Monday, May 27, 2013

Should Dwight Stay With the Lakers?

Dwight's Decision
Haz Bey
We are six weeks away from Dwight Howard testing the free agency market and making some huge headlines, but the number one question to Lakernation is... Should Dwight stay with the Lakers?  Well first you have to lay out the positives and the negatives into bringing Dwight Howard back in the fold.

The Positives of Dwight Resigning with the Lakers...
The Lakers will have a face for the franchise to transition from the Kobe Bryant Era.

Dwight's ailing back will be be healthier and stronger than it was this past season.

Dwight can get 20 and 10 every night as long as Lakers keep him involved offensively.

All 16 Laker Championships included All-Star quality centers roaming the paint.

2014 off season only Dwight and Steve Nash are going to be on the books and  the Lakers can rebuild the roster with young, athletic players to complement Dwight's skill-set.

Phil Jackson would love to coach Dwight in the Triangle, if of course the Lakers decided to bring Mr. Jackson back, say 2014 off season.

Dwight can make $30 million more with the Lakers than with any other franchise and going through what he did with his surgically repaired back and nagging shoulder injury, another $30 million wouldn't be so bad.

The Negatives of Dwight Resigning with Lakers...
There is a chance that Dwight will never return that a dominant form that we are accustomed to seeing from his Orlando Magic days.

Dwight lacks mental toughness.

Dwight complains too much.

Dwight is a terrible free throw shooter.

Brooklyn is where Dwight's heart truly is, L.A. was never his first choice.

Dwight quit on the Lakers in Game 4 of the first round of the playoffs against the Spurs, by getting ejected at the start of the 2nd half when his team needed him the most with the season on the line.

I am sure that there are more positives and negatives that factor in to why or why not the Lakers should bring back Dwight, but from what I believe the best thing for both the Lakers and Dwight Howard is that Dwight has to want to be Laker.  He has to want to embrace the tradition of excellence that the franchise represents.  He has to have to courage to live up to the extremely high expectations.  If he has those kind of wants and desires, then the negatives that I laid out will not be a problem.  He can correct just about any negative about him.  Six weeks is a longtime to wait and see what happens, but either way if Dwight stays or leaves, their will be closure to this drama.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Rough Start

Blog by Haz Bey
This was the year that put the Lakers back on the map.  Trading away Andrew Bynum, but gaining Steve Nash & Dwight Howard over the offseason made the Lakers instant contenders, well on paper.  Now after a 1-4 start to the NBA season, the Lakers are in unfamiliar territory, struggling to get wins.  What is to blame for the Lakers' rough start?  

The Los Angeles Lakers had key injuries to 3 of their 5 starters since training camp.  Dwight  Howard is still recovering from back surgery from last April and missed 6 of 8 preseason games.  Kobe Bryant has been sideline from many practices of late due to ailments to his right foot suffered in the preseason.  Steve Nash has a small fracture on his left leg and he has missed the last 3 games.  Bottom line is that the Lakers has not yet to build the chemistry needed to compete at a high level, because their starters have not played with each other too often this season.

The bench is playing at a low level to say the least.  The Lakers brought in Antwan Jamison & the sharp shooting Jodie Meeks to give the Lakers the scoring punch they need to allow the starters to get the rest they need to finish games night-in & night-out with plenty of energy down the stretch, but the two offseason free agent signees cannot find their way on the court under Mike Brown's Princeton Offense overseen by Eddie Jordan.  The Laker bench is out scored on a nightly basis by an significant number by the opposition.  Which causes Mike Brown to play his "aging" starters more than he wants to.

The Princeton Offense brought in by Lakers assistant coach Eddie Jordan, is an offense designed to move the basketball quickly with quick cuts and back screens for offenses that do not possess elite scoring threats.  The problem is the Lakers have 6 veterans that are accustomed to scoring at an high level and at one time in all their careers they have been their teams number 1 option (Bryant, Howard, Gasol, Nash, Jamison & World Peace).  The Princeton has not won any NBA or NCAA titles.  It does not utilize the Lakers' scoring threats best abilities.  So why run it?   Steve Nash is one of the best point guards of not just the league, but one of the best of all time.  I would trust him to run the offense the way he wants more so then an offense ran by Eddie Jordan.  Have you seen that man's track record as a head coach?  Seriously, we do not even have to go there.  Steve Nash with the ball in his hands creating for others is the key offensively for the Lakers to go all the way 
this season.  It would be nice for Mike Brown to check his ego and scrap the Princeton Offense and and hand the keys to the offense to Steve Nash and let him pick & roll teams to death. 

