The Sex and SnapChat Scandal

1280_dangelo_russell_gettyYesterday, I sat in my kitchen watching D’Angelo Russell give a press conference to apologize for recording a video of Nick Young confessing to cheating on his fiancé Iggy Azalea. All I could think was: “Are you kidding me? How could this kid be so stupid?”

Let’s back up a day and breakdown this whole situation. On Tuesday night this video went viral for the world to see. When that alert came up on my phone I simply stared at it for a minute in disbelief. Then I rolled my eyes because I could believe it. All year, both D’Angelo Russell and Nick Young have shown their immaturity and poor decision making.

Byron Scott has come under fire for constantly criticizing them, but they need it. Whenever Scott has complained about their maturity, they simply say they ignore his comments. That should show just how immature they are. If your coach and leader is telling you that he doesn’t approve of your behavior, then the appropriate response is to evaluate what you are doing and try to make adjustments.

This all came back into the media last week when Nick Young was accused of cat calling and sexually harassing two women. I didn’t write a blog about this issue when the story broke. Clearly this is a he-said-she-said situation. I have my own opinions about what happened, but I have no proof, so I will let you all come to your own conclusions.

Now that I have gone on my rant about their childish behavior, let me get back to the main scandal at hand. When I listen to all the excuses both Russell and his supporters have made for him, I just get annoyed.

He claims this was a personal video that he never intended for anyone to see. We all live in the digital age. We have seen a plethora of celebrity sex tapes and nude pictures. Nothing is safe from hackers, and if just one person gets something private, then the world will see. Russell knows this. In high school he was recruited for college. Since I went to college only a few years before him, I can assure you all they gave us the same warnings. We are all told to be careful on social media and not to post anything anywhere that might be damaging. After Russell went to college he was then scouted by the NBA teams. I am sure their PI’s looked into him even more closely. Therefore, he knows better. Any notion that he didn’t think this would be found is simply disingenuous.

Also, this video supposedly came from SnapChat. Everyone in my generation knows that nothing on SnapChat really disappears. People can save anything you send them. Additionally, now SnapChat also allows you to view pictures and videos for a second time. This gives a viewer ample opportunity to save the video/picture or just take a screen shot on their phone.

D’Angelo said this video was a prank gone wrong. My question is: How is this funny? Do you see anyone laughing? Nick Young and Iggy Azalea are clearly not laughing since their engagement might be over. The Lakers organization doesn’t find this negative publicity amusing.

People have been saying that Russell broke the “Bro Code.” I resent that statement. He didn’t break “Bro Code,” he broke the “Friendship Code.” Friends never secretly record each other making incriminating statements. That is something a blackmailer would do. Friends do not break up relationships. Friends do not make their friends look bad. Friends do not publicize their friends’ secrets.

Some of my feminist readers might be wondering why I am not yelling at Nick Young for cheating in this post. My answer is simple: it is none of my damn business. Whether or not Iggy decides to leave Nick is her decision. Nick Young is not my fiancé. He is the player on the Lakers. I only care about him in a professional capacity. If I could only root for players who were faithful to their wives, then I would never watch sports. Players “extracurricular activities” are none of my business, and never should be made public.

0330-sub-azelea-russell-young-twitter-4

Now that the video is public, you might be wondering how this will affect the Lakers. Well, on Monday night (the Lakers were aware of this video going public) the Lakers suffered their worst lost. They lost by 48 point to Utah. In that game, the players refused to pass to Russell or even sit next to him on the bench. At the team breakfast he was also forced to sit alone.

Russell

The trust is gone from the locker room. I have spoken a lot about having faith in the future of the franchise. I was very hopeful for this young core group. However, this incident is going to cause a huge problem. There have already been trade rumors. I believe that we will see Nick Young either traded or waived this summer.This is the core of my anger: Russell screwed up the chemistry and the future of my team.

Despite everything, Russell is still the future of the franchise and the Lakers need to hope that he can mend fences with his teammates. They were able to win in overtime yesterday, so maybe not all hope is lost.

