Tag:Derek Fisher
Posted on: March 22, 2011 3:47 pm
 

Billy Hunter: NBA players ready for work stoppage

NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter says NBA players "won't cave" and are prepared for a work stoppage. Posted by Ben Golliver. billy-hunter

Surveying the last year or so of headlines concerning the NBA's ongoing labor dispute, it's striking how one-sided the discussion is. NBA commissioner David Stern has dominated the public discourse, with NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter and NBA Players Association President Derek Fisher speaking only occasionally and almost always with a vague optimism and commitment to the process.

That pattern seems to be shifting this week, as Hunter has shown a more forceful, combative side.

In an ESPN.com interview, Hunter disputed Stern's statements that the two sides have agreed on the owners' financial situation. Why is that a big deal? Because that was the biggest headline coming out of Stern's All-Star Weekend address, a statement that would provide hope because it would allow the negotiating process to begin. The two sides can't truly negotiate unless they see eye-to-eye.   

Almost as important as that statement of fundamental difference is that Hunter also made it clear that the players were ready for a long battle.
Hunter dismissed the idea that players are unprepared to weather a work stoppage.
"That's the belief," he said. "That was put to rest and proven false in [the lockout of] 1998. And I can assure you that if the owners continue to push for the deal they've been pushing for for the last two years now, that the players will take a stand. They won't cave. And they'll ride through this lockout." Hunter said he does not yet know what's driving the league's tough stand.
"We're trying to determine whether it's all rhetoric, or if it's real," Hunter said. "We'll only know in time. We're not in a position right now to say. David [Stern] hasn't given me any indication for me to conclude that it's rhetoric. He seems pretty strident, and pretty much dug in in terms of where he is.
In a Yahoo! Sports report, Hunter also seemingly dismissed many of the owners' desired changes in a new Collective Bargaining Agreement by pointing out those changes were already proposed and rejected in previous bargaining sessions dating back years.
“Ironically, a lot of the same things that David and the owners are demanding now are identical to what they were demanding in ’98. He said, ‘I think every one of my owners should have a guaranteed $10 million profit per year. I said, ‘Bull… . ‘What they have is predicated on how they manage their teams. Nobody forces them to sign anyone.
“It’s the same argument: ‘We’ve got these guys who got six-year deals and I’ve got to pay this guy …’ Well, [expletive] it. Why did you give it to him? Nobody put a gun to your head.”
Without question, that's the sound of heels being dug into the ground. For those hoping for a quick, painless resolution to the labor negotiations this summer, those words read like nails on a chalkboard.

The players and their labor executives are entitled to their bargaining position and the public restraint they've showed simply couldn't last forever. A one-sided media presentation of the dispute is certainly not in their best interests. 

Something to watch closely here will be Stern's response (or lack of a response) to Hunter's direct challenges. By disputing Stern's major All-Star Weekend statement, by implying that he believes the owners could be "all rhetoric" and by upping the intensity of his side's rhetoric Hunter is calling Stern to the carpet a bit here. 

One thing is for sure: If Stern gives Hunter the Stan Van Gundy treatment, we could be in for a long fall and winter.
Posted on: March 22, 2011 12:36 am
Edited on: March 22, 2011 12:37 am
 

Kobe on why he likes playing with Derek Fisher

Posted by Royce Young

This must be shared. Via Mark Medina's Twitter of the Los Angeles Times, Kobe Bryant was asked what he missed about Derek Fisher after he left the team briefly in 2004. Kobe's answer is well, kind of hilarious.

"You mean when I was throwing to Smush? I shot with three mother **** on me. That’s the difference. Now I only shoot with one, maybe two.”

(Smush of course being Smush Parker who was the Lakers' point guard during that frustrating season. Parker is now playing professionally in Greece.)
Posted on: March 11, 2011 12:28 am
Edited on: March 11, 2011 12:54 am
 

What to remember from Lakers-Heat II

The Heat win a big one as the entire team steps up, while Kobe Bryant shows what makes him great, and frustrating, after the game. 
Posted by Matt Moore




Let's get this out the way. 

While this game was one that the Lakers genuinely cared about (as evidenced by the kind of effort given by both the players and Phil Jackson, who not only actively coached, but yelled at officials standing up, and called timeouts), it does not "matter." The Heat is still unlikely to face the Lakers again this season with both Chicago (0-2) and Boston (0-2) somewhere in their spring future. Had the Lakers won, it would not be a death knell on the Heat's future. This is not a conviction of the Lakers' season. 

