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Carmelo Anthony, Page 2

State of the Garden: Tuesdays with Amar’e

I was all set to have a positive Game 2 recap for you guys today. YOUR New York Knicks didn’t back down from the now even more heavily favored Miami Heat, but ultimately fell short in a 10-point loss. It seemed as if Miami was in semi- to full control almost the whole night, but the Bockers put together a spirited effort, legitimately challenging what many have forgotten to be the NBA’s best team.

The Knicks lost their starting point guard and replaced him with two declining veterans who probably played their best ball in blue and orange to date. It lost its best individual defensive player and alllllmost made up for his absence with collective effort and hustle. And it fought through the weeds of a hostile environment, not from the fair weather attendees, but because of whistles that were still blown to the advantage of the home team.

It’s too easy to hop on the bash train for the now infamous post-game extracurricular activities in which “Standing Tall and Talented” participated. Interestingly, it’s also forgivable to do so, barking and admonishing Stoudemire for Kevin Brown-ing his way through a glass container that housed a fire extinguisher. But I’m not going to do that today.


See, it wasn’t always like this.

Signed to a maximum salary contract in the summer of 2010, Stoudemire boldly declared that he would help restore a downtrodden team back to heights that the city deserved and that the league so desperately needed. Before he ever laced ’em up, he yelled through the walls of his introductory press conference, “The Knicks are back!”

Leading a squad bereft of the above-average talent a contender requires to even have a puncher’s chance, Stoudemire averaged 25 points and 8 rebounds per game, shooting sweet percentages of 50 from the field and 80 from the stripe. He set New York’s all-time record for consecutive 30-point games in a season. He started the All-Star game, the first Knick to do so since Patrick Ewing. By season’s end, he had a dark horse MVP shot, the candidacy of which was undoubtedly propelled by nightly serenades from the Garden faithful.

Later that season, the Knicks gutted their roster to acquire Carmelo Anthony from the Denver Nuggets. The throne that sat atop the mecca of basketball suddenly had a challenger. Anthony was a special talent that put ball in net and butts in seats with relative ease. He dripped a trail of swagger in his footsteps. But Amar’e came first, and he was still treated that way. Amidst all the hubbub of Melo’s grand entrance in a home game against the Milwaukee Bucks, it was Stoudemire who retained his place as the last player announced during team introductions. We weren’t about to forget that it was Amar’e who took the plunge when The Straight Shot did his absolute best to blackball the team as a worthy free agent destination. As fans, we appreciated Stoudemire’s admirable courtesy, as he willingly invited the chance to descend from “1” to “1A.”

The fact that the 2nd-half version of the 2010-11 Knicks were a work in progress was blatantly obvious, with two superstars acknowledging that a full offseason was necessary to gel into a cohesive tandem. But the city’s exuberance for the team’s restored relevance was just as apparent, as New York squared off against the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs. The Celtics, however, were already the thing that Knicks knew they weren’t yet: a team. Boston dispatched of S… Read more...

State of the Garden: Woody’s First Blunder

When an old problem is solved, a new one usually springs up. Fix the leaking pipe, and the water will just be forced down another avenue.

The unceremonious resignation of embattled head coach Mike D’Antoni moved the Knicks forward, regardless of how much blame rested at the mustachioed man’s feet. MDA refused to look his name-brand players in the eye and tell them exactly what they were doing wrong. This problem allowed Carmelo Anthony to stew and sulk, but it also lost the respect of the players who did get an earful. The Josh Harrellsons and Toney Douglases of the roster were the ones to suffer from the team’s poor play; it showed in the numerous DNP-CDs next to their name in the box scores.

When Mike Woodson spoke to the media for his first press conference as head coach, he declared that the offense would run through his superstars. But what spoke volumes to the whole team was not this change in offensive philosophy. It was the change in the coaching philosophy.

