Time to Freak Out, Lakers Fans

When the Los Angeles Lakers lost Anthony Davis to an injury earlier this season, there was no cause to panic. They could bring him back fairly slowly, saving his health for the playoffs, because as long as they had LeBron James and a healthy Dennis Schroder, there was enough firepower to tread water in a crowded Western Conference. But now, with LeBron out for the next 3-5 weeks with an ankle injury and questions swirling about the 36-year-old’s durability in his 18th year in the league? Questions largely complicated by the fact of LeBron’s odometer showing 1,566 regular-season and playoff …

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The Greatest Dynasties in NBA History

In celebration of their new sponsorship deal with the NBA, Mondelez International, makers of delicious junk food, decided to launch a line of Oreo cookies celebrating the NBA’s great dynasties. Featured on the cookies will be the Los Angeles Lakers, the Boston Celtics, the Chicago Bulls, the Golden State Warriors, and…the Miami Heat. Excuse me, what? A Miami team that won just two titles in four years while being broadly regarded as responsible for the only two of LeBron James‘ six Finals losses that could be legitimately said to tarnish the legacy of a guy who otherwise has a claim …

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Examining the Lakers Without Anthony Davis

The Los Angeles Lakers found themselves without the services of their second and, arguably, third-best players in Anthony Davis and Dennis Schroder during a stretch in which they lost four in a row and five out of six games to drop from 21-6 and nipping at the heels of the red-hot Utah Jazz (who are an astonishing 27-7 and look every bit like a Finals team) to 22-11 and at risk of falling below the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Clippers to drop all the way into fourth place and a second-round matchup with that Jazz team. The moral of …

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LeBron James’ Amazing Playoff Statistical Legacy

In March of 2019, I took a look at LeBron James‘ amazing career statistically. I talked about the Grand Triple-Double (10,000 each of points, assists, and rebounds; based on his career averages, LeBron will reach that mark sometime during the 2021-22 season if he stays healthy.) I talked about his chances of passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the all-time scoring list—he has 4,147 points to go to get to 38,388, and at his career scoring rate of 27.1 points per game, he’ll do that in two seasons, maybe early in a third if the NBA truncates the 2020-21 season to 60 …

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The Importance of Shortened NBA Playoff Rotations

During the NBA regular season, bench depth is a vital way to make sure that starters are fresh for the playoffs. Whether it’s pounding weak teams into dust so teams can use their end-of-the-bench guys in garbage time or simply having a second unit that can play 15 or 20 minutes a game and hold a lead, using every one of the 13 guys at a team’s disposal pays dividends in the spring (or, if there’s a plague around, the early fall.) Case in point, the Los Angeles Lakers. During their five-game series win over the Denver Nuggets, eight players …

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Robert Horry: Was He Any Good?

The ultimate counter-arguments to “count the rings” as a measure of NBA greatness exist in the forms of James Jones (“the only player besides LeBron James to appear in eight straight NBA Finals since the merger”, because Jones was LeBron’s teammate first in Miami and then in Cleveland), Steve Kerr (piggybacked off Michael Jordan and Tim Duncan to win five rings), and our subject for today, Robert Horry, Big Shot Rob Himself, a legend of the ’90s and the Dark Ages who won a combined seven rings with the Rockets, Spurs, and Lakers, or “more rings than anyone who never …

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Kobe Bryant and the Meaning of Rivalry

Like any kid born in Boston in the late 1970s and treated through childhood to the rivalry between Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, I grew up believing that the Los Angeles Lakers were and are the enemies of all mankind, the hated foe to be vanquished in June, even if Bird and friends only managed to do that once in three tries (winning in 1984 and losing in ’85 and ’87) head-to-head in the Finals. But when Magic Johnson revealed he had HIV in 1991…well, I’ve already written about that. Sure, he played for the hated Lakers, but he was …

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Kyle Kuzma: Is He Any Good?

Bob Costas once said of Michael Jordan that “you could surround him with the Spice Girls and the Bulls would still make the playoffs.” The Lakers seem to be attempting something like this, as behind LeBron James and Anthony Davis stand the South Bay Lakers, just getting out of the superstars’ way, letting them 2020 it out there, and occasionally making some spot-up 3-pointers or dunking a basketball while looking like Steve from Accounting (I see you there, Alex Caruso.) It’s a tried and true modern NBA method to win games despite minimal actual talent in aggregate in that “this …

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Are the 2019-20 Los Angeles Lakers Good?

The Los Angeles Lakers are LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and a G-League team. In other words, Davis, besides having possibly the GOAT on his team, doesn’t have a supporting cast any better than what he had in New Orleans when he ran himself out of town. But if you’ve got two top-5 players in the whole league on your team, does it matter what the other 10 guys do? (don’t answer that, Warriors fans.) Look. We know LeBron and AD will excel, provided they stay healthy. What we’re really trying to answer here is if the Lakers have anywhere near …

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NBA Best And Worst Contracts Part VI: Pacific Division

As we wrap up our look at NBA contracts, a few things—good and bad—about Wiggins Factor as a stat start to come through in the analysis. In one case, it’s a sins-of-the-father argument… This really should say ‘the Wolves HAD one of the worst front offices in the league’. None of those bad contracts were signed by the current regime. — Jake Paynting (@jakepaynting) August 23, 2019 It’s going to take the new front office awhile to take out the trash. And in another case, it’s an example of Stewart’s Maxim: “It’s not funny anymore when it’s your guy.” @RealFoxD …

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