Join Date: Sep 2006
Re: D12 from the Nets/Lakers perspective
just sitting here bored, waiting for the mavs to play. so i figure i'll add to my thoughts on the lakers:
the lakers are in big trouble, IMO. not 'trouble' in the sense that they're in any danger of becoming a mediocre team, but 'trouble' in that their current ability to challenge for the championship is over. the door has slammed shut. nothing personal, because i'm big fans of odom, gasol, and jackson, but i gotta be honest. so here's the main points of my reasoning:
- kobe bryant- he is still a superstar, obviously, but he creates larger and more complex challenges and problems for his team than ever before: 1) he stopped practicing this season because his knees are in dreadful condition, and it created a substantial disconnect between him and his team. part of that disconnect is simple common sense, but part is also borne out by comments by his teammates this past year, such as bynum. bottom line, beyond lack of team chemistry, there are still egos involved., 2) i don't watch the lakers that often but i do keep noticing the national writers remarking that kobe is not as clutch as he used to be. that the numbers are way down, and that the idea of giving him the ball in the closing moments is effectively turning into a mess for the lakers. anyone care to run that hypothesis through the stat sites? (i would be interesting to see what they say), 3) kobe makes almost $25m/y (the highest salary in all of basketball) and it's part of the reason that absolutely kills the lakers' cap and flexibility. for that kind of money, for someone who's now out of the top five players in the NBA (lebron, howard, wade, durant are the easy top four, with several others arguing for fifth place), you need a whole lot of other things to go right, including the rest of your roster being young, very talented, and underpaid- a situation that arises only occasionally and never lasts very long. by contrast, the lakers are one of the oldest and most highly paid rosters in the league- another thing which tends to make winning titles extra difficult.
- the price of the roster vs. its contracts vs. it's productivity vs. its flexibility. it's a jammed situation becoming more and more untenable by the month. consider the trio of gasol, odom, artest. that's $32m/y locked into three aging players, one of whom is playing better than ever (odom), another who is now a semi-useful shell of himself (artest), and one of whom is still very good but appears to be on the clear decline (gasol). how do you build around such players (great as they are / were), all locked into 3-4 year contracts, all pretty-much looking at getting a little less athletic with every coming year? yet these comments hardly describe the lakers' overall situation in being drastically overpaid and overcommited to virtually their entire roster. i mean, yes, the whole thing is a long discussion, with a lot of ins and outs, maude, but it's clearly a tangled mess with little daylight showing.
- low draft picks for several years and overcommitment to marginal players for too many years (walton 5m/y, blake 4m/y, fisher 4m/y. another killer towards trades, flexibility, and improvement.
- bynum: he is the one guy on the roster that is worthy of being built around in any way, shape, or form. even so, nobody can predict how that will go with his yearly injuries. i.e., do they magically get better? do they possibly get worse? do they start happening earlier in the season? do they keep happening around the playoffs? how does one even begin to guess, attain suitable backups, or even know how to pay them accordingly?
- jackson's gone. that's an obvious one, yet there's something that people still fail to appreciate about him, even now: his wizardly ability to manage egos and consistently get the very best out of his rosters. obviously that's a long discussion that deserves it's own thread / forums / book, but one thing i WILL point out is that jackson's the only coach ever able to coax championships out of the two best players and most arrogant egomaniacs in the game- jordan and kobe. and other than shaq's one title with another fantastic coach (riley), you can throw shaq into that group, as well. in essence, all three mega-superstars whiffed and whiffed again when jackson wasn't around to turn their egos into something more positive.
okay, the game is on and i'm out of time. i'll try to follow up later...