When things went wrong on the floor in the MDA era, the coach would make a face, bark at the officials, and storm the sidelines as if tragedy had struck. Since then, Woody has done some of these things, just like every coach would. But to his players’ surprise, the new man in charge directs most of his attention to them.

Accountability.

When the players were asked about the difference between coaches, former and present, that word rang true. Anthony wanted the bright lights of Broadway, but instead of leaving him to his own troubles, Woodson has made Anthony earn it. Faced with this responsibility, Carmelo has played like the superstar we all thought he could be. His frown turned upside down, Melo displayed energy on defense that we haven’t seen since Syracuse, a menacing tenacity on the glass that we haven’t seen since Denver, and leadership that we haven’t seen since…ever.

I have been one of Anthony’s biggest supporters, even when Linsanity reduced him to a sideshow. Sure, when his shots consistently hit iron and not net, when weaker players blew by him, and when he acted like a general jerk, I got mad just like the rest of us. But my compatriots will tell you that I was steadfast in the notion that his talent could not have gone south in a matter of one year. Carmelo’s resurgence should be credited 1% to the man himself, but 99% to his new head coach. Woodson possesses almost none of the new-school, run-and-gun personality that his predecessor forced the Knicks to adopt. And while the team may sometimes be less exciting and attractive to the casual observer, the team, led by Anthony, responded with a 9-2 record heading into last night’s game against Indiana.

YOUR New York Knickerbockers blew a 17-point lead to those Pacers. And while I wanted to curse Danny Granger for not playing like this for my fantasy team all year, the loss was really due to the fact that Indiana exploited a mistake by formerly blemish-free Mike Woodson.

For the vast majority of the game, Carmelo Anthony was destroying the opposition. His jump shots were devastatingly on point. When he attacked the rack, he displayed his elite body control after contact to get the two points, even sans whistle. He was scoring at will, and this was the game where fans would forget about Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler.

Or at least it was supposed to be. Because Indiana had no answers for Carmelo, “Melo-ball” was the offense’s only option. The other 4 Knicks on the floor never made cuts, never set off-ball screens, never moved. Indiana did what … Read more...

State of the Garden: Chicago Just Got Another Rebound

If I’m ever late for anything, there are plenty of things to which I can point the blame. Maybe it’s the extra 5 minutes in the shower. Maybe the traffic lights didn’t work in my favor or the subway decided it was convenient to run on the local tracks. But more likely, it’s probably that I didn’t care about being punctual.

Last night, YOUR New York Knickerbockers were outrebounded by the Chicago Bulls. That sentence isn’t that dramatic, until I tell you that the margin of glasswork was +18. That sentence has a touch of flavor, but I’ll take it a step further by telling you that the Bulls had 22 offensive boards compared to the Knicks’ 29 on the defensive end. So when Chicago was on offense, shooting an I-would-sign-up-for-this-everyday 43% from the field, they battled to a -7 deficit on the 57% of attempts that did not go through the net. On defense, a team has an easier time establishing the positioning required to grab more rebounds than the opposition. The vast majority of possessions will have most, if not all, defenders playing between their man and the basket, especially without the use of a zone defense.

Now let’s see: if the defender is between their man and the basket, the defender is closer to the hoop, and thus has the advantage of advancing the ancient basketball tradition of boxing out. In this scenario, it is embarrassing for a defense to yield a +7 advantage on the boards when they are protecting their own rim. So what happened?
There are plenty of reasons why the Knicks didn’t rebound the ball well last night:

1. They are not a good rebounding team

When the team signed Tyson Chandler, head coach Mike D’Antoni declared that the best frontcourt in the world played their home games at Madison Square Garden. Normally, when you think of an imposing front line, you think of big dudes who will take advantage of you whenever their size gives them such an opportunity.

Carmelo Anthony is 6’8″, 230 pounds.
Amar’e Stoudemire is 6’11” and weighs about 2.5 bills (although he’s listed at 260, he’s been doing extra work to get down to 245, in response to criticism that he has lost explosiveness).
Tyson Chandler is 7’1″, 240.

