Earlier today on ESPN’s Mike And Mike In The Morning 11-time championship coach Phil Jackson alluded to his reaction when he was told by Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak that he would not be re-hired by the Lakers in favor of ex Suns/Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni. It was almost a given that Jackson would return to the head coaching role left open by the recently fired Mike Brown, and no one expected the complete 180 Lakers management did that night. Calling Jackson at midnight to inform him that D’Antoni was the right man for the job over Jackson, considering the current roster including Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard and Steve Nash. Phil had kept quiet about the incident for the duration of the season, with many fans calling for Mike D’Antoni’s head and the ever present chant of “We Want Phil!” echoing around the Staples Center on a nightly basis. Even then he kept quiet. But on the eve of the release of his new book Eleven Rings: The Soul Of Success, Jackson has become more vocal about a number of topics, including that of the choice to hire D’Antoni.
It’s no secret that the Los Angeles Lakers have built their franchise on risk taking and money spending. From the showtime era to the current…well… not so showtime era, the Lakers have always been happy to spend the extra money, and take the extra risk to ensure that silverware returned to the city. This ethos has paid off for the Lakers time and time again, but now, they face a whole new risk and as of 3PM (US EST) today, they officially handed over the reigns to a man who now has the club, and the people of LA eating out of the palm of his hand and bowing to his every need. The Lakers are now at the beckon call of Dwight Howard and if this team is to succeed in the near future, it is imperative that they do all they can to keep him. I have argued, as have many, that the Lakers, in order to remain top dog should trade Howard as the risk of losing him to free agency for nothing is too great a risk to take. If he leaves, the Lakers are left with nothing but a memory of the year that could have been, but wasn’t. They however, do not feel the same way. The trade deadline has come and gone and as Mitch Kupchak stated would be the case, Dwight Howard is still very much a Laker and he will be until July 1st 2013. Beyond that only he knows but now, he can dictate his way around the Lakers organization just as he did Orlando. He can direct to his taste the offense, the defense, the coach, the players. Everything.
Welcome back for another edition of NBA Nation Australia’s Weekly Roundtable. This week we welcome to the table a good friend of ours, Nick Gelso. Nick Co-Host’s The Celtics Late Night Show on Boston Radio channel CLNS Radio. This we talk about the Pacers Away form, the Legend of LeBron, the struggling Mav’s, and a whole heap more.
1. Lebron James is in the midst of something special – 33 games in a row scoring 20 + points. What else does have to do to cement his place as one of the NBA greats? Is it all about Championships, or can we call LeBron a legend already?
Nick Caro: Nothing. Not to people who know what they’re talking about. Stars will always have their haters who wish nothing but disappointment on them, but the people who disagree with the fact that LeBron is a champion of the game are plain old nuts. Not only does he have the ability to change a game, he has just completed a year in which he won an NBA title, league MVP, finals MVP and Olympic Gold Medal. As mentioned in the question, he’s also on a 33 game streak scoring 22+. That’s ridiculous. Of course, the more championships LBJ wins the more people will have to accept the fact he is one of the best that’s ever played the game and it will go a long way to ensuring his legacy is upheld. Having said that people should know it already. C’mon, watch the guy play. It’s just mesmerising and he should be commended for that, not ridiculed. What LeBron did to Cleveland and ‘The Decision’ was horrible, but it’s time to move on, put it to bed and enjoy what may be one of the best careers we will ever see.
You don’t need to be an expert to see that there is trouble in Laker Land. This storied franchise came into to 2012/13 with a whole new arsenal of players and Championship aspirations, and so far they have looked everything but. The acquisition of Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, Jodie Meeks and Antawn Jamison (who is he again?) were meant to bolster the team into the upper echelons of the Western Conference and
everyone many predicted that this would undoubtedly end in yet another title for Lakers. Since the start of the season, the drama that has unfolded has been nothing short of disastrous for the Lakers’ PR department, as the team reels at 15 wins and 16 losses a quarter of the way through to season. Who would have thought this stacked Lakers roster would be under .500 after 31 games?
Add into the mix the firing of head coach Mike Brown after Los Angeles started the season 1-4. The players remain adamant that it will turn around, that they can right the ship through hard work and chemistry building. Sure, injury has plagued them through the initial stages, but with the team nearly back to full strength it’s hard to see a lot of improvement and it’s now becoming frustrating for fans, coaching staff, management and indeed the players themselves. It’s really quite hard to pinpoint where the Lakers are struggling, but here we’ll take a look at all the factors surrounding the team and allow you to break down where you think there is room for improvement and who may or may not be the true crux of the problems in Los Angeles. We’ll look at the players, coaches, fans and more to try and better understand what the real issues are that face one of the most famous sporting franchises in history.
