Tag Archives: Dwight Howard

The Lakers Are Growing Old. Are They Growing Up?

The Los Angeles Lakers find themselves at a very interesting crossroads. Considering the age of the team, let’s call it a midlife crisis. After all, isn’t midlife crisis about realizing one’s mortality and diminished strength due to increased age? If mortality for the Lakers is defined by life after Kobe Bryant, then the term fits quite nicely.

 

Almost too well. Acquiring Dwight Howard in the misguided belief that he would stay in Los Angeles, is nothing short of the guy in his mid 50’s buying an expensive sports car in an attempt to recapture his youth. To be fair to the Lakers, Dwight took them farther than Andrew Bynum would have, by virtue of breathing air and being on the floor. But since when has a 7th seed and a first round exit ever been enough for Los Angeles?

I’m not very good at playing general manager but there is one truth about the Lakers. They need to face reality. They can’t win a title next year. They are not even close to being considered contenders. In fact, the Lakers would be fortunate to make the playoffs next year. They are instead engaged in the petty exercise of avoiding rebuilding. Which of course is ridiculous because all teams have to do it eventually. Yet with rumors that the great organization is eyeing Lebron James and Carmelo Anthony in 2014 one can’t help but think that they have learned nothing.

The Lakers should probably take the lumps that come with any amount of sustained success; and just suck for a little bit. I’m not saying tank per se but let nature take its course instead of constantly trying to drink from the fountain of youth by signing young stars in free agency. You think Carmelo is going to fix the Lakers? Nope. Not by himself anyway. Role players are going to be necessary to do anything of substance. Let’s not forget that Kobe Bryant, for all his wear and tear, has no intention of taking a pay cut. And that’s if Carmelo opts out next year at all.

For goodness sake’s just draft already! I mean if ever there was a year to build through the draft, 2014 would be it. For starters there’s next years draft prize Andrew Wiggins. If that doesn’t work out, there is Jabari Parker, Julius Randle, Aaron Gordon, either of the Harrison twins and Dante Exum. The list of potential  lottery picks goes on. There is a way to win this. A good team built from the ground up can have continued success, whereas going for the quick fix, a move the Lakers seem committed until the bitter end, will net them less. A lot less.

I’m not suggesting the Lakers tank. Nor do I suggest that they shouldn’t go after the big name free agents next season. What I am saying is that Mitch Kupchak trying to put together a “winning” team within the next two seasons is a mistake. At best it is fan service. Not unless you actually think the offseason additions of Jordan Farmar, Chris Kaman and Nick Young make the Lakers contenders. Because it doesn’t.

Whatever decision they make it needs to be the right one. It will affect the course of this organization for years to come.

 

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Dwight Howard, Good For the Lakers, Bad For the NBA

This is a story about parity. What is parity anyway? The dictionary defines it as; the state of being equal, or equality. So, in sports, when we talk about a league having parity we mean that there is a level of equality amongst the teams in that league. Teams that are considered bad are not so much worse than the good teams that they can’t compete.

So the first question is, does the NBA have parity? Yes. Critics of parity in the NBA, a list of people that previously included me, have said that the league doesn’t have parity. That the good teams dominate while the bad teams get screwed. The statistics show that this isn’t true. Teams haven’t been this close in a long time.

So why do fans perceive a lack of parity?

This is where we introduce the concept of championship parity. The level of equality amongst teams in the league in terms of their ability to win championships. If you look at the NBA from this angle the level of parity is laughable at best. Especially when compared to the two other popular sports in this country, football and baseball.

List of NBA Finals from 2000-2001 season to 2011-2012

The chart above shows the list of NBA Finals representatives of the last twelve years. I just wanted to start with the 2000-20001 season to cover the last decade as it went into this decade, and ended up with twelve seasons, there’s no significance to choosing that many seasons. The numbers on the chart, next to the team names, indicate the number of different teams in that category counted from the top down.

You’ll see that over the past twelve seasons the eastern conference in the NBA has been represented by seven different teams. That’s pretty impressive. The western conference on the other hand is only represented by four teams, only three prior to the Thunder, which is beyond terrible if we’re talking about parity. The other teams of the western conference quite obviously don’t have the same ability to play for a championship. If they did, they’d be there. Out of the last twelve NBA season there have only been five different champions. Five. Over a decade of basketball played and only five different champions have been crowned.

That’s not parity.

There’s a reason why NFL fans feel like every year their team can win. That’s because it can.

List of Superbowls from 2000-2001 to 2011-2012

A similar list of NFL seasons tells a different story entirely. The AFC looks like the NBA’s western conference with only five teams representing it in the Superbowl in a twelve year span (which is still more than the NBA’s western conference). Look at the NFC though! Ten different teams represented the NFC in the Superbowl. This has resulted in seven different Superbowl champions over the past twelve seasons.

That’s parity.

What about baseball? The best teams can afford the best players. There’s no salary cap at all. If ever there was a system that was made for no parity at all it would be baseball, right? Wrong.

Very, very, wrong.

List of World Series from 2001 to 2011

Amazingly, in the both the American League and National League, seven different teams have represented their teams over the past eleven years. The only thing more impressive than that there has been a whopping nine different champions in an eleven year span.

