Tag Archives: Lamar Odom

How Social Media Will Eviscerate the Owners

There is no more optimism here.  With two weeks of the season easily canceled on non-issues such as the size of the luxury tax and the length of mid-level exception contracts, I now understand that the small-market/hawk owners weren’t just a small voice in the room, they were the room, and they forced David Stern into his second work stoppage in the last three tries.  The utterly perplexing, idiotic, stupefying decision by the NBA to irrevocably damage the reputation of the league (again) is beyond reproach, and right now I don’t have the energy or the will power to dissect an argument that obviously makes no sense.  As dear Alfred put it, “some men just want to watch the world burn.”  So here we are, the likelihood of a season starting on time now at 0%, and the likelihood of having a season at all dropping more and more by the minute.  But there is one silver lining that puts a smile on my face: the owners will eat this decision for decades to come.  Why? Twitter.

A few months ago my roommate introduced me to the world of 140 character status updates.  At least that’s what I thought of the service before I tried it.  A glorified circle-jerk of people putting up Facebook statuses in realtime.  But my opinion changed quickly.  A global trend could influence the viewpoints of hundreds of millions of people, all within the time it takes to refresh your twitter feed.  Instantly the middle man became obsolete.   Suddenly the amount of followers a person has is the currency that matters, not zeroes on the end of a paycheck.  While famous people are popular, so are those that took to the service early from their basements, gained a massive following, and now show up on the twitter feeds of thousands, or even millions, without the help of “professionals” whose job it was to spin and manipulate the facts until the “truth” was whatever they wanted it to be.

The PR people of 1998 (when the last lockout occurred) are akin to Best Buy in an Amazon world, or AOL in the time of Verizion FIOS.  With players now able to speak their mind uninterrupted, the fans have unprecedented access to the league’s players, from Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) to Jared Dudley (@jdudley619).  While the NBA has imposed draconian gag orders on its teams from discussing the lockout, NBA players have been taking to twitter, defending their position to fans, getting “mainstream” press coverage from their interactions, and slowly turning minds that were against them and building up confidence in those that already supported them.  While Steve Nash (@stevenash) and Derek Fisher (@derekfisher) have been communicating directly with fans, getting fans to understand that a union is a union if the workers are playing basketball or building cars, the NBA has been keeping their greatest weapons on the sidelines.  Mark Cuban (@mcuban) can’t say a word, but his players can eviscerate the league’s position and build up their own following without any type of repercussions from the league.

Granted, some players are just in it to build their brand (looking at you @RealLamarOdom), but many others are taking to Derek Fisher’s call to #StandUnited, and the outcome will only be viewed as utterly disastrous for the owners when they look back at the fallout from this lockout.  Sure, if you look at traditional venues for fan speak, such as Yahoo! Sports’ comments sections, you’ll see less love for the players.  But the people that the NBA cares about aren’t on Yahoo! and ESPN message boards, they are on twitter, tweeting at @StephenCurry30 to give them a good morning tweet or retweeting the #StandUnited tweets from @KingJames.  The future of the ticket-paying NBA fan base is literally speaking to the greatest basketball players in the world, and as history has repeatedly shown, those that connect most with the people will win the people’s hearts and minds.

The owners are banking on a backlash against the players a la 1998-1999, where the working man couldn’t understand how millionaire basketball players could complain about their paychecks.  But the world has changed dramatically in the last 13 years, in no small part due to the reckless actions of NBA owners and their kin outside of the game of basketball.  The uber-rich are no longer the toast of the town.  People are tired of the richest squashing on everyone else like bugs, and to display their distaste of such draconian tactics the world is putting its displeasure on display on none other than Twitter (#occupywallst anyone?).

I don’t want to lose a whole season.  I hate the idea of not being able to watch the Lakers crush through the regular season and fight their way back to the top.  But I hate even more the idea that the NBA owners are counting on me, a fan who regularly pays way more than I should to watch an NBA game, to turn against the players that are doing their best to connect with me, to get a deal done so they can get back on the court so they can pay their bills and play the game they love.  I’m not going to do it.  You can retweet me on that.

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Filed under NBA Lockout

Draft and Trades

I just received an email from my esteemed co-author that read simply: Lamar and Shannon for Raymond Felton and Wilson Chandler.

I’ll respond here: NO!

I just don’t believe that is time for us to start hypothetically dealing away core players.  Don’t get me wrong I am on edge when Shannon is on the court and Odom’s playoffs were far from stellar; luckily for him he was overshadowed by Pau’s disappearance.  The Pau to the T’Wolves for the #2 and Kevin Love rumor and the Bynum in the place of Pau have me shaking my head.  I even read a Bynum for Tony Parker rumor that infuriated me.  One thing I am sure that Mike Brown CAN do (maybe even better than PJ) is figure out how to play Bynum and Pau together effectively.

To quote funny man Brian Hader, “pump the brakes” Laker fans.  The consensus takeaways from this season were that the Lakers need youth, athleticism, and an above average point guard.  Steve Blake was not the solution this year, but I’m not sold on giving up the 6th man of the year for two players with 14 combined playoff games.  This is the curse of being a Lakers fan; we want athleticism, experience, youth, veterans, ball movement, great one-on-one players, and championships.  I may be a rare specimen, but I still think Pau is a top 3 PF, Odom is top 12 among PFs, and I believe Steve Blake will play much better with more minutes and a system other than the triangle offense, which has little use for Blake’s ability to create.  What I’m saying is kind of what GM Mitch Kupchak said after the season, return the core of the team with a few tweaks.

