According to ABC 7 in Detroit, the Pistons have contacted Brian Shaw about an interview for their vacant head coaching position.
HoopsVibe Very Quick Call: Why in the world hasn't Shaw gotten a head coaching job yet?
As a player, Shaw advanced to four NBA Finals- one with the Orlando Magic in 1996 and three with the Lakers (2001-2003), winning all three as a Laker. He won two more titles as an assistant coach with the Lakers.
So, it isn't like he doesn't know how to win.
In addition to the Finals appearances, Shaw played with some great players throughout his career. As a first round draft pick of the Boston Celtics, he was teammates with Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish and Dennis Johnson, learning the game from some of the all-time greats.
From there he moved onto the Miami Heat and played alongside Glen Rice and Steve Smith. He then joined Orlando, joining Shaquille O'Neal and Anfernee Hardaway, becoming a mentor to the latter. From there he went to the Lakers and was a key reserve on their championship squads before becoming an assistant coach and learning from possibly the greatest coach ever, Phil Jackson.
So, it's not like he doesn't know how to work with big egos and be successful.
And even now that he's been an assistant coach with the Pacers for two seasons, there still is no clear answer as to why he has been passed over so many times. At least not one that makes sense.
After the Lakers hired Mike Brown instead of him, Shaw was as perplexed as anyone.
"All the speculation and what I've heard, the powers making those decisions felt like the team needed a change of culture and a new voice, and head in a new direction," Shaw said. "I thought that was kind of peculiar because in the 12 years I'd been there, all we had done was gone to the championship seven times and won five championships.
I felt like there were 29 other teams in the league that would love to have that kind of culture and that kind of direction."
Brian Shaw should be a head coach in the NBA. A year from now, Joe Dumars could look really smart.Read More
The NBA Finals are where new stars are born and new styles are formed.
HoopsVibe Very Quick Call: An entire year of league history is compressed into and remembered by the outcome of the NBA Finals.
2009-2010 LA Lakers vs. Boston Celtics - 7 Games
The NBA needed this Finals from a business standpoint as much as anything else. Interest in the game was waining and the league was struggling financially. So what was the best recipe to get the league to be relevant and exciting again? A classic match-up between the Lakers and Celtics, which the Lakers won.
1993-1994 Houston Rockets vs. New York Knicks- 7 Games
This was as grueling an NBA Finals in history. Both teams were rugged, relied on tough defense and games were low scoring. Every possession was hotly contested and featured even personnel match-ups across the board, most notably reigning MVP Hakeem Olajuwon versus Patrick Ewing. The Rockets prevailed and won back to back titles, starting with this one.
1987-1988 LA Lakers vs. Detroit Pistons - 7 Games
The Lakers won this series in the ultimate stylistic clash between the finesse "Showtime" Lakers and the physical, brutish Pistons. Between 1980-1989 the Lakers won five titles, including this series versus the Pistons.This series represented a shift in NBA style of play. Even though the Lakers won and continued their dominance in this series, the Pistons swept the Finals the following season against the Lakers and eventually won two and a row, giving birth to the "Bad Boys" and their imposing style, a style that would be picked up and empolyed by NBA teams moving forward.
1979-1980 LA Lakers vs. Philadelphia 76ers - 6 Games
This series was all about the emergence of Magic Johnson. Magic changed the NBA game forever as the Lakers "Showtime" style was born. Instead of plodding half court sets that had been the norm, the Lakers relied on the transition game and became the most dominant team of the era, changing the entire direction of the league.
1973-1974 Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks - 7 Games
This series was littered with several future NBA Hall of Fame players who not only evolved their respective positions, but brought the game to a new level. The Bucks featured Oscar Robertson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, while the Celtics had Dave Cowens and John Havlicek. Abdul-Jabbar was so dominant the Celtics frequently triple teamed him when he got the ball. The strategy paid off as the C's prevailed in seven games.Read More
Top 5 reasons Marc Gasol won the Defensive Player Of The Year.
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: The NBA chose wisely this year, didn't listen to the hype, and gave it to a truly deserving player.