Time is on his side, and it is possible. Kobe did reveal Shaq’s infidelities back in the day, but no one seems to care anymore. After the game, Kobe spoke to the press about forgiveness and being human. For one more week, Kobe will be the leader of this team, so we will see how much he can influence his team.

Maybe Russell will take this new found hatred and develop a mamba type alter ego like Kobe did after his arrest. Only time will tell, but it will be a long road.

Tomorrow is April Fool’s Day aka national practical joke day, but I have a feeling that the Lakers two biggest jokesters will not be playing any pranks.

Advertisements

Game Analysis: Lakers V. Spurs

IMG_1341

My Dad Pretending to be Kareem Before the Game 2.19.16

Hello LakHer fans! I know it has been a while, but here is a little post from my night at the Friday game. The Lakers faced the Spurs for the last time in Kobe Bryant’s career. Surprisingly, it was a competitive game. There were spurts where we actually looked like a good team, but we could not sustain that kind of momentum for a full 48 minutes.

The downfall really came in the final 2 minutes. Kobe dislocated his finger, but in true Mamba form he wouldn’t let a pesky injury stop him. Gary Vitti popped Kobe’s finger back into place and Kobe went back onto the floor. It was inspiring to see glimmers of the vintage Mamba throughout the game, but Kobe really stuck to his roots and insisted on trying to win the game by himself. He continued to throw up horrible shots that had not chance of becoming baskets until he finally left the game.

The end was disappointing, but not surprising. The Spurs are the second best team in the west, so we never really had a shot of winning. However, I was surprised by the energy we played with, and how the Spurs didn’t play quite up to their usual standards.

Here is my takeaway from the game: right now we are a terrible team, but we have some pieces to lead us into a bright future. This year is all about Kobe, but in a few short months he will take off the Lakers uniform for the last time, and our rookies will take over the team. They are very inexperienced, but I see some raw talent. I love Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr., D’Angelo Russell, and Julius Randle. These are really young men with the potential to be all stars.

However, barring some blockbuster free agent signings or trades, the Lakers will not be making the playoffs for a few years. That is a tough pill to swallow, but we are in a complete rebuild mode. Currently, the only worthy veteran on our team (excluding Kobe) is Lou Williams. He is going to need some help. Mitch is going to sell the hell out of these young guys to get the likes of Kevin Durant to join our team.

Lastly, I wanted to put my fans on alert that I will be attending Kobe’s second to last game. He will be taking on the Celtics on April 3rd. I will try to write more posts in the next few months, but definitely be on the lookout for a post at the seasons end.

As usual, thank you to Mike Alder for the tickets!

Changing of the Guard

resizeBefore the Lakers lost to the Pacers, the inevitable announcement finally came: Kobe declared his retirement at the end of this season. I am going to use this blog post to personally thank Kobe for making me the Lakers fan I am today. Kobe has been a Laker for 20 years, so I do not remember a time when he didn’t don the purple and gold. During his reign, many greats have come and gone from the Lakers (Shaq, Pau, Malone, etc.), but he has remained. He is always in the conversation for not only “Greatest Laker of All Time” but also “Greatest Player of All Time.” I can sit here and spew all the stats of why he is so incredible, but those deserve their own blog post.

This blog post is about love and appreciation. Kevin Durant said it best when he called out the media for treating, “One of our legends like shit.” I have been so angry listening to people complain about how Kobe is playing. This man has thrown everything into basketball. He has played through countless injuries and came back from one of the worst injuries imaginable. Many people forget that when he tore his Achilles he actually went to the free throw line to make those two shots. They were necessary to make the playoffs and he did it on one leg. Can you imagine any other player in history who could have the composure to make those shots? I remember watching those free throws and crying. I thought that was the last time I would see Kobe play, but that just shows how naïve I was being.

Charles Barkley loves to say: “Father Time is undefeated,” so now it is time for Kobe to join the ranks of players who eventually succumbed to the losing battle. Can’t we take a moment to praise him for fighting for so long? Instead of criticizing him for playing for 20 years, let’s simply say “thank you” for giving it your all. People love to complain that he is a shell of his former self and not worth watching anymore, but when he finally hangs up that uniform and walks away, we will all miss him.

