impacts.

    Prospective targets are not just a who’s who of the NBA’s best players. We need reasons as to why they would become available. LeBron James and Anthony Davis are not hitting the chopping block. Get over it. Our definition of “star” will also rest on present performances and reputations or projected ceilings. There needs to be just cause as to why they’re worth building around.

    Bear in mind, we’re not making package-specific suggestions. Other moving parts would need to be involved in any deal. Certain top-pick contenders would also need to trade the actual player drafted, not the pick itself, since they’re unable to unload a first-rounder this year (looking at you, Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks).

    Most importantly, we’re going to be standing out on limbs, some of them fantastically flimsy. That, though, is just the cost of picturing what cannot yet be definitively predicted.

    DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings

    Age: 24

    2014-15 Per-Game Stats: 23.7 points, 12.2 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.4 steals, 1.7 blocks, 46.6 percent shooting, 24.2 player efficiency rating

    DeMarcus Cousins, you are our muse.

    No, seriously, you are. We don’t have to imagine why you would wind up on the trade block, because sources told Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck you may already be there:

    Karl wants players who move the ball and push the tempo, and that could mean wild upheaval on the Kings roster. Even DeMarcus Cousins, their franchise center, is not untouchable, according to a source with insight into Karl’s thinking. ‘At the trade deadline, everyone was available,’ the person said. Including Cousins? ‘Every single person (on the Kings roster) was available.’ Although Karl does not hold a front office title, ‘he definitely has control’ of future personnel decisions, the source said.
    Caveat: Cousins can certainly fit into George Karl’s pace and space system. While his efficiency has suffered since the Sacramento Kings decided to run hare-footed sets following Mike Malone’s departure, Cousins is a rampant-roving big man with the offensive range necessary to open driving lanes when post-ups aren’t a priority.

    But let’s not pretend he’s the ideal fit for such an offensive dynamic. All towers with a scoring touch inside the paint are best used within a blueprint that frequently, not haphazardly, utilizes their back-to-the-basket weaponry.

    If the Kings are going to marginalize Cousins’ vast skill set in any way, the two parties are better off without each other. This holds doubly true knowing Cousins and Sacramento’s management haven’t seen eye to eye since the dawn of time (see: Cousins’ pre-Karl rant).

    Young and fully capable of carrying an entire offense, there should be no hesitation in flipping the No. 1 pick for Cousins’ services. Statistically speaking, the Kings are a borderline playoff team when he’s on the floor, and his individual production knows few peers.

    To wit: Cousins is just the third player to collect 6,000 points, 3,500 rebounds, 850 assists, 400 steals and 350 blocks through his first five seasons, joining Charles Barkley and David Robinson. That’s certainly worth the top selection for any team hoping to expedite its rebuilding process.

    Best Fits Among No. 1-Pick Contenders: Denver Nuggets, Lakers and Knicks.

    Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

    Age: 20

    2013-14 College Per-Game Stats: 11.2 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.6 blocks, 62.6 percent shooting, 28.2 PER

    Yes, we’re walking a tight rope without a safety net, but Joel Embiid is still worth the mention of that risk.

    Sitting for his entire rookie season hasn’t done much for his individual stock. Both his surgically repaired right foot and history of back problems are red flags that won’t soon go away.

    Still, the potential is there. Embiid is still the kid who drew comparisons to Hakeem Olajuwon. He is still the player who rivaled Wiggins for alpha-dog status in last year’s draft before going down. He is still the talent-rich prospect whom Jonathan Tjarks summed up accurately for SB Nation:

    At 7’0 and 250 pounds with a 7’4 wingspan, Embiid looks like he was constructed in a laboratory from the best parts of lesser center prospects. He has elite size, length and athleticism. He has the ability to get down in a stance and switch on the pick-and-roll, bang with bigger players on the block and contest shots high above the rim.

    What makes him special, though, is what he can do on the other side of the ball. Embiid is the rare seven-footer who projects as both an elite defensive and offensive player.

    Protect the rim, block shots, crash the glass, score in the post, drill jumpers—there isn’t much a projected peak Embiid cannot do. All-around talents like himself, however raw at first glance, don’t surface very often.

