Tag:Lakers
Posted on: October 4, 2010 11:44 am
 

The Andrew Bynum injury portfolio

Lakers center probably out till December, continues history of injury recovery struggles. Posted by Matt Moore

Hey there, reader. Listen, I some news to tell you. You should sit down. No, really, you should be sitting when you hear this news. I don't want your legs to give out (fittingly) when you hear this. The shock may be too much to bear. There, now. That's better. Okay, are you ready?

Andrew Bynum is pushing back his comeback date. I know, I know. It hit us all. News like that just comes out of nowhere and the surprise can be hard on the heart...

I'll stop now.

Like we gave you a heads up on in the Shootaround , Bynum spoke to reporters and pushed back his comeback to mid-December. This only days after saying November was the target . It's a typical development for Bynum, when you look back at his history.

Bynum was first injured in January of 2008, and was supposed to be out two months . Then he was not going to be back for the playoffs. Then he was . Then not so much . Then definitely not so much . Then he had more surgery .

Then he took a nap.
.
Then he was totally going to be back the next season. Totally. Well, okay, maybe not right on schedule . Then he had a birthday party , yay! Then he came back and looked like he was worth the hype. Then he signed a massive contract extension , making him one of the highest paid players on a team full of All-Stars and future Hall-of-Famers.

Then, he got hurt, again , this time with a torn MCL . He was supposed to be back in March from this one, then it got pushed to April . Then he finally came back in the 2009 playoffs, but could only play limited minutes. But hey, helped win them a title, so who cares? Celebrate!

Then he famously stopped working out with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, a move that was criticized at the time, but given Kareem's lack of toughness and prickly personality, probably wasn't a bad idea. Next, Bynum had to have his knee drained in the playoffs, but, and this should be stressed, he toughed it out and helped the Lakers win a back-to-back title. He dragged that leg around though he was playing on turned out to be a slight tear, played hard, and helped the Lakers' size overwhelm their opponents. This summer, he had another surgery after he delayed it so he could go on vacation.

So what are we looking at, here? Long story short, we've got a very young kid who's shown to a. be a very slow healer and b. have a very poor work ethic. Don't take my word for it, Ask Tex Winter . The first account is something Bynum could help or should be criticized for. You can't get your body to heal faster. But you can put it in the best position to heal and bounce back as strong as you need to, and that's where Bynum struggles. He famously sloughed off the Lakers' doctors for his own. Now, that's actually probably a good idea, considering that training staff doesn't have a great history with knee injuries. But when your other doctor manages to need multiple surgeries, and you have continuing issues with recovery? There are going to be questions.

Bynum has yet to hit an initial return date. There is a history of problematic recovery issues, on knees that have had multiple surgeries. To call him injury-prone at this point is an understatement.

The good news is that the Lakers can be patient with Bynum. They have enough talent and size on that roster that even if Bynum can only give them limited minutes for years, that's fine. The question is if after this championship dynasty is over and Kobe Bryant bids a fond farewell, if Bynum will then be in a position to deserve the extension he signed. Maybe this is the last bump in the road. Maybe he'll prove to be a dominant NBA center night in and night out this season. But if he does, he'll be slipping out of a well-established history of recovery issues. It's not fair, but it's what it is.
Posted on: October 1, 2010 9:30 am
 

Shootaround 10.1.10: BIG

Teams that didn't win big, Philly's bigs need to come up big, and Jefferson just is big, all in today's Shootaround. Posted by Matt Moore

So we always debate the best championship teams. But what about the best teams that didn't win a title ? Dime took a look at those squads and added the 08-09 Cavs. It's hard to imagine that team holding up over time as we look back at Mo Williams' and Antawn Jamison's careers. The 2002 Sacramento Kings, though? That was a pretty great team. One objection? The 2007 Dallas Mavericks need to be on that list. Had the Mavericks not drawn the Warriors in the first round, it's hard to see how Cuban wouldn't be coveting his ring.

A Sonics fan tells Kings fans to pray , because the NBA doesn't care. It should be amended, though to "Pray, because the NBA doesn't care as long as you continually vote down measures for new stadiums. I'm not saying you should have to pay for new stadiums. I'm saying as long as you refeuse to, you open yourself up to getting Thunder'd. There's a reason Orlando fans are going to be enjoying the Amway Center this season while Sonics fans enjoy the Seahawks this fall.

