You wouldn’t hop into Breaking Barker or the Chip-N-Dip at Episode 3, so go back and read Part 1 and Part 2 before tackling the second to last chapter of Carter & Swift Present the NBA. Where’d they leave off? Let’s just say neither Carter or Swift have plans to buy their Thunder Dynasty shirts anytime soon…
There’s no piece of me that says, “KC you’re overstepping on the Durant piece”. Let’s clear some things up. Durant is an uber-talent, just like you said. Generational type talent. 6-11 with guard like skills and that shooting touch?? Mmm. It is absolutely delightful to watch sometimes.
That said, KD has not developed that presence yet in my eyes. That presence that when he walks on the court, you know that you’re in for an absolute ass-whooping that night. All in all, I think this culminates completely around what I think his one flaw is. He’s soft. Now. I get he’s young, and I completely agree this could change down the road. But right now, sorry, I don’t think he’s tough enough to win anything, physically or mentally. Kevin Durant can absolutely score the basketball at a rate that is right at the top with some of the best ever. Problem for Durant is that when he’s having an off night, there’s nothing there. I can’t promise you he’s going to find other ways to impact the game.
Example. Kobe Bryant. Game 7, 2010 Finals. Shot 6-24. Didn’t have it that night. Went out, got 16 rebounds, the MOST on a court with Gasol, Bynum, Garnett, Wallace, Davis, Odom, etc. Oh, and guarded Rondo for 45 minutes. That’s right, on one knee he guarded the game’s best point guard for 45 minutes. Shot like shit, scored like shit, but found a way to win the game. What Durant doesn’t realize is that he’s going to have these games, and as he gets older, they’re going to come more frequently. He’s going to have to find a way to get gritty, get nasty, and do the small things. Get in the post, get rebounds, dive on the ground, do it all. He’s not willing yet. And with the changes Presti just made, that’s incredibly dangerous. OKC may be in trouble, more than folks realize.
For the topic I’ve been waiting for…..LA LA land. And sorry folks, we aren’t going to talk about the JV team who just happens to rent out a spare locker room across the hall and declare it a rivalry even though they haven’t won anything meaningful since…ever. We’re talking about the Big Boys. The Lakers. Let’s recap. Howard and Nash for Bynum. Lol.
Folks. Mitch Kupchak has a knee-slapper. For those of you who aren’t quite on par with the lingo, Mitch Kupchak’s genitalia slaps his knees. Yes, I’m implying girth of epic proportions. He found a way to trade a glass-kneed, immature, bipolar big man for the best Center in the game, and a Top 10 point guard of all time. Lmao. WHAT?!?! Excuse my attitude, but I still laugh at this til this day. Let’s begin with Nash. This is actually where I am most concerned, and really it only surrounds Mr. Potato Head (Mike Brown for you casual fans). Mike, Steve Nash is your offensive coordinator. Don’t force feed anything. You’re still going to Kobe, especially late, but Nash pick and roll with Dwight and Gasol can be absolutely devastating IF and ONLY IF you don’t get in the way. He’s going to shoot his usual 50-40-90, but where LA can become truly special is Nash being allowed to be Nash.
Don’t F this up Mike. Trust me. I’m only a plane ride away and I will end your coaching career faster than Dwight dunks lob passes. Next topic. Kobe. He’s leaned down a bit to trim the stress on the knees. Legs look fresh. And I think the chip on his shoulder is growing by the day after all the talk about the new kids. Folks, this is still a really, really BAD MOTHER FUCKER. Don’t kid yourselves. He doesn’t operate on what he’s got left. Yeah, I’m slightly concerned that eventually father time is going to give him a ton of minor injuries that really start to hamper him, but in the end, this is a man who runs on his mentality. He’s tougher than the next, and stronger than the rest. The minute he steps on the court, mentally he already has you beat. It’s over for you. Rejuvenated? Oh boy. Playing next to Nash and Dwight, not to mention Gasol?? mmmm. He’s foaming at the mouth. I’ll go ahead and say I think he looks awful opening night, probably playing through a foot strain he shouldn’t, but that’s Kobe. And why he’s won 5.
Now, for what will direct this team. Dwight Howard. LA’s most important player. Yes, the biggest Kobe fan on the planet admits this. I know what I’m going to get. 22-15-3-3. Easy. It’ll look stupid once he’s back in sync and conditioned. What Dwight needs to understand is that he is now in a situation where he can erect a legacy, if he wants to. He has the potential to win 2 with this group, and then rebuild in 2014 with a free agent class that could be more spectacular than in 2010. What he needs to do? One thing, and one thing only. Nash and Kobe are going to figure out the offense, and Dwight will get his. No worries there. Gasol is going to look like a man on a mission one night, and terrified the next. It is what it is. Metta is leaned down and ready to D up. Jamison should add some scoring, Meeks can stroke it, Hill can really crash the boards, and I think they make a play for Calderon at the deadline using Blake or Duhon’s deal. But what this team has the capability to do is be absolutely dominant defensively. You have two twin towers in Dwight and Gasol, two perimeter defenders in Artest and KB, and Nash can be covered up.
Dwight has to take this to heart and realize that if he anchors the D the way he is capable of, gets nash out on the break with an outlet, and gets this team easy buckets, it’s title time. this team operates in the half court beautifully. And if you D up and find a way to get easy buckets, LA could get scary. Really, really quickly. I see a struggle out of the gate. Kobe’s foot, Nash finding his niche, Dwight getting in shape, but I think LA finishes around the 2-3rd seed, 53-56 wins, but absolutely no one wants them come playoff time. No one.
