Kobe Bryant Discussion: Reason for Lakers downfall?

Re: Kobe Discussion: Happy with the FO effort (806)

Postby lukewaltonsdad on Mon Aug 25, 2014 3:17 pm

therealdeal wrote:Regardless, the link I posted has some great stuff. Kevin Ding helped write it.

If you don't want to look because it's BR, then you're missing out.


I love this story, Real; also the one posted by Vash...thanks for posting, guys. Really good stuff
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Re: Kobe Discussion: Happy with the FO effort (806)

Postby LTLakerFan on Mon Aug 25, 2014 5:18 pm

therealdeal wrote:Regardless, the link I posted has some great stuff. Kevin Ding helped write it.

If you don't want to look because it's BR, then you're missing out.



realdeal, you're 100% right….there are awesome moments about Kobe described and covered in there. :bow: And just watching the 81 point game in 3 minutes is awe inspiring. What a player for the ages. :bow: :bow:
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Re: Kobe Discussion: Happy with the FO effort (806)

Postby Chillbongo on Mon Aug 25, 2014 6:26 pm

therealdeal wrote:Regardless, the link I posted has some great stuff. Kevin Ding helped write it.

If you don't want to look because it's BR, then you're missing out.

Of course not. That would be as ignorant as the behavior done by the writers I am condemning. Just in the opposite way. Will check it out after dinner.
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Re: Kobe Discussion: Happy with the FO effort (806)

Postby Chillbongo on Mon Aug 25, 2014 6:29 pm

Savory Griddles wrote:
Chillbongo wrote:
Savory Griddles wrote:


I read this article earlier. Fantastic look at a legend. Never been a huge fan of him as a person. I have always thought that as good as he was, his attitude held him back from being even better...which is saying something because I think he's a top 7 player in NBA history. But I think if he would have been less hard headed at times, he could have been top 3. But he's been the best player on my favorite team (of any sport) for half my lifetime. When he retires, it will never be the same.


Savory, just curious - what about his attitude held him back from being Top 3? And although I have Kobe in the Top 5 I am curious who you rank ahead of him.


I'd put Wilt, Jordan, Kareem, Magic, and Duncan ahead of him.

And you could make a case that his hard headedness is what made him as great as he was, but ultimately, there were times when taking a step back and looking at things with some perspective as opposed to staring everything down like an infuriated bull could have made him better. Everybody is so close at the top, it's impossible to really differentiate. Just my opinion. Completely worthless in reality. :man10:


Savory I'm with you on most of that, just curious why Duncan gets the nod on Kobe?

Real I hear you. Top 10's are the bane of my existence, especially because on a certain corner of the internet, "Kobe is Top 15" at best. And they're serious.
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Re: Kobe Discussion: Happy with the FO effort (806)

Postby therealdeal on Mon Aug 25, 2014 6:37 pm

Chillbongo wrote:
therealdeal wrote:Regardless, the link I posted has some great stuff. Kevin Ding helped write it.

If you don't want to look because it's BR, then you're missing out.

Of course not. That would be as ignorant as the behavior done by the writers I am condemning. Just in the opposite way. Will check it out after dinner.

Gotcha. There's a lot of crap on Bleacher Report, but there's also a couple of decent writers too. Unfortunately they're so obsessed with getting the clicks that they don't care what gets posted.
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Re: Kobe Discussion: Happy with the FO effort (806)

Postby therealdeal on Wed Aug 27, 2014 12:57 pm


http://www.si.com/nba/2014/08/26/kobe-bryant-lakers-dwight-howard-tony-allen-retirement

Here's both the long form article and accompanying notes from Lee Jenkins on Kobe. They're awesome reads, be sure to read 'em to know what's going on in the mind of the Mamba.
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Re: Kobe Discussion: Happy with the FO effort (806)

Postby Battle Tested20 on Sun Aug 31, 2014 11:01 pm

I don't think this has been posted, but it's a MUST read of many of the Untold Stories of Kobe Bryant in his career.