Michael Jordan came back and had an uneventful run with the Wizards, but we don’t remember that. Instead, we speak fondly about how he was the GOAT. We talk about how he played with the flu, took on the “Bad Boys” of Detroit, and created a dynasty. That is the legend we remember.

This season has been incredibly difficult to watch. The Lakers are a terrible team, and Kobe isn’t the same dominant force he was a few years ago. I will admit that this blogger has not watched many games this year. However, I am making a new vow to rededicate myself to watching because after April, I will no longer get to see #24.

203d1fc1555d8805aacfab9d33eae514

Rules I Would Like to See the NBA Address

Jeff Van Gundy (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

Jeff Van Gundy (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

With the Free Agency Season coming to an end (post on that coming soon), I have another topic I want to cover: NBA rules. Whenever I watch an NBA game with Jeff Van Gundy giving play by play analysis, I always love to hear his takes on the rules. Usually, I roll my eyes and laugh at how much he contradicts himself, but every once in a while I will agree with him. The NBA rules are definitely not perfect, and the refs who enforce them are only human. This is why every summer the NBA looks at the rules and tries improve the game. After being an impartial viewer during this post season, I have put together the rules I would like the NBA to either create or edit.

Expand Instant Replay- Challenges

I think the NBA has done a very good job at trying to use instant replay to make the right calls. However, they can take it a step further. Right now, the referees can only check to see who the ball went off of, if the play happened in the last 2 minutes of the game. I understand that those are crucial minutes, but when a game is close for 48 minutes, then every possession matters. This is why I think they should give coaches a limited number of “challenges.” In tennis, players can challenge if they think the ball was in or out, and I would like to see the NBA implement the same rule. Give both coaches a few challenges each to use at their leisure. If a coach challenges the play and the coach is correct, then they get to keep that challenge and the play is ruled in their favor, however, if the coach is wrong, then they lose the challenge and are limited in how many more they can use. This rule will keep teams from challenging every single play, but will force the referees to take a second look at a play if there is a serious question.

Additionally, I want to see the NBA expand instant replay for goal tending. It is rarely a subjective call, and they can make the rule that they can only overrule the decision if the replay is clear. That call is miscalled all the time and effects the game.

Eliminate Hack-a-Shaq

Going back to the “last 2 minutes of the game,” rule the NBA is very fond of, I want the NBA to eliminate all hacking throughout the game, not just the last 2 minutes. Right now teams are using this rule as a strategy to foul either throughout the entire game, or for the 4th quarter to climb back into the game. It is bad basketball. Let’s simply make the rule that if you foul away from the ball, and you are in the penalty, then the team gets 2 free throws and the ball regardless of what quarter or time it is.

These first 2 rules I want edited because I believe in consistency. If something is not allowed in the last 2 minutes of the game, then it shouldn’t be allowed in the first 46.

Fouling Jump Shooters

Another rule that players have taken full advantage of, is the rule that rewards jump shooters if the defender jumps to try and block the ball. We are seeing jump shooters now jump into the defenders to draw the foul. I think we need to edit that rule. If a defender jumps onto a shooter because he pump fakes, then the shooter deserves to be rewarded and go to the foul line. However, if the shooter contorts or jumps into the defender, then I believe there should either be a no-call or an offensive foul call.

Flagrant Fouls

There is way too much grey area with this rule. I think the NBA needs to simply admit a few aspects of this rule. First, they need to acknowledge that they are looking at intent. Intent is never mentioned in the rule book, but clearly that is the biggest issue at hand. If a player inadvertently elbows someone going for a rebound, then it is a simple foul. However, if Ron Artest winds up his elbow and gives James Harden a concussion then it is clearly intention (sorry Metta I am still not buying it was an accident). Second, I agree with Van Gundy that there might need to be different rules for the playoffs and regular season. I know I am contradicting myself after I stated that I wanted consistency, but I am simply calling out the facts. In the playoffs, players get away with much more physical content then they would in the regular season, so if this is the case, then the flagrant fouls also need to follow this trend. Third, we need to look at who is committing the flagrant foul. Again, if Ron Artest fouls someone hard, then you are going to want to air on the side of caution and punish him since he is a repeat offender. The same goes for bigs like Dwight Howard and Kendrick Perkins. Fourth, we need to look at impact. A hit from a big guy like Dwight is going to hurt a lot more than an elbow from J.R. Smith. This may seem unfair to the bigs, but I believe in the punishment fitting the crime. Remember that saying, “No harm, no foul?” Well I believe that perfectly describes flagrant fouls. I am not saying that someone needs to get injured for a flagrant foul to be called, but I thought it was fitting that Ron Artest was suspended for 7 games after that hit to James Harder. Harden was out for a quite a few games, so if he can’t play, then neither should the man that hurt him (if it was intentional).

