Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Lakers re-sign backup center DJ Mbenga is reporting that the Lakers have re-signed backup center DJ Mbenga. According to the blog, the contract is yet unknown and DJ is expected to battle for minutes with center Chris Mihm, who is looking healthy. Another lakers blogger, Eric Pincus, writes, " The terms of his contract have yet to be released. As such, it's not clear if his contract is guaranteed or if he has to earn a spot on the final roster. Mbenga joins Andrew Bynum and Chris Mihm as the team's third center. Power forward Pau Gasol is also expected to also play center throughout the season. Mbenga provides a more defensive-minded option while Mihm continues to work his way back from a devastating ankle injury. The word around the Lakers' facility is that Mihm is looking healthy."
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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Would Starbury fit with the Lakers?

Various media outlets have been reporting that the controversial point guard, Stephon Marbury, could be released as early as this week. This has sparked previously small conversations among Lakers fans about the possibility of the Lakers bringing him onto the team. While his effect on the team is highly debatable, one cannot argue with his talent. A former all-star with impressive assist numbers (despite his selfish reputation), Marbury would provide the Lakers with their most talented point guard since Nick Van Exel; sorry Gary. The downward spiral his career has taken can only serve as motivation in what could be a last attempt to revive an ill fated career. The cons of the move, however, are not to be overlooked. Quarrels with coaches, teammates, and an inability to keep his foot out of his mouth in front of the media have destroyed teams. His departures have meant more wins for the team losing his talent. With all that being said, the reports of his divorce with the Knicks may be premature with reporting that he will be reporting to training camp, or at least Donnie Walsh says he will.
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Bynum has no qualms about knee

OCregister is reporting that Andrew Bynum recently had a little mishap that could have been cause for worry. In a Q & A session, Bynum revealed that he had a bad fall in a recent pick up game when his legs were taken out from under him during an alley oop attempt. He says that he got right back up without a second thought for his knee. No pain, no swelling, no hesitation. Good news indeed.
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Monday, September 22, 2008

All-NBA team in Bynum's future?

This upcoming season should bring in one change from the last couple of years, an opening in the all-nba center position. In the last two years, the center position in all 3 all-nba teams was all but decided before the start of the season with Yao Ming, Dwight Howard, and Amare Stoudemire assured of getting the honors. This year, however, Amare Stoudemire is expected to play power forward for the entire season next to Shaquille O'neal. Last year Amare played center for most of the year, only shifting over to power forward after the acquisition of the Diesel. With Amare's departure from the center position, a spot has been opened up for what seems like a plethora of candidates. Chris Kaman, Al Jefferson, Tyson Chandler, Shaquille O'neal, and the Lakers' very own Andrew Bynum are all in the running. Last year, the 4th-6th vote getters were Marcus Camby, Rasheed Wallace and Tyson Chandler. Marcus Camby, much like Amare, will be shifting over to power forward next to Chris Kaman, taking him out of the running.
If Bynum can play with the same productivity and efficiency that he showed in 35 games last season, he appears to be the leading candidate. He'll be on a high profile team for what should be a top team. Chris Kaman must prove that he is more than an average center on a playoff team. Playing huge minutes for a losing cause diminish the quality of his numbers last year (not to mention the lack of rebounders around him). Al Jefferson, coming off of a 20/10 season, would seem to be a better candidate but if his Wolves fail to shock the NBA world by making the playoffs, his candidacy will be faced with an insormountable obstacle. Tyson Chandler, despite playing for title contender, has never played at the level that Bynum was showing last year. The award appears to be Bynum's for the taking.
The only question that needs to be answered is the amount of touches he'll get playing next to Pau Gasol. Bynum will still get his blocks and rebounds, probably even more rebounds with Gasol playing near the rim next to him instead of "rebound thief" Lamar Odom. His points, though, are anything but a sure thing. Bynum will still get his fair share of second chance buckets, alley oops, and easy lay ins. The amount of times he'll be given the ball in the post as the inital scoring option is anyones guess. Before going down, he was the best post option. That isn't the case anymore with Pau. If Pau is able to transform his game towards the perimeter (something that seems beneficial to his game), Bynum will be able to roam free inside. With two smart players, it shouldn't be an issue. Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Kupchak: Memphis also wanted Sun

In an interview published today on, Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak revealed that Sun had been part of the package that the Grizzlies were asking for in return for pf Pau Gasol. "Memphis also wanted Sun in the trade, but we wanted to keep at least one of those two guys so Memphis wanted Marc [Gasol] and we are happy that we were able to keep Sun Yue, because we liked him when we drafted him," Kupchak said. For all of you that said this deal fell into Mitch's lap, the joke's on you.
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Friday, September 19, 2008

