The Denver Nuggets gave everything that they had to the Los Angeles Lakers after being down 3-1 in the series. Andrew Bynum’s comments about close-out games being “easy” and Denver playing “silly defense” because they doubled not only he, but Kobe and Pau Gasol every time they touched the ball, do not matter. It was because of that “silly defense” a young, inexperienced Denver team – who were an 8th seed, mind you – took a championship team to a 7-game scare in the first round of the playoffs.
This first-round exit felt different this time around. In all the years I’ve watched/cheered for the Nuggets, I haven’t seen a team – especially this young – look that grown up this fast. And I would even go as far as to say that i’d put this current Denver squad over the past team’s with Carmelo Anthony as their ring leader because of overall ball movement and team play. Right now this team is everything you could ask for and they did it without perhaps their best scorer/go-to guy in Wilson Chandler (or a superstar for that matter), who was lost for the season after having hip surgery.
Ty Lawson showed time and time again that he’s quickly (no pun intended) working his way up as one of the best point guards in the league and continues to be a monstrous difference-maker. Kenneth Faried was miles ahead of what most expected out of him during his
When I look back on Gilbert Arenas’ career, although it’s not fully over, I can’t help but shake my head a little bit. This is a guy who became the face of the No. 0 in the NBA because kids told him he’d be nothing. At one point in his career, he was the clutch-est in the league. (And yes, Laker’ fans, that’s over your Kobe Bryant who shoots you out of more games than it) “The Silent Assassin” dropped game winners after game winners. He poured 51 points on Deron Williams, and put the most embarrassing outing on Kobe’s head during a 60-point performance in L.A. Starting with the ’04-05 season, Gilbert averaged 25.5, 29.3, and 28.5 points per game for the next three seasons before injuries took a toll on his career.
After those few years of All-Star performances, Arenas played a total of 117 games the next 4 seasons.
It’s not only injuries, though, that put a hamper on Gilbert’s career; it was his own stupidity. Back in 2010, Arenas was found guilty of having guns inside of his locker at the Verizon Center and was ultimately suspended.
Now 30 year’s old and nowhere near the player he once was, the Memphis Grizzlies decided to take a chance on the 11-year veteran in hopes of providing them with veteran leadership (Ha!) and perhaps a spark once the postseason starts. The best thing about his signing with Memphis isn’t that he will be playing basketball again, but he has a chance to redeem himself and show us fans/organization he’s grown up.
Gilbert isn’t the first player that had their careers turn around for the better when they came to Memphis. And Bethlehem Shoals of GQ.com gives a few examples of who those players are:
“Without having seen a second of present-day Gilbert Arenas, and severely doubting that he can pull off the kind of press conference that makes writers weep for joy at their own copy, I still want to be excited about this signing. Memphis, quietly, has turned into a home for outlaws and rejects, a kind of Bad News Bearsof the NBA. Much is made of Randolph’s transition from “knucklehead” to franchise rock, but all Z-Bo did was stop acting out and learn to exercise some judgment, both on and off the court. Randolph is a terrific basketball player, but there’s been little attempt to convince us he is an entirely different person or a model citizen. He’s just straightened himself out and been left alone to flourish on his own terms.”
“An even more extreme case is Tony Allen, he of the smothering defense, and incoherent Twitter account. Allen was central to the Grizzlies’ playoff run; he’s also the guy who, with the Celtics, blew out his knee dunking after the whistle, and more seriously, was mixed up in a Chicago fight that led to a shooting. Tony Allen has matured, but he’s still unmistakably Tony Allen. Of course, this kind of acceptance is possible only in a small market, where players draw less fire from the national media, and where locals are more likely to overlook imperfections. It’s a level of “realness” that can’t be sustained in the glare of the spotlight, and as it turns out, one that can be a competitive asset. The Grizzlies have an energy, and chemistry, that wouldn’t be there if everyone were worried about his brand.”
Not only are those great examples, those are perfect examples. Shoals was dead on with their troubles and how perhaps a change of scenery is for the better. Some teams take chances on troubled players, (i.e. Cincinnati Bengals) and sometimes it works out for the better. A team like Phoenix is where you go to get healed, but perhaps Memphis is the place you go to get your act together and become a professional. Arenas’ days of averaging 20+ are long gone — unless he went over to Germany and received the Kobe treatment that we don’t know about — but for his sake, I hope everything works out because personally, I’m rooting for the guy. As should you.
When the whole “Dwight Howard’s going here, and here, or here” conversations were flowing like the Nile the last few months, I was really hoping he wasn’t going to the Lakers for Andrew Bynum. Not because of my distaste for L.A., but because I think Bynum deserves to stay there. And I’ll even go out on a limb here by saying that if the kid didn’t have bad luck with his knees, he’d be the best center in the game right now.
Now that we have to wait a whole year for the Howard rumors to start-up again since he decided to exercise his option with Orlando, ESPN.com is reporting that the Lakers plan to do the same with their 24-year-old All-Star center.
Lakers general manager, Mitch Kupchak, released a statement about Bynum’s exercise to show proof that they’re not just rumors and something we won’t hear about every second of the day.