Free Agency Commitments

In case you haven’t heard yet, De’Andre Jordan decided at the 11th hour to go back to the Clippers. He made this decision 5 days after committing to the Dallas Mavericks. I think this is appalling. I cannot believe that Jordan is allowed to simply walk away from a verbal contract without any repercussions. The Dallas Mavericks negotiated in good faith, and proceeded with their free agency season under the impression that Jordan would be wearing their uniform come fall.

The NBA apparently allows players to re-neg on verbal agreements as long as they have not signed a contract. Players are not allowed to sign a contract before July 9th, so before that deadline players can change their mind. Jordan and the Clippers took advantage of this fact.

After Jordan called Doc Rivers and revealed he was having second thoughts, the Clippers contingent (including owner Steve Balmer, Doc Rivers, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul) flew to his Texas home and refused to leave his side until he signed a Clippers contract at midnight. This actually lead to a Twitter emoji war. Blake Griffin even went as far as barricading the door to keep Mark Cuban from entering to try to talk to Jordan.

Blake Barricades Door

Blake Barricades Door

This is all completely unprofessional and I believe there should be consequences. I believe the league should either treat these agreements as verbal contracts and not allow players to change their mind, or they should implement punishments like the NCAA does for players who switch schools.

Top Free Agency Targets

nba_free_agentsAs I promised, it is time for me to cover the Lakers free agency targets and strategy. We are currently on the cusp of one of the greatest NBA free agency summers in recent history. The Lakers are in a great position to pick up some talent since they have cleaned up the roster and picked up 3 draft picks (including our #2 D’Angelo Russell). There are a plethora of agents to choose from, so in order to keep this blog short and sweet, I am only going to list the free agents that I think we should recruit, and who I think we have a legitimate shot of getting. Therefore, LeBron James will not be on this list. With that said here are my top free agent targets:

Forwards/Centers:

LaMarcus Aldridge

Before I discuss LaMarcus Aldridge, I want to concede that I believe he will go to San Antonio. However, there have been rampant rumors recently that L.A. has moved up his list. I think he might just be using this as a strategy to get more money, but he is a game changer so I believe that we should try to lure him to L.A. He would be a perfect power forward to partner up with Russell. That combo would instantly put us in the playoff discussion.

Paul Millsap/Greg Monroe/Brook Lopez/Robin Lopez

Since we already have a point guard, we obviously need a big to partner up with him. Aldridge is my first choice, but if we can’t convince him that to play in L.A. then we will need a backup plan. Any of these four choices would be solid. I am concerned about these players being overpaid, but the Lakers can afford it.

Guards:

Aaron Brooks/Rajon Rondo/Goran Dragic

I know we just drafted a guard so all of our attention should be on bigs, but Russell is a rookie and we might want to consider getting a more veteran guard to play with him. Kobe is on his way out the door, so we will need another player to take his starting position. Russell is a combo guard so we can put a second point guard into the mix and really run the floor. I think these 3 choices would be great to work with him. I have always loved Brooks, and Rondo has the ability to average a triple double. I also love Dragic and how he ran the floor in Pheonix. L.A. would love a Showtime-esque type of point guard again.

Dark Horse Picks:

DeAndre Jordan/Marc Gasol/Wesley Matthews/ Jimmy Butler

I have selected quite a melting pot of dark horse picks. These pics I have selected are dark horses for various reasons. Some of these I do not think will leave/come to L.A., whereas others I am not sure are really on L.A.’s radar. I would look for L.A. to get some role players in order to make some trades. Mitch has already said he wants to get rid of some of our rookies, but we will need more assets in order to make these trades worthwhile.

