The Los Angeles Lakers preview

Where do we go from here?

Let’s flash back to last summer, shall we? The Los Angeles Lakers pulled off one of the greatest heists in NBA history once again in stealing Dwight Howard and trading just Andrew Bynum to acquire him. Remember the shock from all of the basketball world? Remember how ESPN pretty much said the Lakers were gonna win the title? Remember the SI cover with Dwight Howard and Steve Nash titled how the season was gonna be “fun?” Yeah, well….. it was all good just a year ago.

The Lakers struggled to begin the year, firing then coach Mike Brown after starting off the season slow. They hired Mike D’Antoni, and the Lakers actually had a 45 win season, which led to a seven seed in the West, and an embarrassing exit in the playoffs without the guy who pretty much put the team on his back in Kobe Bryant, who tore his Achilles in the last week of the regular season. The off-season turned into a slideshow, begging for Dwight Howard to stay in Los Angeles (https://shaunhoward.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/i-hate-my-team/) and that turned into a comedy show because Dwight Howard wasn’t going to stay with the Lakers. Everybody, including Dwight knew that. Dwight treated the Lakers like one of his baby mamas.

This is Dwight Howard’s life in a nutshell (no pun intended. Okay, maybe).

At first, he thought the Lakers were this new sexy toy because he was tired of having children with his old toy (Orlando Magic), so he decided to get the new toy pregnant. Then, when the going got tough, Dwight decided he was fed up and wanted to have another sexy toy. So when the moment reached, Dwight saw he was free and BOOM, on to Houston because they are the new sexy toy in his eyes. (BOOM BABY! Houston strip clubs about to be POPPIN off this year!!!! Houston fans, if Dwight gets fed up in three years and wants another toy, he’ll make sure he’ll get his way). So Laker fans, we were just a groupie to Dwight Howard.

Good luck in Houston, #TheWhite

Where does that leave the Lakers now? How do the Lakers go from here?

Well for the starters, I don’t know what the Lakers plan down the road is. Do the Lakers want to tank this year, get a top 5 pick + clean salary cap except for Steve Nash’s contract next year? Or do these interesting cast of characters attempt to actually make the playoffs? Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss did the right thing in my eyes to letting Dwight Howard walk without taking on another contract. However, if the Lakers were smart enough, they would have traded Dwight Howard during last season, especially when he was unhappy in February because he was on his usual mood swing.

Three questions that I have for my own team:

1. Will you attempt to play defense, Los Angeles?

When you see this roster, you can tell that it fits Mike D’Antoni system. They’ll get up and down the court, and score 105 a game, but they’ll probably give up 110. Steve Nash is the starting point guard and he’ll be 40 during the NBA season. That’s not a typo. Steve Nash playing defense on Russell Westbrook, Kyrie Irving, Deron Williams, Stephen Curry, Derrick Rose, Chris Paul, Ricky Rubio, Tony Parker, and even Brandon Jennings will be seen as a highlight film for those guys. Remember when Curry put Nash in the washing machine spin cycle back in March?

………………………….

Nick Young has never heard of the word defense before (but he’s heard of swag since he’s SWAGGY P, BRUH!), and watching him play defense will be mildly entertaining because he’ll just let other two guards score so he can shoot more. Jodie Meeks? Lol. A frontcourt line of Chris Kaman, Pau Gasol, and wait for it…… Wes Johnson will be hilarious. Given this is the first (and only) training camp with Mike D’Antoni as a head coach, maybe they did work on simple defensive concepts.

2. Will Kobe Bryant be effective this season?

No one, and I mean no one knows what to expect from Kobe Bryant. Bryant just tore his Achilles in April, and has said that if this were a playoff situation, he’d be able to play. But then he added that he can’t push off his Achilles and that he’s not in shape. Which makes me believe that Kobe Bryant probably won’t be back for awhile. It’s completely obvious that the Lakers can’t just rely on Kobe to come back and carry them for most of the season like he did last year. But this is Kobe Bryant, and he’s been known to do the unthinkable.