But it was a great game, and it was one in which there were things that made zero sense, and some that made all the sense in the entire world. 




What we'll remember from this game

The Heat gave everything: We'd waited all season for them to rise to a moment, and they finally did. Wade diving on the floor for a loose ball, chucking it to James for a dunk so hard he wound up in the second row of photographers. It was effort from start to finish, and it was impressive, despite some terrible shooting performances. 

Dwyane Wade rose to the moment: I couldn't get over how terrible Dwyane Wade looked for the first 36 minutes of the game. He was losing balls unforced out of bounds off the dribble. He was missing wide-open spot-up threes. He was playing as he had in every big game for the Heat this year. Then suddenly, it all fell into place and Dwyane Wade, the Dwyane Wade who's an NBA champion, an MVP candidate, one of the best shooting guards in the history of the game stepped up and made the plays he needed to make to win the game. It was a definite redemption after the last three weeks of struggle, and something the Heat badly needed. James did his job, Wade did his job, capitalized on the opportunities, and perhaps most importantly, didn't settle from the outside. He attacked, and the result was shots at the rim. Wade's final eight-minute stretch? Eight points on 4-7 shooting, 2 offensive rebounds, 1 block, 1 steal, 1 turnover. 

Chris Bosh shutting everyone up: Chris Bosh was supposed to struggle in the post. He was supposed to be the weak link. And he has for most of the year. But against the Lakers, he was everything he said he would be. He hit the post-turnaround over bigger defenders, he grabbed 9 boards, he worked hard at both ends, played aggressive, smart, and led the Heat in scoring. Chris Bosh was the best player for the Heat the whole night through. Who saw that coming?

Wasted Advantage Down Low: Andrew Bynum was 4-5 from the field, and 5-6 from the stripe for 13 points. That's some pretty incredible efficiency. Pau Gasol was 8-16 and 4-5 from the line. Not as stunning, but pretty good. Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, and Ron Artest were 14-37. You'd think that at some point, with the Heat trotting out Juwan Howard, Joel Anthony, and Zydrunas Ilgauskas, that someone with the Lakers would say "Hey, maybe we should throw it to one of the really tall guys." It's not that their success is guaranteed, it's that it just seems like something that may have helped. The rebounding, though, that's all on the bigs. Outrebounded 46-37, with the Heat enjoying five more offensive boards. The Lakers did not bring their best efforts on the glass, worried too much about shutting down the Triad. 

Support players stepping up and down: The Heat bench outscored the Lakers' 22-16, something few saw coming. Mike Miller was in effect. The Heat badly needed a role player to step up in the first quarter, and it was Mario Chalmers, with three big 3-pointers. Zydrunas Ilgauskas wound up a +16 on the night. That's just an impressive overall performance for a squad that's been mocked, derided, and questioned all seasons. Against one of the stronger units, they stepped up and were a huge part of the Heat win. 

Kobe Bryant after-hours: Is there a more iconic image of Bryant? In a game that featured a terrible shooting performance from him, where he turned the ball over late, where he hoisted 35-foot 3-pointers into the air, ignoring any semblance of an offensive system, he returns an hour after the game to work on his jumper. This is Kobe Bryant, the most feared player in the NBA, determined to work on the very shots that should never have been taken, confident that if he works hard enough, they'll fall, because they've fallen before. Maybe they fell because he was younger, stronger, but he'll never approach the game that way and his fans will never want him to. They'll want him doing exactly what he did Thursday night, work on his game until his blood's run dry, even if that game isn't what Phil Jackson wants, the Lakers need, or his body requires. As for why he says he did it? "This is (his) job." He'll focus on those shots he missed, never considering that maybe he should have created, should have worked in the flow of the offense, should have been a part of the engine as opposed to the sole operator. He's won five championships because of this, he may win his sixth because of this, and he'll be simultaneously revered and reviled because of it. Some will say it's what sets him apart from LeBron James even as James got the win. Others will say it's an attention-grabbing stunt, even as he never informed media he'd be there or paid any attention to them. Kobe Bryant will always be the player we can never agree on, can never let go of.  He's too determined, too stubborn, too brilliant, too frustrating. But at the end of the day, he's got his rings, and a great chance at another. For one night, however, he's got that gym, and his thoughts. 

