Friday, October 07, 2005

30 Reasons to Get Fired Up For the 2005-06 NBA Season - #5

Phil, Kobe and the New-Look Lakers

Ever wonder how the phone call between Phil Jackson and Kobe when down after the Zen Master decided to make his return to LA? Here’s my take of that conversation…

Phil: Kobe?

Kobe: Who dis? Mark Madsen? Man, I told you to stop calling me…

Phil: No Kobe, It’s Phil

Kobe: Phil? I thought you were in Fiji takin’ bong rips with Bill Wennington?

Phil: No, I’m back and Jeanie talked me into coaching again…

Kobe: Oh yeah? You going to Cleveland? Hold on, Vanessa! Go put on that little outfit I like and clean the pool! WHAT?!?!? Oh yeah? Well gimmee that ring back then! That’s what I thought…Sorry Phil, what were you sayin?

Phil: No I’m not going to coach LeBron, I’m coming back to Lakers

Kobe: HAHAHAHAAHHAA, yeah right!

Phil: I’m serious. Apparently I made some bet with Jeanie while I was tripping with Bill Walton and now I gotta come back. Let’s just make the most of this thing and see what we can do…

Kobe: I’m down. Peace.

While I may have exaggerated the details a bit, the sentiment of both men remains accurate. They are fully aware that they are not the best of friends and probably never will be. But they also realize that they are two of the best at their jobs and can still achieve success. The problem facing this season however, has nothing to do with their relationship. It’s has to do with the other 11 players on the active list and what they can bring to the table. Rather than decide whether or not Phil and Kobe are going to get along this season (something I cannot forecast anyway), instead let’s dissect this roster and determine what needs to happen in order for LA to get back into the Playoffs.

Kobe’s Main Compliments:

Lamar Odom
Odom is easily the second most important player on this roster besides Bryant. Lamar thrived in Miami two seasons ago as the main option in that offense but struggled to play second fiddle in his first year in LA. Odom needs to find his niche this season and if he doesn’t by say, next week, you can be certain Jackson will find it for him. As a 3 who can play with his back to the basket and from the outside, LO needs to exploit the match-up problems he creates for his opponents. If he is willing to listen to Jackson and accept the role as Kobe’s sidekick, that Odom-Bryant tandem could become the best in the league.

Kwame Brown
I really don’t know what to think of this kid. Part of me believes that all he needs is a swift kick in the ass to gain the motivation to live up to his #1 billing. The other part of me sees an arrogant kid who cares more about the money than he does about his job as a basketball player. But now that Phil’s in town I think we’re going to see an entirely different Kwame. Whenever I say that people counter me with, “Dude, he had Jordan to motivate him and couldn’t live up to expectations, what’s Phil gonna do?” Is Jordan a coach? Does he have the reputation as being one of the best managers of personnel in the business? No and no. That’s Jackson and I fully expect him to continue that rep with Brown.

Dependable Role Players

Chris Mihm
First off, I do not like the idea of Kwame starting at the 5 and Mihm coming in off the bench. Brown had enough of a hard time playing his natural 4 and now he’s going to be expected to learn a new position? Not gonna work. Let Mihm continue his development and show he belongs in the middle of that triangle offense. I know someone that met Mihm who said that all he talked about was how much he loved playing in LA. As a hard worker with plenty of upside who loves where he’s playing, I think he deserves to stay in that starting lineup.

Devean George
George played a big role on those Laker dynasty teams and if he’s over the injury bug, he should provide a huge boost of the bench.

Brian Cook
There’s something about this kid I really like. He has a high basketball I.Q. and nothing seems to faze him on the court. Players like that thrive in Jackson’s system and I fully expect Cook to be one of the main contributors of the Laker pine.

Need to Step Up

Slava Medvedenko
He’s shown signs of being a steady contributor, but when pushed for big minutes he has usually come up short. In 03-04 the 6-10 Ukrainian averaged a respectable 8.3 PPG and 5.0 RPG in 21.2 minutes. If Cook isn’t ready to be the 4 off the bench, it’s Slava’s job for the taking. None of this would be an issue if the team drafted Sean May, now would it?

Luke Walton
Okay dude, stop going to Dead shows, getting plastered between games, and hanging out with Salim Stoudamire. It’s time to step up and be that multi-talented 3 everyone expected you to be. You’re lazy, unpolished, and undedicated. Get it together man. Why am I assuming he can hear me?

Sasha Vujacic
I keep hearing he’s the only one with a shot to start at the point other than McKie. But, I have no idea what to think about a kid who in back-to-back games last April, shot a combined 0-16 (0 points) with 14 assists in 63 combined minutes. Wasn’t he supposed to be a great shooter? I’d much rather see him win the job than McKie, whom I’ll get to later.

