What an off season it has been for the Lakers. Plenty of opinions and analysis with Twitter lighting it up. In the final wash, over the past 12 months, the Lakers have basically given up Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom, Derek Fisher, Luke Walton and some low first round draft picks and turned it into Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, Jordan Hill; and added some nice free agents in Jodie Meeks and Antawn Jamison. Wow. You think Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss don’t know what they are doing now? Expectations abound and opinions are divided about how it will all work; remember the summer of ’03 when Payton and Malone joined Kobe and Shaq – that didn’t work out too well. Here’s a few articles to make your mouth water:
LA Times – TJ Simers: “Jim Buss gets the last laugh” – With Dwight Howard following Steve Nash to the Lakers, Buss makes his father proud.
ESPN LA – Arash Markazi: “Dwight Howard headed to Lakers” – Dwight Howard is happy to be a Laker, and his arrival punctuates Mitch Kupchak’s summer.
ESPN – Michael Wilbon: “Dwight Howard lucky to be a Laker” – Showtime returns to LA. Above all else, the Lakers know NBA titles are delivered by the men in the middle.
CBS Sports – Ken Berger: “Joining Kobe, Nash, Gasol in L.A., time for Howard to act like a champion” – Is Dwight Howard ready to stop playing around? Is he ready to play? Ready to take the torch from Kareem and, yes, Shaquille O’Neal, and help Kobe win his sixth NBA title?
Hoopsworld – Eric Pincus: “Kupchak on Howard: We got the best” – The home runs have been hit for the summer.
And check out some of these photo spoofs from Laker fans all around the world!
I’ve been meaning to write about D-Fish for a while now but now that the Playoffs have come around and looking more and more like OKC will play the Lakers in the next round, I thought it would be timely. When the Lakers traded Derek Fisher + a 1st round pick to the Houston Rockets for Jordan Hill, I was as shocked as anyone. Granted the Lakers had just earlier traded for Ramon Sessions from Cleveland, you could sort of understand the logic and the salary cap implications.
However, losing Fisher’s locker room presence was probably the toughest thing to swallow. And seeing him sign with title favourites OKC would have been a bitter pill to swallow. There’s no doubt that D-Fish was the voice of reason, the Laker’s emotional leader, the one bringing calm to the storm when things didn’t seem to work out. A leader not based on his ability but on his mental toughness and his will to go to battle and take those tough shots in all situations.
And no doubt that he’s bringing that to the OKC locker room. And whilst all Laker fans did complain about his ability to do certain things, we all respected what he did bring to the table. He must still be able to do something right if we look at his Game 4 stats V Dallas in closing out the series 4-0: 29 mins, 12 pts, 5/6 shooting (incl 2/2 from 3-pt land), and a +21.
And if you check out the series stats in the 4 games he’s played int he playoffs so far, he’s doing a fine job as a reserve averaging: 8 points and 58% from field (incl 63% from 3pt line). Not bad for a 37 year old. You think the Lakers could use him off the bench? Just hope he doesn’t burn us.
And as the playoffs are here, one can only pay respect and tribute to what DFish did bring to the Lakers. Here’s a few D-Fish clutch highlights from Laker’s folklore:
1. Clutch 3 pointers to send into ovetime and win it in Game 4 of the 2009 NBA Finals V Magic
2. Coast to coast And-1 to finish off Game 3 of the 2009 NBA Finals V Celtics
3. The famous 0.4 in Game 5 of the 2004 Western Conference Finals V Spurs
4. Game winning layup in a 2011 regular season game V Clippers
5. Big 3 in Game 3 of the 2010 Western Conference Semi Finals V Jazz