Kobe Bryant Reveals Competitive Fire, Unique Kindness in Untold Stories

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2172186-kobe-bryant-reveals-competitive-fire-unique-kindness-in-untold-stories

LOS ANGELES — What's he really like?

That kind of question is the entire premise of the paparazzi and the springboard for all of reality television.

We live in an era when we demand more inside information than ever about the rich and famous, yet someone who has been one of the world's most prominent figures for nearly two decades amid feuds, scandals, success and championships still seems something of a mystery.

Sometimes the smallest moments in time can be the most revealing.

With Kobe Bryant's 19th Los Angeles Lakers training camp about a month away, here are 19 little-known slices of Bryant's NBA life to convey how the man matches up with the mythical machine—and how he so totally does not...

Gary Vitti, the Los Angeles Lakers' athletic trainer for 30 years, has been with Bryant the whole way. And what Vitti remembers most from the night Bryant tore his Achilles in April of 2013 is something mental, not physical.

After Bryant tries to pull the ruptured tendon back up as if it were just some loose sock, focuses enough to sink the free throws and makes the long walk under his own power offstage to the privacy of the nearly empty locker room, the frustration and confusion need an outlet.

Bryant starts throwing things around the room. Vitti diagnoses something even more shocking.

"I see for the first time an element of doubt in Kobe's eyes," Vitti recalled. "It didn't last long."

That's because Bryant's wife, Vanessa, has brought their daughters into the room. Natalia and Gianna are concerned—and Kobe prides himself on the example he sets for them.

He blitzes through the remaining stages of grief, not wanting them to grieve. He hugs them and comforts them.

And he asks in a tone of business as usual, not fear or despair, for his daughters to hear: "What do I have to do to get back?"

No one has seen Bryant shake off more pain than Vitti, but this was different.

"The soft spot that nobody sees in Kobe Bryant," as Vitti later describes how Bryant melts with kids, especially his own, is what fuels him on the worst night of his career.

__________________________________________________

Bryant has just won his first Olympic gold medal. He is thrilled. Amid the celebration, Bryant runs into Lisa Leslie, and plans are made for a happy photo—until Bryant notices Leslie doesn't have her gold medal on her.

The U.S. women's basketball team won its gold medal the previous night of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and Leslie didn't want to wear it out to the men's final.

In fact, Leslie has won four consecutive gold medals, as Bryant is fully aware. So he says: "There's no way I can stand here with my gold medal if she's not wearing one in the picture."

He takes his gold medal off.

And with that gesture, the photo of Bryant and Leslie becomes a true portrait of him, not just another snapshot of him in a winning moment.

____________________________________________

It is July 12, 1996, the day Bryant is officially introduced as a Laker. He has a thin little mustache on his face, a gold bracelet around his right wrist, a suit and matching tie clashing with the purple and white Lakers cap on his head.

He's a kid trying to look like a grown man, except when Jeanie Buss fills in for her vacationing father and has lunch with Bryant at the Forum Club after the press conference, something unexpected happens.

The waiter comes to take their order. Bryant proceeds to mention to him that he wants to learn Spanish. Bryant says that it's a goal he has set for himself now that he's moving to L.A.

(Today, it is common to see Bryant conduct a full interview in Spanish.)

It's an offhand little comment on his first day of work, and Spanish is certainly easier to learn if you already know Italian, but it's something Bryant's future boss will never forget.

"I was so taken by that comment, for a 17-year-old kid to set a goal like that for himself," Buss said. "He just got signed by the Lakers, and he was setting goals for himself that most wouldn't think were important. To me, he has always been about the next challenge. To me, that's why he's so inspiring."

______________________________________________

It's April 2001, and Bryant is granting a child's wish through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. This is hardly the first time. There will be perhaps 200 sick kids he meets overall, but this is Darius' night. Darius is 11, loves basketball, wears huge glasses and is very small for his age.

