Los Angeles, California is a great place to live. I love this city! There are so many things to love about it. The weather is great! Seriously it’s like 80 degrees everyday and the sun is always shining. The women are beautiful. Like flat out, knock down, “make you wanna slap yo momma” good looking! And although I don’t smoke, I’ve been told the weed here is amazing. The great weather and beautiful women alone was enough to hook me, but you know the one thing I love the most about LA? EVERYONE LOVES THE LAKERS HERE! It’s so weird living in a place where I’m not the only Laker fan. It’s like being in a sports Twilight Zone. I’ve lived in Flint, MI, Shreveport, LA, Fayetteville, NC, Orlando, FL, Forest, MS, Chicago, IL and a few other places I can’t remember right now, but all of those places had/have one thing in common. EVERYONE THERE HATED THE LAKERS.
Finding a Laker fan in those places was like trying to find a black person in Beverly Hills.(Still haven’t seen one but apparently Kanye West lives there. Or so he says in “To The World”) But in LA seeing a Laker fan is like seeing a roach in the projects. They’re EVERYWHERE. The bus driver, the guy at Starbucks, the weirdos, the cable guy, the neighbors, the kids, EVERYBODY! It’s so nice to always have someone to talk POSITIVE Laker basketball with. It’s something I’ve never experienced before. The common bond between the city, its inhabitants and its team. I’ve never been around so many Lakers fans in all my life. It’s great but it’s strange at the same time. I always felt “special” being a Laker fan alone in my quest to cheer on my team in the bar or at work. It was nice when they were winning and I could soak it all in by myself but when they lose I got all the clowning and trash talking by myself. (Strange but even that was “special” to me.) Everywhere I lived it was always me and my team against the world and I loved it. And those rare times I’d spot someone in Lakers gear and I’d run to them and they’d think I was about to talk smack but then I complement them. Then we’d talk about the team, how they were doing, where we thought they were going and how Kobe was doing. (I have learned something about the Laker Hate over the years. I don’t think it’s about the Lakers per say. Shaq was loveable and likeable. And Magic was all time loveable and likeable. I think the Laker Hate is all about Kobe Bryant. “In the 80’s everyone loved the Lakers” my dad tells me. “Since Kobe’s Colorado “run in” and since he was perceived to have run Shaq outta town people just ain’t been on they’re side anymore.”)
|Why can't THIS group of players win together?!|
They’re a HORRIBLE defensive team. They’re only 15th in points allowed but it’s a kind of “false” stat. As of December 9, 2012 the Lakers are 9-12. Of the 12 losses, they allowed 100+ in 8 of them (95 and 99 in two others) and in 9 of those losses, the opponent scored well over their season average. Ouch! 113 to both the Kings and Magic is completely inexcusable. Super ouch! Even under Mike Brown, someone known for his defense (and his amazing talent of being the only person to ever stop LeBron James) the Lakers sucked on the defensive end. Mike D’Antoni ain’t changing that folks. The Phoenix Suns never finished higher than 25th under him and the Lakers seem to be getting worse. Now its not all him. The Lakers are old. Like really, really old. While Kobe is playing lights out on the offensive end, (He’s leading the NBA in scoring and IF he wanted to, he could have led the NBA in it last year. I’m really starting to think Kobe Bryant is a machine sent back in time to play basketball and destroy the world. No way he keeps it up but he’s a freaking warrior. ) he’s slipped defensively. He was ALL-NBA defense last year but it was 2nd team, first time he’s been 2nd team in six years, and it was mostly given to him out of respect. He’s not even close to being the lock down perimeter defender he use to be and he’s not getting any younger. Nash was/is/will always be a complete liability on that side of the court and the idiot formally known, as Ron Artest, has been a shell of himself for years now. Quick side note, last year I was in Orlando and saw the Magic versus the Bulls live in person. I took two things from that game: Derrick Rose and Dwight Howard were like super humans on the court with mortals and neither one could be stopped. Howard flew all over the court. He was blocking shots, getting rebounds, causing all around havoc and just being a force of nature in the middle. He seemed to be a one-man defensive team. He’s not that guy right now. I say right now because he is coming off back surgery and I guess that takes time. (I mean come on, the first reports had him coming back around Christmas and he hasn’t missed a single game so kudos for that. You trade Andrew Bynum for Dwight Howard everyday of the week.)
Long story short, LA’s problems were not getting fixed when they fired Mike Brown and they damn sure ain’t getting fixed with Mike D’Antoni. Bill Simmons said it best in his column on December 7, 2012 it’s no coincidence that the only coach that ever worked with Kobe just so happens to be THE GREATEST COACH OF ALL TIME. I’m not saying it works 100% with Phil but I like his chances better than D’Antoni. You needed a coach that A) had championship experience and B) cared about defense or at least understood its importance as it relates to winning a title. Two things, D’Antoni has NO TRACK RECORD OFF AT ALL. Phil wasn’t a defensive guru but he never got enough credit for his efforts on that side of the court. Jeff Van Gundy was quoted as saying that he never worried about those Chicago Bull teams of the 90’s scoring. More of how was he going to score on them. Coaches get fired it’s what happens. I can only remember a few of them walking way on THEIR terms. So like Brown before him, D’Antoni will be fired and the Lakers will be second-guessed and criticized. When the basketball version of Vince Lombardi wants to coach your team you let him tell you no, not the other way around. I’m not a GM but I’m sure I can only think of one team in the NBA that FLATOUT turns down Phil Jackson. (The San Antonio Spurs seem to be happy with the guy they got.)
|You have a team ready to win, which coach do you hire?|
The Lakers said all they had to say about winning the championship this year when they hired Mike D’Antoni. The Clippers are the Clippers so the Lakers stranglehold on LA is safe.(An all-time winning percentage of .363, 8 playoff berths in 40 years and one was with a LOSING RECORD, 30 years between playoff victories, zero titles and Donald Sterling as an owner insures that. Really I mean come on son! A couple of nice seasons ain’t fooling anyone. The Clipper logo makes me think losers the same way white and red on a soda can makes me think Coca-Cola. It’s branded loserness. (And yes, that is not a word!)) In the end, I still like LA’s chances to get it together. I say wait till Nash is healthy to judge them on offense. (This is also when you can find out whether or not to trade Pau. He's a great pick and roll player and you would have to assume Nash help him look a lot better than he has.) Wait till Dwight is healthy to judge them on defense. (I still think he’s going to cover up most of their holes when he’s 100% because he covered up a lot more on those Orlando teams. He’s basically going from being the nice butt on an ugly chick, (what he was to Orlando) to being the make-up on a cute chick with light acne scars (What he can be for LA)) This team doesn’t suck. They got too much talent to suck. What’s the other thing that’s good about being in LA and being around all these Laker fans? I’m not alone in my suffering. You know what they say, misery loves company and like sunshine and beautiful women, I got plenty of that in Southern California these days.
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