    Something like once in a generation.

    And the pick-obsessed 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie is prepared to deal him for another top selection, according Forbes’ Mark Heisler. If you’re this year’s lottery winner (and not the Sixers), and Philadelphia comes calling with Embiid and one of its four possible first-round selections, can you say no?

    Some teams might.

    Those that are shallow at the center position and fully aware of the franchise-turning possibilities at hand will not.

    Best Fits Among No. 1-Pick Contenders: Lakers, Lakers, Lakers.

    Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers
    Age: 26

    2014-15 Per-Game Stats: 17.0 points, 10.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 0.7 steals, 42.9 percent shooting, 19.2 PER

    The irony here is real.

    Love was traded for the 2014 No. 1 pick last summer. Imagine if he was dealt away from the Cleveland Cavaliers in similar fashion this offseason.

    It’s not as ridiculous as it sounds. Not if you even slightly believe ESPN.com’s Chris Broussard, who says most NBA executives see Love leaving Cleveland in free agency (via The Big Lead).

    Displeasure with playing the third fiddle to Kyrie Irving and James is the fulcrum of this belief. Love’s numbers and efficiency have plummeted with the Cavaliers as he tries to familiarize himself with playing the role of an almost-exclusive spot-up shooter.

    Skeptics won’t look at his numbers and see a superstar worth the No. 1 pick, but again, these are lines Love is posting as a third option. He’s not even a year removed from becoming the first player in league history to average 26 points, 12 rebounds and four assists while also hitting at least one three-pointer over the course of the entire season.

    That’s the type of damage he can do as a featured option. He doesn’t even have to be the No. 1 benefactor; second in command will suffice. That should allow him enough touches to register a usage rate comparable to those from his final seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

    Viewed that way, Love is still enticing enough to mortgage the future on. Prying him out Cleveland will be difficult, what with the Cavaliers likely placing a premium on win-now talent. But if a third team can get involved, a still-in-his-prime Love remains worth this kind of dice roll to the right team.

    Best Fits Among No. 1-Pick Contenders: Lakers, Knicks, Nuggets.

    Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies

    Age: 30

    2014-15 Per-Game Stats: 18.2 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.8 blocks, 49.6 percent shooting, 22.2 PER

    Big men on the wrong side of 30 are atypical of lists like this. They should be on the downside of their careers, starting to feel the ill-effects of post play, end-to-end running and Father Time.

    Marc Gasol, however, is an intriguing option for those high-end lottery teams looking to not just expedite their rebuild but end it. He can anchor a top-ranked defense and headline an efficient offense, and he’ll be coming off the best season of his career this summer.

    At age 30, Gasol has only just made the conspicuous leap to superstardom. He’s averaging career highs in shot attempts, points and usage rate, having just started taking the Memphis Grizzlies’ offensive livelihood upon himself.

    Because he’s not overly reliant on bruising post-up sets, Gasol’s game should age well beyond this season and into his mid-30s. Just over 36.1 percent of his offensive touches come in such situations, a distribution that’s markedly lower than those of Zach Randolph (41.9), Roy Hibbert (45.7), Dwight Howard (50.7) and Al Jefferson (58.6), among others.

    Looking at Gasol and his ability to space the floor as a quasi-stretch 5, it’s difficult not to draw similarities between LaMarcus Aldridge and, most notably, Tim Duncan. Provided he stays in shape—something he’s dedicated to these days, per Beck—Gasol plays with the potent grace of someone who should remain a star as he enters his twilight.

    For top-pick contenders in desperate need of immediate results, it’s impossible not to see the upside. And if you’re the Grizzlies, there’s no better way to salvage Gasol’s departure while remaining competitive than to sign and trade him for the No. 1 pick (the actual selection, since Gasol cannot be moved until July).

    Best Fits Among No. 1-Pick Contenders: Minnesota Timberwolves (buh-bye, Nikola Pekovic), Lakers, Knicks.

    Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder

    Age: 26

    2014-15 Per-Game Stats: 25.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.9 blocks, 51 percent shooting, 27.8 PER

    Remember those leaps of faith we referenced earlier?

