Archive for Lakers

Trade Deadline 2010 – Did Everybody Win?

Posted in NBA with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 19, 2010 by oneskinniej

Since I can remember paying attention to the NBA, I’m fairly certain there’s been at least one trade every season.  The trend lately has been that teams in contention for the title at the point in the season the trading deadline rolls around (mid-February) are under a lot of pressure to “fix” any lingering weaknesses perceived about their lineups, or else a weakness in their balance sheets (more on this in a later post).  The Lakers epitomized this last season with their mid-season move to acquire Pau Gasol, who turned out to be their “missing piece.” More after the jump …

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All-Star Weekend Recap

Posted in NBA with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 15, 2010 by 25ftrange

Just a few thoughts about the all-star game and all the festivities.

The Slam Dunk Contest, if you can even call it that, was terrible. It was, by far, the worst ever. We’ve gotten to the point that just because some guy is our size, and can dunk, we deem him a great dunker. That’s stupid. Nate Robinson is athletic and has amazing hops. He’s not a great dunker though. Look, we all know that the dunk contest isn’t what it used to be. As Rick Pitino would say Dr. J, Dominique, MJ, Vince Carter, they aren’t walking through that door. The best players in the NBA are not going to compete in the dunk contest. We won’t ever see LeBron, Wade, Melo, etc. That doesn’t mean the dunk contest has to lay a big one. There are tons of athletically gifted players in the NBA who do not get much playing time or aren’t well known to the average fan. If they compete in the dunk contest, they should take that opportunity to get their name out there. Shannon Brown, Gerald Wallace, and DeMar DeRozan all had that chance, but they failed. You would think they would take advantage of being in the national spotlight. Instead, it seemed like they really didn’t care. I was very disappointed. Hopefully Dwight Howard will come back next year and add some excitement to the slam dunk contest again.

The All-Star game played out like it normally does. For the first three and half quarters, we get to see the most star-studded pick up game. Then for the last 6 minutes it becomes a real competition and the players actually care who wins or loses. While it’s hard to judge players based on one exhibition game, there were a few who stood out to me.

  • Deron Williams: I stated in an earlier post that Chris Paul was much better than Williams; that the debate between them shouldn’t even be a debate. Well, I was wrong. Paul is still better than Williams, but the difference between them is minimal. Williams is a great jump shooter, and while he isn’t the quickest PG, he is very strong and can get any spot on the floor when he wants to. He’s also taken charge of the Jazz and become the leader of the team. The Jazz are 9-1 in their last 10 games and are only 2 games behind the Nuggets for 2nd place in the division. They’ve always had enough talent and coaching to be contenders in the West. Now they have a leader to match.
  • Chris Bosh: Toronto doesn’t get much national attention, so Bosh doesn’t get the recognition he deserves, which is a shame. He has led the Raptors to a 29-23 record and he consistently puts up a 23 and 11 every game. Take into account that Jose Calderon has been plagued by injuries this year and Andrea Bargnani hasn’t progressed as the Raptors had hoped, and it becomes very obvious that Bosh is one of the top 10 talents in the league. It will very interesting to see where he goes after this year, along with LeBron and Wade.
  • Speaking of LeBron and Wade, they put on quite a show playing on the same team yesterday. Heat fans can only hope that LeBron joins Wade next year in Miami, forming the greatest duo since Shaq and Kobe. ESPN’s John Hollinger has more information about it here.

With the all-star game behind us we can get on with the final third of the season. There are many questions still to be answered. Is Stoudemire going to the Cavs? Who else is going to make a big trade? Can the Celtics and Spurs get healthy and make a strong run into the playoffs? Can any team or teams keep a Lakers-Cavs final from happening? I’m a fan of the unpredictable, but I hope the answer to the last questions is no. I guess we’ll all just have to wait and see and enjoy the rest of the season.

Are the Lakers Better Without Kobe??

Posted in NBA with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 9, 2010 by tonysinclair

Kobe Bryant called me up a couple days ago.  After a few minutes of chit chat, we got down to business.

Kobe: Nate, I saw your post on the new blog. You really think I should sit out?

Nate: Yeah. I mean, you need the rest, man. You gotta win another chip. Last year was last year. People think like Janet Jackson: “what have you done for me lately??”