Thoughts my man?
Pardon the delay as I wipe drool and tears of laughter from my face after reading those one liners. Before I begin, I must say there needs to be an LA Times Reed Swift column. That is all.
If I had to give you a template for the perfect basketball team, I would want a pass first pick-and-roll point guard who knocks down open 3’s, a Michael Jordan prototype shooting guard, a big physical wing that plays tough D and knocks down open shots, a skilled power forward with a post game and an ability to stretch the floor, and a behemoth freak of a center that anchors the defense and dunks anything near the rim. That would be my perfect team. Look at the 2012-2013 version of the Lakers and that’s pretty much what you have.
Granted, there are a couple asterisks… One being that the behemoth center shoots 20 percent from the free throw line and cries like a newborn baby. Another being that the skilled power forward morphs into a spitting image of a vagina for large stretches of the season. The last asterisk being that the big physical 3 is fit for a mental institution. But in the scheme of things for this season those asterisks can be overlooked. This LA team has everything you need in personnel, the biggest question I have has nothing to do with the pieces but rather the guy that manages them in the 48 minutes we call a basketball game. Mike Brown is in a lose-lose situation. He has never proven himself to be a good coach, so if he wins it’s because his team was just that good, if he loses it’s because he is just that inept of a coach. Sorry to say it Mike, but its a fair assessment given your career thus far.
This team was built for the postseason. The time when every possession counts, every mental lapse can prove to be costly, and most importantly the time when big players make big plays. I could care less what they do in the regular season so I’m just going to skip the personnel analysis and get to the things they have to do in the postseason. LA has three things to their advantage over every single team they play: 1) Smarts/Leadership 2) Tempo Control 3) Kobe Bryant.
The smarts/leadership refers to the fact that the guy running the show, Steve Nash, is a high IQ, low turnover, team-centric player. Add in the leadership and motivation of Kobe and I’m pretty sure the mental lapses we’ve seen from past versions of the Lakers will be taken care of. Tempo control revolves around getting stops on defense and securing rebounds. Dwight Howard is the best defensive big since Shaq and has led the league in rebounds more times than I can count. If you miss late in the game against these Lakers, God have mercy on your soul.
Lastly, Kobe Bryant. I don’t know what else needs to be said about a guy who seemingly finds ways to come back 5 years younger every other year, a guy who is chasing his 6th ring (hey Mike, I’m behind you), and who still finishes as one of the top 2-3 scorers in the league on a yearly basis. Although I do not think he is the best overall player in the game anymore, there is still no other player on this planet that I would rather have taking my last shot than Kobe Bryant. That is something no other team has. When its Game 7 in late June, every player and fan for the opposing team holds their breath when that man has the ball. Case closed. This team will be in the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat. If I am correct and am lucky enough to witness this clash, we could easily be looking at one of the most entertaining, drama-filled, historic championships of all of sports history. Kobe. LeBron. Nash. Wade. Howard. Bosh. Gasol. Allen. Hollywood. South Beach. Need I say more?
You see why we weren’t meant to do this? I’m rolling on the damn floor laughing right now. It’s a good thing that our main talking points from November to May generally revolve around the flexibility of Bosh and Gasol’s vaginas, and the immaturity of the likes of Wade/Bynum/Howard. Tis a great life we live man.
You know what man, fuck it. I fully planned on diving into Denver (in the end, they don’t have THAT guy who will win them THAT game that their team ball needs them to), Clippers (they still rent out. I can’t get over this. Sorry, no.) and San Antonio (they’re going to win 60, get the 1 seed, but in the end, they are too damn old. sorry haters). Let’s just get right into it man. Predictions. 1-8, both conferences. Break down Conference Finals, and then let’s hand out some awards. Saving the best for last. We’ll dive into Miami v. LA. Because it’s coming.
5. New York
I’ve got Miami v. Boston in the East, and Miami heading to the Finals, winning in 6.
1. San Antonio
2. LA Lakers
4. LA Clippers
5. OKC (I think OKC really struggles out of the gate minus Harden. In the end, not the 5th best team, but they’ll land there because of the trade)
7. Minnesota (*Rubio returns in December. He doesn’t, this goes out the window).
8. Dallas (though I am going to go ahead and say I really think SAC makes a run at this and it won’t surprise me if they take it)
I’ve got an LA v. LA WC Finals. And I think Lakeshow wins in 6 likewise.
MVP: LeBron James
MIP: DeMarcus Cousins (I really think he has a monster year, hence why I think SAC makes a run at that 8th seed. He follows the Artest mental alignment, but the talent is obvious)
Rookie: Damian Lillard
6th Man: Jason Terry
Alright Slay, let’s hear it.
3. New York
Miami and Boston in the ECF with Miami advancing to the NBA Finals for a 3rd straight year. Commence the greatest Finals of all time with Miami vs. LA, Miami in 7.
1. Los Angeles Lakers
2. San Antonio
3. Los Angeles Clippers
4. OKC (first round bounce if they do meet the Nuggets)
Lakers-Spurs in the WCF barring any significant injuries or Viagra toxicity to that Spurs squad. LA advances in 6 to play the Heat in the Finals, once again, losing in 7. Although that last statement has barely 50 percent confidence.
MVP: LeBron James (4th in 5 years….)
MIP: Paul George (I see him averaging close to 18-10 this year)
Rookie: Anthony Davis (I think he is THAT good. 18-10 as a rook)
6th Man: Jason Terry (I mean, who else could it be since Harden is now a starter)