Monday, June 15, 2009

a fan's notes

my buddy from p'cola had a few comments on my sports sunday take on the phil jackson/red auerbach issue & the lakers in general. i agree w/him on almost every point(even kobe coaching in the future).

> From: Kenneth Sargent
> Subject: Phil and the Lakers
> To: "d jones"
> Date: Monday, June 15, 2009, 6:01 Am

> Danny,

> Excellent points about Red vs. Phil
> – and how
> classless the former was in his declining years. You may remember that I am a
> long-standing Laker fan (at
> least since Kareem
> arrived), so I am very happy about the results. A little tidbit you may not
> remember:
> when P’cola had their CBA
> team, Phil was
> coaching in that league – the Albany Patroons
> to be exact. P’cola
> fans loved to harass the opposing coaches and PJ was no
> exception. Some coaches really seemed to
> resent the
> taunting, but Phil always had a smile – not a mocking
> smile, just a
> smile. He would chat with fans
> and
> generally made himself very popular here.
> Not sure why you don’t like this
> team however. I like them – I’ve
> always
> been a Kobe fan (while admitting that he behaved immaturely
> in the early
> days). In fact, I’ll make
> a
> prediction – in 10-15 years, he will be coaching in
> the NBA. I like Gasol, Odom, and Fisher as well. I honestly don’t see what
> there is
> not to like and I expect them to be in hunt again next
> year.
> But – we agree on PJ

>> K
> Kenneth Sargent

ken, i suppose it begins & ends w/my feelings about kobe(i think it's clear how i feel about pj). i can only imagine when you refer to his 'early days,' you're saying he became mature THIS season. remember, he was whining about a trade prior to THIS season & even into the first couple of weeks of it. i also have to say the whole RAPE thing left an ugly taste in my mouth(& don't get me wrong here: i'm fully aware of what probably actually happened there but still...). all this & his randomly not showing up for games(meaning: his concentration), playing listlessly, etc...he can SAY all he wants about how committed he is/was about getting the championship but he didn't play like it...not even in the finals...& the team followed his lead. the finals were such a mismatch(orlando had NO business being there...i know, i know, they won outright but still...their winning was a WITH garnett would have spanked them like babies)that the lakers could
not show up & STILL win.

i like odom(i'm glad he finally got the chance to play for a winning team)& love gasol(i agree w/magic johnson that you have tim duncan, kevin garnett, & now gasol as premier big man forwards...whatever you want to call them...). & while fisher is on the downside of his career, he's a class act & came through in the clutch.

like i said, my feelings about THIS specific laker team are all about kobe & i don't like the guy for the reasons i've stated. did they deserve to win? under the circumstances it would have been scandalous if they hadn't. i think boston W/GARNETT would have beaten them again but that wasn't the scenario: the best team, for the most part, of the two teams that made it won.

i think howard will end up like shaq: he'll be a winner too but somewhere else w/a coach like jackson(or riley or popovich or...). van gundy is a good coach(the great last second possession play he drew up in game2 proves what he can do)but not a great one who'd inspire howard to do what he has to do(develop a multifaceted offensive game)& then inspire him to take the whole package & work it on the court to inspire & lead his teammates. i think phil somehow got kobe on this page of talent & leadership...but kobe still isn't buying the whole package & that's why there're the lapses...

i agree. they'll be in the hunt again next year.

gone. dj


I can understand your distaste regarding Kobe's past (even if the rape thing was a sham, it still was troubling) - but I just don't agree that he was not committed this year - and especially in the finals. He led the team (for the season) in points per game, assists per game, minutes per game, and free throw percentage. In the finals, he averaged 30.2 ppg and 5.5 assists per game. Hardly a slacker.

I suppose that you could argue that he is so uniquely talented that he could post those stats without breaking a sweat, but I don't buy it. My impression of him during the finals is that he was a man possessed. And I certainly do NOT buy the contention that the Celtics (with Garnett) would have necessarily beaten LA this year (like any true LA fan, I loathe the Celtics). It would have been a longer series, but I simply reject the idea that the Celtics (or the Cavs for that matter - the only team in the NBA to win more games than LA - one more game) would have had an easy time with LA.

As far as the trade business goes - aren't you thinking about the period prior to last season (2007-08) when there was serious talk of him going to the Bulls? It seems to me that he's been quiet on that front since Gasol came on board. I think he'll finish his career in LA - at least I hope that he does.

As far as the finals go - consider that the Magic set an NBA finals record for shooting percentage in game 3 and only won by four points. Hardly a justification for accusing the Lakers of slacking. It is true that the Magic were not the best in East, but I hardly think they were pushovers. You can say that they beat a weakened Celtic team, but the Cavs had the best record in the NBA (once again only one game better than LA who was playing in the much tougher West) and the Magic handled them in 6. So I think that they may deserve a bit more credit than you're giving them.

It's been a long time coming, but Bryant has emerged as a team leader. He's bright and he's able to motivate his team mates to follow him. He ran the team on the floor this year (and, often enough, on the sidelines as well - not to take anything from Phil, although some of the latter's detractors claim that Kobe was the "real" coach of the lakers during the playoffs). There is no player in the NBA - not Lebron, not Garnett, no one - that I would take over him if I were building a team. And there is no other player in the NBA who would have to justify himself to detractors after his performance this year. I'm not saying that he hasn't been partially responsible for that - but there are some who will never give him his due no matter how good he plays. He's simply not as likable as some of the others.

You're correct about Fisher - he is past his prime, but he cut the heart out of Orlando in Game 4. And he is a class act. And, I like the Shaq/Howard parallels ("hack-a-howard") and agree. He needs coaching and discipline. Might be interesting if Shaq goes to the Cavs (don't think it will happen) - he could play a role if he keeps his toes healthy.

Back-to-Back in 2010!


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