He asks Bryant all his prepared questions in a small, private room at Staples Center—then pauses and says softly that he has one more question. This is not uncommon in these meetings, shy kids warming up fast when a welcoming Bryant keeps his promise to answer with complete honesty (for example, admitting he's only 6'5" with sneakers on or revealing his post-basketball Kobe Inc., business plans and passions).

"What did you do when you were little and kids would make fun of you?" Darius asks, going off script.

Bryant answers: "I wouldn't listen to them. I would just focus on getting good grades—and show them on the basketball court."

___________________________________

The 2005 season has not gone well. Shaquille O'Neal is gone, the Lakers are struggling, and the criticism of Bryant is mounting.

Bryant sits alone with John Black, who runs the Lakers' public relations department.

Bryant: "What are all these motherf-----s going to say when I lead this team to a championship?"

Black: "They're going to say you're one of the greatest players of all time."

__________________________________

Bryant has won the post-Shaq title he wanted in '09, and now it's a year later and Bryant hopes to redeem the Lakers' '08 loss to Boston in the Finals and beat the Celtics in the '10 championship series.

The teams split the first two games in Los Angeles, and before Game 3 in Boston, Lakers massage therapist Marko Yrjovuori brings his four-year-old daughter into the visiting locker room for a moment.

Bryant spots Emma. He asks her to sit on his lap.

"Gimme some magic," he says, stretching his fingers toward her.

She opens up and touches his hands.

Final score: Lakers 91, Celtics 84.

Bryant: 29 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 blocks, 2 steals.

________________________________________________________

With a brutal seven-game victory over the Celtics in the bank for Bryant, the 2010 offseason is dominated by LeBron James' decision to leave Cleveland for Miami.

What matters to Bryant is Phil Jackson agreeing to return to coach the Lakers again in pursuit of a third consecutive NBA title. Bryant sends James a text message. It goes like this:

"Go ahead and get another MVP, if you want. And find the city you want to live in. But we're going to win the championship. Don't worry about it."

__________________________________________________

Bryant has broken his nose and will be diagnosed with a concussion from a blow to the face delivered by Dwyane Wade in the 2012 All-Star Game. (Bryant makes both those free throws, too, by the way.)

He finishes the game, a three-point Western Conference victory, and breaks Michael Jordan's career All-Star scoring record. Bryant feels bad enough, though, that he skips the postgame media session.

Before leaving Orlando's Amway Center, getting more treatment and taking a long flight home, Bryant has one stop to make: seeing Wade, who had hit Bryant from behind upon being blown by on a third-quarter spin move. The moment is recounted in the book Relentless by Tim Grover, trainer to both Bryant and Wade:

"Kobe wanted to see him face-to-face before he'd go to the hospital. It wasn't about vengeance or retaliation or settling the score. It was about the law and order of the jungle, two animals instinctively facing off, the lion king getting up on that rock so the rest of the jungle could see who was in charge. One direct, silent look that says, 'I still own this, motherf----r.'"

______________________________________________

Chris Douglas-Roberts of the Charlotte Bobcats has lost a 2014 first-round playoff game to the Miami Heat. Douglas-Roberts has played a lot and played well in the losing effort. It's one of the high points in his individual career.

The guy spent pretty much all of '13 without a job, but he latched on in Charlotte after a series of injuries to others. He seized the opportunity and helped the Bobcats finish the regular season 20-9, becoming one of the team's go-to guys at crunch time.

Less than two years before, Douglas-Roberts was briefly a Laker, trying and failing to make the team at training camp in '12. More than gaining a roster spot, the experience meant mostly bonding with Bryant, Dwight Howard, Steve Nash and Pau Gasol.

But Douglas-Roberts made an impression on Lakers assistant coach Steve Clifford, who went on to be the head coach in Charlotte. He also caught the attention of his temporary teammate Bryant, who appreciated Douglas-Roberts' tenacity and determination to improve—and openly offered secrets to success.

As he vies against James, Wade and the Heat, Douglas-Roberts has Bryant on his mind…and gratitude in his heart.

Douglas-Roberts sends a text, and the point is simple:

When someone has as much confidence as Bryant and shares some of it, what a boost it is to the other person's confidence.