Marc Gasol becamse the first Grizzlie player ever to win the Defensive Player of the Year honors receiving 212 points and 30 first-place votes.
"I'm the first European ever to accomplish this," Gasol said Wednesday. "It's really an honor. Now I think my kids will believe me when I tell them I played in the NBA."
#5 Defensive Efficiency: The Grizzlies were 2nd in the NBA in terms of defensive efficiency and their numbers were always improved when Gasol was on the court. This shows that his team is strong defensively; but that they are improved by his presence and even surrounded by great defenders he makes the difference.
#4 Defensive Rebounding: Gasol averaged 5.5 defensive rebounds a game and held opponents to 6.8 points per 100 possessions.
#3 Steals Solid: Gasol averaged 1.0 steal per game, which is impressive for a big man.
#2 Blocks Impressive. Gasol averaged 1.7 blocks per game, which was 13th in the league.
#1 Getting The Job Done: The Grizzlies take a team approach to defense. They are able to pressure on the wings more because they know they're interior defense is so strong. Gasol in the middle anchors this interior defense. The Grizzlies allowed a league-low 88.7 point per game as a result.
Photo Credit: AP News
Top 5 reasons Derrick Rose shouldn't return this season.
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Everyone want to see DRose back on the court, but at this point in the season he should probably just sit it out.
#5 Disrupt Chicago's Flow: Chicago is currently 5th in the Eastern Conference with a clinched playoff birth. I'm sure they'd be in the top 2 or 3 if Rose was playing, but Chicago is still a dangerous team and has proven they can beat top teams (ending Miami's 27 game win streak) even without Rose. His return at this point wouldn't help them finish the year strong, it would only disrupt whatever continuity and offensive flow they've taken the year to establish.
#4 Not Game Ready: Rose has been out almost a year. I know he's been practicing and feels great, but the reality is you are only truly in shape to play ball, by playing ball. Rose isn't in the shape he needs to be in to compete at playoff level NBA ball. It would take most player at least a couple weeks of games to get their legs back and with the playoff almost upon us, not isn't the time.
#3 Unrealistic Expectations: People are expecting DRose to swoop in and be the same player he was before his injury. He may never be that player again. If he does regain his former form, it may take time. Throwing him into the NBA playoffs and expecting him to save Chicago's season is unfair. He needs more time to come back gradually. Just let this season go and let him come back full strength next year.
#2 Not Mentally Ready: Rose has told the press he still doesn't "feel" ready. If a player doesn't feel confident with his body he should be on the court. Give, Rose may only ever get ready by getting back in the game, but his mental preparedness is key to his return. If his mind doesn't believe he's ready to be back, his effectiveness and susceptibility to injury should be concerns.
#1 Risk Injury: Chicago and Rose need to think of the big picture. His return for the last few games of the regular season and a playoff run that will likely be stopped in either the first or second round isn't worth the risk. Let Rose continue to rehab over the spring and summer, coming back completely confident in his ACL next season. Why risk it?Read More
Basketball is a team sport, but when two studs lock horns, the other players on the court recede from view.
HoopsVibe Very Quick Call: So many great rivalries, so little time!
Today, Gatorade released an ad for it's new product "Fixation",which features Kevin Durant and Dwyane Wade squaring off, each player dreaming of a different outcome when they meet one and each other on the floor.
So it got me thinking: Who are the best one on one match-ups in NBA history?
Here are the first batlles that came to mind.
Shaquille O'Neal vs. Hakeem Olajuwon
Their match-up in the 1995 NBA Finals has been washed asunder by the tides of history, but at the time, this may have been the best duel I have ever witness. Hakeem was paying the best basketball of his career this season (in the playoffs particularly)and maybe the best stretch for any center in NBA history. Shaq led the NBA in scoring this season (29.3 ppg) and was in the midst of establishing himself as the most physically dominant center ever. In the Finals, Hakeem averaged 32.8 ppg and Shaq scored 28.0 ppg.