The Lakers are turning ball over way too much offensively, moving too slow defensively & are being out hustled by by their opponents.  Simple solutions to all of the above.  When Steve Nash comes back from his leg injury, put the ball in his hands Mike Brown.  Not only will the Lakers cut the turnovers down, teams won't have as many fast break opportunities and the Lakers will have their defense set.  We all know teams want to get out on the Lakers and run.  The Lakers are older and slower than most teams, so it is a key to get easy scoring opportunities against them.   Now if the Lakers can keep teams from running on them, then they will have more energy to challenge the loose balls and battle on the 

Mike Brown is a very accomplished coach in this league.  An NBA Finals appearance, had the best record in the league for 2 straight seasons & a Coach of the Year Award while coaching the LeBron James led Cleveland Cavaliers.  So Mike Brown is no scrub, but with the Lakers' franchise, it is Championship or bust.  Pat Riley & Phil Jackson are two of the best coaches in of all time in any sport.  They know how to get elite talent to play together for a common goal.  That is not easy to do in American pro sports.  You have major contracts, endorsements, entourages, groupies & their own egos that good players deal with, but to get them to focused on the team goal is an special skill to have.  Riley & Jackson possess that skill.  I am not sure Mike Brown has those types of capabilities.  Kobe seems to be more fearful from his teammates then Mike Brown is.  Kobe's credentials speak for themselves.  So as member of the Lakers who would you rather trust?  Don't answer that.  Mike Brown has been fired and now the Los Angeles Lakers can find the right coach to bring this talented roster to the "Promise Land".

The Los Angeles Lakers has proven to everyone on the planet that winning is everything by shedding off some dead weight.  Just remember that their is a man with 11 championship rings that dates the boss' daughter.  If the Larry O'Brien Trophy is to return to Hollywood, someone better make that man an offer he can't refuse. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Game 7

BY HAZ BEY Kobe showed up in the last two games, but he didn't get help from anyone else as the Lakers got blown-out of Denver 113-96. Denver came out the gates scoring 13 unanswered points to start the game. The Lakers never recovered and are now faced with a "Winners Take All" match in Staples Center on Saturday Night. History is on the Lakers' side with the home teams winning 80% of Game 7s, but the Nuggets are young and hungry and would want nothing more than just to oust Lakers by any means neccessary. Denver guards Ty Lawson & Andre Miller has given the Lakers fits all series long, but Metta World Peace's suspension is over and he will bring what the Lakers have been lacking and that's some intensed perimeter defense. The former NBA Defensive Player of the Year will be completely resting and will feed off the home crowd and play with a lot of emotioin. The bigs of the Lakers will definitely play better, I mean Pau and Andrew can't play any worse. Most importantly, Kobe Bryant will not let the Lakers lose at home to an inferior team with his legacy on the line. It is not happening. The Lakers will find a way to win Saturday Night, it is just a matter of how it will play out.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Metta Suspended... 7 GAMES

By Haz Bey

Metta World Peace has been suspended by the NBA for 7 games, including the 1st 6 playoff games for the Lakers this post season.  Depending on how long or short their 1st round series will go, it remains to be seen if MWP's suspension will cost the Lakers their run at a 3 title in 4 years.  Formerly known as Ron Artest, Metta has the league's longest suspension of all time at 86 games from the brawl from 2004 when World Peace was on the Pacers as they faced the Detroit Pistons.  Metta & a few other Players took to the stands where players and fans duked it out, violently.  Since then MWP has been a model citizen and has been received the NBA's Citizenship Award.  Not to mention he has donated his 2010 Lakers Championship Ring to charity to support mental health research.  Anyone that really knows Metta World Peace says that he has a huge heart and is just the sweetest guy you could ever meet. 

