The Ball is in our Court

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Well, it happened. With the number two pick in the NBA draft, The Los Angeles Lakers selected Lonzo Ball. I knew it was going to happen, yet the dread still waved over me. Right now I should be celebrating. My beloved Lakers took a kid who has put up some crazy numbers, and has drawn comparisons to Magic Johnson and Jason Kidd. I should be over the moon, but I am not. Why am I pouting? Because of our new official ties to his father: LaVar Ball.

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First, let me be clear and establish that Lonzo has been the polar opposite of his father in public. He seems a bit reserved, shy, and respectful. This is a case of the son paying for the father’s sins. Now, you may think that I am being unfair to Lonzo. After all, don’t we all have relatives who say crazy things? I know my family has staged multiple interventions for a certain family member regarding her social media postings. However, Lonzo has confirmed that his dad speaks for him and he loves it. That is my problem. If LaVar was just some crazy parent who Lonzo denounced, then no one would give him that much attention. Instead, Lonzo has fed the beast and turned him into this media crazed, power hungry, sexist creature. Remind you of anyone else in our news right now?

Once he was drafted, LaVar immediately put on a Big Baller Brand hat in all Lakers colors. It actually made me feel nauseous. My first thought, was that I hope the Lakers have a patent on those exact colors and can sue LaVar for using it. Clearly, I wasn’t the only one who noticed the hat. After he was drafted these were the trending topics on Twitter:

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Can you think of another draft pick whose father was discussed this much? I sure can’t. They have 3 trending topics on Twitter! Shaq’s own son is a superstar in the making, but you barely hear Shaq discuss it. He has very much taken a back seat on his son’s success. Instead, LaVar has become the ultimate leech taking full advantage of the Lakers and their brand. I have never been so concerned for the Lakers brand in my life. This guy is already diluting it with his gross Big Baller Brand.

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What makes me even angrier, is knowing that this is not the end, but rather the beginning. LaVar is obviously going to pitch his family to all the networks for their very own reality show. Can’t you imagine their show following the Kardashians? I would like to remind all our fans, that the last Laker to appear on a reality show ended up overdosing in a whore house. Draw your own conclusions.

Magic and company obviously know who they are getting with Lonzo and his father. Lordy I hope they are able to control them, because now they belong to us.

Now that Lonzo has joined the Lakers, it means he will be under extreme scrutiny from me and the rest of the fans. Unlike most draft picks though, he has now put a bullseye on his back. He created his own shoe line before he was even drafted and had the audacity to charge $500 for them. Lonzo hasn’t done anything yet.

As I was getting ready to hit the publish button, I got a B/R alert that LaVar Ball just ran his mouth again and promised that the Lakers will make the playoffs this year. His dad has done a lot of shit talking, now Lonzo better deliver. If he can’t, then he will be feeling more heat than the residents of Arizona. Just because we drafted him, doesn’t mean he will be a Laker for life, just go ask D’Angelo Russell. This is the first time I have looked at one of our draft picks with actual animosity, so he better prove me wrong. Therefore, I would like to conclude with a message to Lonzo: “Welcome to LA.”

Ding Dong Jimmy’s Gone

magic-johnson-calls-out-jim-buss-just-say-you-made-mistakes-2015True LakHer fans will notice that I have somewhat recycled my blog post title, but it was too fitting not to reuse. After years of torture, Jeanie finally fired her brother and Mitch. When I wrote my blog earlier this month, I thought we would have to wait until this summer to see this moment. However, Jeanie realized we needed new blood to get us through the trade deadline. Kudos to her.

My jubilation is mostly focused on Jimmy, but Mitch has proven to have questionable judgment so I am glad he is gone too. The Lakers needed a clean slate with new management. This opinion was only amplified after Bleacher Report released this scathing article about Jim and Mitch. This article outlined all their questionable decisions, but the worst one by far was the Chris Paul trade. It was revealed that we could have traded Andrew Bynum for Chris Paul without Stern vetoing the trade. However, Jim Buss refused because of his obsession with Bynum. I didn’t think I could hate Jim more, until I read that piece.

Twenty four hours after this article was released, and Jeanie finaly made the right decision, even if it took her “too long.” Now our legendary Magic Johnson will replace Jim Buss (talk about twisting the knife). I am going to start off by being cautiously optimistic and also skeptical. I am not sure if Magic can flourish in this role. Ex-players have struggled in this role (Jerry West excluded). While putting this post together, he made is first trade with the Houston Rockets. They got Lou Williams, and we got Corey Brewer and a first round draft pick. My initial reaction wasn’t positive, but I will wait until after the trade deadline on Thursday. It appears that Magic wants to play the draft game and stockpile those assets, but I want to see the strategy behind this move before I commit to a position. Magic sold Jeanie on a vision and plan, something that Mitch and Jim clearly lacked, so I want to watch this play out over the next couple of days.

