Around the NBA

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Good morning to everyone on this insomnia plagued Thursday. Damn I want to take a day off and watch b-ball all day as I haven’t been able to catch many games outside of Laker matches. Anyways, just wanted to jot down some notable news/rumors that caught my eye.

The first is a source of major intrigue for me as I’m sure it will be for all Laker fans that are fed up with the coaching system of Mike Brown. I realize the new offense will take time to become fully incorporated with a new lineup, and that’s not the reason why I am “hating” on the former Cleveland Cavaliers coach. Many of his decisions and lineups have left many scratching their heads as well as how he manages playing time for his superstars and average Joes alike.

The latest rumors state that Jerry Sloan, the man responsible for the godlike pick and roll offense back in the Utah days that were helmed by John Stockton and Karl Malone has taken an interest in coaching the Lakers. This is absolutely fantastic news if true, as he remains on the top of the list as potential suitors for the job once held by the greatest coach of all time in Phil Jackson. Can a coach be referred to as the G.O.A.T? But anyways, I digress.

Prior to the official hiring of Mike Brown, which was greeted with a multitude of boos and despair, there were only a few coaches that seemed suitable for the task at hand. These were Jerry Sloan and Rick Adelman, the tough no nonsense coach who pushed the Shaq-led Lakers to the limit with his Sacramento Kings. I would welcome Sloan, who is assumedly chomping at the bit to coach a pick and roll tandem like Nash and Gasol, as well as having the Mamba and Superman to guide him to his first ring. The rumors state that he will be appointed the new coach come December 1st, although it’s merely speculation I’m really hoping this one goes through. Something tells me this is legit and it will actually happen, but only time will tell.

Another development that came to light centers around our former center, the immature but immensely talented Andrew Bynum who is now on the Philadelphia 76ers. The injury prone center is now expected to miss yet another 3 weeks recovering from his back injury. On a side note, that afro really needs to go, just like his petulant behavior and downright maddening disregard for anything resembling a modicum of decency to the game of basketball. Shooting 3 pointers during the game certainly didn’t earn him any affection.

What pisses me off about Bynum is not his character or lack thereof, but rather the Laker fans that bash him and ridicule his “glass knees”. Although his work ethic was questionable at best and we are all glad he got shipped out for Howard, hoping that he never plays again and wishing the worst to him is really low. C’mon Laker fans, have some class. I also feel for the 76ers, the fans must have been celebrating on the streets for the steal they pulled off, essentially trading A.I. 2.0 for the 2nd best center in the NBA.

I still question his motivation and maturity issues, but I still wish him the best. If he manages to pull it together, this dude is going to be absolutely dominant. This is a rare player that can put up about 20/12/3, especially considering that his free throws are above average for a big man and that he is certainly going to get sent to the line quite a bit by the unfortunate soul trying to guard him. I really feel for the guy and his injury history, but it looks as though his knees will cut down his career drastically much like Greg Oden, Portland’s #1 pick. Obviously hindsight is 20/20 and they were certainly correct as typically a talented center is always selected over any other position with the first pick, but man oh man if they had just picked Durant.

Monty Williams recently got fined 25,000 for criticizing the NBA’s regulations regarding concussions. The top pick Anthony Davis had a mild concussion after getting hit in the head by an errant elbow from a teammate. Coach Williams decried the NBA for mollycoddling their players as babies  rather than grown men, stating that he himself played several times with concussion symptoms as the system in his day was much more lenient and let players have more of a say regarding the final decision.

I can’t agree with him, and when he said that the bottom line was he wanted his players ready to play, I shook my head. Yes, basketball is not as dangerous as football, and yes these are grown men, but seriously? You’re willing to risk your center taking another hit to the head or sustaining another injury as he is not fully recovered? Granted the chances of getting hit in the head are quite low in the NBA, but what does a few games mean, especially for a team that won’t even be making it to the NBA playoffs? I’d much rather play it safe and reinsert my players into the lineup when it’s clear they are good to go. If it’s in the playoffs, then that’s a different story. In that case, I would probably give the player’s opinions more weight regarding whether they are cleared to play or not but obviously the system that has already been established would squash that idea in any case.

The Thunder seem to be having some chemistry issues as it was reported that Sefolosha and Westbrook got into a scuffle until they were finally separated before they could tear each other apart. It sounds like every player on the team is trying to voice their opinion and assert that their views are right for the team, when in reality there should only be one leader as the rest do as they’re told . Westbrook is an incredible talent, but it is obvious that he is also extremely immature and often lets his emotions get the best of him as he has demonstrated in several games with his childish behavior. Durant is clearly the superior player, and needs to get the rest of his goons to fall in line. However, with Westbrook on the team I don’t see that happening any time soon. Durant doesn’t have the same leadership abilities as a guy like Kobe, and this will really test the team’s chemistry and the patience of Coach Brooks.

Perhaps Harden did make the right choice in leaving the team, as the Thunder are now bickering amongst each other as the 6th man of the year has been absolutely tearing it up in greener pastures alongside Jeremy “Linsanity” Lin. As Harden was a superior facilitator on the Thunder squad and provided that scoring punch, if the Thunder don’t get it together it would seem the stage is set for a highly anticipated Lakers/Heat matchup. However, I’m not going to get carried away as that’s a long ways away and we’ll have to see how the Lakers grow into their new shoes.

It’s interesting to see that Sheed and the mysterious bald spot on his dome are still in the NBA. Apparently he has been the defensive voice behind the Knicks, which isn’t shocking considering he was previously one of the best post defenders in the NBA during his cannabis infused days with the Blazers. Whether you hated him or loved him, you had to acknowledge him as the NBA’s premier comedian and master of the art of accruing technical fouls.

One last topic that I thought was interesting was about how The Spurs Big Three in Parker, Duncan, and Ginobili all agreed to contracts that didn’t reflect their true worth. Paker felt that he would rather sacrifice some dough and keep the core intact, pointing out how the Thunder were unable to keep their pieces after Durant and Westbrook both agreed to max contracts, which prompted Harden to bolt for Houston. The question was whether to stay with a successful team or sacrifice it to be “the man” and make top dollar. Interesting question indeed. What would you guys out there pick?

-Daniel Kang

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