“He’s the starting center on the West All-Star team. Why wouldn’t we do everything we could to keep him here?” Kupchak said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “We’re ecstatic to have him on the team.”
Bynum’s option is worth $16.1 million, which is due by June 30, but he’s certainly worth the cash. Many believed that he would have slowed down by now and/or gotten injured, but he continues to get better. With his 18-point, 12.9 rebound and 2.0 blocks per game average this season, it’s no wonder he was named a Western Conference starter. And his age certainly helps his case, too.
Bynum said himself he wants to stay, and Kobe — You know, the guy who once said “Who the f**k is Andrew Bynum?” — thinks it’s “great” and “well deserved.”
If Kobe’s good with it, then you know everyone else is.
Kobe struggled mightily Tuesday night against Detroit (8-of-26 for 22 points), but he hit, of course, a buzzer-beating shot over Tayshaun Prince to send the game into overtime. Bryant also pulled out the Jet Li black mask before switching back to the clear version. Peep Tayshaun’s defense, though. He played it perfectly.
1/2 white, 1/2 black on 1/2 white, 1/2 black crime went down this afternoon when Kris Humphries thought he could hang in the air with Blake Griffin. Somewhere Kim Kardashian is watching this and having a nice little chuckle.
This might be the greatest find in the history of YouTube finds.
I happened to come across this after seeing what happened between Andre Iguodala and the homie Carmelo Anthony in Wednesday nights game between the Knicks and Sixers, where Iggy got tangled up with ‘Melo and ended up pissing him off the rest of the night so he dropped 27 on him.
As for the video, this is extremely rare and I’ve never seen it on another blog.
This was back somewhere between the ’06, ’07 and ’08 seasons when ‘Melo and Allen Iverson were teammates in Denver. According to the info section, this came after the Nuggets had defeated Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, which follows with A.I. and ‘Melo using foul language in a car before heading out to a few clubs. The aftermath, where Anthony is standing around blatantly drunk, is just him talking about players on the team such as Nene (who got rid of “Porno Honey” LOL) and how teams don’t want to meet Denver in the playoffs (damn, we came up short).
It’s not very often we see what players are like outside the game, but we already know how Iverson was and probably still is, but this was also before ‘Melo had his child and has matured greatly since. I mean, just look at what he’s wearing in this video and how he dresses now. It’s a complete 360.
We’ve heard this story before, but with different players. Many said that Jordan shot too much, but he also has 6 championship rings to basically say “who gives a shit.” Did Iverson shoot a lot? Yes. But he was also forced into a role for most of his career that certainly didn’t help his chances of winning a title. He needed a true point guard to create shots for him. He wasn’t built to shoot 20+ times a night, while trying to hand out 10 assists consistently.
What about Kobe Bryant? You know, the man who reportedly slept with over 100 women behind his wife’s back in Los Angeles, who has 5 championship rings to go along with a career average of 19.4 shots per game (Remember, that’s just average). Now, turning 34 in August, Kobe’s aging. He has a bad knee, an arthritic finger on his shooting hand that in turn, altered his shooting style, and now has a torn ligament in his right wrist (an injury that would sideline most, but he’s Kobe).
Kobe is Jordan tough and has his work ethic, so what’s a wrist injury? You’re probably asking yourself, “what’s a wrist injury in basketball you moron?! It’s everything!” It might be everything to everyone else, but not Bean. His jumpers are still falling and that beautiful baseline fade is still fallin’, nothings changed except his dreadful 20 percent from 3s.
Yet, he continues to shoot those 23 shots a night this season:
“I shoot, I shoot,” Bryant told Yahoo! Sports Adrian Wajnarowski. “ You’ve known that for 16 years. I’m not changing my game. If the defense is not doubling, I’m going to score. If I’ve got a good look, I’m going to score. My teammates know that. But I also give them the ball, too, and set them up.
“But at the end of the day, I’m a scorer first.”
Yes, he’s averaging the third-highest shot attempts of his career (23.5 in 2002-03, 27 in ’05-06) just to get his 27.6 points per game, but he’s still shooting 44 percent from the field.
Which, for Kobe, is just about right.
Other than Bryant and Gasol being the main focal points on offense, big man Andrew Bynum has finally come into his own. And, more importantly, he’s healthy (knock on wood). In his first six games back with the Lakers, Bynum’s averaging a phenomenal 18.8 points and 15.7 rebounds a night (11 defensive rebounds).
L.A. might have the best Big Three on paper right now in the league.
As Dime Mag’s own Sean Sweeney pointed out today, despite the Lakers having arguably the best trio in basketball right now, they’re still average offensively with their 94 points per contest. Their defensive could be better, too, with their allowance of over 100 points a night, which places them at 15th in the league.
L.A. missed out on their much needed point guard when the NBA decided to pull the plug on the Chris Paul trade. Hell, they couldn’t even get J.J. Barea. They’re slow, their perimeter defense is almost non-existent, and the exact same can be said for their “tough guy” Matt Barnes.
So what will the Lakers do before the March trade deadline to better their chances at advancing further in the playoffs? Dwight Howard, maybe? But would you really trade for him if Bynum’s playing this way? Because, as of right now, Bynum’s the best big man in the league. Could they maybe snatch up a guard from their neighbor’s down the street (Clippers)? Who knows.
