The Lakers seem to be suffering in relative silence
I remember sitting in the Lakers practice facility near the end of training camp as part of my visit with Steve Nash.
The tape recorder was off, we were just shooting the breeze about family and friends and just telling tales and he looked quite content as he said:
“I think this is going to be fun.”
Oh, what a difference less than three months makes.
Given the expectations and the roster, there is not a team more disappointing than the Lakers anywhere in the league, nor one in more disarray.
They are 15-18 and have to considered longshots to even make the playoffs, they are on their second coach of the season and are on a road trip today without Dwight Howard (shoulder), Pau Gasol (concussion) or Jordan Hill (hip).
They are a mess on and off court, I think everyone would agree.
But the funny thing?
I don’t get the sense that there are nearly as many people filled with glee at their misfortune than I would have thought.
No one’s laughing at the plight of the Lakers, at least not to the degree I would have expected given what’s occurred.
Odd, isn’t it?
Here was a team that simply spent and traded its way to presumed dominance, Howard whined his way out of Orlando after months to join one of the marquee franchises in the league and Nash and the Lakers management seemingly bamboozled Phoenix into what looked like a one-sided sign-and-trade to create the newest version of an NBA Big Three.
But no one hated them for it, it didn’t seem. There certainly wasn’t the same seething among fans as there was Miami built its roster; fans seemed kind of excited to see Nash run high screen-and-roll with Howard, pick-and-pop with Gasol while Kobe Bryant was Kobe Bryant with more talent around him than ever before.
But I’m guessing it’s because of the manner in which the group was formed. There was no The Decision; Nash had a very public dalliance with two other teams before landing in Los Angeles for reasons of family and while Howard weasled his way out Orlando, he didn’t immediately sign a long-term contract extension in Los Angeles.
Funny how things are can be pretty much the same and so very different.
What’s this I hear about new Bowie music out yesterday and a new album coming in March?
If there’s a tour, that would absolutely be a show I’d pay money to see.
Won’t be like these good old days, though.
Right, this is Tuesday, I’m home finally, the kids are back at school so that’s why I had to shuttle Super Son to school for his 7 a.m. start.
And whoever thought about starting classes at 7 a.m. needs to have a talking to.
Hang on a sec!
That’s, what, eight coaches in six seasons?
And here I thought the HOTH, who have had eight in the 18 years they’ve been around, were a model of instability.
Hell, looking around the offices over there, Dwane has to feel like Gregg Popovich or something given his tenure of almost two seasons.
What an organizations.
You know how sometimes I lament the absence of truly brilliant sportswriting these days?
And I think it’s disappeared mostly not because of the talents of those in the craft – we have true giants of all-time among us – but because in this day and age of immediacy and 24-hour news cycles and tweets and blogs and the interwebs it is virtually impossible for writers to have the time to truly delve into their subjects to get the kind of personal look needed.
Toss in the fact subjects are now so leery of writers – we are almost everywhere they turn, we are often too confrontational, too seeking of dirt rather than drama – and it makes for a perfect storm.
We don’t have the time or the space, they don’t have the willingness to open up; readers are the ones who lose out.
All this is a way of saying sportswriter – hell, writing as a craft of itself – lost one of the greatest of all-time yesterday with the passing of Richard Ben Cramer.
He was as gifted a political writer as ever walked the planet but that was not his limit.
This Esquire magazine story on Ted Williams is widely considered by many to be the best long-form sports story ever published.
You should read it; and lament the passing of its author.
Now I know why some people consider the American college football championship that sport’s version of the Super Bowl.
It was a dog of a game that didn’t come close to the hype.
And that, thankfully, gave me cause to switch over to watch Celtics at Knicks and that was as intense a regular season game as you’ll see for a long time.
And how’d it end?
Well, the dispatches say it ended with Carmelo Anthony trying to confront Kevin Garnett in the bowels of Madison Square Garden at the Boston team bus.
Of course, nothing came of it because nothing ever does – NBA players are the fauxest faux fighters of all time – but Anthony’s actions are sure to attract the attention of the league’s poobahs and a wee suspension wouldn’t surprise me at all.
And speaking of teams going off the rails … I have the Knicks as the next “good” team to have some serious issues.
Scott Skiles out in Milwaukee?
Colour me shocked.
Now, I have great friends who speak very highly of Skiles after covering him; I see a guy with a four-year contract and a 2 1-2 year “best before” date and I’m not at all surprised it happened.