Star on the bench, a champions tradition

A lot has been made about the idea of Lamar Odom coming off the bench for the Lakers next season. Most have received the idea positively, but a few have taken it as a bad thing, yet another blemish on Odom's desire to win, a lack of heart. We've all read the reason for putting down this idea, "He gets paid too much to come off the bench", "The best should demand to start", "He can't handle the pressure". What many critics fail to see is that champions have always had that "should be" starter coming off the bench. Many like to refer to Manu Ginobili, but it goes deeper than that.
Lets get Manu out of the way. Manu has been the 3rd highest paid player on the Spurs while playing around 28-30 mpg during this stretch. Its resulted in multiple rings. There's also Toni Kukoc who was consistenly one of the highest paid players on the Bulls, 2nd and 3rd at times. He was arguably the Bulls 4th best player, yet he came off the bench for huge team success. The Lakers themselves had their own version with Michael Cooper. He was making the most money on the team for a bit, winning a Defensive Player of the Year award, yet he was coming off the bench on the way to NBA glory.
This isn't to say that Odom is going to have the same success, especially after being a starter his entire career. This does, however, show that willingness to come off the bench is not a sign of weakness, some of the very best have done it for the benefit of the team. Being one of the highest paid players on the team is not a legitimate reason, look at where those players ranked on their specific teams. For all the heat he takes for his decision making, Odom is displaying a champions mindset. In a way, he's challenging his teammates. Letting them know that everyone needs to buy into the effort it will take, everyone is going to be needed. Hopefully Trevor, Luke, and Vlad are listening.
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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Jordan Farmar lurking in the shadows

Its been quite a whirlwind year and a half for Jordan Farmar. It started back in April of 07 when, then a rookie, Farmar was thrust into the starting lineup for the first time in his NBA career. He had a couple of warm up games before he had to face off against the 2 time league MVP Steve Nash. Farmar, although outmatched, never backed down. Having to sit behind an inferior Smush Parker didn't get him down. He just waited his turn like a backup quarterback waiting for his chance. After the Lakers were eliminated, Farmar saw the Lakers bring in a new starting pg, Derek Fisher, and draft a pg in the first round, Javaris Crittenton. Once again, Farmar was up for the challenge. Going from playoff starter to battling for backup minutes tested him but he never complained or pouted.
After the Gasol trade that sent away Javaris, many felt that Farmar took the foot off the gas. His quality of play took a nose dive. However, it was his first time playing so many minutes for such a long time; he hit the rookie wall. This off season Farmar has been seen hosting basketball camps, traveling overseas, and participating in various fundraisers. He seems more mature, like someone who for the first time understands what is expected and what its going to take. While many are looking to Bynum and Ariza for internal improvements, Farmar has lurked in the shadows with a quiet confidence. He knows there isn't a young stud there to help motivate him, he knows that Fisher can't play heavy minutes forever, he knows there aren't any more excuses. Jordan knows its time to step up.

Lamar open to coming off the bench

So, a day after making an argument that Odom should come off the bench for the betterment of his own career and the Lakers overall play, OCRegister is reporting that Odom has had talks about shifting over to the bench, "Odom has discussed with the basketball staff the possibility of accepting a sixth-man role, which has all sorts of delightful possibilities to it, due to the 6-foot-10 Odom’s versatility." Needless to say, this would be a great idea. Lets hope something comes of it.

Machine get paid and work hard. Machine Ready.

A couple of weeks ago, Lakers radio play by play man, Spero Dedes, went on the PMS show to talk about what he knows best, the LA Lakers. When asked what he's heard about the Lakers' European players, Spero gushed over Sasha..."I have never seen a guy who has been so much into his off-season regiment". Dedes went on to talk about the high level of commitment and hard work that The Machine has shown this summer. Is anyone really surprised? When most players take time to take in their new found wealth after their first big contract, Sasha has committed to becoming more than a great 3 point shooter. Slowly but surely Sasha is making himself into a somewhat complete basketball player. Add a nice dribble drive and mid range floater, and you have yourself a dynamite offensive weapon. And really, there is no reason why he can't get there. Along with the hardwork of Bynum and Farmar, it looks like the famous Kobe Bryant work ethic is rubbing off on the youngsters.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Stop the Andrew Bynum Hype

Please, stop.

Why? because its not hype, its real. Recently a couple of sites published articles predicting just how good Andrew Bynum is going to be, Fanhouse and CBS sports. Its hard to argue with all the points they bring up. He's barely going to turn 21, he's a 7 foot 290 pound monster, he did it for a 1st place team, he outperformed all other big studs at his age, and most importantly, he wants more. He has shown more dedication in two off seasons than a former Lakers great center showed in his entire career. He's got a mean streak too. Whether it be getting dunked on and running back down the court to get pay back, or screaming to get the f****** ball in the PRE-season, he knows what he wants and he'll do what it takes. Did I mention that he has shown maturity beyond his years? there were no hard feelings after the "ship his ass out" fiasco and when asked about his contract extension, he just says he'll perform on the court and the rest will take care of itself. Howard, Oden, Bynum, whatever order it is, this is the future of nba centers. Anyone that doubts it because he only played 35 games this past season, enjoy it for a few more months.