Tag:Los Angeles Lakers
Posted on: October 12, 2010 12:34 pm
 

Ron Artest is slimmer, sober-er and against pot

Posted by Royce Young

He talks, I write. Seriously, when is Ron Artest not saying something interesting?

But in a column for the Orange County Register, Kevin Ding mentions how Artest said he's done drinking. And done with something else too.
Artest said he stopped drinking alcohol in January to focus on the season — and then ceased his championship celebrations, alcohol-wise, at the end of July. Artest said he “didn’t even have the stomach for it anymore” while celebrating, which included him consuming his infamous Hennessy scotch before the Lakers’ 11 a.m. championship parade .

“That’s something that paid off so much,” he said. “I’ve been drinking alcohol since I was 17 years old, 15 years old.”

Gotta love Ron’s openness, huh?

Artest also volunteered something along those lines at the end of his chat with reporters Saturday: “Even if they legalize marijuana, I won’t be smoking marijuana.”

Artest has come a long way. His NBA journey has certainly been a strange one, but one thing that Artest has never lacked is honesty. Drinking since he was 15? Does that explain anything for you?

As for Artest smoking weed, I guess he didn't officially say that he did smoke and has given it up. But I think that much was implied by the last comment.

The actual angle of Ding's piece was to talk about how Artest has slimmed down and was as light at 249 over the summer. Artest said he prefers to start the year at 260 and whittle down to 245 by the playoffs. No munchies, less boozing? Yep, I'd say that's a pretty good weight loss program.

Artest also mentioned how the drop in weight could help him against Kevin Durant but then acknowledged unsolicited that the cut in size could hurt him against the power of LeBron James in the 2011 Finals. So yeah, Artest is already thinking about that next victory parade.
Posted on: October 11, 2010 9:36 am
Edited on: October 11, 2010 9:36 am
 

Shootaround 10.11.10: Ins and Outs

Turtlenecks are in for SVG, Splitter is out for the Spurs, Ron Artest's second ring is already on its way out, and Ryan Anderson is in gear for the Magic, all in today's Shootaround.
Posted by Matt Moore


When the NBA announced a rule regarding coaching dress codes, which presumably would outlaw turtlenecks, everyone immediately thought of Stan Van Gundy. Van Gundy himself actually said they should name the rule after him. But the Orlando Senitinel went out and discovered that SVG will be able to wear turtlenecks this season due to how the rule works. I don't know whether SVG should be happy or sad about his development.

Greg Oden says he can be an All-Star , when healthy. Honestly, no one doubts that out of Oden. He's tall, a huge advantage in the sport of basketball, and bulky, a big deal in the NBA. But he needs to not say things like this because it only attracts more attention to the fact that he hasn't proven he can stay healthy, or rehab effectively, or that his head's in the right place. He just needs to not talk about it, go out, and do it. Anything else is just going to bring the vultures.

Tiago Splitter continues to miss time with a leg injury . In the myriad of ways that his NBA career could have started, this isn't the worst, but it's up there. Nagging small injuries aren't just obnoxious and painful, they're hard for coaches and players to sympathize with, and call into quiestion a player's toughness. That's what Splitter's facing in preseason with a tough veteran Spurs club.

The Blazers are adding Steven Hill due to their lack of big men, which is awesome, because he's from Branson, Missouri. Hill should instantly be the leader in mini-golf handicaps .

Anthony Mason Jr. son of the former Knick star has been cut from the Heat. Too bad, he showed some flashes in limited time, but that roster's kind of full-up if you haven't noticed.

Ready for a storyline you can bank on this year? Raptor fans are going to go from feeling disdain towards Andrea Bargnani to outright hatred. He's going to get all the blame for the Raps , even while he probably leads the team in scoring. He's overpaid, but that guy needs a fresh start somewhere else more than anything.

The New York Daily News reports that the Bulls are investigating Carlos Boozer's fall to see if he really did injure himself tripping over a bag . Bulls by the Horns says that the investigation is neither surprising nor troubling , just business as usual. It's still not the way the Bulls wanted to start the era of their marquee free agent from the biggest FA summer in history.

Ron Artest is offering his second championship ring to whoever writes the best essay on how to improve the country. In case you're confused, no he has not won that second ring yet. Ron is not lacking for confidence on this team.

Vince Carter is beaming about Ryan Anderson, which is a good sign for the Magic. It really looks like Orlando will be in a position to use him more this season.

This is probably the last season for Antonio McDyess, and might be the last one for Marcus Camby. Bizarre to think of an NBA without those two vets, and sad to think they'll probably wrap up their careers without a ring.

Posted on: October 8, 2010 3:36 pm
 

Video: Barcelona makes the Lakers' heads spin

Posted by Royce Young

Euroleague giant FC Barcelona upset the Lakers 92-88 yesterday in a game that really doesn't mean anything nor should anyone look into anything. Though today, because of the result, some are wondering if Barcelona could hack it in the NBA, including Kobe Bryant.

But while I doubt that Barcelona could be competitive for 82 games a year, they did make the defending champs look absolutely silly on one play. I believe this is what you call "touch passes."



Via SLAM
Posted on: October 7, 2010 12:23 pm
Edited on: October 7, 2010 12:27 pm
 

Ron Artest's plan after hoops: Boxing or football

Posted by Royce Young

I haven't really given much thought to life after basketball for Ron Artest. But it's really something I should start considering. I mean, what is he going to do with himself when he isn't playing hoops?

