Remember how feisty Goran Dragic and Sasha were seasons ago? This Yugoslavian is one tough dude. Dragic is another strong candidate for this off season free agency assuming Houston wants to let him go. Dragic is a 3rd year guard with youth and stamina behind him.
Favoring numbers as a starter from this past season (5 games): 13.4 PPG, 7.8 REBS, and 7.8 assists.
Last 5 games: 11 PPG, 6 REBS, and 6 assists.
Here's what past Yugoslavian Lakers had to say about the idea of Goran Dragic possibly being the next Yugo Laker...
There you have it folks, Dragic has the Yugoslavian vote (with exception to his fellow Yugo nemesis) 2-1. If Houston waives his 2011-12 eligibility as a Rocket, Lakers should nibble at this Goran-tuan opportunity.
Who says L.A. can't host another Lakers championship parade this year? If you made it to the 2011 Red Bull Soapbox Race yesterday held in downtown Los Angeles you would have seen Kobe, Gasol and the rest of their cut out friends steer down to victory lane.
Kudos to the Lakers Fanwagon team who brought home the title. Only fitting since the locals who reside just blocks away couldn't.
The Lakers Fanwagon was driven by Christopher Moreno and constructed by mechanics Hector Catalan, Vienna To, and Jose Moreno. Their nifty Lakers championship parade themed Red Bull soapbox not only looked the best but maneuvered the fastest. Go figure.
Soapbox specs: Human powered; Less than 6-feet wide and 7-feet tall; Less than 20-feet in length; Not more than 7 inches off the ground; Cannot weight more than 176 lbs (excluding driver); and drivers must be at least 18 years of age.
Racers steered their homemade design on wheels along a hay bale-lined route down Grand Avenue, then turned left on 5th Street and down to the finish line near Pershing Square.
Many racers (37 to be exact) took the downward slope with grace, many failed, but only one team was destined to take the [Larry O'Brien] trophy.
Congrats to the Lakers Fanwagon team for once again making the Purple and Gold the best in Los Angeles.
For more photos by photographer Norman Tañada click below:
It's clear the Lakers have many PG options in the coming months, why not look over in Detroit for Rodney Stuckey as one? We all know he's not afraid to shoot the ball as he averaged 12 FG attempts last season (70 games). Even though his stats rollercoastered, Stuckey ended the season with promising numbers scoring over 20 points in the last five games.
Like Aaron Brooks, Stuckey is a 4 year guard who has plenty in the tank. He can easily have 15 point nights using his left hand. Last season he averaged 16pts at the starting position (54 games as a starter). L.A. gravely (no exaggeration) needs a player like Stuckey who is not afraid to put up 10+ shot attempts a night. With a new coach coming on board, the offense is going to consequently change which will allow for new players to step up.
We can give Stuckey a tempting offer now that Trey, Joe and Theo are off the roster. Their salaries alone free up roughly $3 million. Stuckey made just less than that last season in Detroit. I'm sure Buss can reach deeper into the organization's pockets to lock in a player with the caliber like Stuckey's.
Plus, just imagine the popularity L.A. will gain from a 50 cent look-a-like. Yo, it's time to pop some bottles of bub! Yo, word to ya mutha! Yo, word in bond? Yo, it's your birfday. All of this yo yo talk is making me feel like one. My head hurts.
Aaron Brooks will be available this off season as a restricted free agent. He would fit perfectly with the Lakers organization as they try to fill the voids left behind from a disappointing season. I may be the only Laker fan who considers making the semifinals not as disappointing.
Aaron is a 4th year point guard who plays with no fear. His speed and offense is critically needed for this aging dynasty. L.A. needs a PG who can score and slash for the quick two or open pass. Who better to do this than the NBA's 2009-10 most improved player who averaged 20pts that season.
We all know Aaron Brooks because he plays his best ball against the Lakers. He opened up this season reminding Laker fans of this by scoring 24pts w/ 9 assists. Midway through he was traded to Phoenix where his minutes varied. Granted Nash took most of them but Aaron still scored an average 13pts (55 game season) when he had 20+ minute nights (34 games). This stat alone almost doubles Derek Fisher's entire regular season average (6.8pts) where he had just 3 games with less than 20 minutes.
This is not to compare Derek to Aaron as Fisher has already proven his HOF status but if this franchise wants to compete next season they need to improve at the 1 position. Exclude the love we all have for the Finisher, Derek just needs to accept the second unit role like LO so graciously has. Having a quick offensive contributor that has the capability of averaging 10-15pts a game is what will put the champs at the top again.
Need I remind you what Aaron Brooks did to the Lakers in Game 4 of the NBA 2009-10 semifinals? Take a second look. He could be doing this type of damage as a Laker next season! Just imagine that.
Lets face it in order for the Lakers to be #1 they'll need to improve at the #1. The most common weakness for L.A. is at the PG position. Having the admission to keep D. Fish at the starting position because of his veteran ship and because it's the right thing to do will plague this organization. Kobe and Gasol desperately need help offensively and Derek and Steve are not helping. Discard all other theories, this is the reality of L.A.'s blemish.