The Heat have the win. 
Posted on: February 19, 2011 12:01 am
Edited on: February 19, 2011 12:24 am
 

Despite pleasant tone, NBA CBA talks are nowhere

Posted by Matt Moore

Players and owners meet as issues are discussed, but no negotiations undertaken. Billy Hunter and Derek Fisher represent the players' position in a post-meeting press conference after the NBA labor talks in regards to the CBA. A lockout still looks certain.


The talks were described as "progress." The tone was described by sources as "pleasant" and "constructive."  NBA Player's Association Executive Director Billy Hunter said that everyone felt better when they left the meeting than when they entered it. But the talks between the NBPA and owners group, if the NBPA presser afterward was any indication, were full of dark signs that a lockout is as inevitable as it ever has been. 

Hunter began by revealing that the owners had still yet to respond to the players' last proposal. Essentially, the owners are refusing to even respond to the offer, even after months. That's a significant sign of where these negotiations are. Perhaps the situation was put into context most clearly by Hunter when he said, "If it takes losing a whole season to get what we (want), we're willing to do that." Both sides are still very much apart and are very much working under that threat. As Hunter said, "They showed up with their forces, we showed up with our forces." NBPA President Derek Fisher was clear in pointing out where the onus is in regards to the lockout. "If there is a lockout, it is because the owners have imposed one... (the players) want to play basketball." Hunter did admit a lockout would be "devastating" and that the higher percentage of ownership in attendance, by putting a humanizing factor into play, may create some movement on both sides. But in general, both sides are holding the line. 

The NBPA's post-meeting press conference did provide context to where these talks are at on several issues:

  • Revenue sharing continues to be a central issue in the talks. Hunter said "many of the problems (the owners) articulate can in fact be rectified through revenue sharing." Hunter stated that the NBPA's contention is that a stronger revenue plan which was submitted to the league by eight owners several years prior, had it been implemented, would have prevented many of the issues the owners are bringing to the table now.
  • Fisher stated that the issue of a possible franchise tag has not been raised. "It is not something that has been presented." He did say that this discussion did not involve the particulars of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, but made it clear that had not been brought to the owners. That's good news as its inclusion represents the equivalent of an option for nuclear winter by the owners.
  • There was apparently a major gaffe on the part of an owners' representative. Hunters stated that Kevin Murphy, an economic expert from the University of Chicago, asked the representative if the owners would be making the same demands of the players if they had not suffered losses, the representative answered in the affirmitive. That goes against the core argument the owners have been trumpeting since the start of the economic downturn, which is that the current environment necessitates these dramatic shifts in revenue structuring.
  • Perhaps the most interesting element revealed in the presser was that in response to questions of parity by smaller market owners struggling to compete with the Lakers' payroll (as an example), that the NBPA has brought a recommendation for an alternative solution. The union has suggested a restructuring of the draft process, which would provide two first-round picks to the teams "at the bottom" according to Hunter. It represents a bold and innovative solution to the problems faced by the NBA in regards to parity, but Hunter noted that the owners haven't even opened up to such discussions because of their "intractable" position.
  • The players will not get sucked into a war of words about contraction. That's not the hill they're choosing to die on. Hunter said "We are not at all concerned about contraction. We're not at all afraid, intimidated, not suffering any chagrin when someone raises the issue of contraction." However, Hunter did hint that the union is not rising to fight for that above other issues. "It is what it is. And if they choose to play that hand, we'll have to live with it."
  • One of the popular debates in these negotiations is where the onus lies for the massive overpayment contracts.  The owners state that they need help in limiting those contracts, and the players believe the owners should simply take responsibility for their decisions. Fisher stated that they've heard some owners say verbatim "We need to be protected from ourselves." Fisher acknowledged that the owners were simply trying to be competitive, but that the players' position is that that weight does not all fall on them.
  • Fisher also spoke about the nature of guaranteed contracts, and that the current agreement does not prevent unguaranteed contracts, is simply allows for the possibility to negotiate for a guaranteed contract. "There's a sense that we feel entitled to guaranteed money, to guaranteed income. That's not who we are. The principle basic level, we should have the right to earn guaranteed income because of our special skills... but when I sit down to negotiate my contract with the Los Angeles Lakers on my contract, we have every opportunity to go back and forth over what's guaranteed and what's not."

Hunter said that further negotiations would be scheduled when Hunter and commissioner David Stern meet next week in New York. From there, further discussions are expected to continue. But there was no rapid movement taken in this session, and it does not appear that either side is itching to be the one to move things forward. 