Big dudes. The three of them average a little less than 24 rebounds per game, and those numbers don’t exactly paint a picture of doom and gloom. But any seasoned fan will tell you that it’s just not enough, even before we witnessed Chicago’s dominance last night.

The best rebounder of the trio is undoubtedly Carmelo Anthony. I thought Anthony had a decent game last night. KOBEsh even texted me to say that sometimes, the man puts on a display that will convince you that he’s one of the best we have in this league (Hubie Brown voice). Melo’s aggressiveness on the offensive end leads to several opportunities for offensive putbacks, and his second jump differentiates his game from most of today’s player. I’m not going to complain about his rebounding.

STAT and Tyson just don’t box out. Ever. If you watched the scrums last night, you’d think that Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, and Carlos Boozer had cooties or something. It is beyond frustrating to witness. I can’t really explain Amar’e’s inability to get tough rebounds consistently, nor can I explain Tyson’s stubbornness to try and outjump his opponents without first trying to seal them off. The basics of boardwork are lost with these two guys, and while I love them for oth… Read more...

Sending our favorite NBAers to the Olympics?

The preliminary 20-man roster for this summer’s Olympic Team USA was released this past Monday, and of course, BockerKnocker and I could not help but derive a spirited debate from it. In this one in particular, we discussed the merits (or demerits) of putting NBA players on active contracts into what essentially amounts to a series of souped-up exhibition games. As Carmelo Anthony and Kobe Bryant both hold the keys to our respective NBA kingdoms, we had horses in this race. The specific question that spurred our latest frivolous waste of worktime productivity was: What is your stance on those two players going to play for Team USA in the 2012 London Olympics?

from: KOBEshigawa
to: BockerKnocker
date: Tue, Jan 17, 2012 at 4:17 PM
subject: Team USA

I’m of two minds with this:

On one hand, I’m thrilled that Kobe is going to London this summer and more than likely, will be chosen as a starter alongside either Derrick Rose or CP3, as well as incumbent Team USA starters LeBron, Carmelo and Dwight.

Being the red-blooded patriot that I am, I couldn’t be happier than America’s best baller (I said it) is taking time from his off-season schedule to participate. With the German HGH he got last summer, Kobe really has reinstated himself as the best 2-guard in the league, and his being on the team gives the US the best chance for winning it all. I actually care about the Olympics, and when we finish with anything but an unblemished record and a gold medal, I feel embarrassed.

Also, I’m also just a commonly paranoid Lakers fan that feels that Kobe still doesn’t get his due. Despite probably cementing his status as one of the top 5 to 10 players of all time, he still is commonly pooped on, day-in and day-out, for shooting too much, being too stoic, playing too many minutes, cheating on his wife too much, whatever.

His reputation was never lower than in 2008 when he and the Lakers were embarrassed and destroyed by the Celtics in the Finals. And after joining the Redeem Team, alongside younger guys like LeBron, Melo, Dwight, and CP3, many people presumed the older and recently “devalued” Kobe Bryant would simply be a bit player in Coach K’s puzzle. But it turned out quite opposite — Kobe ended up being the “go-to” guy on the team, with all his supposed basketball “superiors” deferring to him in the final moments of the game. To top it off, Kobe took on the most difficult nightly defensive cover. After the Olympics, every guy on the team talked about how impressed they were with the much-maligned Kobe and his extraordinary work ethic. Much like this long-winded paragraph, the other members of Team USA (as well as the NBA watching world) were giving Kobe a massive amount of public props, which diverged from their usual compliments with caveats of how he’s selfish, how he didn’t deserve it, how other people contributed more to his success, etc.

Basically, I would really relish many more Kobe internet BJ sessions for the whole summer.