Artest has an idea and of course, it's a very Ron Artest sort of idea:

"After I’m done with my basketball career, I want to box and I wanna play football – probably tight end position," Artest told HoopsHype. "I’ve been training for three years for boxing. Probably after this contract, I’ll probably do football first and then boxing. I’m definitely serious about those two things I wanna do. I wish I could do it now."

We hear the football fallback all the time, but boxing? That's new. And maybe something Artest could be good at. Here's where I insert the video of the Malace at the Palace.

I don't know why NBA players all think they can just lace up some cleats and start playing football. Nate Robinson recently said a similar thing about playing football if there's a lockout (Robinson actually was a pretty terrific high school quarterback though). Lots of NBA players talk about the pigskin as if it's that easy to just go do. Skill wise, football doesn't compare with basketball. Basketball is much tougher. But you've got to have almost a gene to be able to take the physicality of the game. And it's not just that. There's a thousands of terrific athletes that couldn't hack it playing football. It's not something you just pick up and play.

(Now of course my mind immediately goes to the NFL, but Artest might be interested in playing in the CFL or even the European Leagues. Which I'm sure someone would take a PR chance on him then.)

Artest's current contract runs through 2014 with the last year being an early termination option. Artest is 30, so retirement around the age of 34 makes sense, especially if he has plans to try some other things before he gets too old. He said he even wishes he could play them now. I don't know if that means he wishes he wasn't playing ball under contract and could quit or if he wishes he could play on the side. Who knows? But whatever the case, it sounds like Crazy Pills has a plan for life after the hardwood. And a plan that fits him well.
Category: NBA
Posted on: October 6, 2010 4:04 pm
Edited on: October 6, 2010 5:20 pm
 

GMs say Kevin Durant will win the 2010-11 MVP

Posted by Royce Young

The news is Kevin Durant was voted to by 28 of the league's general managers to win the 2010-11 MVP award. That's the news . But the story? The story is how they voted in regards to LeBron James.

The reigning two-time MVP winner only picked up one vote to take home the Maurice Podoloff Trophy. In the 2009 GM survey, James received 79 percent of the vote. This season? One vote. Durant grabbed 67 percent, the highest total. Kobe Bryant received 26 percent and Dwight Howard also got a single vote. But LeBron, the player who won last season's trophy by the largest margin ever, took quite a dive.

Is that perception? Is that based on emotions? Is it about race (that's a joke)? Or do GMs truly not think LeBron will have an MVP caliber season?

What made it such an interesting thing is that LeBron was still voted as the league's best small forward, getting 68 percent of the vote. That's right, perceptive basketball reader, Kevin Durant also plays small forward. And the votes went to KD for MVP, LeBron for best player.

Clearly Durant has leaped over LeBron in terms of popularity because of Durant's slight demeanor, humble attitude and big time summer. LeBron's value to a basketball team hasn't changed. As anyone who watched Miami's first preseason game last night, LeBron is still a wonderful, incredible amazing basketball player. He didn't lose that ability by going to Miami. And the league's GMs didn't think that. They just think he lost his value.

But that's not the only thing that was determined in the vote. A few interesting notes from the survey:
  • The Thunder was named the league's most fun team to watch (52 percent) over the Suns (23 percent).
  • John Wall was picked with 68 percent to win Rookie of the Year. Blake Griffin was runner-up getting 29 percent. Don't forgot DeMarcus Cousins who looked incredibly impressive in his preseason debut.
  • A small surprise here: The Lakers were picked to win the NBA title with 63 percent. The Heat only got 33 percent. The executives think it will be a Heat-Lakers Finals though, with LA picked to win the West (96 percent) and Miami to win the East (70 percent).
  • Kobe got nearly 79 percent of the vote in the "Who do you want taking the last shot?" question.
  • Dwight Howard (96 percent) was voted as the top center. He was also voted the top defensive player (78 percent).
  • Boston was picked as the top defensive team in the league with 75 percent of the vote. Arguably last season's best defensive team, especially in terms of defensive efficiency, the Bobcats, did receive a vote.
Posted on: October 4, 2010 10:20 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2010 10:47 am
 

Kobe's knee at only 60% right now

Bryant tells reporter knee is only 60% just three weeks from the start of the season.
Posted by Matt Moore


We're not going to waste your time with recapping the first preseason game of the season. Long story short, lots of reserves, not much of starters, and Michael Beasley looked good. What was relevant came for six minutes and then afterwards. That six minutes was the total amount of time Kobe Bryant spent on the floor. More important was what he said afterword, as reported on Twitter by Mike Trudell of Lakers.com .
Kobe said his knee was "extremely, extremely painful during the NBA Finals." Said he feels better, but is at about "60%" tonight.
  60%. Yikes. We're three weeks from the start of the season and the defending Finals MVP, the best player on the defending champions is 60%. That's got to be concerning, until you realize that the Lakers could literallly lose all of their games for the first month, and then still probably make the playoffs. If any team defines "the switch" outside of Boston, it's LA. Bryant was frustrated and disappointed he couldn't play more tonight , especially with the fans chanting for him, but the knee just couldn't go. It's a testament to his dedication that he wanted to play that much in a preseason game... in Europe. But that's what we've seen from Bryant.

For now, we'll hold off concern, even though being just over 50% three weeks out has to put just a few flags up. This is an important season for the Lakers, obviously, but it may be the most important. It's Phil Jackson's final year, Bryant's knees won't last forever, Gasol's getting older, and the competition keeps getting tougher in the West and out. With Andrew Bynum out till December, it looks like we won't be seeing the Lakers full strength for quite some time. I'm sure their fans are fine with that as long as they're still sterling in May.
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.
 
 
 
 
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