Small steps were made. The tone of the discussions have shifted to a more "human" approach as Fisher described them.  But the key issues remain, and haven't been really touched. Negotiations, in fact, have not begun, simply discussions, and those mostly consist of both sides continuing their refutations of the other's position. And a lockout looks as inevitable as it did on Friday morning.



Posted on: February 1, 2011 1:28 am
Edited on: February 1, 2011 1:29 am
 

Lakers GM open to considering a trade

With Lakers underperforming, GM Mitch Kupchak says he "may have to look into a trade."
Posted by Matt Moore

The Lakers are 1-5 against top echelon teams. Phil Jackson couldn't care less. Kobe Bryant is beyond angry. And General Manager Mitch Kupchak? He's talking T-word. Trade. From the Los Angeles Times:

"Yes . . . I may have to look into a trade, but I'm not saying we have "talked to other teams yet, Kupchak said. "We have not been playing up to our level and I dont know why. Maybe its complacency. Im not sure."
via Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak says hes thought about making a trade - latimes.com.


A trade? By the defending champs? Could this be happening? Even with the measured and cautious words being tossed around by Kupchak, that's a pretty stunning development even if the Lakers are simply considering a trade. This is a team that has looked every bit like a Finals contender, unless they've been facing an elite team this year. It's also a team that's notorious for not taking teams seriously, having gone seven games with a Yao-less Rockets squad in 2009, having a terrible second half last year, and letting the Suns push them in the Western Conference Finals using a zone, for crying out loud. You have to think this is just an emotional quote from Kupchak revealing a frustration with the team's play, or at least a Jackson-like motivational tactic.

Even stranger than the idea of the Lakers needing to make a trade is the idea of what trade they would be able to make. Every Laker of consequence with any value, contract or skill-wise, has at least two more years left on their deals. Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol are obviously not even in this discussion. So what are the next options?
  • Lamar Odom- Trade Status: Obscenely unlikely. Odom is the quintessential heart and soul of this club. He's found a home there and has flourished when his head is plugged in. What's more, he's part of the reason for the Lakers' absurd length advantage. When Odom is on, the Lakers are nearly unstoppable. Moving him would garner the best set of assets, but who could they get for him, with nearly $9 million on the books for next season, even with his 2013 salary non-guaranteed at $8.2 million?
  • Andrew Bynum- Trade Status: Pretty unlikely. Bynum has been involved in trade rumors for years due to his inconsistency, rehab work ethic, and injuries. Yet it was his toughness fighting through the Finals last spring on a torn ligament that helped assure the Lakers a title. He's now considered an invaluable part of the offense, and his improving defense, combined with his willingness to give a hard foul, means he's the backbone of what has been a very soft Lakers interior lately. Combine that with the difficulty of getting teams to invest in someone with his injury history, and the near-$15 million on the books for next year and a team option for over $16 million the next, and it's hard to see a suitor for Bynum that would keep the Lakers in contention.
  • Ron Artest- Trade Status: Difficult: From zero to hero to zero again. Artest struggled all last year trying to learn the Triangle, was terrible at times in the playoffs, then hit the biggest hot of his career to help clinch a title for the Lakers (as well as a tip-in in the Western Conference Finals) and was everyone's hero. This year? Back to the doghouse. If anyone's to be moved, it's probably Artest, but that says more about where Ron's sunk to rather than where his value is at. Getting anything for someone who's been such a pain for so many teams with over $21 million left on his contract after this year is difficult. When it's Ron Artest? Even harder.
  • Luke Walton- Trade Status: Ha-ha-ha-ha: Yes, because I'm sure that what GMs with a valuable commodity are thinking is "Oh, we can get the 28th pick in the draft and Luke Walton with over $11 million left on his contract over the next two years? Who wouldn't do that deal?" Walton's contract is slowly reaching movable status after an ill-advised extension, but he's a long ways away from upgrade-bait. 
  • Steve Blake- Trade Status- Limited: Blake's got three years after this one for a combined roughly $14 million, is a serviceable point guard, and fits easy into a rotation. So he's got some value. But in terms of trying to get a major upgrade, he'd have to be packaged with one of the above candidates in order for it to make any sense. He can act as icing on the cake, but even then, having three years left on his deal may make it a little too sweet for most. 
  • Derek Fisher - Trade Status: Laughable: The Lakers would never give up their most veteran leader who everyone came up to and thanked after winning the last title. Bryant would never stand to lose the guy he's been to the playoffs with the most. Not everyone can run the Triangle point guard position... okay, that's a lie. Pretty much everyone can dribble the ball up, pass it to Kobe Bryant, and then go sit in a corner and often get blown by on defense. But Fisher's hit too many huge shots in Laker history to be forsaken. And no one is looking to pay him another $6.8 million for two more years. 
  • Shannon Brown- Trade Status: Intriguing, if unlikely: Brown failed to fetch any significant offers on the open market this summer, so who's going to trade for him now, even in a career year for him? He's got great upside and has looked like a possible building block, but who doesn't when they're running next to this team? Brown's cheap and his contract is flexible, but he's not going to cash in any huge superstar on the open market. 
  • Matt Barnes- Trade Status: Injured: Barnes is injured for a few more weeks, his contract's too low to matter, and the only teams that would be interested in him are contenders, the sort of teams that would never give up valuable assets to the defending champs. 

