Sounding Off: An Angeleno Facelift For ‘The Lake Show’
Also: Commentary on the Cavs’ new lottery win.
by Sandy Dover / @SandmanSeven
Sometimes, I have a lot of thoughts and opinions on some happenings that have occurred in the world of the NBA. But many times, I don’t have the conviction to write 700 words on every singular subject of interest — but I may have a bunch of short bits to communicate en masse, on occasion. And so I’ll be Sounding Off on occasion. Holler.
The Los Angeles Lakers swept, huh? As a member of the media, I should be objective but I’ve always thought fondly of Phil Jackson and whenever he’s in the Playoffs (always), I’ve always wanted him to win championships. It’s Michael Jordan’s fault–my love for those Chicago Bulls as a kid made me love Jackson as a byproduct of that love, and so that’s that. Anyway, the issue of Kobe Bryant…I’ve said since 2008 that Kobe was slowing down considerably. He probably should’ve been an option 1B) this year, and I was actually in the camp that wanted Carmelo Anthony to go to Los Angeles for that reason alone. Sure, Andrew Bynum would’ve had to go (and the Lakers might not have survived with ‘Melo this year), but it would’ve ensured that Kobe had someone to help dominate on the perimeter with him and he could really go into Mamba Mode. Now? Kobe will be grinding down on those old legs like a past-his-prime racehorse on rusting shoes.
And yes, I said it. Kobe’s…old. I mean, he’s young, but he’s old and I have my doubts about his being able to win as his athleticism continually lag. Everyone seems to want to compare him to Jordan, but MJ was considerably fresher, had a stronger and more muscular build, and had a jumper that was A-U-T-O-MATIC (*wink* to you Prince fans out there in Los Angeles). Kobe? His jumper’s never been that kind of “on,” and the last time he had fresh legs was in the summer of 2007. I have my doubts. In my opinion, the Lakers have to trade their draft picks and either Pau Gasol or Bynum for a star wing, because this…this isn’t happening; the Lakers as we know them are fractured and can quickly become broken in due time. It would be great if they could get Rudy Gay in a blockbuster trade…but let’s face it–that’s not gonna happen.
But I went to ESPN’s Trade Machine to make the changes happen anyway.
(That trade would really work some things out for the Lakers…and a Gasol brothers partnership would be excellent, as the Memphis Grizzlies would also get a Gay-ish kind of player and basically a younger, less talented version of Z-Bo; the Sacramento Kings would be getting back rabble-rouser Ron Artest and ultimate team man Derek Fisher.)
The Cleveland Cavaliers are winners of the 2011 NBA Draft Lottery. I think it’s more indicative of a silly, bad-luck-bound Los Angeles Clippers organization, since it’s their former pick that they traded away, unprotected, to the Cavs in the first place. It’s crazy to think that the Clippers could have Kyrie Irving with Eric Gordon in the backcourt, along with Blake Griffin at the centerpiece…it’s unconscionable that whoever is in charge let that pick go unprotected to Cleveland with Baron Davis, but God help the Cavaliers if they can use this as a way to bury the bad blood between them and a Mr. LeBron Raymone James. In the meantime, this is only fuel to get the Cavs back on track. I have my own doubts about the Cavaliers as competent decision-makers, but I do believe that they have a decent understanding of what to do, and in this case, snapping up Irving is a blessing for them. They can get a very motivated (and free agent-to-be) B-Diddy to show his fellow former All-American understudy the ropes and also show Cleveland a good time for next year with a healthy team. Of course, the Cavs own the fourth selection in the same 2011 Draft as well, and they can maybe find a backup center worthy of grooming behind Anderson Varejao or getting a shooting guard or maybe even using that pick as bait to make a trade worthy of bettering the roster.
In short, as long as owner Dan Gilbert sounds less like “Seinfeld”‘s Soup Nazi about their former superstar and keeps his mouth shut, while the team continues to upgrade its personnel, I think the Cleveland Cavs will just fine.
Also, rest in peace, Robert Traylor. One of my favorite jerseys growing up was a Nike polyester “Durasheen” version of his navy Michigan Wolverines college jersey. He was unremarkable in the NBA, but for the people that remember him in college, they can probably attest to his talent and uncanny ability to play nimbly as a 300-lb. monster of a man on the hardwood (in Air Jordans, of course). My favorite memory of him was in the 1998 Draft, where he hugged his weeping grandma when he was announced as the sixth overall pick by the Dallas Mavericks. God be with his family.
Sandy Dover is a novelist/writer, artist, and fitness enthusiast whose work has been featured and published by US News, Yahoo!, Robert Atwan’s “America Now,“ and now in Buckets and Playmaker magazines. You can find Sandy frequently here at SLAMonline and at Twitter as well.