Thursday, December 18, 2014
Blog Page 69

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We’ve all seen it – athletes and coaches finding creative ways to say absolutely nothing during their post-game press conferences. We decided to take a short break from all the drama around Laker Nation and have a little bit of fun.

In honor of Mike D’Antoni’s upcoming presser, our own David Brickley gives you the best winning sports clichés of all-tme… in a single press conference.

Be sure to check out Part 2: All-Time Best Losing Sports Clichés of All-Time.

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Photo Credit: Darren Rovell
Photo Credit: Darren Rovell

The Lakers will have more than just a new coach come Christmas time this year. On Monday, ESPN reporter Darren Rovell tweeted a series of photos of the NBA’s new Christmas Day uniforms. Among them, a new Lakers all-white look with purple shading.

The Lakers Christmas Day showdown has just been made all the more exciting with their recent hiring of former New York Knicks Coach, Mike D’Antoni. Knicks star Carmelo Anthony recently weighed in on the D’Antoni hire:

Any time guys are losing like that, there’s always negativity. Sometimes a change is better. I’m very excited for him. I really am. I think he’s a guy that’s meant to be a coach. He’s done great things over the years as a coach, and I think he’ll do extremely well there.”

The Lakers and Knicks will first face off on Dec. 13 in New York, before meeting at Staples Center on Dec. 25. The Knicks have started the season a red hot 4-0, and with the Lakers dropping 10 of their last 14 Christmas Day games, they’ll certainly be looking to add a little more cheer this holiday season.

 

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As reported by ESPN, Los Angeles Lakers forward Devin Ebanks was arrested at 2:49 am Friday morning on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Ebanks was booked into custody and released a few hours later after posting $5,000 bail. He is scheduled to appear in court on December 7th.

The Lakers released the following statement regarding the arrest:

“We are aware of the situation with Devin and are currently looking into the matter to gather all the facts. We have no further comment on this at this time.”

Luckily for Ebanks,  this incident has been foreshadowed by the firing of  head coach Mike Brown and the situation surrounding the hiring of Mike D’Antoni.

Ebanks did not see any playing time in Friday night’s game against the Warriors or Sunday night against the Kings. Buried on a Laker bench still looking for their identity, Ebanks is averaging 2.7 ppg in his third season.

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Photo Credit: The Associated Press

Nearly 35 minutes per game, and he’s still recovering from back surgery. Twenty points and 10.6 rebounds a night, and he’s not in game shape yet. An average of 2.4 blocks in 7 games, and he’s yet to be 100%.

So if this is Dwight Howard not at 100%, imagine what a fully recovered Dwight can bring to this Laker team.

Last year, Andrew Bynum put up big numbers here and there and the Lakers looked seemingly unstoppable in those games. But what separates Howard from Bynum is his ability to put up big numbers consistently. Dwight Howard has shown up and made an impact in every game so far. Not only has he been efficient on the stat sheet, he’s also shown a tremendous amount of effort in every game.

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A source inside the Lakers said that there was a 95% chance that Phil Jackson would return for his third tour with the team. A day later news broke that the Lakers instead hired Mike D’Antoni as the new Lakers head coach.

STNTV takes you through the emotional cycle of Lakers fans. From Done to D’Antoni.

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TALENT:
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Copyright 2006 NBAE (Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)

Though Phil Jackson is the greatest coach of all time, Mike D’Antoni could be a better fit for the Lakers.

Hiring Phil Jackson would be the right hire for Kobe. They have familiarity, and the same two-year window. Presumably, they would ride off into the sunset together in two years, leaving the Lakers in the (very good) position of having Dwight Howard, cap space, a year of Steve Nash, and almost nothing else on the books.

However, hiring Mike D’Antoni offers the Lakers a further future advantage, allowing them to transition to the next era of Lakers’ basketball around Dwight Howard, without sacrificing the present.

Following Kobe’s expected retirement in 2-3 years, the Lakers can look to replicate “Showtime” with Dwight Howard and Mike D’Antoni. With Dwight in place as the defensive anchor, and D’Antoni’s brilliant offensive system – all LA needs to do is match players to their “Showtime” roles. Flush with cap space, and with Dwight Howard as Kareem, the Lakers can choose from the following 2015 free agents to be “Magic.”: LeBron James, Rajon Rondo, Kyrie Irving and Tony Parker. There are plenty of Byron Scott/James Worthy types available as well, like Dwayne Wade and Klay Thompson. With D’Antoni in place (assuming his next couple of years are successful with Nash and KB), the Lakers have an identity to build around Dwight.

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Photo by Getty Images

The Lakers have made their decision: Mike D’Antoni. I, as well as most of Laker Nation, wanted PJ all along, but the Buss family refused to give him more power and now that dream is over with. However, PJ would not have equated a ring automatically, remember how his last year here ended (SWEEP). Let’s look at the Pro’s and Con’s of this choice.