So while Kupchak may be looking to try and upgrade his team, Michael Heisley and Chris Wallace aren't walking through that door. Even with the Nuggets being dragged slowly towards the inescapable black hole in the reality that they have to trade Carmelo Anthony, and the Sixers wanting to offload Iguodala to make room for their rebuilding project, or the Suns in near full-on blow-up mode, no one's going to be looking to the Lakers to cash in.  The Lakers are on top, and have spent a lot to get to the top. They're loaded with talent, but it's not talent that garners a lot on the market. 

After all, how do you possibly get great return on trading members of the most talented team in the league? Instead, I think the Lakers will take the Phil Jackson approach. Sit back, relax, coast through the next four months, and flip the switch when it counts. They've done it before. They'll do it again. 
Posted on: January 31, 2011 7:54 am
Edited on: January 31, 2011 7:54 am
 

The Shootaround 1.31.11: All Celtics / Lakers

It was one of the biggest regular season games of the year, so here's a full plate of reaction to Sunday's game between the Boston Celtics and Losshootaround Angeles Lakers. The Celtics won, 109-96, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Posted by Ben Golliver. 

Boston's View

  • Boston Globe: "Rondo is the NBA’s best at making the pinpoint pass at the precise moment, but he relies too much on that skill. In the second half yesterday, Rondo made matters simpler for himself and his teammates. Very rarely does Rondo play an entire half, but yesterday he played all 24 minutes and the Celtics shot a mind-boggling 69.4 percent from the floor. And of the 22 baskets converted by Celtics other than Rondo, 15 were assisted by Rondo, including six of the team’s seven 3-pointers. That means he is moving the ball, delivering passes to sweet spots. That means the Celtics are an offensive machine and Rondo is the commander. “I told Rondo in front of the team it was one of his best games of the year,’’ Rivers said. “In the fact that I thought he called an absolutely perfect game. He’s our pitcher. I thought he just called a sensational game, coming out of timeouts, making sure guys were in their spots.’’
  • CelticsBlog: "His numbers don't jump off the page and it wasn't his best game statistically, but maybe that is what made it even better.  We've come to expect this from Big Baby.  This kind of solid, all around game has become the norm, not the exception.  Sure, there are times when Doc strains his last vocal cord because of something Baby does, but those are coming less and less often. In fact, the following thought occurred to me that really made me grin:  Big Baby might be the James Posey type piece of the puzzle we've been missing since 2008." 
  • CelticsHub: "Because the Celtics offense quietly rolled over the Lakers today. Paul Pierce, who you may have heard has scored more points per game against the Lakers than any other team in his career, hit stepbacks from everywhere. He and a few other guys combined for 9-17 from 3. Rajon Rondo picked up 15 assists in the second half, part of a team total of 34. You know all this. So why isn’t anyone talking about the crappy Laker defense?"
  • WEEI.com: "Paul Pierce destroyed Ron Artest: The captain destroyed his antagonist from last year’s finals, scoring 32 points on just 18 shots and sending Artest to the bench in the fourth quarter. There was nothing Artest could do to contain Pierce, who had both his long-range and in-between game working. The Celtics were overwhelming in the second half, but Pierce kept them in position throughout the game in what might have been his best performance of the season."
  • ESPNBoston.com: Paul Pierce: "The thing is, when you win a game here now, it's not for the championship. It's a regular-season game. When we play against the Lakers, it really gets our juices going, because they are our rivals. It's a big game just knowing that we can come into this building and get a win."

