Tag: Lakers

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2015 NBA MOCK DRAFT

I already know what you’re thinking; ‘here we go, with another boring mock draft, repeating the same crap that everyone else has published’ and you know what? You might be right, BUT as always, I’ll provide you with a unique insight into SOME players you probably wouldn’t have even given a second thought.

Still need convincing? Hands up if any of you had heard of Jordan Clarkson before his breakout season with Los Angeles? You can put your hands down, I know most of you probably didn’t know he existed. Here’s what I had to say; Clarkson is “one of the best playmakers in the draft! He’s got what it takes to make it in the top flight” and with the right coach “could take it to the next level”.

Granted, I had him going at 30 last year, but I’d still like to think my description of him was justified.

You see what I mean? That’s enough about me though, you came here for my predictions, so here we go!

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Number 2 Pick A Game Changer For Struggling Lakers, But Who To Take?

It’s been a long time since the Los Angeles Lakers had a pick as high as this in the NBA draft. One would have to cast their memory back to the summer of 1982, when the Lakers drafted a young forward out of North Carolina with the first pick to help rebuild the team into a competitor. James Worthy helped re-transform the Lakers franchise from struggling underdog to title winning powerhouse within the space of two years, claiming accolade after accolade along the way.

These modern day Lakers, who last week won the number two overall pick in this summer’s NBA draft, will be hoping the player they select on June 25th will yield similar results, and deliver them from the last four years of seemingly endless hardship.

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Jordan Clarkson A Rare Bright Spot in Lakers Misery

The LA Lakers story in 2015 hasn’t differed largely from what anyone imagined it would prior to the start of the season. One could even argue that this history making slide into obscurity could be seen a mile off. Well before they hired coach Byron Scott. Way before they traded for Jeremy Lin, and ‘won’ the rights to sign Carlos Boozer. Long before Julius Randle and Kobe Bryant went down with season ending injuries, and certainly before last week, when the Lakers lost their 60th game in a season for the very first time in their long history.

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One in the Same

Every night before going to bed I have to allocate 10-15 minutes to try and decide which NBA game I’m going to put on to fall asleep too.

It honestly doesn’t even matter if I’m exhausted, unless there is an NBA game playing through my TV I’ll struggle to fall asleep. (more…)



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Christmas Day Recap

Although it’ the Christmas Day spectacular, here in Australia it falls on Boxing Day and everyone knows this day is set up to rest your body after spending the day before trying to stuff as much food into your mouth as humanly possible.

If you missed today’s action due to still being in a food coma, we’ve got you covered.

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Loyalty?

All good supporters and fans of the NBA know that as much as this game is a sport, it’s become more so of a business.

But is it this business approach, and side of the game, that has made it increasingly harder to stay loyal to one team when your favorite players are sent packing?

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When Destiny Meets Greatness [Video]

He’s just 31 points away from third on the all time scoring list, but that’s not the real accomplishment for a guy like Kobe Bryant. Having modeled his game from a man who is widely regarded as the greatest to ever play, the passing of Michael Jordan holds a high level of significance for the Black Mamba, and he’s nearly there.

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Kobe’s Triple Double A Breath Of Fresh Air [Video]

During one of the most tumultuous seasons in Lakers history, there has been little to cheer about for fans of the much fabled franchise. 

One of the few joys still afforded to the fans however, is a well rested and rejuvenated Kobe Bryant who, while shooting a career low…. is as aggressive and determined as ever. That was on full display yesterday as Bryant carved out his 20th career triple double, while also becoming the only member of the 30k+ points club to eclipse 6,000 assists. Not bad for a 36 year old right? 

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Quality Slice

I sent out quite possibly the worst hint for this upcoming article and without fail it was easily dismantled and figured out.

Thanks to Nick How for trying to stir the pot and throw in names such as Ian Botham and Glen Davis.

 

About a year ago for a school assignment I wrote an article about how Peyton Manning somehow with age had gone to a whole new level.

Whilst doing the research for this piece it was unfathomable how good this guy got every passing year (pardon the NFL pun there).

Yes it makes sense for athletes to get better, but normally once they have passed their ‘peak’ the numbers are supposed to continue to climb.

With all of that being said, I can’t help but feel that Kobe Bryant may be in for a 2013/14 Peyton Manning-esque season.

