This year seems to be about the Lakers having something to prove, and being confronted with, and it looks like possibly overcoming, the most common criticisms of themselves and their careers.
Steve Nash never won the big one, never even WENT to the big dance. Many people blame Phoenix's lack of defense, size, pace of play, perimeter oriented offense, etc. Another thing I consider blaming?? NASH, for not being aggressive enough SHOOTING the ball.
Steve Nash (henceforth to be refereed to by me as Stevie Buckets) has never averaged more than 13.4 shots (and that only once, coincidentally also his biggest scoring year at 18.8 per game) in his illustrious career. Is that the best course of action for someone many consider to be the best pure shooter the game has ever seen???
Dwight Howard is a very talented baby, according to many. He has no maturity or strength of character. He cannot be relied upon in any manner to be a leader or the catalyst for a championship team. The main evidence people use to explain this is his desire to do what is popular, not what is right. They say he wants everyone to love him.
This past year has taught Dwight the folly of that thinking, and I am seeing some genuine growth from him thus far. Having been thrust into the negative spotlight of his own poor decisions and questionable priorities, Dwight has been enduring what, for him, is his worst case scenario. Almost everyone hates him right now...or at least that is how it has to feel for someone so thin skinned.
The thing is, it looks like Dwight is starting to learn a valuable lesson. As long as he believes in himself, and lives up to his own expectations, the rest is just chatter...NOISE. To put it more Cliche-ly (hey, I invented a new word :-) ) “Haters Gonna Hate”. It remains to be seen if Dwight can grow into a championship caliber leader on the court...but so far, as far as I am concerned, progress is slow but trending in the right direction.
Kobe Bryant has nothing to prove, but it has been nice to see the Facilitator role become a necessary new wrinkle for Kobe to add, simultaneously reinforcing and disproving the age old adage that Kobe is a selfish Ball hog. Critics say Nash is being wasted because Kobe won't give the ball away, and supporters contend that Kobe is as effective as anyone in the league when he is facilitating the offense and creating shots for OTHER players...after so many years, this is a welcome and intriguing development in the already storied and exhilarating career of Kobe Bean Bryant.
Pau Gasol doesn't have to prove anything since he won his rings and has had a brilliant career, but the “soft” criticisms still follow him. The mental toughness that he has displayed in this eminently dysfunctional and chaotic season has impressed me greatly. He is showing everyone that he may not be quite as “soft” as everyone says. Coming back from a 10 week injury in 5 weeks to help propel the Lakers into championship contention would be the final icing on the cake in an otherwise miserable season for Pau. Stay Tuned...
Earl Clark and Jordan Hill have been motivated by the “bust” label. They are out to prove that they are more than just useless D-league or inactive list “insurance” bigs. So far so good.
Artest and Blake are simply trying to erase the memory of the past two dreadful seasons that they have had and redeem themselves in the eyes of the Lakers faithful.
Antawn Jamison wanted to sacrifice money and playing time to chase the one thing he has never had...a ring. He is trying to disprove the notion that he is a one dimensional player whose usefulness to a great team is long gone.
Jodie Meeks is out to prove that he is relevant. That he is more than simply an average NBA player. That he can be a key cog on a championship team.
Mike D'Antoni is out to salvage his reputation from a one dimensional coach whose best days are behind him, to a vindicated man on top of his profession. He is desperate to shake the “No D” reputation and to redeem himself after the fiasco in NY.
Chris Duhon wants to prove he is still a valuable role player.
Darius Morris, Devin Ebanks and Robert Sacre have to prove that they are worthy of an NBA roster going forward.
Everyone on this Lakers team has something HUGE riding on the outcome of this season, something that will define their careers and public perception of them going forward.
Last edited by Snakell Beast
on Tue Mar 12, 2013 2:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
The End is nigh. Time for a total Cut and Shuffle. Kobe contract was a mistake...time to avoid making more. The future is here, whether we want it to be or not. An era is over, but for the death rattle, and it's time for the cycle to begin anew. Growth and change are scary and painful, but alas...nothing worth achieving comes easily.