    Well, jump.

    Kevin Durant’s inclusion isn’t a shot in the dark value-wise. Even while he’s tended to various foot injuries, missing more games this season than in his previous seven combined, the reigning MVP is still worth building around—someone with the power to transform a team down on its luck into an insta-contender.

    This is arguably Durant at his worst, and yet he’s still padding box scores with mind-melting stat lines. To this day, he’s an efficient gunner with a penchant for on- and off-ball playmaking who flirts with 50/40/90 shooting slashes like the regular season is some kind of protracted speed-dating tournament.

    The real issue here is Durant’s availability, or lack thereof. He’s set to enter unrestricted free agency in 2016, at which point the Oklahoma City Thunder could lose for him nothing. Though capitalizing on his value would make sense this summer, his departure is not guaranteed.

    Then again, Durant hasn’t promised to remain in Oklahoma City, either.

    “I was loyal. If it comes down to that, I mean: I was,” he told GQ’s Zach Baron. “My deal’s up in 2016. I’ll have been here nine years. I could have easily wanted out. I could have easily not signed the extension after my rookie contract. I could have not played as hard every night. But people tend to forget.”

    No one will soon forget about his inevitable foray onto the open market, least of all the Thunder.

    Faced with the prospect of losing him in one year’s time, without assurances of his return, proactively moving on this offseason—a la the Timberwolves (Love), Nuggets (Carmelo Anthony) and Orlando Magic (Howard)—won’t sound as crazy then as it does now.

    After all, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and a No. 1 pick makes for one hell of a reboot.

    Best Fits Among No. 1-Pick Contenders: All of them.

    • keen observer

      keen observer 6:52 AM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      They should just trade it for Embiid.

      • LakerTom (Publisher) 9:56 AM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Unless the report about Embiid being way over weight are true, the Lakers could be in a great position if they win the top pick. There are lots of options.

        We could swap our #1 for Philly’s top five pick plus their #16 pick.
        Or we could swap our pick for Embiid and the #16 pick.
        Then maybe we could swap the #16 and Houston’s pick to move up in the lottery.

        Philly likely is looking to get Russell or Mudiay. Considering they did not like MCW’s shooting, I suspect their top target is Russell, who would be a perfect point guard for them.

        I do see Towns as being maybe an even better prospect than Embiid because of his ability to shoot from distance as well as post up and defend the rim. You wonder what is going through Hinkie’s mind right now.

      • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

        Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 10:02 AM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Uhm…no. No need to trade for a guy who hasn’t seen minute one of floor time, is reportedly clashing with both management and the training staff, and has a well-documented history of both back and foot issues.

        I’d rather keep the pick and draft a healthy prospect, one who isn’t tainted by the numbskull moves the 76ers are making. Embiid may, eventually, get healthy and develop into a legit NBA talent, but we already got one injured prospect to deal with. Doubling down on the injured youth is no way to get back to the top.

        Here’s a great link in regards to how Hinkie is pretty much ruining 76ers hoops for the next few years. Let the 76ers burn themselves to the ground. Only player worth trading this pick for (realistically speaking) is Boogie Cousins.


    • LakerTom (Publisher) 7:52 AM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      In 2013, the Sixers used the No. 6 overall pick that they got from New Orleans for Holiday, their 23-year-old All-Star point guard, for Noel, the Kentucky center who had undergone knee surgery six weeks before.

      Noel then sat out the entire 2013-14 season. He has been underwhelming in this one as a rookie, amid speculation about dealing him in the local papers.

      Last season, they took Embiid, a week after he had two screws inserted in a broken bone in his right foot, which was supposed to sideline him for four to six months.

      Eight months later, there’s no sign of Embiid, amid reports that he has swollen up to 300 pounds–he was listed at 240 at Kansas–after returning home to Cameroon following the death of a younger brother n October.)


      • keen observer

        keen observer 9:27 AM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I take those reports with a grain of salt. He has exactly hat we need. He has more potential than anyone in this draft with the possible exception of Okafor.

        • LakerTom (Publisher) 9:58 AM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          I’m not as high on Okafor because of his poor defensive potential.
          Unless he has a break out tourney, I would prefer Towns or Embiid over him.

          • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

            Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 10:04 AM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Towns over both. Not hurt, plays smart, can help right away. Or trade for Boogie. Draft a wing late in the 4th, PG/SG in the second round (or best available).

            Just my two bits.

            • keen observer

              keen observer 10:13 AM on March 3, 2015 Permalink

              Jamie, I agree with your opinions more than most, but how do you know he can help right away? He’s a kid, just like Randle, and we don’t even know if Randle will help right away next season.

            • AK27

              AK27 10:29 AM on March 3, 2015 Permalink

              “Can” , not “Will”, Keen….and given the state we’re in, “help” doesn’t have to entail being great right away..

            • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

              Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 10:54 AM on March 3, 2015 Permalink

              He can help as much as any rookie who will get about 20+ mpg in our rotation, minus the health issues Embiid already has.

              Nothing personal against Embiid, I think he has a ton of potential, but I am never gung-ho about drafting or trading for injured guys.

            • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

              Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 11:38 AM on March 3, 2015 Permalink

              And I do think Randle will have an immediate impact, as well.

          • keen observer

            keen observer 10:12 AM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            “Poor” is a very strong word as it pertains to Okafor’s defense. He is young, however, there is no question about his low pot skills on offense. Tom, I hope that you seriously don’t belive that our “next franchise player” coming out of this draft will be an instant star. With the exception of talents from yesteryear, all bigs take time to develop in this new face up, 3 point crazy NBA.

            • AK27

              AK27 10:30 AM on March 3, 2015 Permalink

              Gotta agree.

            • keen observer

              keen observer 12:00 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink

              Without even insulting me! Made my day!!!

            • LakerTom (Publisher) 12:10 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink

              I’m in for the long term, Oscar, provided I am still alive. Most rookies will be whale poop for the first half of the season. If we’re lucky, we’ll start to see consistent contributions the last half of the season, like the Wolves are getting from Wiggins and LaVine. I do think the guy we pick will get to play right away so it will help some but the player we are drafting will take two or three years to develop into the force we hope he will be.

            • keen observer

              keen observer 2:45 PM on March 3, 2015 Permalink

              Zach LaVine has been wildly inconsistent both with the amount of minutes he’s received and the way he’s played. he is still a very raw rookie.

      • GDUBinDC

        GDUBinDC 10:12 AM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I like both Towns and Embiid, but I’d take Boogie over both of ‘em without hesitation.

        • keen observer

          keen observer 10:15 AM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Of course, but I bypassed Boogie because we don’t have the assets to acquire him. Mentioning him at all in that article is absurd, as was Love, Gasol and Durant. I addressed only the realistic potential acquistion.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 8:40 PM on March 2, 2015 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 7:47 PM on March 2, 2015 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    • tate793

      tate793 7:51 PM on March 2, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      He looked pretty darn good in this video.

      • GDUBinDC

        GDUBinDC 10:02 AM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Yup, and his shot didn’t look as suspect as I’d been led to believe. Of course, I haven’t seen his shooting percentages, but his form looked good enough to me that he could improve in that area.

        • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

          Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 10:05 AM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Just want to throw in that the Chinese league doesn’t look to be full of either size or defense. Lots of those drives to the rim would be stuffed down his throat in the Association.

          • GDUBinDC

            GDUBinDC 10:08 AM on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Well, I don’t think anyone is comparing the Chinese league to the NBA, but the other top 5 draft prospects aren’t exactly playing against NBA level competition either. At least Emmanuel will have some level of professional experience for whatever that’s worth.

    • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

      Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 11:13 PM on March 2, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Chinese coaches get pumped. You’d think he made the circus shot.

  • tate793

    tate793 7:39 PM on March 2, 2015 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    Does anybody know how they calculate an individual’s player’s efficiency rating (PER)?

  • NBA4ever

    NBA4ever 6:48 PM on March 2, 2015 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    Watching Warriors right now NYC loves Curry The… 

    Watching Warriors right now….NYC loves Curry.

    The MVP debate is Curry and Harden, that’s it period,  end of discussion!

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