On the other hand, Kobe is a guy with a messed up knee, ankle, wrist and essentially his entire right hand. He needs about 4 different surgeries AND 3 months of rest, and competing for an extra month is really not the best thing for a 33 year-old who will be going into his 17th (!) season.

Even still, I wouldn’t just be okay with Kobe on Team USA, I’d be ecstatic. You communist.

from: BockerKnocker
to: KOBEshigawa
date: Tue, Jan 17, 2012 at 4:35 PM
subject: Re: Team USA

Barring Coach K choosing to go really small (CP3-Wade-Kobe-
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Who Needs a Big 2012?

When Kobash asked me to join this little party almost one year ago, my sports-illiterate acquaintances shrugged it off as just another website that wouldn’t find a spot in their daily browsing routine. I couldn’t really blame them; why read sports posts from someone who is not connected to the biz in any form?

Well, fear no longer, you wretched human being. This post is for you.

In my mind, there are 6 individuals in sports that need a giant 2012. And if you’ve come to this site on the promise that you’ll read something that isn’t sports-related, I’ve compared them to 6 other celebrity types who also need 2012 to justify their place on Twitter trends.

6. Dwight Schrute and Mike Matheny

“You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone. “

When Steve Carell left The Office, everybody knew that the show wouldn’t be the same. But for every laugh borne from the awkward charisma of Michael Scott, there was plenty of jokes to go around, emanating from the pranks of Jim Halpert, the kiss-ass-ness of Andy Bernard, and the unhealthy ambition of Dwight Schrute. So NBC forged on, depending on an audience base that they hoped would be painstakingly loyal to Dunder Mifflin. But, as literally anyone can attest, the show sucks. Plain and simple. If this current season was the show’s debut season, then it would have been cancelled within weeks. Halpert is too busy banking on viewers reacting to his stale antics with Pavlovian responses. The Nard Dog doesn’t fit as office manager; his nervousness is maddeningly inconsistent. And James Spader is a worthless character; did writers think that just slowing down the pace of his lines would make this guy any different? The only thing worse than an actor playing himself would be watching Mike D’Antoni trying to teach defense. Dwight Schrute must put this show on his shoulders and carry it to the finish line. Out of all the characters in Scranton, he is the only one who can impose his will onto a scene, regardless of who else is involved. Stop being friendly with the rest of the group and be the dastardly pseudo-villain that this show needs.

You may not know Mike Matheny. Frankly, I’ve been too caught up in the NBA season that I actually had to ask Google who the new St. Louis Cardinals’ manager was. What I do remember about the baseball offseason is that Albert Pujols left for greener pastures and that Tony LaRussa left the game on top, as one of the best to ever fill out a lineup card. Just like you can’t replace a Michael Scott, you can’t replace either Pujols or LaRussa. Matheny must put his own stamp on the Cardinals and maintain the team’s relevance as one of the premier franchises in baseball. Every mistake will lead to LaRussa comparisons; every strikeout will make fans long for the sweet stroke of The Machine.

5. Kim Kardashian and LeBron James

“Take me back to the old me.”

Before Kris Humphries, Kim Kardashian was just another attractive piece that became famous for being famous. Even though she has no discernible talent whatsoever (seriously, Ray J did all the work, right?), she wasn’t really on anybody’s list of people to smother in cold blood. Enter the $18 million payday she got for her made-for-TV wedding and the subsequent divorce for the ever-popular “irreconcilable differences,” and everyone wants a piece of Kim K. She made the mistake of thinking that she was larger than life, as many of us are prone to do. If someone’s dumb en… Read more...

State of the Union Kickoff – New York Knicks

You know how the State of the Union addresses go, right? President goes up and speaks about how the country is kicking ass in everything. Problems during the President’s term are either masked with rehearsed rhetoric or omitted from discussion in entirety. And, our favorite part: Congressmen, celebrities, and other losers get on their feet for the obligatory applause as soon as Mr. President indicates that it is the correct time to do so.