______________________________________

Bryant is bored in Minnesota in the middle of the day.

He wears a hoodie to keep a low profile and sets out to walk through the Skyway, the system of indoor catwalks connecting the buildings in usually freezing downtown Minneapolis.

Bryant is nearing the team hotel when a woman inside one of the stores spots Bryant from afar. She is probably more than 250 pounds and begins racing out of the store toward Bryant.


"Kobe! Kobe Bryant!" she screams as she sprints.

Except she trips. She goes down.

When she gets up, blood is pouring out of her nose and covering her face. Bryant asks, "Are you OK?"

She is red-faced, but not really.

There can be no pain. There is even less embarrassment.

"Kobe! Kobe Bryant! You're my favorite player! Can I get a picture?!"

_______________________________________________________

It is the second round of the 2009 playoffs. The Lakers have just played a Sunday afternoon game in Houston.

John Ireland, now the team's radio voice but then a TV sideline reporter, does some live postgame shots at Toyota Center. By the time he returns to the team hotel across the street, a lot of the players are hanging out at the hotel lobby bar.

Bryant: "Hey, John. You want a beer?"

Ireland: "Thanks, but you don't have to buy me a beer."

Bryant smirks and points down at 17 beers—all open, all untouched.

People have been buying him beers for the past two hours.

______________________________________________________________

The Lakers have returned from a road trip, and the players, coaches, staffers and broadcast crew fan out from the plane to their cars for separate drives home. Bill Macdonald, the Lakers' TV voice, lives in Newport Coast in South Orange County, like Bryant. On a typical drive home from LAX, Macdonald will see Bryant's car blaze past him—invariably, unapologetically.

On this day in 2012 after an afternoon game at Staples Center, Macdonald is heading home and notices a familiar white Bentley momentarily slowed in a different lane of freeway traffic. Macdonald passes Bryant's car for a change, but before he does, he looks directly over with eyes wide and offers up to Bryant a friendly greeting with a certain part of his hand.

Bryant throws his head back in laughter at the turn of events, gives a nod of recognition…and it is on.

Somewhere around Fountain Valley, the cat leaves the mouse behind, as usual.

_______________________________________________________________

The attention has begun in earnest. Sports Illustrated, 60 Minutes, everything under the All-Star 1997 sun. Bryant's fame has erupted in his second NBA season, much to the consternation of Lakers vice president Jerry West and coach Del Harris.

West and Harris want Bryant to turn most of it down and not build additional pressure on him.

In his role as the PR guy, Black asks what Bryant wants to do.

"Bring it on," Bryant says. "I'll do it all. Anything and everything. I can handle it."

______________________________________________________

It is 2012, and Bryant is the oldest player on a U.S. Olympic basketball team that will repeat and win gold in London.

The young stars have taken to calling Bryant "O.G."

Original Gangster.

Asked if he has anything to learn from the younger guys, Bryant says nope. Asked if that means he knows everything, Bryant says: "I don't know if I know it all. But I know more than they do."

___________________________________________________________

Bryant has recently completed a 2010-11 season he will call "a wasted year of my life." The Lakers don't three-peat as NBA champions, and much of Bryant's anger is focused on the post-surgery, pre-blood spinning procedure right knee that keeps him tied to the training table.

Judy Seto, the physical therapist who has meant so much to Bryant in his career, is over at Bryant's home in the offseason to work on the knee.

Bryant's daughters are not in the mood for such seriousness.

Natalia, 8, and Gianna, 5, are bouncing around their father's workout area, doing gymnastics, climbing on him while he gets treatment, hooting and chirping.

They find a miniature cowboy hat that is so small it might well belong to a Woody doll from Toy Story or serve as a child's costume.

The girls put the tiny cowboy hat on Kobe's head.

Of course, it doesn't fit. Which just makes it more fun for them.

Kobe just sits there, letting them stay in the moment. Bryant looks so silly that the words actually run through Seto's head.