Wilt Chamberlain vs Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
In the conversation about the best center of all-time, these two names are really the only two at the top of the list- it's really just a question of who is 1a and who is 1b.This excellent article breaks it down, blow by blow, and concludes that Wilt is the victor.
They played against each other 27 times, including 11 games in the playoffs of 1971 and 1972. In their first 11 meetings, Chamberlain was still able to (i.e. inclined to) score with Jabbar. In those first 11 games, Wilt averaged 22.8 ppg and 17.6 rebounds, while Kareem averaged 26.0 ppg and 15.6 rebounds.
50 ppg, 30.1 ppg over his career, 23 rebounds/game over his career, the only non-guard ever to lead the league in assists, 100 points in one game, the list goes on...Wilt was simply more dominating.
Kevin Durant vs. LeBron James
This is absolutely the most exciting match-up in the current NBA, with both players battling every night for supremacy. In five playoff games (last year's NBA Finals), KD outscored LBJ 30.6 ppg to 28.6 ppg. But James dominated in every other statistical category and also won the title, by a margin of 4-1. In 11 regular season match-ups it's the same story; Durant averages 29.0 to LBJ's 28.1, "Bron Bron" has the edge in rebounds, assists, steals and blocks and has won nine of the 11 games. "Durantula" has some work to do, potentially in this years NBA Finals.
Dominique Wilkins vs. Michael Jordan
Of their era, these were the two most athletically gifted, electrifying players. WIlkins at times, looked like he almost had too much energy for his body, while MJ was always smooooooth. In 45 career games against each other, Jordan won 27 while "Nique" won 18. MJ averaged 31.6, while Wilkins poured in 29.8 as both players had almost identical stat lines. In one playoff series that the Bulls swept, Jordan averaged 34.3, 6.7 rpg, 4.3 apg to Nique's 30.0, 5.3 rpg and 3.0 apg.
Kobe Bryant vs. Michael Jordan
The significance of this rivalry isn't as much about the head to head play, though that was extremely entertaining, but about what it meant to the league- was it not old MJ versus a young version of himself? Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan played each other 8 times, four when Jordan was with the Chicago Bulls and 4 when he was with the Washington Wizards. The Lakers won 5 of those games. Across these games, Bryant scored an average of 22.8 points, while Jordan scored 24.5 points.
Oh,old man Jordan still has it.
What's your top five?
17 years ago today, MJ became just the tenth player in NBA history to eclipse the 24,000 point plateau.
HoopsVibe Very Quick Call: Another day at the office, another milestone for Michael Jordan at that point in his career.
Who'd have thought at the time, that 17 years later to the day, he'd have a bogus paternity suit against him dropped?
Against the Philadelphia 76ers at the United Center, Jordan poured in 38 points on 15 of 32 shooting as the Bulls won 98-94. The victory pushed the Chicago's record to 58-7. The Jordan led Bulls would ultimately set an NBA precedent for greatness that year, setting the all-time single season mark for victories in a season with 72.
Prior to Jordan, only nine players in the history of the league had scored at least 24,000 points- Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, John Havlicek, Moses Malone, Jerry West, Elvin Hayes, Oscar Robertson, George Gervin and Alex English.
Before it was all said and done, Jordan scored 32,292 points and retired having scored the third most points in NBA history. In 15 professional seasons, he led the NBA in scoring 10 times, including seven years in a row and 10 times in 11 seasons (!).
Kobe Bean Bryant is just 995 points away from tying MJ and wresting third place from his trophy case- as if Jordan even cares.
Since MJ got his 24,000th point in 1996, the accomplishment has become more commonplace. Currently, a total of 19 players (nine post-Jordan) have scored 24,000+ points, including Allen Iverson, Kobe, Karl Malone, Dirk Nowitzki, Reggie Miller, Patrick Ewing and Kevin Garnett.
Boston's Paul Pierce is just 223 points short, and former Celtic/current Heat guard Ray Allen is right behind him, just 145 points less than Pierce.