Well, and especially in the Knicks’ case, you won’t need to stop reading mid-blog post and clap your hands. This post will be the first in a series of irregularly scheduled posts detailing Mambino’s favorite professional teams. I’ll take care of the Bockers and Yankees, KOBEsh will handle Lakers and Dodgers, and Pucklius will muse on the Devils and Mets. Each prominent player will be given a number of Mambinos, on a scale of 1-5, with some biased analysis to follow. (Hey, at least we’re honest.)

The Knicks are off to a 2-4 start. The team has heard boos during every single home game: losses to the lowly Raptors and Bobcats, and even during the win over the Celtics, when New York squandered a 20 point lead in the 2nd half. But relax, guys. Remember that the goal in a shortened season is to simply make the playoffs. However, that doesn’t mean that the team is free of problems that need to be addressed. Let’s get to it.

IMAN SHUMPERT: 5 Mambinos
Before we get to the bad news, let’s talk about Shump Dizzle. Last night’s game against the Bobcats provided one bright spot: the Garden faithful’s acceptance of Iman Shumpert into their lives. He hit shot after shot after shot. He played excellent man-to-man defense. He made smart decisions. Basically, he was everything that we wished Toney Douglas was: a real point guard who can provide a spark when necessary. When MDA inexplicably took Shump out of the game in the 4th quarter, when the Knicks were building their last comeback, the crowd begged and pleaded for his return. D’Antoni listened, for once, and is now contemplating starting the rook on Friday night against the Washington Walls.
I took an informal poll in my section last night, and not one person said they would trade Shumpert for the rookie on the opposing bench, Kemba Walker. And that’s saying something. This guy has all the tools to be an All-Star one day. Consider my #21 t-shirt already ordered.
TYSON CHANDLER: 3 Mambinos
The Knicks gave up a billion points last night to the Charlotte Bobcats. Disgusting, I know; everytime B.J. Freaking Mullens hit a jumper from the perimeter, my heart asked my brain why I decided to become a Knicks fan. And expectedly, the fingers are being pointed at Tyson Chandler, the guy who was supposed to “correct” the porous Knick defense. But wait a second. He’s just one man.
If you’ve caught a glimpse of training camp, practices, or have been lucky enough to sit close enough in the Garden, you will hear one voice over everybody else’s (including the easily recognizable D’antoni Drawl): Tyson’s. He teaches lessons and barks out orders to everyone, including Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire. In games, he still blocks more than 1 shot a game, and alters at least 5 more. His free throw shooting has been pretty decent, and he’s a nice target for lobs inside.
So why does he not get 4 Mambinos, or even 3.5? Well, those rebounding numbers are low at less than 7 per game. There are two reasons for that. First, his defensive prowess cannot physical
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Instant Trade Analysis: Carmelo to the Knicks

Denver Gets:NYK: Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov and the Knicks’ 2014 first-round draft pick, 2 second-round draft picks (from the Golden State Warriors – from the David Lee trade)

New York Gets:Denver: Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter and Renaldo BalkMANIA
Minnesota: Corey Brewer

Minnesota Gets:NYK: Eddy Curry’s fat ass…I meant, expiring contract, Anthony Randolph, 3 million bucks to take said Eddy Curry’s fat ass…I meant, expiring contract.

With all the talk about Carmelo all year long, remember this: Carmelo is a top-15 player in the league, top-10 when he’s motivated (see: 2009 Western Conference Finals). He’s a 25 ppg scorer without question, a guaranteed double-team and a money making machine (for himself and for the team). He’s a guy you can ride to the playoffs, maybe, MAYBE even a championship. So why the skeptics? When you have a chance to get a guy like this, how could anyone think of this as anything but a win for the Bockers?