A great feature on DeMarcus Cousins and his family history . There's so much talk about Cousins being a problem child, but he hasn't been in trouble since the tenth grade. I've never understood how a kid that hasn't had trouble in four years since he was a young teen is somehow a huge concern. Everyone's going to be regretting passing on Cousins when he and Reke are running the pick and roll for years.

The Daniel Orton era is pointing toward bustville. After being considered a reach to begin with, then getting worked over in Summer League, Orton will miss the entire preseason with a knee injury . Orton needs to spend time in the D-League, but the Magic almost never assign their players, which only increases the odds that Orton will flame out.

Speaking of big man injuries, Tiago Splitter tweaked his right leg yesterday (via Yahoo! Sports' Marc Spears).

Sixers president Rod Thorn says their success is dependent on their bigs . Elton Brand is specifically pointed out in the excellent piece by SI's Chris Mannix, but Mareese Speights also needs to stay healthy and take steps into becoming a legit power forward. It's time for him to capitalize on that youthful potential and great per-minute numbers.

Take note of this. It may just be pillow talk. But Eric Spoelstra says that the unselfish play necessary to share the ball for the Heat is already there. That's really relevant for a team with such high usage. You need to be able to operate as an actual functioning offense so that you don't wind up looking like an All-Star team. You know. The kind that winds up with the ball off-court more than Anna Kournikova (remember her?).

International superstar Dirk Nowitzki? He's not so much a fan of the goaltending rule change being proposed .

Kobe's going to get some run in the international exhibition games . Because he's a freak of nature with no "off" button. There isn't another player who if they were at Bryant's level would wnat to play in these games with the injuries he's still recovering from. The man is more driven than any human being alive.

Al Jefferson may have showed up out of shape , but Jerry Sloan a. isn't pointing him out specifically in discussions of players being out of shape and b.) apparently doesn't look like he's out of shape . It'll be interesting to see how this plays out and if he gets off on a bad foot with Jerry Sloan. Patient fatherly figure that he is.
Posted on: September 23, 2010 10:23 am
Edited on: September 23, 2010 10:34 am
 

Shootaround 9.23.10: Heat block party blocked

Heat have a block party blocked, Parker may be on the way out, Howard hates the Heat, and the lockout's going to suck, all in today's Shootaround.
Posted by Matt Moore
  • The Heat had planned this big ol' block party to celebrate the opening of the NBA season in Miami. It was a very exciting idea, and Miami does this sort of thing pretty regularly (Zo's Summer Bash being one relatively similar example). But with the police union organizing to protest the event over budget cuts made to their salaries, and with the immense number of logistical issues involved, the plan is on hold . Allow me to add my name to those who think this is a totally whacko idea. Outside of the sheer intensity of a Friday night party outside the arena and the number of safety and security issues at play here, you've also got a pragmatic issue for the Heat. The Miami Triad will be expected to make an appearance at this event, and that's going to take them away from pre-game preparation for their home opener, against a divisional opponent who they have a pretty good chance of seeing in the playoffs. This is not a game you want to slough off right out of the gate. Definitely check the link for some tasty quotes from the mayor that involve the word "party."
  • Buck Harvey of the San Antonio Express-News reports that if the Spurs don't look like they'll be contending for a title at the trade deadline, they'll move Tony Parker. Which is kind of a bombshell, in that every public indication from the Spurs has been a steadfast commitment to keeping Parker long-term. But the astounding volume of rumors suggesting his eventual move to New York do have to come somewhere, and can't survive solely on the whims of New York's admittedly powerful (and often nutball) media. 
  • In an interview with Sports Illustrated 's Dan Patrick, Dwight Howard said he'd rather have Kevin Durant than LeBron James. Why is this particularly relevant? Mostly because it's an indicator that a. Kevin Durant is at that level among his peers already and b.) Dwight Howard really, really, really hates all the attention the Heat are getting. We'll have more on this later today. 
  • You know what's amazing? No, not that Andrew Bynum put off surgery which has now affected the odds of him being available for training camp and opening night. No, what's amazing is that writers are surprised by this kind of behavior. Bynum has missed nearly every deadline he's had for the past three seasons in recovering from various injuries. Some of that isn't his fault, the body heals as the body heals, But he's never been known was a hardcore worker, with Tex Winter being a vocal and public critic of his .
  • David Stern told Gilbert Arenas not to discuss the gun incident that lead to his suspension last year. The bossman says to put it all behind him. Seems like a good idea, but if I'm Stern, I want every reminder presented to Arenas that he needs to walk the line. This is not a man who seems like the kind to learn from past mistakes. 
  • From the Department of Black Kettles, Phil Jackson says "teamwork wins, not talent." Bear in mind this is from the guy who has only won his titles in huge markets playing with the most dominant players of their respective eras, including the greatest of all time.  Really, Phil? Because the last time we checked, you're not exactly all about equal parts overcoming the whole. Or maybe that's just what you saw in 2004 when the Pistons took down the mega-Lakers. 
Posted on: September 21, 2010 12:17 pm
 