While all the other players on this list are great scorers, no one was more electrifying than Michael Jordan.Read More
Chris Paul chats with HoopsVibe after practice about trade rumors, championships, and Gregg Popovich.
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: When CP3 answers a question you should pay attention.
Chris Paul talks candidly about what is next for the Los Angeles Clippers and CP3. Humble as always, Paul deflects any individual accolades and instead focuses on the task ahead. Now that the Clippers are finally healthy with Chauncey Billups back, could they be a championship team? They've beaten the Spurs 2 out of 3 games this season and are looking to make the leap to the next level.
Fresh off his MVP performance at All Star Weekend, Paul remains calm, confident, and focused when looking ahead. He knows there is a lot of basketball left in the season and that the Clippers have a long way to go. He also doesn't pay much attention to any of the trade rumors surrounding the Clippers. These include rumors that Boston Celtic big-man Kevin Garnett could be coming to LA or that fellow point guard Eric Bledsoe may be headed out of town.
CP3 remains positive about the chemistry on his team and their outlook for the second half of the season.Read More
HoopsVibe talks Los Angeles bball with some of the hottest bands before the Grammys.
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: There is a sports fanatic in every band and we got the interviews to prove it.
In every band there is at least one guy who is a sports nut. Well, in the bands we talked to there was usually more than one. Getting ready for the 55th annual Grammys brings some of the biggest celebs to Los Angeles and HoopsVibe had a chance to catch up with some of our favorites to talk about where music and basketball collide. It also never hurts to find out who these guys are pulling for too.
HoopsVibe Catches Clippers Coach Cracking Jokes And Talks Moving Forward With Blake Griffin And Eric Bledsoe.
Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro jokes around as Griffin and Bledsoe talk about winning without CP3.
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: CP3 is out, but Bledsoe steps up. This is a Clippers team with serious depth. The question is how long can the Clippers continue their winning ways with a young point guard like Beldsoe and not their veteran general in Chris Paul? With Billups and Paul out with injuries how concerned is LA about this season's playoff run?
HoopsVibe interviews celebrities and ballers walking the red carpet to the Stiks Gaming Fundraiser in Hollywood, CA.
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Yes, Kenyon Martin did just challenge HV to a game of Double Dribble. Now, that's old school.Read More
The following is a list of the NBA's top five highest salaried teams. (And thanks to Hoopsworld.com for providing the data).
Hoopsvibe's quick call: This list proves that the best team isn't always the one that spends the most money.
1.) The Los Angeles Lakers - $102,256,438
Point and case. The Lakers may have the largest payroll in the league but their current record is the worst on this list. The organization kept busy this offseason and when they acquired both Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, it was looking like the purple and gold were the team to beat. And indeed, they have been the team to beat. Yes, it's still early in the season, but having won only three games with their expensive lineup is pretty embarrassing. Let's hope the recent hiring of Mike D'Antoni turns things around.
2.) The Miami Heat - $87,595,822
It shouldn't come as much of a shock that the Heat are number 2 on this list. They pretty much cleared out their books a few years ago to make sure there was enough cap space for Lebron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade to be on the roster. And as it turns out, that was a good idea. Micky Arison, Pat Riley and company made a good decision in doing so seeing that the Heat are the defending NBA Champions and are currently sitting at the top of their division.
3.) The New York Knicks - $82,010,527
The Knicks could quite possibly be the surprise of the season so far. J.R. Smith is posting career numbers, averaging 18.2 points per game. Raymond Felton is averaging 14 points and 6.2 assists while Carmelo Anthony's 26.8 ppg leads the league in scoring. As a result, they're 5-0; all the while Amare Staudemire has been on the bench with knee injury. Who knows if they'll keep it up, but it will certainly be interesting to see how they play with Amare back in the lineup.
4.) The Brookyln Nets - $83,511,726
The NBA's newest team are 4-2 to start the season. They have a new stadium in the Barclays Center and with Deron Williams, Brooks Lopez, Kris Humphries and Joe Johnson on their payroll, they certainly have a few expenses. But if they continue to win games, those expenses most likely won't be much of an issue.
