After yesterday’s embarrassing loss to the San Antonio Spurs, and his untimely ejection from the game early in the third quarter, and what appeared to be a confrontation with GM Mitch Kupchak (later dismissed) Lakers center Dwight Howard finally opened up to the world via Twitter in an attempt to rectify what he felt to be one of the most disappointing seasons of his career. Howard, widely regarded as the league’s best center, was ejected from yesterday’s game following his second technical foul for questioning the officials non-call after what he believed to be a hard foul. In the midst of all this, the Lakers were down by 20 points and Dwight being ejected at this point essentially spelled a loss before the game was even over, and the end of the 2012/13 Lakers season.
The Los Angeles Lakers turbulent season took another turn for the worse Thursday morning (Aus) as scans revealed key forward/center Pau Gasol would miss between 4 to 8 weeks of game time following a tear in his plantar fascia tendon. While the Lakers have been improving of late, winning 6 or their last 7, this potentially very damaging injury could put them back several places in the race for a playoffs birth.
Welcome to another week and another NBA Nation Australia Roundtable! This week we welcome yet another special guest, this time from Los Angeles, California. Jabari Davis is an avid Lakers and NBA fan, co-founder of TheOpinioNation.com and regular writer for famed and well-renowned Lakers blog LakersNation.com. Recently, Jabari was also a guest on fellow Aussie blog/Podcast #BelieveTheHype with Tom Read and Benyam Kidane. We thank you, Jabari for taking the time to answer a few questions and be a part of our Roundtable.
1. With the impending sale of the Sacramento Kings to Seattle where they will likely be renamed the Sonics, what effect do you believe the move will have on both cities and the NBA as a whole? Also, should the league have thought further about whether or not to relocate the Sonics to Oklahoma City in the first place?
Jabari: The sale, in my humble opinion, will signify the renaissance of one city (Seattle) and the unfortunate end of an era in Sacramento. Sacramento, while as small-town as they come, has remained one of the more rabid fan-bases over the past couple decades. Louder than many arenas on a given night, when the Kings were at their finest (C-Webb era) the only current home court environment that would be comparable is that of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Coincidentally, those very Thunder were stolen away from “Emerald City” basketball fans back in 2008. While I completely understood the league’s desire to capitalize on the new found market in OKC given the successful trial period of the Hornets/Pelicans (post-Katrina), I never quite understood the decision to make it at the expense of a very loyal and dedicated Seattle fan base. Barring any last-minute changes, it will be phenomenal to see the game return to the area. I doubt the same thing ever happens in Sacramento.
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.
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.
It’s official. Lakers superstar center Dwight Howard will make his debut for the purple and gold today versus the Sacramento Kings at Staples Center. Howard has been subjected to full contact drills since October 9th and has been progressing extremely well since.
It was undecided whether the 3 time defensive player of the year would make it back in time for the regular season opener against Dallas in a week’s time, but Howard has shown through training and conditioning that he is ready to make his mark and take the floor for the first time for his new team. Up until 10.30am today, Howard’s return was still a game time decision, but as per Y! sources, the decision has been made that will see him play.
It’s six long months since the back operation which cast doubt over when he would be back playing again, but today we will see the one they call Superman step onto the pine alongside Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Steve Nash and Metta World Peace for the very first time.
Welcome to another edition of NBA Nations Australia’s Roundtable Discussion
Our Roundtable Knights Are:
Nick Caro: @NickoToGo
Nick How: @Nick_A_How
Leigh Ellis: @LeighEllis
This week we are joined by the 6th man for the Basketball Jones and The Score, Leigh Ellis. Leigh has been working closely with journalists in all areas of the NBA for a number of years and his podcast with JE Skeets and Tas Melas as part of the Basketball Jones are amongst the World’s most popular. Thanks again for coming along, Leigh.