Trade Rumor: Clippers for Chargers straight up

Posted by Royce Young

Ron Artest is promoting the Lakers upcoming exhibition schedule by making the rounds to nearby cities, one of them being San Diego. And while there, he had an idea for a trade. But it didn't involve any players. Via the OC Register:
“Maybe we can swap, the Chargers for the Clippers. No disrespect to the Clippers. You can have them back. I don’t mean that in a disrespectful way. I really like the Clippers, but I feel they deserve their own fan base because in L.A. they’re overshadowed. The Clippers deserve a shot at having their own identity.”
Some might take that as a dig at the Clippers, but it's nothing but truth. The Clippers are basically a team without a city. They're stuck somewhere where they're perpetually playing second fiddle to the Lakers. For instance, when I write "Staples Center" who do you think of?

It's a simple (unrealistic) thought, but it makes loads of sense. Los Angeles wants a football team. The Clippers want a fanbase. Ron Artest: a man with solutions. He should run for Congress or something.
Posted on: September 9, 2010 9:52 am
Edited on: September 9, 2010 9:53 am
 

Matt Barnes arrested for domestic violence

New Lakers forward claims innocence after arrest on domestic violence charge Posted by Matt Moore

Matt Barnes is known as a fiery competitor who's willing to mix it up on the floor if the situation calls for it. Unfortunately, it looks like his temper has pushed him across the line. The Sacramento Bee reports that Barnes was arrested last night for domestic violence against a woman who was living with him. According to the Bee, both Barnes and the woman had injuries when police arrived, but Barnes was determined to be the aggressor in the situation. Barnes was also booked with maliciously obstructing the use of a telephone line, which to be honest, I was unaware was an actual crime. 

Barnes defended himself on Twitter this morning and told a Sacramento television station that he "was the the victim" but was the one arrested. The presence of injuries on both himself and the woman complicates the issue, but the 911 call during which a struggle could be heard with the woman on the phone doesn't help him much. Barnes recently signed with the Lakers who already have combustible forward Ron Artest on roster. Barnes grew up in Sacramento and owns the home in the Fair Oaks community. 

Barnes was released on bail after posting a $50,000 bond. 
Posted on: September 9, 2010 9:15 am
Edited on: September 9, 2010 11:42 am
 

Shootaround 9.9.10: Dwight grants a big wish

Rodman's overheard orgy, Artest's ring on the market, and Bogut's MRI.
Posted by Matt Moore
Get your Kleenex ready. The Orlando Sentinel  reports of a visit from Dwight Howard to a woman dying of Stage 3 Multiple Myeloma. The one wish from a dying woman? A visit from the Orlando All-Star. It's a touching story, one that wound up with Howard being the one changed by the visit. Howard is in a unique position for these types of life-changing events. His relationship with his faith may come under constant scrutiny because of his fame, but it also equips him for times like these, comforting a woman on her way out with laughter and compassion.

Ron Artest is selling his championship ring , for charity, before he even has a chance to wear it. NBA.com reports that Artest will sell the ring without putting it on in a fundraiser to help put more mental health professionals in school. This comes on the heels of Artest working in schools to promote good mental health. It's indicative of a drastic reversal in public perception, with Artest going from being considered crazy in the negative, non-serious sense to really putting himself forward as a champion for the cause of mental health intervention. Standing "O" for Crazy Pills.