From what I hear from my “sources” (various podcasts, blogs, and tweets) the Lakers are looking to deal some of their 4 second round picks to move into the first round.  They want youth at the guard position and I agree with that, I can only hope that Mitch, Jim, Jerry, and Mike are a little bit more rational than we are.

With that said, how about Kobe for Dirk?! I’m just saying.

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Let’s Make a Deal?

Plaschke strikes again.  This time it’s Dwight Howard for Lamar and Drew.  Before it was Carmelo for Drew straight up.  Tomorrow it’ll be ’96 Michael Jordan for a future first round pick, Jeanie Buss and… Drew.  My man Bill Plaschke fucking hates Andrew Bynum, and I just don’t understand why.  Lets break down the past two “trades” proposed by Bill and see where that would put us.

Carmelo for Drew

PG: Derek Fisher
SG: Kobe Bryant
SF: Carmelo Anthony
PF: Lamar Odom
C: Pau Gasol

Analysis: Garbage.  Pau at Center for a whole season with no backup?  Do you remember how he looked like a beat up shell of himself due to prolonged minutes and three straight finals runs?  Who is going to anchor the 2nd unit with Lamar sliding into the starting five? There’s absolutely no way that this team could have kept up with Dallas as his most recent article suggests.

Dwight Howard for Lamar and Drew

PG: Steve Blake
SG: Kobe Bryant
SF: Ron Artest
PF: Pau Gasol
C: Dwight Howard

Analysis: Less smelly garbage, but still garbage.  Obviously this starting five is amazing, but a closer look still reveals a roster with four players over 30 years old, and a second unit consisting of Derek Fisher, JJ Reddick, Shannon Brown and two D-league players with minimum contracts.

So in conclusion, shut the fuck up Bill Plaschke.  Maybe Jim Buss will pull the trigger and trade for Dwight Howard, but it isn’t going to be the saving grace of the Los Angeles Lakers.  Maybe adding a legit PG a la TJ Ford and a backup C that will take some miles off of Drew and Pau combined with a reinvigorated Lakers roster that is coming off a horrendous sweep and watching someone else hoist the O’Brien is all we need.  Or maybe ’96 MJ is available.

Follow Nihar on Twitter @niharjshah

Got hate? jimbussheroes@gmail.com

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Filed under Plaschke Fail

Monta Ellis Would Be Perfect

I know I’m going to take some heat for this one (even here at JBH), but hear me out: Monta Ellis is exactly what the Lakers need right now, and should do everything that is reasonable to get him.  Why Monta?  Let’s take a look at the glaring weaknesses for the Lakers in 2010-2011: lack of athleticism, weak guard play on the offensive and defensive ends, poor bench production.  If done correctly, a trade for Monta Ellis could be an answer to all three of those issues.

Let me explain.  If we consider that everyone on the Lakers’ roster is one year older, then there is no doubt that the championship window closes after next year, at the latest.  At that time, the Lakers will have shed essentially the entire roster, save for Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant, with Lamar Odom‘s contract only partially guaranteed in 2012-2013, and Andrew Bynum up for a contract renewal in the same year.  The team would be heavily relying on two aging superstars in Pau and Kobe, and would have nothing left to put around them.  So, at the risk of losing some familiarity, if the Lakers go out and get someone young and athletic that can ease the scoring burden on Kobe over the years, and be a reliable #2 option to Andrew Bynum, the Lakers would immediately add some juice to an increasingly disinterested set of veterans, and also return to some of the “Showtime” glory that the Buss’ reportedly are craving since Phil Jax’ slow it down, kill you slowly, style.

Who do you give up?  Either Pau or Lamar.  Kobe is Kobe and he’s not going anywhere.  Andrew Bynum is younger and more dominant than Monta can ever be, and is the kind of guy you trade for Dwight Howard.  If you trade Pau you end up with a starting 5 of: Blake/Fisher, Kobe, Ron, Lamar, Bynum, and a second unit of: Fisher/Blake/Brown, Ellis, Barnes, and a yet to be named backup PF and C, but in reality you can put some heavier minutes on Bynum and Odom.  That second unit would put great scoring pressure on opposing teams, and would make up for lack of size on the defensive end with better quickness and fast breaks.

If Lamar is the one to be chosen, which is more likely due to his contract situation, then your starting five remains unchanged from this year, you find some depth at the PF position in free agency, and you hope that Pau and Drew can play big minutes to lock down the interior in the second unit.  But the most exciting prospect of adding Monta isn’t in the first five minutes of the game, its in the last five minutes.  If you believe Mike Brown and his insistence that some elements of the triangle are going to be kept, then this late game rotation would be absolutely unstoppable: Ellis, Kobe, Ron, Pau, Bynum; OR Blake, Ellis, Kobe, Pau, Bynum OR … You see what I’m getting at?  Putting Monta at the PG position on this incredibly PG-weak team would open up all kinds of insane options for Mike Brown to play with, and just having him in the line-up would provide Kobe with the ball-handling make-your-own-shot kind of guy he’s been looking for for years.

I’m not saying it would be perfect.  And seeing Lamar or Pau go would be painful after the wild success they’ve shared since 2008.  But the reality is that the league is getting quicker, in direct response to the Lakers dominating with size.  If the Lakers adjust back to add the most dynamic scorer available, well, I think Lakers fans will need to offer up some more cheese.

Follow Nihar on Twitter @niharjshah

Got hate? jimbussheroes@gmail.com

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Filed under Hypotheticals