Stay tuned to see what the Lakers and other teams do this summer. I will post an update after some moves are made and we have an idea of what our roster will look like this year.

Post Draft Day Analysis

cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznpwy2mjgzntk1mtrlzwvhy2m2zgywndawm2y3yza2yjey-e1435290349615Yesterday was a pretty historic day for Lakers fans. We got to draft our number 2 pick, and Mitch Kupchak managed to shock everyone by selecting D’Angelo Russell. I am hearing a lot of complaints from my fans, but I am very happy with this decision.

If you take a look at my draft day prediction blog, you will actually see that I wanted the Lakers to consider Russell:

“Before we all jump on the Okafor bandwagon, I would like the Lakers to take a good look at D’Angelo Russell: a combo guard from Ohio State. Personally, I would love for the Lakers to acquire a young guard for Kobe to mentor and take over the team. I think it would be a great transition for Kobe to use his last months with the Lakers prepping his predecessor. Theoretically, Kobe could do this with Okafor, but Okafor is a big with a completely different game. Plus, Kobe tends to clash with our centers. ***Cough Cough*** “Shaq” ***Cough Cough*** “Howard.” Sensing a theme yet?

I think Russell could be a great addition, and the Lakers are in dire need of a quality point guard. Despite his faults, I believe the Lakers will end up with Okafor, but Russell is my dark horse pick.”

Therefore, my LakHer fans should not be too surprised by this decision. I did say that I thought we would pick Okafor, but to keep an eye out for Russell. I actually believe that Russell will be a better fit for the Lakers in the long run. Many analysts are actually predicting that Russell will be the best player in the draft. ESPN’s Statistical Plus/Minus (SPM) numbers

Additionally, a lot of people are complaining that we passed on a great center, and this franchise is known for great centers. I would like to counter that argument. There are 3 Lakers players statues outside of Staples Center: Kareem, Magic, and Jerry. Only one of those players is a center, and the other two are guards. The Lakers are known for having great players. Period. Magic defined Showtime, not Kareem. Between Kobe and Shaq, only one of them stuck around. The Lakers picking a point guard and not a center just shows that they are paying attention to what is happening in the league. Golden State just won the championship behind dynamic guards. Every great team in this era needs a great guard.

Also, Mitch made the point that he wasn’t convinced that Okafor would be a franchise player. I mentioned his deficiencies in my previous draft blog, so I can agree with his point. I am not convinced that Okafor will be great. Drafts are always gambles, so we can definitely revisit this topic at a later date.

Picking a point guard should also give Lakers fans great hope for the future. It has been reported that the Lakers wanted a point guard because Mitch is confident that we will score one of the free agent big men this summer (Marc Gasol, Aldridge, Love). There have been a lot of rumors flying that these players are looking at the Lakers with renewed interest, so stay tuned. I think we have put ourselves in a great position to lure one of them in with the starting line up of Russell and Randle.

Lastly, I know that there was a lot of speculation that the Lakers will trade Russell, but I am not buying it. I think Russell is here to stay, but that our 27th pick is a goner. We used that pick to draft Larry Nance Jr. but I do not think Kobe wants this guy around. Three years ago Larry stupidly tweeted this: “Gee I sure hope Kobe can keep his hands to himself in Denver this time. #rapist”

Everyone has his or her own opinions about that case, and I will certainly not be diving into it. That case happened over a decade ago. Needless to say though, I do not think Kobe and his ego are going to want this guy on the team. He did delete this tweet minutes after he was drafted, but I really do not think it matters. It will be a distraction, and will cause a feud before these two even meet.

Mitch has said from the beginning that he would trade at least one of these rookies, so I think Larry shouldn’t be making any plans to move it L.A. yet.

One final note about Russel, here is what he said after he was drafted, “I want [Kobe] to take me under his wing and gain every piece of knowledge I can possibly gain. That franchise isn’t used to losing, and I’m a winning player.” Thank you Russell for proving my point and proving that you are here to win and learn. I can tell I like you already.