Kobe ‘Black Mamba’ Bryant is a very rare creature and similar to the beef he is a slice unlike anything else you may have spotted. He standouts in a game of remarkable characters

 

The stories are remarkably similar, Manning suffered from neck injuries which forced him onto the sidelines for extended periods of time. Bryant since rupturing his Achilles has faced a long arduous road back.

When they were out of the game, talks began about their place in the history of it all but they knew all along that history had not yet been written. They merely laughed at the speculation that they were done, all the while knowing another chapter was waiting to be written.

Now what Manning did in 2013/14 was supernormal, I don’t want to jump the gun and say Bryant will come back and destroy the competition (mostly because I admire the hell out of him and just want him back on the court).

But the drive that this guys lives his everyday life with is enough to make you believe that when he finally takes the court, his game may have evolved, he will still be steps above the rest.

And to be fair, Manning had unequivocally the best tools surrounding him to help get the job done.

Here is where the main issue lies though with Bryant, two types surround him:

  • Brand new unpackaged tools that have yet to taste real action
  • Old rusted and almost broken down tools.

The Lakers cast and crew are a very oddball bunch and you get the feeling not only are we the fans hoping that Bryant returns but his teammates are wishing for him to come back as the Bryant of old.

Having written some time ago now about how the game is becoming more small ball orientated, this could play in the hands of Bryant. Although he may not be too keen on the frenetic pace that some teams play at, he will absolutely lick his lips if he see’s another point guard trying to line up and guard him.

Being a Celtic fan it’s so easy for me to look at the Lakers roster and pokes holes in it (yes there are a few) but I’ve tried my best to remove these green shades for this article.

No player on the roster benefits more from a healthy Bryant than new kid on the block Julius Randle, the guidance that he will give to him will help his career immensely. If he even picks up one fifth of Bryant’s work ethic then the NBA world needs to be put on notice. And it seems the Mamba is excited for his newest addition.

 

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Bryant is a relentless workhorse who won’t let some silly injury keep him from doing what he does better than most people can only dream of.

I for one cannot wait to see the Black Mamba back out on the floor in the NBA and if he can have a similar run to that of Manning then we are all in for a spectacular treat.

As long as the cursed injury bug doesn’t come back to bite him, the game is in a lot better shape than what it is with Bryant sitting eloquently on the sidelines.

I often at times get weird looks from people when I admit my love for Bryant seeing as though I’m a diehard Celtic. But the thing is, no matter whom you are, champions deserve respect and the game is better when Bryant is playing.

It’s funny too look back at the article I wrote about Manning and realize that the ending could easily be about Bryant.

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Seriously, change the wording slightly and that could easily be about Bryant.

 

I’ve heard a lot of athletes lately question the decision of retirement and whether or not it’s best to bow out with a little left in the tank or push it and leave when you have nothing left at all.

All I can say for certain is that when the time comes, we are going to need an army to drag Kobe Bryant away from the game; he has undoubtedly become one of the all time greats at.

@jLmcKern



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Rookie Watch: Julius Randle (LAL)

It’s been a while since we’ve done Rookie Watch here at NBA Nation Australia.

Before the 2012/13 season we focused on Jared Sullinger, Bradley Beal and Thomas Robinson throughout their rookie NBA seasons, and the features were always hugely popular. 

I chose young shooting guard Bradley Beal, as I believed firmly he would evolve into someone with the ilk of a truly great NBA player, who would be as fun to watch as he would be exciting. Thankfully, I’ve been proven right with Beal capping off a fantastic season for the Washington Wizards in the 2014 Playoffs. He’s becoming more confident in his role every day, and going forward will be an integral part of the Wizard’s plan. 

This year, with the NBA draft being so deep, we’ve decided to jump back on the rookie watch bandwagon, and cover a couple of the guys who perhaps aren’t getting quite the amount of hype or media attention they deserve. You have your Wiggins’s and your Parker’s, but we’ll be taking time out to check in on a couple of guys who are sure to be big players not only in the rookie of the year stakes, but also for their respective teams throughout the NBA season.

So, I’m choosing someone a little closer to my heart in ex-Kentucky Wildcat and 2014 NCAA runner up, Julius Randle, who was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers with the 7th overall pick in the Draft.

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These will be ongoing pieces throughout the year, so please feel free to forward us anything interesting you find relating to our respective players and we’ll include it in our reports. Be it a tweet, video, Instagram or an article… if you think it’s relevant, send it through! 