You are Kobe. You're the Black Mamba. You're supposed to be the scary, death stare guy.

The moment sticks with Seto.

"It was him being just like any other parent," Seto recalls. "And it's so great to see how much he loves his family, how engaged he is, how he makes them a priority. I don't think people realize that about him.

"He can switch gears. The side of him that people always see is unapproachable or really, really fierce. There is a time and a place for that part. There's also a time and a place for him to be a parent and to be just as goofy as anybody else."


_______________________________________________________________

Although Bryant basically hasn't seen a need to read books anymore after high school, he has surprised a group of fifth-graders by showing up at a 2003 community event that rewarded the kids for reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets with a private screening of the movie by the same name.

No one asks if he's read it and deserves to stay and watch with them.

As he has always loved the special challenges of superhero stories, Bryant loves the Harry Potter movies—until Seto starts needling him.

Needling him about how far behind he is in the plot because the movies are two volumes behind the book releases. About how much more happens in the books than in the movies. About how she is going to tell him who turns evil and who dies before the movies can come out for him to see.

So Bryant goes from never reading to plowing through these 700-page Harry Potter beasts by J.K. Rowling. (Bryant even chooses an interesting escape from the Lakers' 24-point blown lead in Game 4 of the 2008 NBA Finals: reading five chapters of Harry Potter to his daughters.)

Bryant's rekindled reading in 2006 means in that sense he stands on Jackson's welcome mat for the first time. Someone who once prided himself on throwing Jackson's books in the trash at the coach's famous team gift-givings without even breaking the spines, Bryant finds he and Jackson are on literally the same page, reading Thomas Friedman's globalization book The World is Flat at the same time.

Jackson jumps at the chance and winds up feeding Bryant book after book on leadership, including Jerry Lynch's The Way of the Champion: Lessons from Sun Tzu's The Art of War and other Tao Wisdom for Sports & Life.

Bryant devours the books and the lessons, and when asked in the '07 playoffs why he no longer spews the same venom toward Phoenix's Raja Bell as just one year prior, Bryant answers:

"I read a book this summer from Mr. Phil Jackson that talked about warriors respecting other warriors. If you have respect for your opponent, the thing that you have to do is play hard every time down. That gave me a new perspective on things."

__________________________________________________

Thanksgiving, 2013. The Lakers are on the road, and after back-to-back games in Washington and Brooklyn, Mike D'Antoni has nothing scheduled for the team in suburban Detroit. Not even a team dinner.

Bryant is on the trip, though 10 days away from his highly anticipated season debut, and hears nothing is planned for the holiday. Bryant says that's B.S.

Soon enough, every member of the Lakers' traveling party, from D'Antoni down to the broadcast production crew, gets a message to meet in the ballroom. A massive Thanksgiving spread, planned and paid for by Bryant, awaits.

There's a Ping-Pong table in the room, and Bryant passes some time after dinner mocking whoever has the misfortune of being on the receiving end of a certain Spanish octopus-windmill named Pau.

When Bryant has a choice word for Lakers sideline reporter Mike Trudell while he's playing against Shawne Williams, Trudell tells Bryant he'd be happy to beat him next.

It doesn't take another word. In comes Bryant against Trudell, who is emboldened by having a Ping-Pong table in his house growing up and takes a quick 5-1 lead. Bryant tries to talk his way through it.

After every point Bryant loses, he spits out: "S--t," under his breath. Then, more loudly, "F--k you, Trudell." Then a snicker, the short kind that doesn't resonate, because Bryant is not just blowing this off. He's not going through the motions.

Trudell keeps preying on Bryant's weak backhand, however. Bryant keeps cursing and keeps losing. Someone has called next, but when the game ends, Bryant doesn't budge.

"No," he says. "Let's go again, Trudell. F--k you."

Bryant is better in the second game. He makes adjustments.

Still not good enough.

Despite all that trash talk and throwing the paddle down at game's end, he's not a sore loser, even to the 5'9" guy whose job is to do walk-off interviews celebrating him.