Los Angeles's View

  • Los Angeles Times: "We're talking humiliation … Celtics fans chanting "Beat L.A.!" … Celtics fan Matt Damon and friends yukking it up courtside between the Lakers' bench and superfan Norm Pattiz."
  • Orange County Register: "Kobe Bryant gave his team an 'F' for its defense in Sunday's 109-96 loss to the Boston Celtics, a grade teammate Derek Fisher didn't disagree with. ... Ron Artest, usually the Lakers' defensive plug, shrugged off Bryant's failing grade, saying, 'I got F's in elementary school and I still went to college. I also got A's in elementary school and it didn't help me.'"
  • Silver Screen And Roll: "Against the Celtics at Staples this afternoon, the Lakers forced a load of Boston turnovers, went to the free-throw line early and often, shot well on threes and got a masterly performance from Kobe Bryant. It should've been enough. But it wasn't. It wasn't close to being enough."
  • Land O' Lakers: "After the 109-96 loss to the Celtics, Phil Jackson was asked if Ron Artest, who scored just three points on one-for-10 shooting while struggling to check Paul Pierce, "got lost" on the way to Staples Center. "No, he was on time," Phil replied. "(But) he got lost on the court."
  • USA Today: The Lakers shot 44.4%, made four of nine three-pointers (three by Bryant) and had 10 assists. Ten assists? That quantified the lack of ball movement that led to Bryant as the only Laker to score in a nearly five-minute span while four Celtics were scoring. Boston expanded its lead from 91-87 to 107-91. "It's always balance that makes us better," Lakers guard Derek Fisher said. "We're not going to accomplish our goals by relying on Kobe to score 30 or 40 points every game."
Posted on: January 27, 2011 3:03 pm
Edited on: January 27, 2011 3:04 pm
 

Fans to vote on Skills Competition participants

Fans to vote on Skills Contest participants. Derek Fisher one of the candidates. We're not sure why.
Posted by Matt Moore

Did you know that this year, you, yes, you get to choose the participants of the most random, boring competition in the All-Star Saturday Night festivities?

Taco-Bell is giving fans a vote on which players they want to see in the Skills Competition. Chris Paul is the "spokesman" and therefore automatically in, but the rest will be chosen by vote. The list of candidates includes:  and...
  • Derek Fisher?

Let's take a look at the candidates, and what we think their odds are. 

Derrick Rose (-150):  He's got youth, speed, experience as a former winner, and oh, yeah, he did this. Rose is a massive favorite in our opinion, considering he's arguably the best point guard in the league, and the best point athlete of this bunch. He's got the competitive streak to want to win, and the skills involved are specifically suited to his game. Hence the previous pwnage. Being a huge star this league in a major market, he'll have no problems securing selection.

Chris Paul (-140): Nearly the favorite Rose is. Paul's a more accurate passer, more precise with this movements, nearly as fast, and the best overall point guard in this competition. The only reason he's behind Paul at all is injury questions and Paul being in the competition for the fourth time.  

Tony Parker (+150): Parker's a sexy dark horse pick here.  Solid in all areas of competition, healthier than he's been in years, a former Finals MVP, and he's a Spur. Toppling more flashy competition is what they do. His odds of getting voted in aren't as strong, considering the flash and shine of the other candidates, but he might make it off international recognition and veteran respect. 

Russell Westbrook (+250): Westbrook isn't the pure passer a lot of these players are but his handle and speed could be enough to put on a show. When in the zone he's as precise as any player in the league, and he's got a killer instinct rarely found in this league.  He could also go for the dunk approach Derrick Rose did when he won the event, only Westbrook can leap from the free throw line to cut down on time. Even playing in OKC, likely to be selected based off of star power and name recognition alongside Kevin Durant

Tyreke Evans (+450): The dribbling and passing could give him issues, and that's before the three-point shot. Reke's chances aren't great here as he excels based on athleticism. He's simply not the pure skill competitor that some of the other players are. Playing in Sacramento who's having a terrible year and having been forgotten about in a slump following a historic rookie season, Reke's chances at election aren't great. Small market, disappointing season, and bad team. Not a great combo for election, but he's still more likely to make it than some.