Dwyane Wade is in court this week for the custody case of his children. His lawyer is recommending custody for Wade, obviously, and there's a lawyer for the boys with three recommendations in play. All three recommendations feature Wade in a custody position to some degree. It would appear the talk of family being important for Wade is talk that's being walked, in this instance.

Depressing news out of Sacramento , as police are investigating vandalism of a Kings mural with a swastika that may be related to Kings' Israeli player Omri Casspi. Seriously, folks. We can move past this, right? The vandals really should watch the kid pass in transition. It's hard to hate him after that.

Andrew Bogut is seeing a hand specialist and having an MRI done . Nothing to worry about, really. After all, there's still like, two weeks before training camp...wait, that's not much time at all. Dang.

So Dennis Rodman? Yeah, he went to a party, and was MC'ing, and then left his microphone on when he went upstairs. That's embarrassing. Wait, what's that you say? He was upstairs having sex with six women? What's the word I'm looking for here? Oh, yeah. Icky. But hey, good to know that just like his playing days, Rodman is hyper-efficient. At least those guests that overheard him on the microphone downstairs can cross "eavesdrop on Dennis Rodman in an orgy" off their bucket list.

Spain fell to Serbia yesterday, in a minor upset. Here's how Spain unraveled . It was a shocking loss for Spain, and for those that believe that Ricky Rubio can actually walk on water, part the seas, and hit a jumpshot.

A look back at Dwight Howard's career nights . It's posts like this that make you think twice before criticizing his play too much.

If you have Raptor fan friends, prepare for them to be a grumpy bunch next season . They're gaining a great scorer (as he's shown in World play) in Linas Kleiza, but they're worried about his usage. They have a dynamic scorer in Andrea Bargnani, who, quite honestly, they hate because he doesn't rebound. There's just a lot of bad blood there right now.

I can answer this question . Does Luke Harangody have a role with the Celtics? Sure. Someone's gotta be mascot.

Jared Dudley is resigned to a good-faith situation with the Suns. That rarely works out well in the A. 
Posted on: September 7, 2010 2:52 pm
 

Pop Quiz: How will the All-Star Game look?

Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell ... The NBA season is right around the corner, and NBA training camp starts in just a few short weeks. To get you ready for the NBA season, we've put together 25 pop quizzes. Pencils ready? We continue our Pop Quizzes with this question...



What will the All-Star Game look like?


Los Angeles. City of Angels. Home of the back-to-back NBA champions, the legendary LA Lakers. And in February, home of the 2011 NBA All-Star Game. It's going to be ridiculous, it's going to be over-the-top (more so than even your normal All-Star Game). It's going to be expensive. Really, really expensive. It will also be interesting as next year there are likely to be big changes in the All-Star Game. So what exactly is that game going to look like?

It's difficult to predict, obviously, who will be participating in the game. Even more so than any other episode of predicting the future, there are so many factors that can play into who makes it. Not only things like injuries, team downturns, unexpected rises, and trades, but the popularity contest of the voting system. But there are some things we can examine the possibility of.

For starters, with Amar'e Stoudemire headed to New York, there's a spot down low for the West. You can slide in Tim Duncan, because he's like Johnny Cash. Steady like a freight train, sharp like a razor. Pau Gasol's another lock, as many think he's the best power forward in the league right no w. From there, you've got Zach Randolph and Chris Kaman as the other two bigs from last year's squad. Kaman's unlikely to return with the addition of Blake Griffin, and Randolph's success is tied to an inconsistent Grizzlies team. Meanwhile, Yao Ming returns from injury and will most likely look like a legitimate contender for the starting spot.

But what about Andrew Bynum? We've been waiting for Bynum to live up to his potential for three seasons, and he's constantly referred to as one of the best centers in the league, despite his numerous injury issues. With the Lakers getting older, and Bynum supposedly healthier than he has been in years, Bynum has to be considered a strong contender not just for the backup position, but possibly as a starting center (which would put Tim Duncan at power forward, where he belongs).

Speaking of Duncan, he and Dirk Nowitzki are headed down the stretch and it'll be important to note that one of them is going to take a step backwards. Age demands it. And though Duncan is widely considered the best power forward of all time by those that consider him a power forward, he's most likely to have the dropoff. You saw it at times last season. The writing isn't on the wall, but there's a pen by the chalkboard. Bear in mind we're talking about inches below the greatness he's always provided, but it might be enough with a rising Bynum to shove either him or Dirk out of the starting lineup. And that will just be weird.

