Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Lakers Meet On The Ledge

Play us in, Richard. Love this tune.

So anyway... the Lakers called a players-only meeting, just after a blowout win over Portland, to clear the air about trade rumors.

No, seriously.

No one has been traded (yet; the team just seems desperate to move Pau Gasol for nickles on the dollar, and the idea that anyone wants Metta World Peace to play basketball for them in this country is kind of charming, really), and none of the players -- no, not even Kobe -- has the ability to make or block trades. So what, exactly, were they meeting about? Their sterling .500-ish record? The fact that no one in La La Land seems to prefer watching them play over the nouveau dunking Clippers? The idea that after his summer and fall of microphones, Derek Fisher just can't get through his day without a pointless meeting or six?

No, no, no, you see, it's all about getting focus and pushing past distractions and holding true to team leaders (Fisher, Gasol, Bryant)... and, um, just what the hell are they drinking out there, anyway?

The Lakers are ugly this year; the bench isn't very good due to the ruinous sell-off of Lamar Odom, and they are getting long in the tooth anyway, with the exception of Andrew Bynum. But that's a pretty big damned exception, really, and the West is wide open if the Thunder aren't dominant, because there really isn't a second dominant team. Sure, the Spurs have won an awful lot of games, but it's mostly the same outfit that got curb stomped by the Grizzlies last year; they don't really scare anyone. Portland is a charming fraud as always, Dallas is older than the Lakers and somehow had en even worse off-season, and then you are down to the guys that haven't done it before (Clips, Nuggets). All things being even, the only really sure thing the Lakers should be doing for the next 30-odd games is playing the hand thaat they've been dealt, trusting in the idea that in the playofffs, size matters and benches generally don't, so they could *easily* go on a good deep run.

Unless, of course, the *real*story behind this meeting is that Mike Brown has (already?) lost the team, which isn't hard to imagine, given how little control Phil Jackson had over them at the end. I've seen a half dozen or more Laker games this year; as usual, they are better when Kobe moves the ball, unless he's in Beast Mode, and the defense is intermittent but deadly in spurts. I like their chances to win the crown better than, well, anyone in the West but OKC, and anyone in the East but Miami and Chicago.

So... that's really worth blowing the club up in Gasolocide? Why not just save yourselves the trouble and run Brown already, since you are going to do that in another 10 months as is?

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