But one thing’s for certain: “I’m going to do what I do,” Kobe Bryant said. “I’m not changing.”
Above (from l-r): Carmelo Anthony wore his Jordan Melo M8 Christmas Day kicks in a win against the C’s, Chris Paul wore his Jordan CP3.V XMas day kicks in his debut with the Clippers, and D-Wade rocked his Jordan Fly Wade 2 XMas day kicks in the Heat’s blowout over the Mavericks.
Below (from l-r): KD rocked the Nike Zoom KD IV “Coppers” against the Magic, LeBron put on the XMas Day LeBron 9′s, Kobe laced up Nike Zoom Kobe VII “Cheetahs” in a loss against the Bulls, and Amare wore his special XMas colored Air Max Sweep Thrus.
All of the shoes are in stores now!
You see that picture above with Kobe holding up four fingers? Despite not having his thumb up due to him holding a trophy, the Black Mamba has won 5 NBA titles during his 16-year career in a Laker’ uniform. Why on earth would he want to leave? Because he lost Lamar Odom? Please. Kobe’s old enough now to know that losing a player doesn’t mean the world is coming to an end. In fact, according to RealGM.com, Bryant put a stop to all those rumors.
“I don’t have any feeling about [leaving] whatsoever,” Bryant said, addressing speculation that he might request a trade. “I’ve been here for 16 years. I’m going to up and leave now?”
He’s right, why would he want to leave now? Kobe’s not a quitter that’s for sure, he’s probably the only guy left in the league that has the Michael Jordan gene to do whatever it takes to win. He’ll throw his teammates and his own coach under the bus if it means winning a title. You need a guy like that on your team, you need someone who will ride your ass like Zorro when he feels like you’re not giving everything you have. You’re getting paid to play basketball and at the end of the day, winning a championship is the ultimate goal. Is the money nice? Hell yeah. But it’s not everything, and most guys figure that out rather sooner than later.
I expect the old Kobe to be back this season, not the banged up one with a bad knee and having to alter the way he plays just in order to stay on the court (see his index finger). He says his knee is 90 percent better than it was last season, and you know what? I believe him.
“I’m not a big medicine, techie guy,” Bryant said. “But I know my knee feels 90 percent better. My understanding was that the guy who invented it … [Germany] is where he’s from and where his home base is. So I didn’t want to go someplace else where he had to move his equipment. If I am going to do it, I want to do it right and do it in the place where he is most comfortable doing it.
“I can run. I can jump. I can run the track. I can lift weights the way I want to lift weights. I can practice every day. Those are things I couldn’t do last year.”
Traveling to Germany just to get your knee fixed? That’s dedication and motivation. Most guys would say screw it and find the best person for the job in the states, not in another country. If he’s back to the old Kobe, every team in the league better be on their toes because it doesn’t matter who has the best Big Three and this and that, Kobe has one thing that’s more dominant than anyone’s in the league: The will to win.
So much for the Lakers trying to snatch-up Chris Paul, huh? The same city, two teams, an aging superstar and a primed one, who wins? As of right now, my money is on the Clippers. Not too long after reports surfaced that the Orlando Magic decided to pull Dwight Howard off the trading block – not a good idea if you ask me because they know he’s unhappy and doesn’t want to be there since the front office refuses to listen to him when it comes to bringing in another superstar — because they weren’t able to get the right deal that would be David Stern approved.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last couple hours, ESPN’s Marc Stein was first on the Twitter scene to report that the Clippers and Hornets finally reached a deal to send Chris Paul to Tinsle Town. The deal included Eric Gordon (easily a top 3 SG in the league), Chris Kaman (double-double capability when he’s healthy), Al-Farouq Aminu (promising young SF/PF) and Minnesota’s unprotected 2012 first-round draft pick. The Clippers also receive two future second-round picks.
Seriously, on paper, tell me the Clippers aren’t a playoff team and wouldn’t run the Lakers out of the building: CP3, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Chauncey Billups, Eric Bledsoe, Caron Butler, Mo Williams and Randy Foye. They have the best quadruple group of PG’s in the league — although they’ll probably end up waiving one and trading another –, but the only issue I see with this team is health. How long will Paul’s knee hold up? What about Griffin’s? Butler isn’t exactly Superman, either.
The Hornets, despite losing two All Stars in Paul and David West, still look promising. They have five returning players under contract, and you can expect to see a starting five look something like this: Jarrett Jack (PG), Eric Gordon (SG), Aminu (SF), Kaman (PF) and Omeka Okafur holding down the five spot. That’s a playoff team on paper in my eyes, and it also gives the Hornets much-needed depth to further strengthen their roster through free agency.
A lot of people didn’t think this deal would have gone through since Stern initially ended the deal with Paul going to Los Angeles, but that was only because it wasn’t fair. This deal is fair. The Clippers get a top 5 player in the league while the Hornets get a couple very promising players and a fistful of draft picks. Now, the real question is whether or not the Clippers will sell more tickets than the Lakers? Ha .. I know, bad joke.