This is all before we start trying to figure out the point guards in the West. Steve Nash showing no signs of slowing down. Chris Paul back to full health. Deron Williams healthy with Al Jefferson beside him and more of the offensive load. Tyreke Evans, out of the rookie well and into the general pool. Russell Westbrook, possibly coming on as one of the better slide and dice guards in the league on a team that looks poised to make a run. Stephoe Curry, a rookie of the year runner-up with another season under him and a license to score. This likely means Jason Kidd will not be returning to the team for the 11th time in his career.

And oh, yeah, Kobe will be back in the starting spot. No "probably." He will be.

In the East? Well, the Miami Triad was formed from guys in the East, so they're likely to stay. Even with a downturn in production from sharing the ball, all three should be locks, though it's hard to see Bosh making the starting spot as he was a reserve last season. Amar'e Stoudemire could wind up knocking Kevin Garnett out of the starting spot which would be another changing of the guard. But a more likely scenario is Joe Johnson being unable to reach the starting spot again and moving into the reserve spot as the East looks like the West from last year: four bigs and a guard (Dwyane Wade). Which will be disappointing considering Derrick Rose and Rajon Rondo's existence, both of whom are probable to return as starters.

Carlos Boozer, freed from the big-heavy West, may be able to work his way into a spot, and Paul Pierce may be on the bubble. If Andrew Bogut returns healthy, he could complicate matters, along with Brandon Jennings. Basically, point guards are going to massively complicate these rosters.

Sure, some of these players are going to go down to injury, others will have downturn seasons. But there's a strong indication that this might be a year of big changes in the All-Star Game, both with starting rosters and the reserve spots.

But the parties will be awesome regardless.
Posted on: September 7, 2010 9:21 am
Edited on: September 7, 2010 12:54 pm
 

Shootaround 9.7.10: Believe!

Reggie believes in Wade, Thomas believes in loyalty, and Butler believes in Burger King.Posted by Matt Moore

Reggie Miller believes the Heat are still DWade's team . Miller's probably on target here, but the fact that this is debatable is an interesting thought exercise. After all, we say we determine the quality of a player not by his performance, but by how many rings he has. Wade is the only one of the Miami Triad to have a ring, and yet LeBron is burdened with leadership of the squad. It's possible that this whole thing could only serve to show us how we've been underrating Dwyane Wade the past few years.

In a summer that put a very large nail in the coffin of loyalty in sports, the Mavs' actions towards Tim Thomas remain a hand propping it open. Art Garcia spoke with both Thomas and the Mavs , and both sides used the Magic word, loyalty, in their joint decision to add Thomas to the Mavericks' roster this season after his wife's illness forced him away from the game. We'll see if both sides remain loyal if Thomas does well enough to earn more money next season, or poorly enough to force the Mavericks' hand at the trade deadline.

Derrick Rose has been obsessing over improving his three-point range shot. The Bulls were one of the worst offenses and one of the worst perimeter shooting teams in the league last season. They were simply without a perimeter threat. They brought in Kyle Korver to fix that problem. But Rose is taking that burden upon himself and working to improve it while he's with Team USA. Giving that kid range makes him essentially unguardable. Yikes.

A list of NBA pairings that should happen, including Greg Oden and the Phoenix training staff .

Caron Butler owns six Burger Kings , mostly due to the fact that he used to work at one. Do what you know, I suppose.

It's time to put childish things away and start acknowledging the potential that lies in Miami.

Larry Drew says the Hawks are going to switch less , which is a terrific idea. The switching killed the Hawks against the top teams in the league. Surprisingly, it worked against the Celtics, because they weren't fast enough to make the Hawks pay. But against Orlando, the Magic shredded them off switches by forcing penetration in the interim and creating space, the building block of their offense.

Kobe's ready to go at it again . Raise your hand if you're surprised.

An interesting look at who the Magic's rival is now. The Heat-Magic rivalry has several factors boosting it. It's an in-state rivalry, Dwyane Wade has killed the Magic (on a performance, not win-based level) over the years, and the teams play four times a year. The fans say the Celtics, but we'll see what they say by the end of the year.

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