5.) The Memphis Grizzlies - $77,098,154
I was pretty surprised when Memphis came in at #5 on this list. I would have thought Boston, or San Antonio, or even Oklahoma City would have been ahead of the Grizz. Then again, they do have Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol on their roster. Those three guys alone take up about $47 million of the payroll. And for good reason; they combine for over 51 points per game.Read More
Lakers hire Mike D'Antoni has head coach after they can't land Phil Jackson.
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: This is a horrible decision that will not end well. I feel like I'm watching the movie John Carter in slow motion.
#10 Wrong System. D'Antonio's system did not work in New York with the Knicks where he went 121- 167. These are not the kind of numbers the Lakers are aiming for.
#9 Egos. D'Antonio does not handle big ego players well. He never had to deal with this in Phoenix and struggled with it in New York. He will drown in egos in Los Angeles and be fired by the end of the year.
#8 No Game Plan. It only makes sense to fire Mike Brown after 5 games if you already have a contract in place with Phil Jackson. Since Jackson was not already locked up to coach, this instead looks like Laker management is in a panic. They will really be in a panic when D'Antoni's system takes weeks and months to implement and then realize it's a horrible fit.
#7 Track Recrod. D'Antoni does not have a history of winning big games. He doesn't have any rings nor has he really ever come close. This season will be no different. He failed in Phoenix, he failed in New York, and this season with the most high-powered offense in the league he will fail again.
#6 Horrible Defense. The Lakers have one of the worst defenses in the league right now. This is largely why they are losing. Mike D'Antoni is famous for having teams that guard no one. He is not a defensively minded coach. Be prepared to watch the Lakers give up a lot of 3 diget scoring nights this season.
#5 Jery Sloan. Although I don't think Sloan is a good fit for the Lakers, he is a better fit than D'Antoni. At least Sloan's offense fits the existing Laker personnel and he brings a tough-minded approach to defense the Lakers drastically need.
#4 Brian Shaw. How is Brian Shaw not getting this coaching gig? If Phil Jackson is your number 1 option, Brain Shaw should logically be your number 2. They believe in the same offensive flow. Shaw coached under Jackson in LA and understands the triangle offense and has the respect of most of the existing players. Shaw should be the Laker's coach not D'Antoni.
#3 No Youth and Quickness. D'Antni's system is based on players that are fast up and down the court and quick on and off the ball. I don't know when anyone ever called Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, and Metta World Peace quick.
#2 Wrong Players. Mike D'Antonio has his old point guard back in Steve Nash, but the problem is this is not a fast break team. This is not a run-and-gun team. They have big men that are built more for pick-and-roll or pick-and-pop. Even straight post-ups or some type of triangle offense would be more appropriate for this team. D'Antoni has the wrong group of guys for his system.
#1 Wrong System. Mike D'Antonio's up-tempo style of ball is not conducive to the Laker's personnel. This is a horrible match. His style of offense does not fit the players the Lakers are paying $100 million to have on the floor. This will not end well.Read More
Top 10 biggest surprises of the 2013 NBA Season.
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Lakers Suck, Chicago's Legit, Who's Gortat, and Harden's unstoppable.
#10 Marcin Gortat blocks a ton of shots.
I don't think you would have found too many NBA analysts picking Marcin Gortat as the shot block leader, but after one week of games he sits atop the standings with 3.5 blocks per game. He beat out big name guys like Roy Hibbert 3.25 blocks per game and Josh Smith 3.0 blocks per game, but can Gortat keep this up or is he simply on a lucky streak?
#9 Brandon Jennings lights up the league.
After one week of NBA ball, Brandon Jennings leads the league in both assists with 13 per game and steals with 4 per game. This may be the year Jennings fully comes into his own and shows the NBA he is not simply a solid player, but a star in the league.
#8 Houston Rockets can compete.
Starting off the season 2-1 is encouraging for the Rockets. This is especially true because their new guard combo of James Harden and Jeremy Lyn appears to be clicking on all cylinders. Harden at marched out to an amazing first week and Lyn as put up rock solid numbers too. Lyn's put up 15.8 points per game, 7.3 assists per game, and 5.7 assists per game. More on Harden's numbers below.