3.  But really, do the Lakers have a long-term plan in place?

I know, I know. I addressed this above.  But it’s an interesting question to ask. Kobe can’t play forever, and I know the Lakers know this. At some point, you have a solution to the problem. Mike D’Antoni isn’t the right fit for the organization, but neither is Phil Jackson anymore.  Are you going to place all your chips in hope of landing Carmelo Anthony this summer, or do you go full rebuild mode? These are questions that the front office will need to answer quickly.

Season prediction:

All off-season long, I’ve been saying how the Lakers won’t make the playoffs, and as a fan……. I’m not changing my mind. Looking at the roster, it’s clear to me that the Lakers built the roster to D’Antoni’s system. That’s fine to a degree. With everyone off the roster after this season with the exception of Steve Nash, it’s clear that Lakers are going to go all in the summer of 2014. I’ve been saying this, it’s best for the Lakers to completely forget about this season, and start from scratch next year, in hopefully Kobe Bryant’s last season of hooping (Yes Laker fans, Kobe is going to retire soon).  Do I think the Lakers will actually do that? Will they miss the playoffs for the 6th time in franchise history?

I think the ceiling for this team is 35-38 wins. They’ll be exciting to watch because they’ll score 100+ points  a game, and because Nick Young is probably going to go full YOLO mode. But they’ll give up a lot a big games to guards, and give up at least 105+ points a game. So no playoffs. A lottery pick, and a semi-rebuilding project heading into the Summer of 2014.

It’s not the end of the world, Laker fans. All franchises have to rebuild. It’s how you reload. And we must pray that the Los Angeles Lakers front office knows what the hell they’re doing.

Thoughts? Leave a comment or tweet me at @kingshaundiz 

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As the Laker season turns: Why it’s time to implode this team (co-written by Micah Mercado)

Smh

The Los Angeles Lakers. One of the NBA’s glamour franchises, with the 16 championships, the success of big men, and the amount of legends from Jerry West, to Kareem, to Magic, Shaq, and a current one, Kobe Bryant. After coming into this season with hype after acquiring All-Star center Dwight Howard and point guard Steve Nash last summer, but now, the Lakers are seemly one of the teams on TV that you can’t look away from. Not because of the basketball abilities of the players, but because the drama is seemly there non-stop. The Lakers are currently 24-27 with a game at Miami on Sunday Afternoon on ABC.  3 games under .500, and this team isn’t that good as we thought they’d be. (The Lakers were down 20 points against Charlotte, and happened to come back to win. Not even amused.) Laker fans expect championships or at least a contender. This team isn’t even near that, at all. The Los Angeles Lakers are an below average basketball team.

The current problem with the Los Angeles Lakers is that they have pieces that are pretty damn good on paper but teams aren’t made on paper, they are made on the court. The Lakers are old, slow, and in new head coach Mike D’Antoni’s system, this team simply can’t run his type of offensive style. You can tell the egos are strong because they aren’t winning games. Why? Every other week, we’re hearing something about how a player doesn’t want to come off the bench (Pau Gasol), to there being screaming and crying at a team meeting (Dwight Howard), to then a guy possibly questioning a guy’s character and toughness to the press (Kobe Bryant). This team is full of divas. Full of guys who want to be “The guy.” The guy to carry their team to win it all instead of doing with it a team. The Lakers Organization wasn’t in the wrong to bring Dwight Howard or Steve Nash to their team. If you can get rid of a player like Andrew Bynum who isn’t playing at all for a Dwight Howard who is playing, that’s perfectly acceptable.

THE LOS ANGELES LAKERS ARE YOUR 2012-13 NBA CHAMPIONS” is a headline that we’ll never see. That was the expectation when the Lakers decided to bring in both Steve Nash and Dwight “my neck, my back” Howard, but obviously things haven’t worked out that way, and I don’t think they will if the roster looks the same next season. The Lakers need to make changes. The Dwight Howard experiment hasn’t worked, and it needs to end. The obvious answer is a trade, because letting Dee-wite walk out without anyone in return would be stupid. The question now is where do the Lakers trade him, and for whom? That’s something to think about.

taken in happier times

Dwight Howard isn’t 100% on the court and I don’t think that’s he’s 100% mentally. Perhaps, he’s ready to leave the bright lights of Los Angeles, and go to a smaller market such as, Atlanta or Dallas. As great as Dwight Howard is, he can’t accept when people attempt to challenge him. Kobe Bryant is challenging Dwight Howard mentally. Bryant has been quoted over and over again as saying that he’s tried to tell Dwight to just block all the other shit out, and just play basketball. The problem is that Dwight hasn’t done that. In this whole #Dwightmare saga, he’s told people what they want to hear. Let’s go back to when Dwight got Stan Van Gundy fired.