Standing a formidable 6 foot 9 inches, Julius Randle was one of the more polarizing figures in the 2014 draft. A Kentucky freshman, he was one of the Wildcats’ best performers throughout the 2013/14 NCAA season, helping his team reach the Championship game in March and while Kentucky lost to the University of Connecticut in a close contest, Randle was undoubtedly one of the highlights. Averaging 15 points and 10 rebounds per contest, he shot 50% across 40 games for the Cats and lead the Nation in double-doubles with 24 on the year. Randle also played alongside Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker in the 2013 McDonald’s All American game as well as the Jordan Brand Classic that year, one of six Wildcats competing in the event. 

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The Lakers had been enamored with Randle throughout much of their 2013/14 campaign, and with their off-season focus turning towards the draft, he became their number one target. While Lakers management believed Randle would be off the board by the 7th pick, the Lakers were overjoyed when their rival Celtics took Oklahoma State point guard Marcus Smart at six, leaving the door wide open for them to claim their man. 

Called the draft’s “most NBA ready player” by the experts, the 250lb power forward will be heavily featured in Lakers coach Byron Scott’s rotation, especially now that their two time champ and star big man Pau Gasol has made the move to Chicago. Providing the team with stellar defensive efficiency, and the ability to muscle his way through traffic in the paint will mean big things for a Lakers team without an enforcer type player to throw his weight around down low. Randle can move with the ball, get his own shot, and out-muscle his competition on the glass – A huge advantage for the Lakers who were a lowly 25th in rebounding percentage last season.  

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New team mate and fellow workhorse Kobe Bryant, who has made a career out of demanding the best out of his fellow players, was pleased with the drafting of Randle, given his love for hard work.

“I demand a lot from my teammates as well. Holding each other accountable, putting extra work in was what I had to do at Kentucky. It was what I demanded of my teammates and that’s what we did and that’s why we were successful.” Randle said on draft night. “He [Kobe] may get tired of me because I’m going to be bugging him, trying to learn stuff from him. I’m going to learn a lot from him.”

We believe you, rook. 

Summer League 2014

Randle’s first experience as a member of the Lakers came during July’s NBA Summer League tournament in Las Vegas, NV where alongside fellow draftee Jordan Clarkson and a host of other Laker hopefuls, he impressed officials and sent a wave of excitement around Laker Nation. Whilst the Lakers finished the tournament with a 2-3 record, the two rookies were at the forefront of the team for the duration, impressing both fans and critics alike with a wide range of skills.

Missing the first game due to a contract mishap, Randle averaged 12 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists in 28 minutes across four starts, all the while shooting a respectable 44.8%. Both he and Clarkson are expected to arrive at Lakers HQ in El Segundo, CA this month ahead of training camp in early October.

Check out some of Randle’s highlights from the SL below: 

Social Media Highlights

As is the case with most high profile sports stars these days, social media plays a huge part in their day to day lives, as it does ours, so part of our rookie updates will include the best of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook throughout the season. in case you’re not already following Julius Randle, you can do so via the links below. For now, here are a few highlights so far:

Instagram (@juliusrandle30)

You can't handle Randle! He's already been signed by Nike on a rookie deal.

You can’t handle Randle! He’s already been signed by Nike on a rookie deal.

Meant to be. Randle actually grew up a fan of the purple and gold!

Meant to be. Randle actually grew up a fan of the purple and gold!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As is tradition in LA, the rookie takes in the sights at Dodger Stadium

As is tradition in LA, the rookie takes in the sights at Dodger Stadium

Randle with his biggest supporter as he is introduced to the LA media

Randle with his biggest supporter as he is introduced to the LA media

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Twitter (@J30_RANDLE)

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Specs

Name: Julius Randle

DOB: 29/11/1994 (Age 19)

Height: 6’9″

Position: Power Forward

Pick: Selected with the 7th overall pick by the LA Lakers in the 2014 Draft

College: University of Kentucky Wildcats

 

So there you have it – Julius Randle, the highest Laker draft pick since James Worthy in 1982. The kid has some big shoes to fill but we can’t wait to see how his game evolves during his time with the Lakers. Thanks for reading, and make sure you keep checking back for regular updates. Again, if you want to submit something to be a part of the next update, send it to us and we’ll include it!