Only five players in history have done it, and of those five players, only one has done it by the age of 34. Kobe Bryant entered the league 17 years ago as a young high school prospect from Lower Merion where he had been scouted and eventually drafted from by the Charlotte Hornets. Bryant was quickly traded to the Los Angeles Lakers where we have since seen what is undoubtedly one of the greatest careers in league history. Today, Kobe Bryant notched his 30,000th career point. He stands 5th on the all time scoring list, behind Chamberlain, Jordan, Malone and Kareem. This was a moment where Kobe Bryant joined an elite club, that very few will ever be a part of.
After what was thought to be the job only Phil Jackson was going to take, the Los Angeles Lakers made a shock move late Monday night by hiring ex-New York Knicks and Olympic coach Mike D’Antoni. D’Antoni will likely assume control of the team against Phoenix on Friday as he is currently unable to fly to LA due to an existing knee condition he recently had surgery on. This hiring makes a lot of sense to the Lakers who have struggled to get any fluency on offense this season, and with players like Steve Nash, whom D’Antoni has coached before, Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard on the team this is sure to be one big offensive juggernaut. Here, we’re breaking down what went wrong with Phil Jackson, and where the Lakers can excel under Mike D’Antoni.
Following the news on Saturday that the LA Lakers had fired head coach Mike Brown, there has been an influx of speculation about how the team will cope with the change, who would take on the challenge as an interim coach and ultimately, who would replace Brown. We’ve seen a very vulnerable Lakers team so far this season and yes, there are some excuses. Dwight Howard’s back, Steve Nash’s Leg, Kobe Bryant’s foot as well as others but the biggest concern amongst many fans was that Mike Brown was still holding his position as head coach.
After the worst start to a season since 1993/94, the Lakers had been very close to pushing the panic button with many people beginning to believe this may be a reincarnation of the much over-hyped team of 2004/05 and not in fact as scary as most thought they would be. Including the preseason, this Lakers team of Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, Steve Nash and Metta World Peace went 1-12. One single win in 13 games over 5 odd months. This team of superstars found themselves alone at the stone cold bottom of the Western Conference. Granted, it’s early days but fans in LA don’t want to wait. They want to win. Now.
Most surprising start to the new NBA season…
Two weeks into the new season an we have already seen some teams struggle while other teams are relishing a new start. We had a quick look over each teams record and present you with 5 teams that have surprised us so far…
Every day brings us closer to the new NBA season and we are all waiting with baited breath to see our teams run out on the pine in a few weeks time. During the lead up we’ve been updating you with our 2012/13 preseason team previews! Today, we take a brief look at the Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons and the two sides in Los Angeles, the Clippers and the Lakers.
Let’s get into it!
After weeks of speculation surrounding Laker Dwight Howard’s eventual return to the pine, the superstar center was recently boasting his intentions of working closely with former legend and all time scoring champ Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in an attempt to learn the ways of becoming a true champion in Lakers folklore. Howard had stated that he had spoken with Abdul-Jabbar and the two would be working together in the coming months. However yesterday KAJ stated he had not, and would be unlikely to, meet with Howard and the center looked as though he may have been pulling the legs of Lakers fans.
But early this morning both Howard and Kareem tweeted a photo of the two in what looks like a friendly, excitable meeting which may suggest that they may in fact become not only student and mentor, but also friends. Howard tweeted “God is good. This is a dream come true. Me and KAJ together for many years to come. Go Lakers.” Whilst Abdul-Jabbar tweeted “Great meeting you today. Lakers Nation is in great hands for years to come. Now let’s WIN a championship!”
The content may also suggest that Howard has already decided upon where he’ll play following his first year in L.A. following months of speculation about the possibility of a contract extension and if he’ll stay with the Lakers long term. From what we can see here, Dwight and Kareem both seem fairly sure L.A. could very well be the place that superman calls home for the foreseeable future.
Lakers Nation seems to be in pretty good shape right about now. We can only assume that this meeting between a Lakers legend and a current superstar is the beginning of what promises to be yet another golden era in LaLa land.