Also, while putting this blog together it appears that the Lakers are going to hire Rob Pelinka as the new GM. He is a famous agent for athletes, and represents our very own Kobe Bryant. I have mixed feelings about this move. On the one hand he has relationships with players all over the league. Additionally, he appears to have a high basketball IQ and business mind. These are key factors in assembling and recruiting a team. He has been on the other end of these trades for players before, so he knows a different angle. The biggest con for him is his lack of front office experience. He is an agent, not an exec. I see this being either a completely brilliant move, or one that will blow up in our faces. Again, I am choosing to be cautiously optimistic.

Until Thursday, I am choosing to focus on my joy. We are turning the page on this very dark chapter in Lakers history. We will not fix this team overnight, but Jeanie has finally untethered the Lakers from her incompetent brother. Now she can run this team the way she wants without worrying about his feelings. If Magic and Rob turn out to be busts, I do not think it will take her this long to fire them, or for me to criticize them.

Return of the Magic

Time is ticking, and Jim Buss should be worried. Rumors starting swirling after Magic Johnson met with Jeanie Buss on January 17th about the nature of their meeting. Reports came out that Jeanie was looking to Magic for advice on the direction on the Lakers. Fast forward 3 weeks later, and Magic is now an official adviser for the Lakers.

Magic has been one of the most outspoken critics of Jim Buss (present company included), so fans like me are interpreting this move as the beginning of the end for Jimmy. His self-imposed deadline is coming up, and I have always been curious to see if Jeanie would have the stones to follow through with it. Jim has insisted he has one more year left, but she disagrees. Bringing in Magic shows that Jeanie recognizes that changes need to be made, so why not start by bringing in one of the greatest (and most popular) Lakers in history.

We can argue all day long about who is the greatest Laker in history, but no one questions who is the most beloved. Magic has always loved the spotlight whereas Kobe and Kareem have attracted plenty of negative press and controversy over the years.

The past couple of summers have been miserable for attracting free agents. It would be easy to simply blame our poor roster, but free agents like LaMarcus Aldridge have spoken out about the poor presentations. It is no secret that players do not like Jim Buss, and that Mitch Kupchak is a bit socially awkward, whereas Magic oozes charisma while also being one of the most respected players in history. If he is running the show, the Lakers will suddenly regain some of their “Showtime” allure.

Magic says we are one star away from competing with Golden State or San Antonio (per his Instagram). I have to disagree, since they have multiple stars, and last I checked we had 0. Also we have the third worst record in the league, so that will take more than just 1 Carmelo Anthony to fix. For the record, I think we have some great building blocks. I love our young rookies, and they have shown some great promise. However, they are going through some serious growing pains, and we need more veterans to help shape them. If Magic thinks we can become a top team with just 1 star, then I look forward to seeing what he can do this summer. I will always have the utmost respect for Magic (as a player), but now that he is stepping into the role, I vow to hold him accountable like I do for Jim and Mitch. Buckle in LakHer fans, it is about to get exciting!

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.

Caught RED Handed

10151268_10152444553402223_4222008795063878859_nEarlier this week red, white, and blue balloons were hung on the Lakers statues for the Clippers first game against the Golden State Warriors. I have waited to write about this because I was very angry, and didn’t want to say something I would regret later. I try to keep this blog classy for my mother.

I was so angry I was throwing around words like vandalism and desecration. While this act may not be at that level, it was distasteful. It was a form of gloating, and I do believe it did defile the statues on a level.

I have read articles about how there is no security around those statues because the people of LA would never dare to disrespect them. So, to whoever decided to put those balloons up, congratulations, you have reached a level that even the lowest of LA wouldn’t dare to stoop to. I am not sure who put those balloons up, whether it was the Clippers organization themselves, or if it was just a fan. Either way, I have decided to take the high road. I look at this act and take pity upon the Clippers. They may be in the playoffs, but we still rule the town. We have the 16 banners, 9 retired jerseys, and 4 statues. The Clippers have nothing.

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If Sterling himself authorized those balloons, it would not surprise me. That man has been the epitome of distaste. It would also explain why karma bit him so hard in the ass today.

In case you are unaware, Sterling’s racism came to light again today with a recorded call obtained by TMZ.

http://www.tmz.com/2014/04/26/donald-sterling-clippers-owner-black-people-racist-audio-magic-johnson/

In case you did not click on the link, here is the summary: Sterling yelled at his girlfriend for posting a picture on Instagram of her with Magic Johnson, said he didn’t want to be associated with black people, and said he did not want Magic or other black people attending his games.

Not only did Sterling piss off Lakers fans this week with those balloons, but now he has pissed off the African American community and probably Dodgers fans (Magic is an owner).

Sterling is facing an uphill battle in trying to overtake the Lakers, and now he goes and bans black people? Nice move.

Not only has he angered an entire community, but he has also put his ownership at stake. Adam Silver released a statement today saying that they are reviewing the tape to make sure it is Sterling and will then take appropriate action. The analysts of the TNT halftime show are already calling for a massive fine and suspension. I am not entirely sure what that means for an owner, so I will wait to see what his punishment ends up being.

