NBA 2K13 In Season Review: Los Angeles Lakers

I’ve been doing NBA Season reviews for quite some time. But until now, it was prior to that particular season; not during. I know people get tired of hearing me say it, but there used to be a time when the NBA had enough substance where you could give an opinion on how well (or bad) a team, or a group of teams would fare before the season started and pretty much be right on the money at seasons’ end. Because today’s brand of NBA basketball is so bad (in my opinion), I now find it better to wait at least 20 games in before even attempting to predict who will or won’t be a legitimate contender come tournament time. 

Now that the 2012-13 NBA season is well underway, I figured now was as good a time as any to give my take on which teams’ are– or not– legit once playoff time rolls around. For you see, what a team does in the regular season can be misleading  when trying to predict the outcome of a 7-game series. Therefore, I have compiled a list of only the teams who- in my estimation- will occupy the top 8-playoff spots in both the East and West, and how those teams’ will be seeded. Previewing the “bottom feeders” (Cavs,Wizards,Bobcats..) is a complete waste of time. Playoff seeding in parenthesis.

Up first, L.A. Lakers (6th): Now that Steve Nash is back in the lineup, KBGreat (24/8) can now eliminate the physical and mental strain -especially at this point in his career- of having to do it all himself. Having a healthy Nash allows for KB to play more off the ball and extend his career in the process. A rested Mamba in the 4th is still a dangerous Mamba. However, this alone is not enough to win the Lakers another title; whether or not the symmetry of Nash, Gasol, Howard, and Kobe will arrive in time to offset the incongruency of D’Antoni’s offensive philosophy as it relates to the roster will determine if another title is in the cards.

The Lakers must also:

Get more from Howard at the free-throw line (51% on 289 att). The inabilty to hit from the line is far more crucial to the outcome of a playoff game than the athletic ability.

Stop giving up so many points to the opposition! Lakers’ rank 24th in points allowed (100.6 per/g), vs. 5th in points for (102.9 per/g). Hard to outscore your way to an NBA Title. Defense used to be a staple – at the Center!

D’Antoni must realize that Gasol and Howard are not the type of “bigs” who are perimeter oriented. Gasol is most effective when used on the elbow in and around the free throw line; which doesn’t allow for congestion in the paint between he and Howard. Mike should do nothing more than call the time outs, let Nash and Kobe do the coaching.

Where’s the bench? Jamison and Hill are not enough.

In the end, there’s enough talent on this Laker squad to garner a 6th seed come playoffs; Father Time may have somethin’ else to say about hoistin another gold ball.

Next week: Oklahoma City Thunder

 

 

 

 

 

Given not Earned

The foul on Kevin Durant in Game 2 of last year’s Finals that should’ve been called, coupled with the fact that Durant- supposedly one of the NBA’s biggest stars- stayed in foul trouble for the entire series, I didn’t think there was much more Stern and the league could do to make me feel like the game I grew to know and love was becoming highly suspect. After watching the Heat lose for the second time this season to the Knicks (both by 20 pts) who were without Carmelo this second go round, I’m now convinced more than ever before that last year’s title was in fact given and not earned.

The sports’ world says the Heat are the best because they have the most talented team in the league; I say they’re the best only in namesake. It’s the zone defenses teams play that allow for luxury spacing not afforded to guys like Jordan, Bird, or Magic when they played. Teams’ like the Spurs’, Knicks, Grizzlies, and Clippers have proven just what kind of squad Miami has because they’re not intimidated. For some strange reason, the Heat are suffering from ” Title-itis” and ” turn it on, turn it off.” Only the Lakers’ were successful at turn it on, turn it off; because Phil was masterful at coaching ego’s.

Growing up, sitting down to watch an NBA game between the Milwaukee Bucks with Terry Cummings, Jack Sikma, Paul Pressey, and Sidney Moncrief vs. the 76ers with Andrew Toney, Charles Barkley, Dr.J, and Mo’ Cheeks was the thing to do. Some might say it was mandatory. Now I watch the NBA cause there’s nothing else to do. It has become a league more concerned with instant gratification and how it looks instead of playing for the purpose of reaching the pinnacle. That’s bad news for the fans’, bad news for the NBA, and bad news for David Stern- all because it was given and not earned.

A Disserviceable Obligation

NBA commissioner David Stern has done to his league what Jim Buss has done to the Lakers- cut his nose off to spite his face, by straight-up power trippin’. How else do you explain Stern imposing sanctions on the Spurs for not playing their stars’ against the Miami Heat in a nationally televised T.N.T broadcast, when there is no said policy against such practices- used often by the Spurs in the past- prior to the Spurs/Heat matchup; which turned out to be quite the contest despite Manu, Duncan, and Parker being sent home. Where is the basis for such a horrendous “disservice” to the fans’ committed by Popovich? If what Popovich did was such a disservice, then please Mr.Stern, tell this fan how last year’s Finals couldn’t, and shouldn’t be also described as such? Two of the current NBA’s biggest stars ( Durant/LeBron) face off against each other in the pinnacle of NBA basketball, and ” the fans” in Oklahoma City were done a disservice when Durant basically stayed in foul trouble for the entire series. I don’t recall hearing Mr. Stern talk about obligation then.

It is the obligation of the person to understand that the word disservice is a two-way street; not a one-way, my-way or the high-way.Especially if the product in question is the NBA and it’s integrity. Not many folks would have been upset had you spoke as vehemently about why the Spurs had to play on the road at Miami with the Heat having rested for a week, and themselves having played 5 road games prior to the Nov. 29th contest.

Because today’s fan is over saturated with too many three’s, and players’ more concerned about making the ” top-ten”, Stern has to fabricate this new brand of basketball to try and make it appealling in a way that is reminiscent of the past. When the game had guys like Jordan, Bird, Magic, Kareem, Hakim, Dominique, and Reggie, substance was the style; now it’s all style and no substance. I know the dunk is a beautiful sight, but from a fundamental standpoint the WNBA is much better. The Indiana Fever shot 57 of 60 from the free throw line in this past season’s WNBA Finals against the Minnesota Lynx for the entire series; that’s unheard of. And if you’re thinking that’s because it’s women vs. men, i’ll tell you the free-throw line is not gender specific. My point is, Stern should be worried about the quality of play -or lack of- that is the current NBA. Jordan’s Bobcats not getting Anthony Davis, bad scheduling, and trying to force feed fabricated stars’ upon the intelligent fan is far more a bad thing, and not at all a good thing. Stern should be worried that as a fan, I come away from watching today’s NBA saying to my self, ” some things are never better than their predecessor.”