New York gave up a lot for Carmelo, there’s no doubt about that. They essentially gutted their team to get the guy. Gallinari is a former first round pick with comparison’s to Dirk Nowitzki. Mozgov is a very young 7-footer that has shown flashes of talent this season in limited playing time. Felton was a borderline all-star, Chandler is having a career year and Randolph (to use baseball terms) is a “5-tool guy”. But.

What did New York reaaaally give up for Carmelo? I know what Wilson Chandler is. This is the best he’s going to be and hopefully the worst his hair is going to look. Raymond Felton is a fine player, but like Chandler, I think this is the best he is ever going to be. I think Anthony Randolph could be an impact player, but when he’s on the court, he looks absolutely devastated – like he’s been made to watch “The Human Centipede” a few times in a row. The guy’s confidence is gone and shipping him out for anything was the only option. The first rounder that the Knicks gave up were likely to be in the low twenties.

The two questionable moves were dealing Gallo and Mozgov. Gallinari has brought out so many different spectrums of emotion from my Knicks-following cohorts – joy, hope, anger, frustration, confusion…but mostly anger, frustration and confusion. Some nights, he can look like a poor man’s Dirk (maybe even destitute, herpes ridden Dirk). But some nights he can look like another soft Euro with no balls an an errant jump shot (for an example of both, please see the last Heat-Knicks game – he was the latter in the first half and hobo Italian Dirk in the second half). Mozgov’s potential looks like it could be high, but any type of projections made about this guy is from such a small sample size.

So to recap, what did the Knicks give up? Two guys that were pretty good in their career years, a guy who looked like he watched “The Human Centipede”, hobo Dirk (one day, maybe) and a young, big Russian dude.

But the question is really, is will Gallo or Mozgov ever make as much of a difference on the Knicks as Carmelo will? Will their impact on court ever individually equal Carmelo’s, which we can quantifiably measure as a known asset? Will both of them combined ever be able to match up to Carmelo’s impact? My answer is no. Gallo would have to turn into a borderline or true all-star and Mozgov a dominant defensive force (think Tyson Chandler or Andrew Bogut) f… Read more...

Dallas @ Denver, 2/10/2011

I was lucky enough to attend the Mavs vs. Nuggets game last night at Pepsi Center in Denver. A couple of notes from the game:

  • Great game from Arron Afflalo. He was on fire in the fourth and really picked up the slack from a non-existent JR Smith and when Dallas locked down on Chauncey. He got a wide-open jumper when Marion thought he was going to put up that J behind the line. Excellent move by Afflalo.
  • Birdman is just overwhelming to see in person. Is that comment positive or negative? You be the judge.
  • Nene is one of the most underrated players in the league. He reminds a lot of Pau Gasol in a lot of ways; a bevy of moves in the post, not afraid to play back to the basket, can play face up from the elbow and is a big body that has to be accounted for. His lack of length hurts him (unlike Gasol), but he plays very hard on both ends of the floor. He didn’t have a great game yesterday, but I feel like he could be a steal for a team offering Denver the right pieces.
  • Solid Denver crowd – they reacted to the game like it was the playoffs in June, not TNT Thursday in February. Very pleased with the fine citizens of Colorado.
  • But conversely, as I proudly wore my Lakers gear in the arena during a Nuggets/Mavericks game, I only got one deragatory comment. A little dissapointed in Denver. I thought they might have more fire than that.

