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Laker talk

Discussion in 'Pistons and NBA' started by G-man, Sep 5, 2005.

  1. G-man

    G-man Starter

    Aug 15, 2005
    Likes Received:
    g & g gas station
    Don't expect miracles: Zen Master isn't Lakers' savior
    [​IMG]Aug. 30, 2005
    By Tony Mejia
    CBS SportsLine.com Staff Writer

    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica]

    When the Lakers brought back Phil Jackson as coach, the majority of Los Angeles fans began pounding their chests again, anticipating the reclamation of their birthright -- championships. At the very least, beating down the Clippers -- who had the audacity of finishing above them in the Pacific Division last season -- is expected.

    [​IMG] Phil Jackson' return doesn't guarantee immediate success for the Lakers. (Getty Images) However, it would be misguided to assume the Lakers will recapture their status as "Kings of L.A." In fact, in this edition of misconceptions, we're here to tell you the Lakers actually enter the year as the underdog -- they have less talent and even worse chemistry.

    The Clips have owned better records over their Staples Center roommates in consecutive seasons only once since moving to San Diego in 1978. From 1991-1993, the Larry Brown-led squad escaped their annual role of losers, while the Lakers, reeling from the unexpected retirement of Magic Johnson, finished below them.

    Last year's demise was a result of being unable to adjust to the absence of the "Diesel" in the middle and the "Zen Master" on the sideline; they missed the playoffs for the first time in more than a decade.

    The Clippers haven't reached the postseason since 1997 and haven't won a playoff game since the Brown era in '93, but last season was viewed as significant progress.
    Expect them to do it again.

    With Elton Brand a fixture inside and center Chris Kaman steadily improving, the Clips have a significantly stronger post game than the Shaq-less Lakers, who relied on Chris Mihm last year. Kwame Brown and teenager Andrew Bynum are now on board to help turn things around.

    Lamar Odom should be much-improved in Jackson's system, but can't be considered a clear-cut choice over emerging star Corey Maggette, who has averaged over 20 points in consecutive seasons for the Clips. Both forwards turn 26 this November and have enjoyed success, yet separating them in terms of one being better than the other? Impossible.

    At shooting guard, Kobe Bryant obviously has the clear advantage over new acquisition Cuttino Mobley, but KB must rebound from the most disappointing season of his career. The superstar guard persevered through a tumultuous time and is ready to prove himself again after finding out the hard way that carrying a team on one's shoulders is not an easy feat. But there's only so much he can do, even if he averages 35 points a game playing Michael Jordan's role in the triangle.

    Mobley arrives with something to prove as he joins his third team in less than a year. He struggled in Sacramento, unable to carve out a niche. Many believed he shot too much and didn't play enough defense, compromising the chemistry the team enjoyed with long-time presence Dough Christie, for whom Mobley was traded. With the Clips, he'll look to restore his rep while filling Bobby Simmons' void in the lineup, which means plenty of looks.

    The Lakers' search for a competent point guard continues; the Clippers have one to spare.

    If Sam Cassell is rejuvenated and can handle playing reduced minutes, he and emerging second-year player Shaun Livingston could form a strong combination for the Clippers.

    Livingston is the most promising floor general the city of L.A. has seen since Magic, potentially the top player chosen in last year's draft. He was slowed by injury as a rookie, but displayed flashes of brilliance not seen much from a teenager. At 6-feet-7, he presents matchup problems that coach Mike Dunleavy has barely scratched the surface exploiting.

    On paper, the Clippers seem to hold clear advantages at three positions with another being a relative wash. And the continuity is there. Considering they toil in the large shadow cast by their high-profile Lakers brothers, they also seem to have fewer distractions on deck.

    Add all that up. Which team is more likely to have the better year? Which seems more likely to make the playoffs?

  2. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

    Jul 5, 2005
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    Lakers. Lakers. I don't like Phil, but he's 10 times the coach Mike Dunleavy is. I don't like Kobe but he is a top 10 player.

    Can we say that about Brand, Cassell, Magette or Mobley? Nope. For those guys, making an All-Star game is a big deal. For Kobe, not making the All-Star game would be a big deal.
  3. max

    max All-Star

    Aug 15, 2005
    Likes Received:
    my bunker in the Carribbean
    Phil Jackson

    I have gained a little respect for him finally taking over a team that is not a title contender. Then again he did get a record contract amt which is probably the main reason for taking it.

    Still he is opening himself up to all his critics that say he only only won because he inherited great teams.
  4. ggazoo69

    ggazoo69 All-Star Forum Donor

    Sep 1, 2005
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    Willington, CT
    Phil returns

    I think Jeannie said this to him: "No Lakers? Ok, no more of that thing you really like."

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