Even as it ends, Trudell isn't sure it's quite over. There's a look in Bryant's eye that says: OK. But whether tomorrow or next year or the day that I die, I am going to beat you.

Within the week, word reaches Trudell.

Bryant has ordered an official Olympic Ping-Pong table to be delivered to his house. :man10:

________________________________________________________

Shaq and D-Wade are about to win the 2006 NBA title together for the Miami Heat. Kobe has some time on his hands.

He is told that there is a "wish kid" who wants to meet him but is too ill to fly from Las Vegas to L.A. Bryant tells the Make-a-Wish Foundation that he will just go to the kid.

Juan Carlos is not really a kid. He has a girlfriend there in his hospital room, along with his parents and siblings. He is 17, the very same age as that beaming, brash Bryant who wore his sunglasses propped up on his head inside the Lower Merion High School gym and announced he was skipping college to "take my talent to the NBA."

Juan Carlos hasn't gotten out of bed for a very long time, much less gone outside for any sun. But when he compliments Bryant on the cool shades he is wearing on this day, Bryant hands his sunglasses over as a gift.

Juan Carlos brightens. In return, and using the burst of energy Bryant has brought him, Juan Carlos surprises the hospital staff:

He shows Bryant he can walk.

Two weeks later, Juan Carlos passes away.

__________________________________________________

It is January 22, 2006.

Eighty. One. Points.

Afterward, Bryant is asked about perhaps scoring 100 points in a game. He laughs a little, but not a lot.

Quietly and honestly, he answers:

"I guess it's possible for me."

Kevin Ding is an NBA senior writer for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter, @KevinDing.


Pretty cool as most of these I have never heard about. Some really funny ones in there for sure :bow:
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Re: Kobe Discussion: Happy with the FO effort (806)

Postby therealdeal on Sun Aug 31, 2014 11:16 pm

I posted a link to it a page or two ago. Still worth the repost though.
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Re: Kobe Discussion: Happy with the FO effort (806)

Postby trodgers on Mon Sep 01, 2014 7:23 am

The 2005 season has not gone well. Shaquille O'Neal is gone, the Lakers are struggling, and the criticism of Bryant is mounting.

Bryant sits alone with John Black, who runs the Lakers' public relations department.

Bryant: "What are all these motherf-----s going to say when I lead this team to a championship?"

Black: "They're going to say you're one of the greatest players of all time."
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Re: Kobe Discussion: Happy with the FO effort (806)

Postby Vasashi17 on Tue Sep 02, 2014 9:32 pm

Retired seven-time All-Star Tracy McGrady worked out with Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant late this summer in a Southern California gymnasium, testing the preparedness of his body for a possible NBA comeback attempt.

"Yes, I was working out with K.B. to get in shape and see how my body feels," McGrady told Yahoo Sports in an email Tuesday night.

Bryant and McGrady, 35, worked out three days a week for a period of time in August, several sources, including McGrady, told Yahoo.

At least two NBA teams were contacted over the summer about their potential interest in McGrady, but none registered a desire to further explore the possibility, league executives told Yahoo Sports.

McGrady is contractually obligated to a lucrative basketball tour of China in October, which would make it impossible for him to try and make an NBA team in training camp. McGrady is still an immensely popular figure in China, dating back to his partnership with Yao Ming on the Houston Rockets.
"The comeback will not happen, unless I have the drive whenever I get back," McGrady told Yahoo in the email.

Knee and back injuries had taken their toll on McGrady's reedy body, causing diminished durability and performance late in his career.

McGrady had been unable to get a guaranteed NBA contract for the 2012-13 season and instead played in China. Upon McGrady's return from the China Basketball Association that April, the San Antonio Spurs signed him on the final day of the regular season to join their playoff roster. He didn't play any meaningful minutes on the team's run to the NBA Finals.

McGrady publicly retired from the NBA in August 2013.

McGrady made a short-lived professional baseball debut in the spring, spending several weeks as a starting pitcher with the Sugarland Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League.