Carmelo had 42. Sure. But he got almost all of those 42 on jump shots. Granted, he was on fire from the field (17-25 shooting), but he only had 3 free throw attempts. What does that tell me? Melo was settling for jumpers on the wing (as his shot chart dictates – he only took a third of his shots in the paint) and not trying to get into the grill of the defense. I find that when this type of offensive performance happens, it’s laziness, especially for a player that’s such a gifted post and elbow scorer. I know it’s hard to argue him shooting so much from the perimeter when he only missed 8 shots all night, but in most games, that’s not going to work. He’s not playing for contact or free throws, which is the most efficient way a player will usually score.
And this is type of effort I’ve been seeing from Carmelo lately – pretty lazy and doing the least he can to get his points. His body language all night was garbage. Despite his hot shooting, he looked detached and somewhat disinterested. And that’s what’s so deceiving here – he still dropped 42 points. But I suppose that’s a testament to what a gifted offensive player he is. He got his numbers while looking like he didn’t care and on jump shots that fell in. Can you imagine if he actually was engaged and looked like he gave a shit?
The Nuggets need to ship this guy out immediately. It’s apparent to me (and the rest of the league, seemingly) that he doesn’t want to stay in Denver. They have to get something for him or risk losing him much like Toronto did Chris Bosh last year – he walked and Toronto basically was left with nothing.
Overall, great experience at Pepsi Center – a fine arena, fine people and a great game.… Read more...

Melo to the Lakers? Yes, please.

Before the season, I had a conversation with my buddy Alvy. Went a little something like this:

“Would you trade Melo for Bynum? With Sasha, some draft picks and someone else to make the cap numbers work”
“No way man. No way. We win because we’re so much bigger than everyone else. No way I make that trade. You must be high. That’s ridiculous. Melo plays no defense and he’s got a bad attitude. Never. No way”

This morning I get an e-mail:

Carmelo to the Lakers?
“I would take this deal in a heartbeat”

Now granted, this is a completely unsubstantiated trade rumor. The “trade” for Joe Smith wasn’t really a trade, but rather a salary dump (it was a way to save 9 million dollars by shipping out a player that played less in 11 games as a Laker than he did in 2 games as a Net. We didn’t get Joe Smith’s old ass so he could be a significant contributor. We got him as an insurance policy for a “oh shit we are starting Slava Medvedenko because all of our other big guys came down with tapeworms” situation). Carmelo has made it known that he’s interested in going to a major market, but hasn’t mentioned LA publicly, only New York. The Lakers already are 26 million over the cap. A trade like this would put them 30 million-plus over the cap. The Lakers already have a ball-dominating, scoring machine on the wing – there might not be enough shots for both of them. So why do we make this trade? Does this make sense?

Yes – it does make sense. But why? We are giving up size for scoring, trading big for small, which is a big no-no in the NBA GM’s handbook. But to look at it another way, what is more important? Having another highly efficient, game-changing scorer on the team as Kobe declines with age, or keeping our overwhelming size intact, hoping that Andrew’s health holds up as he gets older? Cases for both arguments:

Ditching the Lumbering Injury-prone Big Guy
So to answer this question, let’s examine at the most applicable situation; the Lakers’ two last title runs. I would argue the two most significant factors were

1) Kobe was an assassin-like, cold-blooded, steely-eyed, protruding lower-jawed, Ray Lewis impersonating killer on the court

AND

2) We were bigger than everyone else.

In the 2009 we absolutely overwhelmed Orlando with team defense and Kobe killed them with 30ppg. In 2010 the Celtics locked down on Kobe and he wasn’t the same guy he was 12 months before – but we won with our rebounding and size. Obviously Boston was the bigger challenge and thus, maybe you can say our size was the biggest difference maker both years. But if you put a lesser scorer or player than Kobe in the 2009 Finals, do we have a chance of beating Orlando? And are we even in the Boston series?

Regardless of Kobe’s brilliance and my never-ending, slightly disturbing but completely heterosexual love for Kobe Bryant, my long-standing belief that the Lakers continue to win because they have two 7-footers on the team and another guy who is 6’10”. Teams just cannot handle that size.

Trading for the Guy Who Married an MTV VJ
As the season passes, it has become more and more obvious to me (and the 90 journalists who wrote 200 articles about how “Kobe’s lost a step”) that Kobe is on the downside of his prime. Don’t get me wrong – while the rumors of the Mamba’s demise are far exaggerated, they’re not completely without merit. The minutes are obviously catching up with him; there is no… Read more...