 

PRO’S:

  • With D’Antoni at the helm, Steve Nash will finally be utilized correctly and we will see this Lakers offense flourish as the Suns did from 2004 -2008. Think about all of PJ’s teams and try and remember a point guard running the show or flourishing. Paxson, Harper, Shaw, Fisher. All those guys were spot up 3 point shooters and solid defenders. Nash would have been utilized the same way he was under Mike Brown: poorly.
  • Dwight is NOT a back to the basket big man and would not flourish in the Triangle offense like Shaq did. Shaq was MUCH bigger than Dwight, had better post moves, better footwork, and a softer touch around the basket. We will FINALLY see a Steve Nash, Dwight Howard pick-and-roll offense that will be extremely effective and entertaining
  • The concern is that D’Antoni’s teams don’t play defense. To be fair, his personnel was more to blame than his coaching. Raja Bell and Shawn Marion were his only defensive players and they always did their part. Also, defense isn’t about coaching, it’s about effort. Mike Brown was a “defensive genius” and look how that turned out. D’Antoni’s Suns teams had a front court lineup with Amar’e Stoudemire playing the center position (As well as one futile year with an aging Shaq). Has Amar’e EVER played defense in his life? With Dwight protecting the rim I believe this team will be fine defensively.
  • Fans have been crying for Jodie Meeks to see the court; well, here’s his chance. Meeks is the only spot up shooter we have and will be essential in the D’Antoni system of spreading the floor and finding the open man

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Photo by Rob Carr | Getty Images

As reported by Mike Bresnahan of the LA Times, Mike D’Antoni has signed a 4 year deal to be the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers.

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/Mike_Bresnahan/status/267894975583375361″]

We all heard the rumors that the coaching job was Phil Jackson’s to lose but reports are spreading that Jackson’s coaching demands were too high for the Lakers to agree to.

This reunites Steve Nash and Mike D’Antoni from their Phoenix Suns days. Kobe Bryant also looked up to D’Antoni as a child watching him play in Italian leagues. Nash stated the transition will be seamless for him and will be very easy for the rest of the team to pick up the transition of head coaches.

Laker spokesman John Black: “Dr. Buss, Jim Buss and Mitch were unanimous that Mike D’Antoni was the best coach for the team at this time.”

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/Mike_Bresnahan/status/267909724404600832″]

The deal is reported for $12M/3 years with the fourth year as a team option.

Marc Spears has also confirmed reports that Mike D’Antoni has been hired.

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Photo courtesy of Jeff Gross | Getty Images

 

That’s two wins in a row for the Weekend With Bernie project. It’s not much, but at least it’s a streak on the right side of the column. Though numbered are the days of the current coaching staff, Bickerstaff (and staff) have made the most of their time with the Lakers, producing some positive sightings of a once down-trodden-looking squad.

For a team whose head coach was fired just two days ago, and whose future coach is yet to be determined (or yet to be finalized is probably more like it), the ill effects of the uncertainty appear minimal, if that. In their last two games since Friday’s firing of Mike Brown, the Lakers look like they’re having fun. “It’s like playing in a pick-up game,” back-up point guard, Chris Duhon said.

The Golden State Warriors and the Sacramento Kings (who played without a suspended Demarcus Cousins) aren’t exactly playoff-bound teams, but when Kobe Bryant runs a break, and sprinting down the court with him with his index finger point upwards asking for a lob is Metta World Peace, the fun factor has definitely risen. Bryant started laughing the second MWP rose up to convert that lob with a dunk, and the two laughed all the way back on defense. Freer. Less overthinking. That’s the noticeable difference with these Lakers in the last couple of games.

Despite the 18 turnovers, which have become the Lakers’ vice this season, the team managed to do more good than bad tonight, especially since they game out with another victory (for anyone keeping track, that’s three wins). Dwight Howard production was key; despite Steve Nash’s absence (not to mention Steve Blake’s for most of the game – more on that later), there were enough playmakers to go around; and even the bench contributed something. Pick-up basketball indeed.

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Source: Getty Images/Kevork Djansezian

After the Lakers abruptly ended their ties with head coach Mike Brown on Friday morning, the search for his replacement began. Even before Brown’s firing rumors were swirling of his possible replacement. On November 6, Alex Kennedy from Hoopsworld.com reported that a source had told him Jerry Sloan would be the new Laker coach by December 1. There were also rumors of Mike D’Antoni coming to reunite with Steve Nash and bring showtime back to LA, and of course, Phil Jackson teaming up with Kobe for a third time.

Shortly after Brown being released, General Manager Mitch Kupchak addressed the media. During the press conference he addressed that he and the Laker front office were devising a plan of attack to find Brown’s replacement meanwhile naming assistant coach Bernie Bickerstaff as the Lakers interim head coach. Kupchak did not release the names of the potential coaches but from what we know now the Lakers planned on contacting Phil Jackson, Mike D’Antoni, and Mike Dunleavy among others.

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Photo by: Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers have assigned rookie guard Darius Johnson-Odom to the Los Angeles D-Fenders, the team’s representative in the Developmental League, as reports ESPN’s Dave Mcmenamin. The former 55th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft made his regular season debut last Friday night against the Warriors, hitting the court for the last 41 seconds of the contest. Now, he will earn some much-needed playing time to continue to develop his raw potential and stay in game-shape.

The 6’2 Johnson-Odom impressed the Lakers coaching staff in Training Camp and pre-season with his excellent athletic ability, which granted the rookie with a spot in the final roster. But with the tough competition for playing time with veterans such as Steve Blake, Jodie Meeks and Chris Duhon, not to mention the sophomore Darius Morris, “DJO” was not getting significant time on the court with the Lakers anytime soon. A move to the D-League could prove to be very benefitial to the youngster as he tries to improve as a player and open up some eyes at the higher level.

Johnson-Odom’s departure to the D-League does not clear a roster spot for the Lakers, who will still have to count him towards the 15-men limit as the D-Fenders will have their regular-season debut on November 28th.

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With the Lakers off to a poor start, trade rumors have begun to swirl around Kobe Bryant, leading many to speculate if he'll leave for greener pastures. Kobe puts those rumors to rest in his interview with Yahoo Sports.