Not Ready

Andrew Bynum
I’m still seriously miffed why they took this kid. May, Graham, Granger, Warrick, Nate? ANY of those guys would be better options at this point, right? This team needs talent ready to contribute now, not in 5 years. Bynum would have be a stretch to start at UConn, never mind contribute at the professional level. Seriously, what is Mitch Kupchak doing?

Ronny Turiaf
I don’t know what the deal is with Ronny, but if his heart complications prove okay, he should turn out to be a very nice piece for this team. I love his game and his competitiveness and if the Lakers had a few more like him rather than the bums I’m about to discuss, they’d be well on their way to the Playoffs.

Just Gross

Aaron McKie
Anyone that thinks this was a decent signing rather than going after an Earl Watson or Damon Jones is out of his damn mind. McKie not only has bad knees, but has a bad jumper, can’t play lock-down D anymore, and cannot run a fast break more than three times a night without immediately being placed on the IL. But not only do the Lakers expect him to play like he did during the Sixers' Finals run a few years ago, they expect him to run the point. Sure it’s a triangle offense and you really don’t need pure PG skills to get the job done but c’mon people. This is like asking Tara Reid to act.

Jumaine Jones/Corie Blount/Smush Parker/Laron Profit/Tony Bobbitt
If the NBA ever had a Free Agent bargain bin, would these guys not be in it every year? Their slogan could be: “Buy Parker and a Blount and make a Profit!” Sorry, it’s Friday.

Adam Parada
Immediately added to “The List”. Don’t know what I’m talking about? It’s when Paul and I reference a player that immediately makes any sentence 100 times funnier. For instance, during a fantasy draft when someone takes a mediocre player like say, Chris Kaman, and you go, “Dude nice pick. I’d rather have Adam PARADA on my team.” Instant classic.

Von Wafer
Insert your own joke here: _______________________________

As you can see, Phil Jackson hasn’t had his hands this full since he bought 3 ounces of hash over in Thailand last summer. Sorry, enough with the weed jokes. Honestly, why Phil came back is beyond me. He won 9 championships, coached four of the most exhilarating players to ever play the game, and pretty much went out on top (3 rings then losing in the Finals ain’t too shabby). But for some reason he wants to take up this challenge. Maybe Jeanie Buss called him a pussy one day and now he can’t back down—ya know, it’s a guy thing. Or maybe he doesn’t want people to say, “Hey, who couldn’t have won 9 times with Jordan, Pippen, Shaq and Kobe?” Either way he’s back and back to prove that he can win with mediocre players. But in order for the Lakers to prove successful, Jackson and Kobe have no choice but to get along and start whipping some of these underachievers and has-beens into shape. If not, this team could be watching the Playoffs from home for a second straight year. But something tells me Phil’s not coming back to sit at home when the postseason rolls around. He never has, so why start now?

Jeanie could probably talk me into anything, too.


At 4:36 PM, Blogger Paul Benedict said...

In case some of you may have seen, there was a nudie pic of Jeanie Buss originally in place of the one directly above. We ultimately decided that maybe we were going a little too far. We apologize if anyone saw this and they were offended. And if you want to see the pic, just give us a holler and we'll hook it up.

At 4:48 PM, Blogger Creek! said...

Von Wafer's caucasion half brother 'Nilla tried out for the team as well, but didn't make it.

At 6:27 PM, Anonymous Chia said...

Kobe and odom!!! the next jordan and pippen!! brown is the X factor! and if the rest of the team do their part they might even be champs in two or three years! imagine kobe averaging 27ppg 6apg 6rpg odom 20ppg 4apg 7.3rpg !! man!! their future is birghter den sunshine man!

At 4:59 AM, Blogger Fab5 said...

I don't know why almost everyone thinks that L.A. should have drafted for help now...I mean, they could make the playoff anyway, with May it could be easier, but they wouldn't instantly become a lock for the top 4...if Bynum develops he gives them a true CENTER, a rarity! And I'm not talking about him exploding and giving them an extra superstar, just a REAL starting center...what if he doesn't pan out? They can keep reaching the 7th seed with or without May-Warrick & Co..

Compliments from Italy for your Great Site!

At 3:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"nudie" is one of the silliest words in the english language. yes, please don't post those kinds of pics, i often check your site while at work. however, feel free to post the link with a warning.

sjg, which as you know stands for "concerned christian sexually repressed mothers of america"

At 11:23 PM, Anonymous Chris said...

This is the top of the list for me. Watching Phil try to turn Kobe into Jordan will be interesting...


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