(coach killa, coach killa, coach killa *R. Kelly voice*)

Look at this…just look at it.

After Stan’s exchange with reporters, Dwight comes in and acts like everything is perfectly fine. He talks to the media like nothing is wrong, that they just need to focus on the next game. The funny thing about this is that Dwight is basically doing the exact same thing this season. He’s hit the reset button on the season like he’s a kid who’s N64 no longer works. It’s ridiculous. If he’s supposed to be so focused on the goal of winning a championship, why do we need to start the season over about 7 times?

Oscar Proud gotta chill

Of course, it comes off as just “Dwight’s personality.” But how long are we just gonna chalk it up to his persona? Laker fans already got Andrew Bynum outta here for his personality, it won’t be long til the same happens to Dwight. Yet in some ways it already has. Bryant stated that the Lakers don’t have the time to wait for his shoulder to heal and he’s right, they don’t. Steve Nash also said the same thing to the media about Dwight, that he just needs to play. So what does Dwight do? Play against Boston last night because big brother Kobe and Scuba Steve said so. If these injuries are as bad as what he claims,  if his legs are really going numb, if his shoulder is causing this much pain (even though he’s been cleared for the last few games prior to the Boston game), shut it down already Dwight. He’s gotta stop vacillating between playing or not playing, just like he did in Orlando with his #Decision. As a fan, I am sick and tired of watching this dude try to please everyone. It’s annoying, really. If it’s career and no one else will take care of him, why hasn’t he repaired that shoulder? Why didn’t he just sit out the season til January like we all assumed he would? I just don’t know, man.

SHUT IT DOWN BIG FELLA!

It’s one thing for a team to seemly get embarrassed from time to time. In the NBA, there will be nights that this happens. But every other night, this happens with this team. A team, with championship or bust aspirations as Bryant said shouldn’t be getting embarrassed on the basketball court.  This team seemly doesn’t give a flying fuck about playing together, or playing with pride. I don’t care if you suck. Losing doesn’t bother me one bit. It’s the way this team carries themselves on and off the court. Crying to the media about everything little thing isn’t built for titles. This team lacks the effort, the heart, and the desire like their fanbase has.  Simply put it, when they put on that Laker uniform, they aren’t playing for pride or for the ones who did it before them, they are playing for themselves.

This is very sad how this ship is sinking. Nobody knows what’s gonna happen with the Los Angeles Lakers. Dwight Howard (Or 13-1, 6×2, 3×4, etc) is gonna leave this summer. The Lakers have no lottery picks because they traded all of their lottery picks to Phoenix. Kobe’s a grandpa. Pau will be coming off a foot injury. Nash is 39 years old.  No, I’m not expecting this team to win a title while Kobe Bryant is on the roster. But his contract expires next year, and so does Gasol, and World Peace. That opens up a lot of cap space for the Lakers to do something. (No you dumbass Laker fans, Lebron James isn’t gonna leave Miami. Stop with that.) With the cap space finally clearing out, you can slowly rebuild and reload to contend for titles. Will that happen with Jim Buss being the dumbass that he is? Will Mitch just accept that it’s time to do this?

Your guess is as good as mine. This front office needs to understand one thing: This team currently constructed HATES each other. When they play, you can tell they do. As fans of this team, we’re gonna love them win or lose, but it’s time. It’s time to implode this team, soon. Laker front office, it’s time to bon voyage to Dwight Howard soon.

Lakers Training Camp opens up.

SHEESH

I really have no words, honestly.

Niggas just look ridiculous.

You have Nash, Bean, Crazy ass Ron, Pau, and #TheWhite in this starting lineup. The fact that #TheWhite won’t play until 2013 is ridiculous.

I’m ready for this basketball season, and no, I am not saying the Lakers will win it all. Not even close.

It’ll take time to gel.

But this is gonna be a legit basketball season.