Maybe Silver will try to take the Clippers away from Sterling like the MLB did to the McCourts a few years ago. Only time will tell. It does hurt his relationship with fans and players. Will Chris Paul want to keep playing for a racist, especially if the Lakers have the money to pick him up next year?

The Clippers players are furious. Some even reported that their families were pressuring them not to play tomorrow, and to take a stand. The players are going to play, but they have told reporters that they want Sterling gone.

I have never been a fan of Donald Sterling. He has been accused to racism when it comes to his tenants and our beloved Elgin Baylor. In the past Donald has been able to buy his way out of trouble. Let’s hope that Adam Silver can finally take away his power and get him out of the NBA. Sorry Donald, karma is a real bitch.

 

 

 

The D’Antoni Debacle

Magic Johnson Slams Mike D'Antoni on Tonight Show

Magic Johnson Slams Mike D’Antoni on Tonight Show

Magic Johnson came out this week and publicly blasted Mike D’Antoni and the Lakers’ management (see video at the bottom of post). P.S. I love you Magic! Of course since then he has apologized and promised to stop criticizing. Don’t worry readers, I intend to do no such thing.

I completely agree with Magic’s original statement. The Lakers made a huge mistake hiring Mr. No Defense and should have gone with the Zen Master. Well, unless Magic can live up to his name and go back in time, we can no longer look back, instead we must think about the future. The next two summers are going to be critical for the Lakers. I have already stressed my opinion that we should get a good draft pick this summer and make sure to leave enough cap space to go after Kevin Love in 2015. However, Magic brought up a critical part in recruiting free agents: the coach.

We passed up a coach with 11 rings for a guy who has never even made it to the finals. D’Antoni’s believes good defense is just having a better offense. The reason Jimbo hired Mike is because he wanted to bring back Showtime. However, Mike didn’t create Showtime, Pat Riley did. I am so amused that people around the league credit Mike D’Antoni for the Miami Heats’ style of play. Analysts say that he increased the pace of the game. I am sorry, but that is bull. Pat Riley coached the Heat and then put his protege in that position in order to become the GM. Pat Riley changed the league, not Mike D’Antoni.

The reason why the Heat are so good is because they are a force on both ends of the court. People say that the Heat took Mike’s offense and added defense. That just aggravates me. Everyone knows that the key to any championship team is a stellar defense. That is why the Dallas Mavericks shocked us all a few years ago. They were nothing special, but Tyson Chandler was a defensive force.

Magic complained about our lack of defense, and he is right, although Mike says he is fine with our defense (more aggravation). So besides needing a coach that understands one of the most basic fundamentals of basketball, we also need one that fits our personnel.

Dwight Howard left for two reasons: Mike D’Antoni and Kobe Bryant. Now I am fine with him leaving because of Kobe. Mamba has 5 rings and will retire with the Lakers. However, I am not OK with losing players because of a coach with no rings. Lakers fans have not warmed to Mike, and a lot of players do not even like him. Even Pau came out against him this year.

There is a lot of talk that we are going to go after Carmelo Anthony. I personally do not think we should. I think Melo is overrated and is one-dimensional. When he decides to add something besides scoring to his repertoire then I will reconsider. I also think that he is a New Yorker and I know how New Yorkers feel about LA. My mother still blames my father for “tricking” her into moving to LA more than 30 years ago.

However, I will play devils advocate. Lets say that Melo is interested in coming to LA. Does he really want to play for D’Antoni? They tried that in NY and that failed (miserably I might add). I actually think my family in New York dislikes Mike more than me.

Beyond the defensive deficiencies and the lack of player loyalty, I also think a huge part of the Lakers injury problem rests on Mike’s shoulders. I am not going to blame every injury on Mike. There are many reasons for the injuries: these guys are older, some had previous health issues, there is always wear and tear, and of course luck.  However, we have had two uncharacteristically injury filled seasons in a row. So I have to ask myself why are we having such bad luck? Well I do not think it is all luck or the other reasons I just answered. I think a huge part of the injuries is the fast paced offense.

Last year D’Antoni wanted us to score 120 points per game. For my non math readers, that averages to 30 points per quarter. He wanted us to run and gun. Keep in mind, last year our big 3 were made up of two guards in there late 30s and a center coming off of major back surgery. Seriously, how could making them run up and down floor like healthy 20 year olds seem like anything other than a fantastic idea?

To his credit, D’Antoni did adjust this year and say he would slow it down a bit. He still wanted us to run, but he wasn’t expected 120 points. We are a slightly younger team, but that kind of offense does take a toll. I will repeat, I do not blame him for all the injuries this year. I understand that injuries happen in the NBA. However, I do believe the offense played a role in a lot of them.

In conclusion, it is time to dump D’Antoni. Wait until the season is over and hope to God that Jeanie can work her magic and convince Phil to come back. Maybe since he finally decided to marry into the Buss family he will be a little more lenient in negotiations. Otherwise I will be happy to put together a post of all potential candidates. Because if we don’t bring in a coach that maintains the championship culture, the Buss kids will have truly disgraced their fathers memory.

Magic Johnson Slams Mike D’Antoni