What does all of this have to do with Dwight Howard?

Everything. The NBA isn’t necessarily a top heavy league but only a few teams have a real shot at competing for a title. The Brooklyn Nets may have gotten stronger. The Denver Nuggets were able to get Andre Igoudala in part of the massive deal that sent Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic to the Los Angeles Lakers. However, the Nuggets aren’t title contenders. The Lakers are. The Lakers landed Steve Nash earlier in the summer and Dwight Howard puts them over the top without the Lakers having to give up Pau Gasol.

It seems that general managers in the NBA are just dumber than in any other league, and it’s the fan that suffers. Orlando fans now have watch their team be rebuilt from scratch with nothing really. They got back nothing in comparison with what they lost. The Lakers continue to stay dominant by forcing the issue to get a great player. The rest of the league, small market teams especially, can’t really compete with that. Particularly if they have a knuckle-headed GM which is a lot of NBA GMs.

When Dwight got moved to L.A. he made the Lakers stronger and, in so doing the rest of the league loses just a bit of that championship parity. In the face of the Lakers and Heat stockpiling weapons like it’s the arms race during the Cold War, what do other NBA fans root for? Do Pacers fans and Grizzlies fans really believe that their team is winning a title this year? Fans deserve to feel, at least once in a while, that supporting their team is going to pay off.

The NBA has great moments and spectacular athletes. It’s a league that can offer a lot of things. Unfortunately for the modern NBA fan, hope isn’t one of them.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

NBA Playoffs 4-26-11: Game 5’s

Click there to listen! ————>NBA Playoffs 5-26-11

Magic crush the Hawks 101-76 to escape elimination

I.Offense

A.Orlando played their most well-rounded game of the season.

1.Dwight Howard was 1-4 w/ 8 points

2.Top players in the game: Jason Richardson 6 of 14 w/ 17 points, Ryan Anderson 3 of 9 w/ 11 points, and

J.J. Reddick 6 of 8 w/ 14 points

3.As a team they shot 41% and 42% from the three point land.

4.Outscored Atlanta’s bench 49-34

5.Jameer Nelson injured his knee.

B.Atlanta didn’t get points from the bench

1.Josh Smith was the only one who showed up. 7 of 18 w/ 22 points and 11 rebounds

2.Starting center Jason Collins. Scored no points, had one rebound and one assist.

3.Shot 36% from the field. 4 of 16 as a team from 3

II.Defense

A.The Magic forced turnovers and held the Hawks to 76 points

1.As a team had 7 steals and 4 blocks

2.Allowed just 22 points in the paint for Atlanta.

B.The Hawks just got rolled.

1.They controlled nothing the whole game and basically got dominated in every facet of the game.

Bulls stomp Pacers 116-89

I.Offense

A. Chicago had their most production all series.

1. Derrick Rose scored 25 points on 8 of 17 shooting.

2. Taj Gibson and Kyle Korver provided 23 points from the bench.

3. Role players stepping up nullified the double-team on Derrick Rose

4 Luol Deng 7 of 14 w/ 24 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals, and a block filled out the statsheet.

B. The Pacers never found a rythym

1. The Pacers shot terribly as a team. Just 39%

2. They had 20 turnovers. 4 each from big men Tyler Hansbrough and Roy Hibbert.

II.Defense

A. The Bulls did a good job blocking shots and stealing passes

1. Joakim Noah 4 of his teams 9 blocked shots.

2. I thought he played a very physical game Noah did. Josh McRoberts got ejected for this reason.

B. Did not do well in transition

1. Chicago scored 17 fast break points.

Lakers handle Hornets 106-90

I. Offense

A. Lakers took advantage of their size for seemingly the first time this series.

1. Kobe Bryant 8 of 13 w/  19 points. So much for the ankle injury.

2.The Lakers had 6 players in double figures

3.Pau Gasol finally showed his face in this series. 16 shooting 6 of 12.

4.Bynum and Gasol had 18 rebounds between the two of them. LA won the paint battle 42-30.

B. The Hornets shot the ball just as good as the Lakers did . . .

1. New Orleans shot the ball 49% from the field. Just like the Lakers did. They just shot it less.

2. They took away their own offensive opportunities with turnovers and low percentage shots. The Hornets had 17 TO’s

3. Chris Paul should have shot more.

4. Ariza, Paul, and Belinelli all scored in the 20’s but nobody else got into the double digits

5. No production from the bench. The Lakers outscored the Hornets 29-14 from the bench.

II. Defense

A. The Lakers destroyed the Hornets on the boards

1. A good sign of playing good defense is when you force the opponent to shoot a bad shot. New Orleans had nothing to show for          their stops because they could not out rebound the Lakers. LA won that battle 42-25.

2. The Lakers forced turnovers and really bad shots.

B. Played pretty good defense throughout the game but lost it at the end.

1. The Hornets do deserve some credit defensively. They forced 12 turnovers.

2. They matched the Lakers on the defensive glass. However they late the Lakers get way too many offensive rebounds and second chance points.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Advertisements
Advertisements