Stephen Curry (+200): Curry's a nice, sleek moneymaker to take here. He's an underdog based on name recognition and not being a top level point guard, but in terms of skill, he's got it to win this thing. A terrific passer with excellent control, fast and light to get through the cones, and range for miles, Curry could wind up shocking everyone with this thing, as long as he can make it in. With five of the eight expected to make it, he's got good odds. This is smart money.

John Wall (+500): Wall has been injury-prone this season, has been turnover prone, is a rookie on the big stage for the first time, and isn't a great shooter. BIG GIGANTIC RED FLAGS. Wall could get in based off of popularity, market, and name recognition. But his odds of stepping up and beating the rest of the competition are low. 

Baron Davis (+600): Injury prone? Check. Older? Yup. Inconsistent? Uh-huh. Not a great point? Surely. Biggest star on his team? Third, if we're being generous. Davis is very unlikely to make the vote, and should he somehow get in through the Clipper faithful, it's not likely he'll walk away with the trophy with so many faster guards he's up against. 

Derek Fisher (+7,858): No. Not at all. Not in any situation. Not a great passer. Aged like a German cheese. Not awesome on the dribble, either. I mean, there's no way this guy gets voted in, right? That would be like voting in Andrew Bynum to the All-Star game when he missed 3/4 of the season so far...oh. Never underestimate the power of the Lakers to get in to these things, but Fisher will not win, unless there's some sort of horrific banana peel accident. 


Posted on: January 21, 2011 11:33 pm
Edited on: January 21, 2011 11:36 pm
 

Jerry West: Lakers too old to be good for long

Los Angeles Lakers legend Jerry West says the current Lakers are getting too old to be good for long. Posted by Ben Golliver. jerry-west

Even in retirement, former Los Angeles Lakers guard, coach and GM Jerry West is still regarded as one of the finest talent talent evaluators in the basketball world. When he talks, people listen.

On Friday, West talked, but the franchise he's long been associated with might not like hearing what he had to say.

The Orange County Register reports that West told a business luncheon crowd that the Lakers were getting too old to remain championship contenders for very long and hinted that he would pick LA's chief rivals, the Boston Celtics, to win the NBA title this year.
“I don’t think the Lakers will be good for much longer, ” he said. “You can keep a car running for a long time by changing the tires, etc. You can’t change a player’s tires.”
West said many of the Lakers’ current players are “getting long in the tooth.” 
“If there’s a loose ball now, how often do they get it?” West pointed out to the crowd, which was relishing the sports talk.
“I think Boston is a very dangerous team,” he said of the Celtics. “I would not want to play them every other night.”

In a study conducted earlier this month by Hoopism.com, both the Lakers and the Celtics placed in the top three oldest teams in the NBA when you weight their age by minutes played. As of Jan. 8, the Lakers' average age was 30.87 and the Celtics' average age was 30.48, virtually identical. It's worth noting that Boston's figure should come down slightly once center Kendrick Perkins, who is 26 years old, returns from injury and starts playing heavy minutes again.

Looking into the future, though, it's easy to understand what's troubling West. Guards Kobe Bryant (32) and Derek Fisher (36) are edging close to the twilight of their career. Fisher, in particular, has seemed to be on his last legs for like six years now, while Bryant figures to have a few very productive seasons left in him. But it's not just the backcourt: Lakers coach Phil Jackson is said to be retiring after this season and that likely makes everyone associated with the organization feel like the current chapter is coming to a close.

With that said, it's still too early to panic completely. Los Angeles sports key pieces like Pau Gasol (30), Lamar Odom (31), Ron Artest (31) and Andrew Bynum (23) who are not yet "long in the tooth."  In actuality, Boston may have even more questions in a few years than Los Angeles, with Kevin Garnett (34) contemplating retirement, and Paul Pierce (33) and Ray Allen (35) entering the twilight of their respective careers. 

The big difference between Boston and Los Angeles, of course, is that Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo (24) has already solidified himself as the franchise centerpiece of the future. Arguably the best point guard in the NBA, Rondo will make any rebuilding effort that much easier. The Lakers, however, are left to ride Bryant for as long as possible and then pray that Bynum, who has dealt with knee injuries already in his young career, develops into a premier big man. Backup plan: wait for a dominant free agent to choose to come to LA.

Given the respective outlooks of the two teams, I think most people, like West, would choose Boston's future. Rondo's skill is more than enough to calm the nerves and provide hope.

Hat tip: Pro Basketball Talk

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