I just don't get it, Fisher is one of the best shooters in the league. He just needs to shoot more rather that orchestrate the triangle. He only averaged 6 shot attempts in the regular season. I don't care if you have Bird's range, Allen's form, and Miller's stroke, 6 shot attempts is not enough to get you in any kind of rhythm. I understand there's a pecking order but there's plenty to peck at in 48 minutes.
Derek's back up wasn't any better either. Brian Kamenetzky from the Land O' Lakers recently wrote a great article about Steve Blake's disappointing season. Click here to read the article.
So this dawns the question, who would be a great pickup this off season? I don't know about you but I'm liking Stuckey.
Click below to find who is available in this upcoming off season free agency market: ESPN.com: 2011 and 2012 Free Agents
Phil answers an array of media questions in his 2010-11 exit interview. The media directed their focus to his coaching career as Phil's "unofficial" retirement is silently known. One thing is for certain, Phil is not looking back.
One media reporter asked Phil if he was going to formerly resign. Phil responded, "I don't know if I have to write a letter". Classic Phil Jackson.
He also stated when asked again about his retiring, "I am happy with the job I've done".
He hasn't said in exact words that he is leaving but he doesn't have to. We all know this is his final good bye.
After today's practice, Andrew Bynum opened his 2010-11 exit interview with an apology about his actions in game 4. Time will definitely tell if the Dallas Mavericks organization and more importantly JJ Barea accepts his apology if they do respond. Right now they're just busy.
There is one Dallas Maverick who has voiced his opinion on the matter however...
On how he would've reacted if Andrew Bynum had done to him what he did to J.J. Barea:
“I can’t tell you. I cannot tell you what I would’ve done, but I know it would’ve been hard for me to control my reaction, being the player that I am and the emotion that I play with. It was just a dirty, dirty play.”
On how difficult it was to not react to Bynum's flagrant foul:
“It was tough for me. I was toeing the line. I think we might even have to review the tape, but I made sure I stayed back. You know what happens if you cross that line and you’re not in the game, you won’t be playing in the next one.”
Listen I know this has become overplayed and I know the media has gone crazy over this subject but Bynum needs to realize what he did was absolutely wrong. Our responsibility as fans is to expose the bad as much as we flaunt the good. We can't cover our eyes and say it never happened. It will go away eventually but not now. It's still leaves a bitter aftertaste in my mouth.
As Laker fans reflect on better days, Laker legends reflect on Andrew Bynum's episode yesterday.
Three ejections in just 2 games. First it was Ron Artest in the closing seconds of game 2 clothes-lining JJ Barea and yesterday in game 4, Lamar shoving Dirk and Andrew Bynum with absolutely no regard for human life forearming a midair JJ Barea as he went up for a layup. Barea lands awkwardly but thankfully is okay.
Bynum not only planted a defenseless Barea to the floor but also had no problem taking off his jersey before leaving the arena. To me this was metaphorically an act of defiance like wrestlers do when ripping their shirts off. This was a huge sign of disrespect to the Lakers organization and what they stand for.
A locker room reporter asked Bynum about the incident (pretty much giving him the opportunity to apologize) and Bynum simply replied showing no remorse...
“They were breaking us down," "So I just fouled somebody. I was just kind of salty about being embarrassed. It was embarrassing to have the smallest guy on the court keep running down the lane and making shots.”
Laker legends Magic, James and Kareem expressed their discomfort.
James Worthy on 710 ESPN this morning said he was disgusted by Andrew Bynum's flagrant foul on J.J. Barea and unapologetic post game interview. He also continued to say that for the first time he felt ashamed to be a Laker to watch how that game unfolded...disgraceful.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar tweeted, "Bynum's flagrant foul on Barea was a prime example of the frustration that the whole Laker team experienced. There is no joy in Laker land".
Take a second look. The main consensus around the nation is that Bynum will be fined a massive amount and suspended for the first 5 games of the 2011-12 season. What do you think should be the punishment?
2011 NBA Playoffs - Semifinals Game 4
Los Angeles Lakers (2) vs Dallas Mavericks (3)
Final Score @ Halftime: Mavericks 63, Lakers 39
Series: Mavs win 4-0
Halftime Post Game
The champs are down by 24pts at halftime so I'm posting my post game article now. Who am I kidding this game is over. Congratulations goes to the Dallas Mavericks for advancing to the Western Conference Championship.
Discouraging halftime statistics
Behind the arc stats. Dallas shot .733% behind the arc making 11 of their 15 shot attempts. Lakers shot .125% making 1 of their 8 attempts.
Bench stats. Dallas has scored 40pts vs L.A.'s 7. The Dallas bench has outscored the entire Lakers team (39pts).
Assists. Dallas 20, Lakers 5.
This is embarrassing. Magic said during the halftime show, "This is the worst the Lakers have ever played when they needed to win".
It's time for the champs to move out of the limelight and pass the torch that they've carried for so long now.
Thanks Lakers for everything. We are the luckiest fans.