#7 Clippers beat Lakers.
With the Lakers grabbing Dwight Howard and Steve Nash this off-season, it appeared Los Angeles was safely in the grips of the Lakers. Yet, when these two teams met for their first inter-city competition this year it was the Clippers that looked faster, strong, and more dominant. They handed the Lakers their 3rd straight loss of the season.
#6 Knicks destroy Miami.
The Knicks put a whooping on the defending NBA champions 104-84 the first week of the season. They also marched out to a 3-0 start in the first week. It looks like New York might have just figured out how to make all these pieces fit together and the answer much just be the great facilitator Jason Kidd.
#5 Milwaukee Bucks got game.
The Bucks are out to a 2-0 start and are showing they are no pushover this year. Lead by feisty point guard Brandon Jennings who leads the NBA in both assists and steals, the Bucks have quickly become a team to watch out for. They might just be the sleeper team of 2013.
#4 Spurs aren't that old.
Everyone always seems to count the Spurs out even though they had the best record in the NBA both of the last two years. They started of this season hot again going 4-0. So much for too old, too slow, and not enough talent. With the Lakers struggling and the Thunder figuring out how to win without Harden, this could the the Spurs year to take the West.
#3 Chicago Bulls are legit without Rose.
Everyone figured this season was a bust with Derek Rose out, but Joakim Noah and Luol Deng are picking up the slack and have Chicago 3-1. This team still maintains a great defense and ability to shutdown opposing teams. If they can keep their offensive production solid, they just might make a run at the East.
#2 James Harden is an animal.
James Harden has singe-handedly taken the NBA by storm this year. Who knew putting Harden in the starting lineup would result in a 35.3 point per game average over the first week of the season. Harden has shown why at 6 foot 5 inches tall and a quick 220 lbs. he is so difficult to guard. Everyone knew he was good, but so far this year his numbers are amazing.
#1 Lakers Suck.
The Lakers were supposed to tear the Western Conference apart this year. They signed the best center in the league and a perennial NBA All Star at point guard to go with already impressive lineup of one of the best shooting guards in the history of the NBA and two other regular NBA All Stars in Gasol and World Peace. This was going to be a Dream Team of sorts. People were predicting a 72-win season and yet they started 0-3! They eventually won a game and now stand embarrassingly tied for last place in the Pacific Western Conference.Read More
Garnett, Rondo, and Allen feud looks explosive.
HoopsVibe Very Quick Call: I predict a few flying elbows the first time Allen drives the lane in Bean Town.
Garnett struck first saying he no longer has former friend and teammate, Ray Allen's, phone number in his phone. Ouch, that doesn't sound like the type of lifelong friendships everyone in Boston was talking about just a few years ago when the Big Three hung another banner? Rondo followed suit in a similar interview stating he and Allen hadn't always gotten along. Rondo told Yahoo Sports "It's just life. If you look at your job, everyone doesn't always get along with every co-worker they work with. It's just part of life." Rondo also admitted to not having spoken to Allen since his decision to go to Boston's biggest rival in the East, the Miami Heat.
Allen responded to Garnett's comments saying, "That's a shame ... I'm not really worried about it." Looks like these "friends" are now bitter enemies. Allen crossed a scared line in Garnett and Rondo's minds. It isn't simply that he left the Celtics. It's that he left the Celtics and went to their bitter rival. Boston and Miami met in the Eastern Conference Finals last year and although most people thought Boston was over-matched, it was still a hell of a battle.
This has all the makings of adding series kerosene the this already explosive fire. I predict the Celtics vs. Heat games this year will be especially chippy and look for Garnett, a noted hot-head and capable of a questionable cheap shot from time to time, to dish out at least a couple hard hits when Allen returns to Boston in a Heat uniform.
