I have been asked this several times this season, and I have been wrong each time. But I now believe it is time to take the Los Angeles Lakers seriously. Why else would I elevate them nine spots to eighth in my latest NBA Power Rankings?
Heat this. With the Heat’s winning streak up to 19, the press which follows its every move with adoring eyes has decided they are unbeatable. Of course, this is the same press that dogged the Heat’s every move in the sure knowledge LeBron James had no killer instinct or heart; couldn’t play with Dwyane Wade, who was over the hill; that Chris Bosh was even worse than James and wade; and Erik Spolestra was about to go.
A Rose is a Rose is a Rose. Or at least, he used to be. Having waited lo these many months, Bulls fans are dismayed to see the All-Star Game come and go with Derrick Rose and the cavalry yet to ride over the hill. (Forget the fans. How about fantasy players who stashed Rose last fall for a Spring Surprise – like me – only to learn the surprise is on them? So, please forgive me if I become hysterical.) LIKE WHERE
Of course, the Clippers didn’t shop Eric Bledsoe. If you haven’t been paying attention, no one ever shops anybody. It’s just that other teams call and you have to listen in the interest of improving your club. Kind of makes you wonder how talks get initiated if no GM ever says, “Yeah, we called them up, asked for Kevin Garnett, and offered them Eric.” Not that the Celtics were shopping KG, either, but Danny Ainge had to listen in the interests of his
Just what the Lakers needed – a new era. For the Lakers, the old era was paradise, from 1979 when Jerry Buss bought the team and as his first official act got to draft Magic Johnson. The team that went 1-for-9 in the Finals in its first 20 seasons in town and lost all seven meetings with Boston made 16 more Finals and won 10 more titles in the next 30 years, replacing the Celtics as the NBA’s dominant franchise from that
There have been three true NBA dynasties, but only one that is attributable to an owner. Red Auerbach, a coach and general manager, gets all the credit for Boston’s dominance in the 1960s; Michael Jordan merits the same in Chicago for his pair of three-peats with the Bulls, and Jerry Buss, who died Monday at age 80, deserves major props for what he did with the Lakers.
And what a first half it was! Even crushing the Thunder in Oklahoma City to finish it on a 7-0 run left the defending champion Miami Heat with the No. 3 record, although – unlike the days when every misstep prompted charges that LeBron James was a choking mercenary – there was no outcry at all. Bron ended that with last year’s title before going to heights he hadn’t even been to – and no one else may have – scoring at
A slow start for Moneyball, NBA style. With 34-year-old Grizzlies owner Robert Pera shocked – shocked! – to learn the team he paid $377 million for in June was in financial peril, they began shopping Rudy Gay, even if moving him would break up the group that had risen from No. 15-14-11 finishes from 2007-2009 to within one win of the Western Conference finals in 2010.