2011 NBA Playoffs - Semifinals Game 3
Los Angeles Lakers (2) vs Dallas Mavericks (3)
Final Score: Mavericks 98, Lakers 92
Series: Mavs lead 3-0
The fire Laker fans have been waiting all season long for PJ to exude finally happens...but in May. Why did it take coach until being down 2-0 in the NBA semifinals to finally show his not so Zen counterpart? I liked the energy Phil displayed out there tonight. It was refreshing to see him do something besides whistle from the seated position. Okay, that's enough Phil Jackson bashing for me as he's already validated his HOF career many times. He doesn't deserve to have the finger pointed to his direction. It's time to execute and not fault. Screw that! It's all Gasol's fault! J/K.
As we've all heard, no NBA team has ever come back from being down 0-3. Do you believe in miracles? It's going to take 1 to win 4 straight. I'm Mr. Brightside here and I've found several reasons why not to frown Laker fans.
I mean these stories of great survival should at least give Laker fans some kind of hope. Don't walk with your head down fans, we've had a great run. A fantastic run! We have 16 titles! Look at me trying to convince myself it could be better when it isn't. Ha!
Yes it sucks and it sucks even more knowing we won't 3-peat for Phil's last hurrah. The part that will sting the most is not winning our 17th to tie Boston's collection. To think Celtic fans will always have that over us is almost nauseating.
I'm not going to analyze the box score because we all know who didn't show up tonight. Let's just pull together and pull out all of our good luck charms and rub the hell out of them for Sunday's win or go home game.
2011 NBA Playoffs - Semifinals Game 2
Los Angeles Lakers (2) vs Dallas Mavericks (3)
Final Score: Mavericks 93, Lakers 81
Series: Mavs lead 2-0
First of all I want to vent out my frustrations not about what I saw tonight but more about what I heard. What the hell is wrong with these spoiled fans who can't accept anything less than perfect? To watch L.A. lose at home for the second time in a row is agonizing but to have to hear the boo birds in our own arena is just disrespectful. Please excuse the following raging rhetorical's.
What more do fans want from the reigning back-to-back champs? Do they expect the path to another L.A. 3-peat to come easy? Do they think the team will execute every play and make every shot? Have they not realized that there is no such thing as a "switch"? It's the NBA where fans hope their team plays like they appear on paper. Anything can happen.
It just so happen that the Lakers lost in consecutive order in the second round of the playoffs. Bad timing? Yes, but how many times has L.A. bounced back? You so-called fans who were there tonight because Daddy got you tickets need to just zip it. Don't boo the home team in their own arena. It's how the home crowd reacts when their team is struggling that is so important. Take a look at every other Arena's home crowd. Observe and take notes on how to properly cheer your team on. Man I wish I was there. My voice would be as noticeable as a camera flash midway Tiger's tee off swing.
I digress. [Deep breath]
I guess I got my wish when I said I'd rather see the Lakers lose convincingly than having to see a Kobe buzzer beating miss. Lakers are indeed in an uncomfortable spot. It's time to seriously regroup and dissect what is hurting the team. I can tell you what hurt the Lakers tonight. 2-20 behind the arc, 11-20 at the charity stripe, and the Lakers second unit contributing a whopping 12pts are all losing factors. Mav's bench scored a combined 30pts.
Tonight's bonehead play of the game was when Artest hit Barea in the face in the closing seconds. This cost him a (not so) early exit to the showers. Now there are talks about him possibly being suspended for game 3. D'oh!
To those true Laker fans who purchase nose-bleed tickets whose chants cannot be heard and to those brave Laker fans in Dallas who will be in attendance in Games 3 and 4, show your colors and cheer the Lakers on as if it were their last game, really.
2011 NBA Playoffs - Semifinals Game 1
Los Angeles Lakers (2) vs Dallas Mavericks (3)
Final Score: Lakers 94, Mavericks 96
Series: Mavs lead 1-0
Not since the 80's have the Lakers faced the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA playoffs. Maybe L.A. thought Dallas still had Sam Perkins and Mark Aguirre playing rather than the 4th quarter giants Dirk and J. Terry because this silly loss left fans in shock. Lakers had the W in the palm of their hands but just fell apart late in the 4th. Honestly I'd rather see L.A. lose convincingly than to see a stumbling Kobe in the closing seconds and consequently see Gasol turnover the ball to gift wrap the victory for Dallas. We couldn't stop the 7-foot German from scoring at will.
BTW how many times do the cameras need to point to that annoying owner of theirs? His face got more camera time than Kobe and Kobe was playing. Mark needs to smoke a Cuban in the owners box. We don't need him to hackle. Dude let your coach Jim Carrey do his job.
Again I'm left bitter after a game 1 loss so I'm desperately looking for anything to make me feel better and thank you Chicago for being my savior. The Bulls lose at home tonight against the 5th ranked Atlanta Hawks. Okay now I feel much better.
Let this be a lesson learned for the champs. Never have your big men defend the inbound pass late in games.
Click below for tonight's post game numbers. You decipher the digits and pin-point where we went wrong. I'm tired and my nails are gnawed down to the bone.