In his 15-year NBA career, McGrady won two regular-season scoring titles and was selected first- or second-team All-NBA five times. He made the leap from high school to the NBA in 1997, when he was chosen ninth overall by the Toronto Raptors.


per Woj @Yahoo Sports
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Re: Kobe Discussion: McMamba? (817)

Postby laakers on Tue Sep 02, 2014 10:03 pm

At first I thought Kobe was endorsing McDonald's... Speaking of which, doesn't LeBron do that? Pretty disgusting for a professional athlete...
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Re: Kobe Discussion: McMamba? (817)

Postby therealdeal on Wed Sep 03, 2014 9:09 am

Kobe represented McDonalds early in his playing career.

Most of these kids don't understand the importance of nutrition until they reach the NBA. That holds especially true for kids who skip college where at least a coach there will tell you to eat right/provide you with slightly healthier food. For guys like LeBron and Kobe who skipped college, it's not surprising that they'd eat a lot of McDonalds.

Anywho, I was never that big of a fan of McGrady. I'd welcome him back here though as a veteran presence.

So far we know Kobe has worked out with Wes and Tracy. There's also a few vague reports of him working out with other players, possibly Lin, Davis, etc.

I'm digging old Kobe.
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Re: Kobe Discussion: McMamba? (817)

Postby V.V.V.V.V. on Wed Sep 03, 2014 1:42 pm

The old Kobe or an old Kobe? :man12:
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Re: Kobe Discussion: McMamba? (817)

Postby kobe the goat on Wed Sep 03, 2014 4:32 pm

I dont know if this has been posted or not but I have got to share with you how ridiculous ESPN has gotten

James Harden vaults to the top of the SG ranks in 2014-15, according to WARP projections.
Assigning positions to players is a nebulous exercise at best, and maybe that as much as anything accounts for the paucity of top-flight shooting guards in today's NBA.

The best players at the position tend to spend plenty of time at adjacent spots, whether it's a combo guard like Monta Ellis who can run the point, or a longer player like Jimmy Butler who swings between the wing positions. Whatever the reason, just four of the top 50 in projected wins above replacement players (WARP) are coded as 2-guards in our forecast. There are 24 point guards who would have cracked the top 10 at shooting guard. Where have you gone, Reggie Miller?

Over the next week, we'll rank players by position according to forecast WARP, which is perfect for this kind of exercise because it accounts for a player's efficiency, volume of production and team context. (A complete explanation can be found at the bottom of this page; last year's shooting guard rankings can be found here.)

Here are the projected top 10 shooting guards for the 2014-15 NBA season, followed by the next five and an overview of why some notable SGs fell outside the top 10.

PG | SG | SF | PF | C

Harden
1. James Harden, Houston Rockets
Projected 2014-15 WARP: 16.2 | Win%: 67 percent

Last season, Harden was just nudged out of the top spot by Dwyane Wade, but this time around, he laps a weak field of 2-guards. One issue that holds back traditional shooting guards is they don't have the ball in their hands that often, which tends to suppress their value in new metrics such as WARP. That's not a problem for Harden. According to SportVu data from NBA.com, Harden averaged 5.3 minutes per game in time of possession, ranking 15th in the league. Among the top 18, only LeBron James joined Harden as non-point guards.

Harden justifies all that possession time with a true shooting percentage annually above the .600 mark, buoyed by his league-average 3-point shooting and astronomical foul-drawing rate. Harden's on-ball defensive metrics aren't as bad as his reputation suggests, but his team defensive markers are so bad that, statistically, the perception about Harden's indifference on that end seems well-deserved. Still, as long as he keeps churning out 14 to 15 WARP per season, he'll remain a top-10 player.



Wade
2. Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
Projected 2014-15 WARP: 9.1 | Win%: 62 percent

Speaking of time of possession, Wade will be getting a lot more of it this season with James back in Cleveland. One of the more intriguing subplots of "The Return" is that now we'll see just how much game Wade and Chris Bosh have left. Last season, at age 32, Wade put up his lowest WARP and winning percentage since his rookie season. Also near career-lows were Wade's usage rate and assist rate. Now, as he returns to the role of Miami's offensive creator, can Wade stay somewhat efficient if he soars back to a usage rate above 30 percent and an assist rate more than 9 percent? If he can, can his body hold up to the challenge?


