Thursday, December 8, 2011

Daily Dribbles 12-8-2011

By Payton Wales

Good morning Dribblers! How are you this fine Wednesday morning? Hopefully all is well for you as you forge toward the holidays. Christmas Day is obviously a day for all of us to look forward to with the NBA giving us a long and amazing slate of games to pacify you until Christmas dinner. In my case, it's the best excuse to ignore any chores or errands that need done that day. "Mom, I have to work right now. I'm sorry" is pretty much an all-out win.

Of course Christmas will be filled with tons of other goodies too: cookies, cake, turkey, ham, presents, family, friends and, of course, the dreaded fruit cake. Lord those things are awful. I have yet to eat one that I even remotely liked, and no I don't willingly eat these things. Do you? Typically, I just get cornered at some holiday party by someone's great aunt who made one of these things somewhere around the dawn of time. The damn thing is made out of he knows what on the bread end. And the fruit, those oddly-shaped multicolored squares throughout this loaf of crap, couldn't be less like fruit. It's more like assorted Jolly Ranchers encased in Kevlar that taste like someone made Gummie Bears out of cough syrup. Ugh, maybe I'm not ready for Christmas yet. To my readers, do not, I repeat, do not send me any fruit cake which you claim will change my mind about the genre (the genre of shitty cakes). It's not going to change my mind, and I will be charging you for my dental bills.

The only thing worse than a fruit cake is the Jell-O mold with peas and carrots in it. This is another ludicrous and completely senseless food. I really want to know who the person that thought of this combination was and sit them in a padded cell while forcing them to listen to Ke$ha for at least three days straight. Senseless and ridiculous.

Speaking of ridiculous things, there are rampant rumors about the Lakers putting all players on the market for trade, except Kobe Bryant, in return for the highly-sought-after Dwight Howard and Chris Paul. Yes, you read that right. If this is true, you tell me who the desperate team is in this situation. You all know I'm a life-long Lakers fan and I can tell you we are salivating at this idea. But it's a terrible idea.

Letting both Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum go to get these guys is a terrible idea. Worse yet, some sources said the Lakers are willing to give up even more. I'm not saying Gasol and Bynum are worth more than Howard and Paul. That would be ludicrous. But the Hornets are desperate to get value for Paul and the same goes for the Magic with Howard. If they don't trade these players and get a return on them, they could very well be left high and dry when free agency hits this summer.

Rumor has it Howard wants to sign with the Lakers already. Why bother with all the wheeling and dealing this year? Just wait till free agency, free up the cap space and sign the guy. That's all you need to do. I'm not of the opinion this year's team can't win a title so I don't see the urgency, especially in a strike-shortened season. Bynum is coming in to his first year healthy and is only 23 years old. I still think the kid has some things to prove and he can do them. We tend to forget how young and raw he is. People keep talking about him stepping up and leading the team, but no one is leading this team besides Kobe Bryant. Until Bryant retires, there will be no talk of who else is leading the team.

Also, by trading Gasol for Paul, the Lakers would be crippling their team. The size in the West dictates they maintain theirs at the same level. If they deal both Bynum and Gasol, what happens to their size? How on earth will they compete with teams like the Spurs, Grizzlies, Trailblazers, etc when they are running around with one center and no one to help him out in the paint? Isn't that the current issue in Orlando? No help for the big guy? How is that type of team going to work in the West when it doesn't even work in the East?

I hope for the sake of my favorite team they don't get sucked into this super-team nonsense. It didn't work for the Heat last year; it didn't get the Knicks past the first round; it didn't work for the Lakers when they acquired Karl Malone and Gary Payton, and I honestly can't think of a time it ever worked for any team. Yes, adding one major piece or a couple minor ones can change the complexion of a team and make them championship caliber. Blowing up a championship-caliber team to bring in two other stars and hoping it works is a whole different story.

As the Heat proved, chemistry has a lot to do with winning. It doesn't mean every player has to get along, but it does mean they have to know how to get along together on the court like a team. It also means you have to be able to place other working and competent pieces around them, and that's something none of the teams mentioned above were able to do. In fact, it seems to me that when teams get too many great players in one place, things rarely, if ever, work out, at least in the free agency era.

Don't get me wrong here, I am well aware the Lakers want and need to prepare for the future. And I think a future with Paul and Howard would be amazing after Bryant is done. I think they would fit into the landscape of L.A. naturally. But there is a time and a place to blow up a team, and now is not the time or the place. I can't figure out why so many people think it is. Why are L.A. fans acting like this team is washed up and done? Check that, I know the reason behind that. The irrationality of Lakers fans dictates we panic when we lose two games in a row. So the loss to the Mavericks obviously means we need to blow up our team, right?

My only other concern is Paul's knee. I know he healed fine and he looked great in last year's playoffs, but just like Bynum, you have to have some concern about his future and whether or not he will re-injure the knee.

There is no question the Lakers need a point guard. But by no means is it a time of desperation. Yet. They have a good young rookie, and Steve Blake should be more comfortable out of the triangle offense this year. I'm not saying the PG position doesn't require a marked-up grade, but they have the luxury of patience at this point.

Also let's not forget the Clippers are in this dust up too, and if you still want all the luxuries of L.A. but the lion's share of the credit, then the Clippers might be a destination for Paul if his NYC dreams fall through. Regardless, the Lakers are the wild card in this whole mess. The Lakers might be putting it out there that they want both players so they are more likely to acquire one of the two. I would pick Paul if given the choice, but only if I could do it while maintaining Gasol and Bynum together. Maybe trading Odom, Barnes and an expiring contract would do the trick. The size is what will win the championship, and without it, the Lakers are dead in the water.

Well, there you have it. My thoughts on fruitcake, Jell-O and Lakers. What more could one want, I suppose? Right!? Enjoy the rest of your morning and I will see you tomorrow Dribblers. Get that holiday shopping done and until tomorrow, have a good one.

Birthdays for December 7

Player Name (playing years)
Amundson, Louis 2006-
Bird, Larry 1979-1991
Frederick, Anthony 1988-1991
Gray, Aaron 2007-
Mantis, Nick 1959-1962
McFarland, Pat 1973-1975
Paine, Fred 1948-1948
Phillips, Gary 1961-1965
Seraphin, Kevin 2010-
Thornton, Al 2007-
Zaslofsky, Max 1946-1955

Birthdays for December 8

Player Name (playing years)
Conroy, Will 2006-2009
Durrett, Ken 1971-1974
Green, Johnny 1959-1972
Hairston, Lindsay 1975-1975
Henry, Skeeter 1993-1993
Howard, Dwight 2004-
Johnson, George L. 1978-1985
Lawrence, Ed 1980-1980
Love, Bob 1966-1976
Pecherov, Oleksiy 2007-2009
Taylor, Jermaine 2009-


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