Kobe: The team needs me. Pau is a wuss, Fisher got his first social security check last week and as for  Andrew…ship his ass out. How can we keep pace with the West if I don’t play?

Nate: Home court is overrated. You’re the Mamba. Road or away, if you’re healthy, no team can beat the Lakers in the playoffs. Period.

Kobe: Yeah, you’re right. I’m going to heal up.

And that’s how the conversation went. Kobe sat out and instead of the Lakers losing, something strange has happened. They won. Even more surprising, they’ve looked great doing it. In Portland this past weekend, the Lakers won there for the first time in the last 10 tries.  Last night, the Lakers did it again beating San Antonio 101-89.

Gasol looked like a franchise player against Duncan, netting 21 points, grabbing 19 boards, dishing 8 dimes and swatting 5 blocks. Those are GOAT numbers right there.  Lamar Odom was a beast on the glass contributing 10 rebounds in addition to his 16 points. Ron Artest was solid with 18 points and Derek Fisher shot above 50% en route to 13 points. Shannon Brown provided solid play as a starter in Kobe’s place, while Sasha Vujacic and Jordan Farmar looked better off the bench than they’ve done all year.

This all begs the question: are the Lakers better without Kobe?

To anyone who said yes, in the words of Rick James, “cocaine is a hell of a drug.” Of course the Lakers aren’t better without Kobe.

The Lakers are better without Andrew Bynum.

The Lakers these past two games looked about as good as they did last season – just a little worse offensively. Last year, they didn’t have Andrew Bynum for most of the season and won 65 games. They didn’t rely on Bynum in the playoffs and won the championship. In the San Antonio game, Bynum didn’t play. In Portland, he didn’t play in the second half when the Lakers really started to gel. I know it seems counter-intuitive, but Pau Gasol is a better center than Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom is a better power forward than Pau Gasol.

It is crazy to think, but defensively, Bynum misses assignments and rotations constantly. His inability to play help defensive negates his special ability to block shots. Even in one on one situations, Bynum plays poor position defense and generally ends up fouling the offensive player. Gasol can also use his length to block shots just like Bynum, but Gasol is quick enough to stay with the centers. Pau is also a veteran, so he doesn’t fall for fancy footwork and doesn’t pick up cheap fouls. If a center gets too rough,  you can always count on Pau to flop draw the offensive foul.

Odom forces power forwards to make a decision. Offensively, he can start at the top of the key and beat you off the dribble. If you help on Odom, he’s such an accomplished passer that he’ll get someone else an easy bucket. If you don’t help, and you don’t force him right, he’ll finish at the rim. Defensively his 6’10 length bothers power-forwards and once the rebound is in his hands, he pushes up the floor creating tons of transition opportunities.

Bynum’s inability to get back on offense or defense fast enough prevents the Lakers from running at full potential and that is why we have seen what appears to be a better Lakers team in recent days.

So here’s my proposal: Andrew Bynum, Adam Morrison and Flea for Chris Bosh

In the words of the Laker faithful, “Do it, Mitch!”

A few quick thoughts

Posted in NBA with tags , , , , , , , , on February 8, 2010 by 25ftrange

Peyton Manning choked. That’s all that can be said. Some people argue that it was just one game, and one bad throw and it shouldn’t tarnish his legacy. Well it wasn’t just one game, it wasn’t just one throw. It was the biggest game of the year, and the throw occurred during the most critical point of the game. Manning can no longer be put in the same sentence as Montana, Elway, Unitas, and even Brady (it pains me to say that because I do not like the Patriots or Brady). Yes Manning has one ring but it came against a Bears team that started Rex Grossman at quarterback. Rex freaking Grossman!! His name says it all. His playing is gross man (never said I was a comedian). The good thing for Manning is he still has a few good years left and he plays on a team that has been really good for a long time. We’ll see what the future holds for Manning and his legacy, but I know this throw is always going to come to mind when I think of Peyton Manning.