The only saving grace for Allen is he only drives to the basket these days if on one is on his half of the court. He's much more content to camp out behind the arch and wait for hit opportunity to show what a lifetime 40% 3-point shooter looks like in action.Read More
Top 10 Reasons LA Won't Win the Championship This Year.
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Even with Dwight and Nash many don't pick the Lakers to win this year. Here's why.
Below are the Top 10 reasons Los Angeles won't win the title this year. This is drawing from other teams of similar build as well as an analysis of their existing pieces. Los Angeles is loaded with talent, but talent doesn't always equal championship rings and these are the reasons why.
#10 Metta World Peace is wild.
World Peace is a solid defender, but his offense is sketchy and his ability to control himself in pressure situations is horrible. Look for him to have another incident this year as he continues to age and get more frustrated with his slowing body. It's not a matter of if, but simply when World Peace will go nuclear.
#9 Pau Gasol is weak.
Gasol simply doesn't pay with the heart of a champion. Now that he is the 3rd or 4th option in the offense it won't be as glaringly obvious, but having people on your team and on the court that lack desire is a killer to team moral. Look for Kobe to continue to get pissed with Pau.
#8 Dwight can't shoot free throws.
When the game is on the line Dwight can't touch the ball. This is the same problem the Clippers have with Blake Griffin. The Lakers can overcome this by simply having everything flow through Kobe and Nash, but having your key big man not able to touch the ball is a serious weakness.
#7 Nash's defense sucks.
Steve Nash is a wiz at no-look passes and floaters in the lane, but lateral movement and man-up defense isn't one of his strengths. This will be exploited when he is matched up with speedsters like Russell Westbrook. This will be a key matchup the Thunder will exploit. This is why the Thunder are still stronger than the Lakers out West.
#6 Dwight's attitude
Dwight is known as a happy-go-lucky guy. He has always been much stronger and more talented than his competition. Unfortunately, this has made him weak. Dwight is not tough. He does not have the heart of a lion like Kobe. He has the heart of a kitty like Pau. This lack of mental toughness will be spotlighted in the playoffs.
#5 Kobe pressing
Kobe want's his sixth championship more than anything. He knows time is running out on both his career and the Laker's ability to hold this squad of players together. Look for Kobe to up in Pau and Dwight's faces early in the season. This could backfire with Dwight who isn't used to being scolded publicly.
#4 Mike Brown needs a spine
The Zen Master not only knew how to win, he knew how to let his leaders lead, but also how to keep them within his system. Mike Brown is no Phil Jackson and doesn't command the type of respect needed to keep massive egos in check. If things get bumpy early in the system look for Mike Brown to start catching some of the heat.
#3 No Toughness.
The toughest player on the Lakers is Kobe followed by Steve Nash. Where LA doesn't have grit is underneath. They lack the big men with muscle that are willing to both hit the floor and set a bone-crushing pick. Their big men are more pretty and gritty. Teams like San Antonio and Oklahoma City that don't suffer from this same prima donna mentality will exploit this lack of toughness.
#2 LA wants results.
Look for the temperature to be turned up as the Lakers struggle early in the season. They may even loose some early games to the Clippers and be threatened with losing the crown of their home town. Los Angeles has extrememly high expectations for the Lakers and if things start going south look for egos to get bruised and fingers to start pointing.
#1 First year together.
The Miami heat didn't win the first year their Big Three united in South Beach. The Lakers are no different. No matter how much talent a team has, it takes time for players to find their roles and fit together. The Lakers have the advantage of having winners already on the roster, but so did Miami. Look for the Lakers to win in year 2, but not their first year with this grouping of players.Read More
Athletic seven footers in the NBA are some of the most coveted players in sports.
Hoopsvibe's quick call: Having said that, I was surprised to find that the most productive big men in the NBA measure under seven feet tall.
When I sat down to write an article today, I wanted to look at the tallest players in the league and compare their height to their on-the-court production. So I looked at the best big men, meaning the most productive players from a stat sheet standpoint, that played as either forwards or centers. What I found was that the majority of them stood in the 6'10" - 6'11" range. (I purposely excluded the larger, more dominant guards that can play every position like Lebron and Durant.)
