Tag:Los Angeles Lakers
Posted on: February 4, 2010 4:03 pm
 

Kobe Bryant does not trust his team(mates)

Kobe Bryant futher injured himself last night in a 99-97 victory against the Charlotte Bobcats. He has flared up an ankle sprain he suffered the previous week against the 76ers in a collision with Elton Brand. In the 2nd quarter of last nights game Lamar Odom landed on it making it worse prompting Kobe to go to the locker room before half time to get treatment. My question is, why not sit out the entire game to rest? Or two or three?  

The answer is simple, Kobe just doesn't trust his team to win without him. Even though he witnessed them win last night agains a hot Charlotte team while he was basically non-existant. (He shot 2 for 12 and had 5 points.) Easily his worst game of the year. Phil Jackson made a smart decision and took him out in the fourth quarter, but was it too late?

Kobe has a fractured finger, bad back and now a sprained ankle yet he continues to try and play.

Why?

He is scared of giving up ground for the number 1 seed in the West. Now he won't come out and admit this, but what other reason could you have? The gap isn't that small, Denver trails by 4.5 games, Dallas 6.5 and Utah 7. So a few losses certainly wouldn't put them out of position to maintain their number 1 seed but it could tighten it up just a bit. Both Bryant and Jackson know Denver can give them fits. We know they don't have the frontcourt to compete in another 7 game series with the Lakers but without Kobe, that's an entirely different story. Perfect example, Denver held Bryant scoreless in the second half of their only meeting this year, the result, Denver blew them out 106-78.

What I would like to ask Phil Jackson is why risk the health of the best player on this side of the Mississippi for playoff positioning. Last time I checked the number 1 seed doesn't always get you where you want to be, especially if your star player is playing at 50% because he (or his coach) was too stubborn to be smart about it.

Carmelo Anthony has missed 11 games this year for the Nuggets with a sprained ankle and a knee contusion. The result: Denver is 7-4, beating the Spurs on the road and the Cavaliers at home. Side note, they did not lose their spot in the standings. In fact, they passed Dallas for the number 2 seed.

The memo of the story is, quit being hot-headed, rest your injuries so you can recover or find yourself at home in June disappointed that you weren't smart about a simple ankle sprain or broken finger.
Posted on: July 13, 2009 7:03 pm
Edited on: July 14, 2009 4:49 pm
 

All elite teams getting better. Nuggets sit still

There have been many big offseason moves by all the top teams from a year ago except the Denver Nuggets. Do they think they can get back to where they were without making any additions? I'd like to ask Mark Warkentein and Stan Kroenke that question.

First lets review the NBA's offseason moves and if I think they will help their new respective teams:

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Cleveland trades for Shaquille O'Neal - This may work or may not. I don't see them winning a championship by simply adding Shaq. Now if they would've gotten Trevor Ariza like they were trying that might have been more convincing. I just don't think Shaq has what he once did. Granted he had a great year last year leading the league in FG percentage. But besides that, where were the Suns in April and May? If he couldn't take a team to the playoffs that has Amar'e Stoudemire and Steve Nash in the lineup then how is he going to help a team get to the finals that has 1 marquee player. Don't get me wrong, Mo Williams is a great PG but he falls in love with the 3 and can be very inconsistent at times. I see them possibly returning to the Conference Finals again but falling short there. You'll see why below in other moves.

Orlando trades for Vince Carter - This I think is the biggest move of the offseason. Vinsanity hasn't had a quality team around him since the Nets went to the finals. This will wake him up and he'll have his best year in a long time. I do disagree with what they gave up, Rafer Alston played very well over the course of the second half last year and in the playoffs. It was a mistake for Stan Van Gundy to play Jameer Nelson at all in the finals, it disrupted the teams rhythym. I thought Rafer played better with the Magic then Jameer did. But he also was inconsistent. If Nelson can return to his pre-injury form then this will be the best move of the offseason. Carter will make the Magic all but forget Tukoglu.

Boston signs Rasheed Wallace - Not much to say about this signing except that it will work great. He'll be a great 3rd option behind Pierce and Allen. Not to mention a healthy Garnett. If Rajon Rondo performs like he did in the playoffs this team will be the top in the east with the Magic right on their heels.

Raptors sign Hedo Turkoglu - The Raptors weren't even close to an elite team this last season. But with the addition of Turk they will at least be a playoff team fighting for home court in the first round. Not much past that, but maybe it'll be enough to pursuade Chris Bosh to sign that coveted extension if he thinks the Raptors are finally trying to build a championship Contender.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Lakers sign Ron Artest -
In my opinion they could've not signed anyone, retained Ariza and Lamar Odom and been just fine. That wasn't good enough for the mighty Lakers. They add one of the league's premier defenders. He also isn't too bad on offense either, and playing along side Kobe Bryant will make his shot selection a lot smarter. You saw how him and Kobe went at it, now on the same team Kobe can enjoy seeing other teams take the beating. They will not miss Ariza.

Spurs trade for Richard Jefferson - This is a huge move. Too often the Spurs had to rely on Tony Parker last season with Ginobli and Duncan ailing. AND they still won 54 games before being shot out of the first round by the Mavericks. Imagine those two healthy all year with Jefferson to knock down some outside shots. He gives them four reliable options on Offense. You do lose the defense of Bruce Bowen but who are we kidding, he's past his prime and was slowly becoming ineffective.