Knick’s Pick

I am not going to cover the other teams picks, since I find them to be irrelevant to the Lakers, but my Uncle Rick and cousin Aidan are Knicks fans and were very distraught yesterday by the selection, so I will discuss that one for them.

I am not sure about this pick. Kristaps Porzingis is a huge gamble. He is not NBA ready, but he has a lot of potential. Unfortunately for Phil Jackson this pick will either be praised for being the diamond in the rough, or he will be slaughtered for squelching the Knicks opportunity to rebuild in the draft.

The biggest problem for Phil, is that he selected this player because he fits the mold for the triangle offense. While the Lakers are evolving their game plan to stay relevant in this league, Phil is sticking with the triangle offense, no matter how many games the Knicks lose.

Analysts are pretty split on whether this was a good decision or not. Personally, I do not know how this will play out, but if I were Phil, I would not be gambling right now. He has lost favor with the Knicks fans, as it was obvious when the fans booed this decision, and now Carmelo Anthony is complaining about it. I know that Dolan gave him a huge contract, but he has been known in the past to fire employees. Phil should be careful. Knicks fans had high expectations for Phil to come in and turn this franchise around, but Phil only has bad deals and records to show for his time in New York.

Phil Jackson Needs to Stop Talking

phil-jacksonWriting this blog is physically hurting me. I have admired Phil Jackson almost my entire life. He was the man who brought my Lakers out of the darkness (not once but twice) and brought back the winning culture. He won 5 NBA championships as a Lakers coach, so naturally I would defer to him on most issues.

However, lately he has lost his ZenMaster aura and instead has turned into an angry old man yelling at the young kids from his porch. I want to cry when I write that sentence, because it is the truth.

He has spent this post season, and now off season criticizing the top NBA teams and players. During the playoffs he regularly used Twitter to blast the Golden State Warriors. This was so petty, since everyone knew he was clearly upset that Steve Kerr decided to go to the Warriors instead of the Knicks. He trolled the Warriors when they went down 2-1 to the Grizzlies, but we all know how that turned out in the end…

PJ1

PJ2

Additionally, Phil Jackson just did an interview with Bleacher Report discussing offensive schemes throughout the league (not just GSW), and felt he should call out LeBron and the Cavaliers. He said, “When I watch some of these playoff games, and I look at what’s being run out there, as what people call an offense, it’s really quite remarkable to see how far our game has fallen from a team game…Four guys stand around watching one guy dribble a basketball…I watch LeBron James, for example. He might [travel] every other time he catches the basketball if he’s off the ball. He catches the ball, moves both his feet. You see it happen all the time. There’s no structure, there’s no discipline, there’s no ‘How do we play this game’ type of attitude. And it goes all the way through the game. To the point where now guys don’t screen — they push guys off with their hands.”

Look, I don’t necessarily disagree that the one-on-five method is sustainable. Clearly LeBron couldn’t beat the Warriors by himself, but he did manage to get to the finals with minimal help.  Phil Jackson may not like it, but that is more than his lottery Knicks can say.

This is why Phil Jackson needs to stop talking. I don’t think it is classy to troll other teams, but if you are going to do it, then you better be able to back up your claims. Phil may have 13 rings, but he hasn’t won a Championship in 5 years. The league is evolving, and Jackson isn’t.

I spent 2 years blasting Jim Buss for not giving Phil Jackson control of our team, but now I am very grateful he doesn’t have that power. I never wanted Mitch Kupchak to lose his job, but I thought Phil would be a great asset in selecting players. However, he has proven in New York that he cannot win in the front office. While I will never condone the hiring of Mike D’Antoni, I can admit that Jim was correct in not giving Phil power over player decisions. If I am going to write tout my correct predictions, then I must also hold myself accountable when I get one wrong. Jim Buss, you get this one.

Follow up to Last Week’s Post

I have received a lot of positive comments in regards to last week’s post about the reports. I am glad that my fans enjoyed that topic. I would like to point out that I actually wrote that post because my dad asked me to cover it. I am always happy to take requests if you want to hear my take on a subject. Please leave me comments so I can cover the topics you want to hear about, otherwise I will keep picking them myself. Thanks!