Now that we’ve reached the All-Star break, and given that you’ll get plenty of All-Star coverage, I thought I’d spit out some random thoughts about the Lakers and basketball, in no particular order of importance:
- People love to say that Kobe doesn’t trust his teammates and that he takes all the shots at the end of games (with a low percentage), but I can recall at least two times he passed up the potential game-winning or game-tying shot, including when he passed out to Sasha in Orlando, and to Derek in Utah, he even passed up a game-winner in the All-Star game to Tim Duncan, who was probably so surprised, he didn’t know what to do with it! Then again, maybe the fact that I can remember the times Kobe does give up the game winner means he does shoot at the end too much. But I think that when he’s been double-teamed this year he’s shown he is willing to pass the ball, even in game ending situations. You only get the media love if the guy you passed to hits the shot, then all of a sudden there are columns about how you’ve “matured” and “trusted your teammates to make the big shots”.
- They need to make the All-Star contests more challenging by choosing players who are NOT good at the particular contests. For example, for the dunk contest, choose guys that can barely dunk, like Tony Parker and Steve Nash (can Nash dunk? He has to be able to, right? Right?) For the skills contest, I want to see Yao Ming, Shaq, and Z. Ilgauskas weaving through the cones and throwing bounce passes through the hoop – and the hoop will be in flames, for added effect. For the three point contest, they should choose the guys with the lowest three point field goal percentages, minimum 100 attempts. If we pick the five lowest this season that would be, in order of worst to “best”: DeShawn Stevenson, Dwyane Wade, Baron Davis, Louis Williams, and Andre Igoudala. Good times.
- I want to see “deflections” included in the box score. This would be any ball whose flight path was altered by direct contact with the ball by the defender, whether or not the offense kept possession. Of course, blocks and steals would count as deflections, but you’d also count all the times they disrupted the offense.
- I want someone to keep track of everyone who touches the ball on an offensive possession along with the result. For example, “Fisher-Odom-Gasol-made basket”, and “Farmar-Walton-turnover”. After you have all the data, you could crunch the combinations and results into a database and find out things like: What combination led to a made basket the most? What combos led to a turnover? How many average touches was the most successful? And on and on …
- I think Dwyane Wade is going to steal the show Sunday and be the All-Star game MVP. He looked pretty dazzling in the Olympics, and they’ll be begging to give him some kind of hardware this year, since he ain’t getting league MVP.
- How in the hell does Jermaine O’Neal ($21,372,000) make more than Kobe Bryant ($21,262,500)??? JO should kiss his agent, or more.
- How exciting would it be to see every team get a one-time refundable trade? Here’s how it would work: each team could only exercise the “refund” rights once with another team they agree to trade a player for in a one-for-one swap. Both teams would have to agree to to the “refund” terms. The trial period would be five games. The players would switch teams. Then, any time within the first five games, if either team changed their mind and said, “nah, we want our guy back”, the players would have to go back to their original teams. After 5 games, both teams would have to keep the player they traded for. It wouldn’t happen often, but there might be special cases where both teams were unsure, and wanted to see how it would work out before making a final decision. For example, say the Laker and Pistons agreed to the “trial period” trade with Lamar Odom for Rasheed Wallace. Within either player’s first five games, either team could nix the trade. I would love to see this happen! Teams might come away for a better appreciation for the guy they wanted shipped, or not. This would also make GMs less hesitant to make that risky trade, because they would know they could get a refund! The NBA would be even more exciting with players in their trial periods, and people wondering if they would keep the new guy, or ask for a refund!
- Have a nice All-Star break, and remember to measure your success against what you had to give up to get it!