To put it into basketball terms, let’s take a trip back to the 2009 NBA Finals and let’s imagine the Magic were able to pull out games 5 and 6 and forced a deciding game 7. Game 7 goes back and forth, and with 30 seconds left the Magic are leading by 2 points, but the ball is in the hands of Kobe Bryant and everyone is expecting the spectacular. Instead of the spectacular, Kobe throws a lazy pass intended for Derek Fisher and it gets stolen by Jameer Nelson who coast in for an easy lay up, essentially ending the game and the series. Now, no matter what Kobe does the rest of his career – even if he wins another 2 or 3 titles – you would always remember that pass. You would always remember that he lost that series; that during the most important game of the season, during the most important possession for the Lakers, Kobe Bryant turned the ball over which lead to the series clinching bucket for the Magic. Well I am always going to remember Peyton’s pick 6, no matter what he does from here on out.

Now that football season is over we can concentrate 100% on basketball. What is wrong with the Celtics? Look where Mark Stein has them ranked in his power ranking. 11th. Nobody could have foreseen that at the beginning of the year. I stated in an earlier post that if the team was healthy, and with Rondo playing at an elite level, they would be the best team in the East and would make the finals. I still believe that but I don’t believe the team will get healthy. They are just too old and Garnett, Pierce, and Allen have too many miles on them. To quote Charles Barkley “old people, they don’t get healthy, they die.” While none of these players are on the verge of death, Chuck is right when he says they won’t get healthy. Garnett has lost his lateral quickness and this not only affects his play but the whole teams’ play. When Garnett came to the Celtics two years ago, it wasn’t his offensive prowess that helped the team win the championship. It was his defense and intensity. He challenged his teammates to perform as hard on the defensive end as they did on the offensive end and they of course responded. Would you want to disappoint this man? Now with Garnett’s knees more used up than Jenny Gump during her hippie period, he can’t be the same defensive force or influence on his teammates that he used to be. Look at the 3rd quarter score of Sunday’s game against the Magic. If this was two years ago or even last year, Garnett would never have allowed 36 points to be scored on his team in one quarter. This year, he is part of the problem. He can’t move side to side and quicker players are able to blow by him off the bounce, while stronger players can just back him down and wait until his knees buckle. Without Garnett at his best and most importantly healthiest, I don’t see the Celtics being a factor in the Eastern Conference. It’s going to come down to the Magic and the Cavs.

Welcome!

Posted in General with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 3, 2010 by oneskinniej

Hello readers, welcome to The Transition Three.  We’re hopeful to become your one-stop-shop for all things basketball related.  We were formed in February, 2010, when three friends from high school living in physically separated areas of the country realized that what they talked about when they were together was, pretty much, basketball-centric.  We’ve got two Kobe lovers in our group, and one Kobe respecter.  We’ve got a white guy, a black guy, and a guy from Nepal.  We’ve each got our own unique opinions, idiosyncracies, and weaknesses for certain subjects, and we hope that you’ll want to engage us on them.  Commenting is encouraged, and you’ll see eventually that we’re each commenting on each other’s stories and links.  It’s our way of maintaining our friendship, our ongoing debate about basketball and the NBA, and putting some of our thoughts “out there.”

My name is Jackson, and I live in South Carolina.  I’m 6’4″ and rail-thin, but I find ways to make it work for me on the basketball court.  I’ve got a strange man-crush on Steve Nash, and for years, modeled my haircut after his.  You can expect some bizarre topics and opinions from me — I love basketball just like all of you, but sometimes my brain doesn’t work like a normal person’s.  I like disagreeing with people, often times just for the sake of disagreeing.  I think LeBron is the best player in the NBA right now, but I think the Lakers are the best team.  I’ve always been a Bulls fan, though – I was born in Chicago and lived there following college, and I’m convinced that LeBron and Chris Bosh are gonna team up with D-Rose in the Windy City next year to form a new Bulls dynasty.  I live right between the Bobcats and the Hawks, and while the Hawks are pretty good, don’t have a strong affinity for either one.  I typically play as the Suns when I play NBA Live 10… and I’m damn near unstoppable on XBOX Live.  My user name is “one skinnie j” if you ever feel like getting a lesson.

Once again, thanks for reading, and we’re hopeful that we can create a site where you can come to have your brain tickled about all things basketball related.  Check back often for updates – we’re planning on maintaining the site daily with micro-entries, and you can expect a full-length piece from each of us at least once or twice a week, if not more.  I’ll let Nate and Sub introduce themselves as they see fit.  Thanks for reading!