      Now the rest of the West is still up in the air with the Jazz talking about trading Carlos Boozer to the Bulls. The Blazers are stil trying to make their mark after being snubbed by Turkoglu. Houston signed Trevor Ariza, but with the loss of Yao for a long time possibly and the uncertainty of how Tracy McGrady will come back from micro-fracture surgery made me not include them in the big deals above. Plus Ariza wasn't that effective in the regular season, he made his mark in the post season so we'll see how he does in a starters role.

Now to the Denver Nuggets.
Is Kroenke that cash strapped that he has just said win with less. The same motto as last year that worked then but is surely a risk this year with all of the additons the other elite teams are making. The Nuggets have made some solid moves, re-signing Chris Andersen to a 5 year $26 million deal.
But then they let Dohntay Jones walk out the door in free agency. His defense was key to the Nuggets playoff run last year. He was becoming a young and more athletic Bruce Bowen. This will hurt more then they realize now, although I do think the Pacers overpaid for him at 4 years worth $11 million. 
So now it's a certain that J.R. Smith will take over as starting shooting guard. This should've happened anyways given Smith maturing immensely over the last year. Also his defense was much improved towards the end of last year and his offense is explosive. Who will back him up though? They just acquired Arron Afflalo today in a trade for a future second round pick. That will help if Afflalo can grow fast. He wasn't a key player for a Detroit team that went 39-43 and got swept by the Cavs in the first round. To his credit he had the pleasure of playing behind Richard Hamilton and a disgruntled Allen Iverson. Also in the deal was Walter Sharpe, a 6'9" forward with almost no experience appearing in only 8 games last year.
They seem to be set at point guard with Chauncey Billups and a newfound rookie Ty Lawson who they got in the draft. They wanted to take him last year until he ultimately decided to go back to UNC for one more year which I might add worked out well for both parties.
The real help they need now is some front court depth. They don't really have a true center and although Nene and Kenyon Martin stayed healthy for the most part last year, they've both still been very injury prone in their past.

Overall I see them still being a top 4 team in the West but slide all the way out to the just inside the top 8 overall now after many believed they were the second best team behind the Lakers after last years playoffs. They were much more competitive against the Lakers then the Magic in my mind with the exception of game 6. Will they do anything else or hope they can win with less again. Only time will tell. . . . Resigning Linas Kleiza wouldn't hurt as he got back to his old form in the playoffs.

Whatever they do (if anything) they need to do it quick because their peers are making improvements in leaps and bounds while the Nuggets seem to be taking baby steps.



Posted on: May 14, 2009 11:58 am
Edited on: May 14, 2009 5:32 pm
 

Nuggets growing up right in front of us

As Kenyon Martin stood on the scores table after the game celebrating with fans I got chills down my spine. Was this really the same team who used to give up easy baskets, shoot 3's with 20 seconds on the shot clock and let themselves beat themselves?? It was, only this was the new Nuggets who are finally playing to their potential. Talent has never been the question as they have plenty of it from top to bottom. It always came down to the willingness to compete and treat every possession like it was the last.

Much credit will be given to Chauncey Billups, who is after all these years, still the real deal from Park Hill. I remember going to CU games back in the day with the Coors Event Center rocking. This guy brings excitement wherever he goes. After last nights closeout of the Dallas Mavericks in 5 seemingly easy games for the Nuggets, Billups has now been to the Conference Finals 7 years in a row. Lets just name the few others who have accomplished the same feat shall we... Kareem Abdul-Jabar, Michael Cooper, Magic Johnson... That is some pretty elite company and proves Billups status as a floor general and great leader. Magic Johnson calls him the best leader in the game today and he's right. Without Chauncey this year, if the Nuggets still had Allen Iverson, they would've been watching last nights game from their couch. No pun intended on Iverson but lets face it, Billups is a leader and Iverson wasn't.

Besides Chauncey you have to give all the credit to Carmelo Anthony and George Karl. Anthony has broke through at the perfect time and is playing the best basketball of his career. He is passing well out of double teams, hitting his mid-range jumper with ease and getting to the hole easier then an ice cream cone into a fat kids mouth. It is obvious this year more then any other that Melo finally just wants to WIN and win big. He's no longer satisfied with putting up great numbers and losing, and this shows signs of his ever growing maturity.

George Karl also found a way to save his job this season and resurrect his career all at the same time. Not bad for a guy who has 17 straight winning seasons as a head coach and has made the playoffs in 18 of 21 years as a head coach. Pretty good right... Well he's showing he has the smarts and game management abilities to lead the Nuggets to the promise land. Funny story considering these Nuggets upset his Seattle Supersonics in '94 who at that time were the first #1 seed to lose to a #8.

Overall the Nuggets look more mature by the moment. Kenyon Martin is playing stellar defense. Nene is shaping into a great post player. J.R. Smith is playing defense and being smarter with his shot selections as well as passing the ball well. Not too mention the Birdman.

These (our) Nuggets aren't done yet either. Look for them to make some noise in the Conference finals no matter who they face. Either the Lakers/ Rockets must be taking notice. Go Nuggets!!

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com