What happened this past Sunday?  For me, it's just the emotion of a huge game against an elite opponent who has had the Lakers number this season.  He dunks on Ibaka & Durant, then stops to celebrates towards the crowd, but why does James Harden run into him?   Peace had stopped, but Harden had no business running into him.  So MWP throws a vicious elbow once he was bumped by Harden.  Knocking him out instantly.  So was what MWP did during that game wrong?  Yes, by all means, it had no business during the game.  Was it warranted a 7 game suspension?  No, he didn't even look to see where Harden was, he instantly reacted to an opponent bumping to irritate him.  Just an unfortunate event for all parties involved.  James Harden has to go through a series of test before he can get back on the court.  Hopefully he will not miss any playoff action, but MWP should only be out for 3 games, bottom line.  The punishment does not fit the crime.  Now let's see what direction the Lakers go without the "Artest, formerly known as Ron" for 6 straight playoff games.  Are they going to rally around each other and pick up the slack defensively or will that suffer a 1st or 2nd round exit without MWP's presence? 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Seriously, Who Is Better Than The Black Mamba?

By Haz Bey
After dropping 48 points on the Phoenix Suns earlier this season at Staples Center, Kobe Bryant said at his post game press conference,"Not bad for the 7th best player in the league".  Kobe was referring to the ESPN Player Power Rankings that had Kobe as the 7th best player in the league.  Really, I mean really.  The Black Mamba entered his 16th season playing with a ligament tear on his right wrist, you know his shooting hand, and yet Kobe is 2nd to only LeBron James in the league in scoring with almost all season long.  Not to mention the 5 rings, 2 Finals MVPs, 1 regular season MVP, 14 All-Star appearances, 4 All-star MVPs, 9 All NBA 1st team selections, 9 NBA All-Defensive teams selections, 2 scoring titles & countless game winning shots throughout his career, I dare anybody out there to find an active player today that has a resume similar to the Black Mamba's.  Yes I agree there is a lot of miles on his engine.  Not just the 16 seasons, but the deep playoff runs have all taken its toll on Kobe's body, but he continues to play through injury after injury and doing it at a extremely high level. 

Kobe with no doubt is still the best player the NBA right now and it will take someone reach the level of excellence that Kobe has displayed year-in and year-out.  The first name that comes to mind that should have already eclipsed Kobe is LeBron James.  LeBron career averages of 27, 7 & 7 plus the back-to-back MVPs suggest that he would be the front runner to own the league, but the lack of playoff success doesn't put him in a class with Kobe Bryant.  Then there is LeBron's teammate Dwyane Wade.  We all seen D-Wade get it done against the Mavs in the 2006 Finals, but what has he really done since then.  5 All-Star appearances with an All-Star MVP and 1 deep playoff run.  D-Wade is an elite player, but he doesn't have the offensive arsenal that Kobe possesses.  Kobe has a deadly mid-range game and he can hit shots far beyond the 3 point line.  D-Wade has a decent mid-range game, but he is more of a player that is most effective when he can drive to the basket.  How about Kevin Durant?  He has led the league in scoring the last 2 seasons and seems to make clutch shots.  A huge upside and may actually own this league for years to come if he can win a title this year or the next, but defensively he is still very pedestrian.  Kobe made the All NBA Defensive 1st Team 9 times.  Tied with Michael Jordan and Gary Payton for the most all time.  Last but not least there is reigning league MVP Derrick Rose.  Look the guy is a bad man.  He takes no prisoners on the court.  He has expanded his range to the point that he is now a deadly 3 point shooter and he has cut down his scoring which has brought his assist up to help his team improve on last year's success.  There is not too many  weaknesses in his game.  If he can get a title this year playing at the level he is, then he would be my top candidate to take the mantle of "Best Player in the League" away from Kobe Bryant, but time will tell. 

Kobe Bryant deserves the respect of the league, the media & the public to give him the benefit of the doubt. Just because we seen him play for 16 seasons and we all notice his athletic decline does not mean he can not play at a very high level. We all get caught up with the "Next Best Thing" instead of realizing that someone like Kobe Bryant comes around once in a life time.  You don't have to like him, this isn't a popularity contest, but you can not discredit his accomplishments.  So until someone else emerges to be the undisputed best player in the league, give Kobe his due.  He is still the best player in the league whether you like it or not.