Tim Duncan - 6'11"
Blake Griffin - 6'10"
Dwight Howard - 6'11"
Chris Bosh - 6'11"
Kevin Love - 6'10"
Amare Stoudemire - 6'11"
So what ballers in the NBA stand seven feet and post solid numbers?? Here's 8:
1.) Brook Lopez - 7'0" - Center
Lopez was drafted by the New Jersey Nets in 2008 after playing two seasons at Stanford. He immediately made an impact as a rookie, averaging 13 points a game, and has only gotten better. To some degree, Jay-Z's Nets, which are now Brooklyn's finest, have been built around the big man. Last season, Lopez averaged 19.2 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. Surprisingly, though, that he averaged under 4 rebounds per game at 7 feet tall.
2.) Dirk Nowitzki - 7'0" - Forward
Nowitzki is the anomaly on this list only because he's seven foot tall forward that plays more like a guard. But the Mavericks and Mark Cuban certainly haven't been complaining. The big fella from Germany averaged 21.6 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game for Dallas last season. Not to mention, he averaged just under 27 points per game in their first round playoff series loss against OKC. Like him or not, the seven footer can ball.
3.) Javale McGee - 7'0" - Center
While not the most impressive player on this list from a statistical standpoint, (he averaged 11.3 points and 7.8 rebounds per game last year) I had to include McGee because I saw him play against the Lakers last season in the first round of the playoffs against Denver - and he was definitely impressive. We couldn't figure out if it was because Bynum was pouting and Gasol was playing soft but regardless, he owned both of them that game. (Sidenote: Bynum and Gasol are both on this list as you'll read below). And while the Nuggets would eventually lose the series to LA, they won that game; and it was largely due to the fact that Javale McGee went for 21 points and 14 rebounds. Homeboy was possessed.
4.) Andrew Bynum - 7'0" - Center
Although he's been widely criticized for his attitude problems, there's no disputing Bynum's talent. The youngest player ever to play in an NBA regular season game (at 18 years and 6 days old) finished last season with the Lakers having averaged 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds per game. He was traded to Philadelphia this offseason, where I think he will be one of the greatest players to ever put on a 76ers uniform. But that's TBD.
5.) Pau Gasol - 7'0" - Forward/Center
Pau gets a bad wrap for being soft, and maybe he is, but he puts up numbers. He averaged 17.4 points and 10.4 rebounds per game last season for the Los Angeles Lakers. But even more than that, he has soft hands, is a great passer for his size and shoots over 78% from the free throw line, which compared to his seven-foot peers, is pretty astounding.
6.) Marc Gasol - 7'1" - Center
Marc Gasol, the younger and taller brother of Pau, is a big baller as well. Interestingly enough, Gasol was acquired by Memphis in 2007 from the Lakers in a package deal for his brother Pau. In the past few seasons, he has been a big reason that the Grizzlies have turned into a contender and even made it to the playoffs the last two years in a row. Marc averaged 14.6 points and 8.9 rebounds for the Grizz last season.
7.) Roy Hibbert - 7'2" - Center
Hibbert, who played all four years and graduated from Georgetown, was drafted by Toronto in 2008 and immediately traded to the Pacers on draft night. His best year with Indiana was his most recent, where he averaged 12.8 points and 8.8 rebounds per game on the season, and in game 1 of the first round of the playoffs against the Magic, Hibbert recorded a career-high 9 blocked shots. Something tells me there's more games like that in Hibbert's bright future; the Pacers re-signed him to a 4-year $58 million deal in July.
8.) Andrea Bargnani - 7'0" - Forward/Center
Probably the least known of the big men on this list, Bargnani became the first European to be selected with the number one overall pick in an NBA Draft when the Raptors picked him in 2006. Bargnani was born in Rome, Italy and is nicknamed "Il Mago" aka "The Magician." He played a few seasons in Italy before making it to the NBA and averaged an 19.5 points and 5.5 rebounds for Toronto last season.
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Image source: AP Images
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