Ellis
3. Monta Ellis, Dallas Mavericks
Projected 2014-15 WARP: 8.4 | Win%: 56 percent

Here's the genius of Rick Carlisle. Last season, Carlisle installed Ellis as a primary component in a veteran-laden, high-powered offensive attack. He allowed Ellis to use just as many possessions as he did in Milwaukee, but Dallas' scheme kept Ellis on the attack. His shoddy 3-point shooting was minimized, and his foul-drawing escalated. It wasn't Ellis at his most efficient, but it was close. More important, Ellis did all of this in service of the team. His previous career-best in offensive RPM was plus-1.2. Last season, he was at plus-3.2. It was a different story on the defensive end, but Carlisle focuses on the strengths of his players, so we'll do the same.


Butler
4. Jimmy Butler, Chicago Bulls
Projected 2014-15 WARP: 8.3 | Win%: 56 percent

Butler will probably never be a dynamic offensive player, but he does so many things well that he's become one of the best two-way performers at his position in the league. Last season, Butler extended his game out to the 3-point line more often, although his accuracy there didn't justify the volume of attempts. Still, it was a smart adjustment, one that could especially pay dividends this season if Derrick Rose can stay healthy and contract the defense. Butler stayed aggressive putting the ball on the floor, and is Chicago's best foul-drawing threat. He's also the best perimeter defender on one of the league's top defenses, with the versatility to check any of the perimeter positions. Entering his fourth season, our system sees a breakout campaign coming for Butler.


Waiters
5. Dion Waiters, Cleveland Cavaliers
Projected 2014-15 WARP: 6.9 | Win%: 55 percent

Waiters is a combined minus-0.4 WARP during his two NBA seasons, so the system might be a little optimistic with this forecast. What the metrics might be missing is the intrinsic value of Waiters' ability to create offense. Despite a well-below-average true shooting percentage, Waiters' offensive RPM has been positive in both his seasons and reached plus-1.8 last year. If the optimism of his forecast proves to be warranted, it's a scary proposition for the rest of the NBA. Cleveland point guard Kyrie Irving clocked in at No. 5 in our rankings yesterday. It's probably not spoiling anything to tell you that James and Kevin Love will rate very high at their respective positions as well. If Waiters really develops into a top-five shooting guard, that will be something to see.


Evans
6. Tyreke Evans, New Orleans Pelicans
Projected 2014-15 WARP: 6.3 | Win%: 54 percent

Evans' winning percentage last season (.529) was just one point better that the season before, but he went about it in a very different manner. His assist rate jumped by more than 3 percent. As a scorer, his volume surged even as his shooting percentages tumbled. Yet -- and this is why RPM is so valuable -- we can see that this shifting profile served the Pelicans well, as his offensive RPM jumped to plus-1.3. His defense was horrific, however, and Evans' inability to translate his raw physical material into positive impactful defense remains the most disappointing aspect of his career.


Oladipo
7. Victor Oladipo, Orlando Magic
Projected 2014-15 WARP: 6.3 | Win%: 53 percent

The most exciting development of another lost season for Orlando was that Oladipo was on the court for nearly 2,500 minutes. His offensive production wavered in terms of consistency, but he flashed a full range of skills. He created offense (24.6 percent usage), set up teammates (6 percent assist rate) and established himself as a potential lockdown defender. The growing pains were there in Oladipo's .514 true shooting percentage and high turnover rate, but it was a great starting point.


Thompson
8. Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors
Projected 2014-15 WARP: 6.2 | Win%: 52 percent

There is a giant disconnect between Thompson's perceived value and his measurable value as judged by advanced metrics. Last season was his best, yet his 3.5 WARP ranked just 108th in the NBA. However, hidden behind those numbers was a leap forward in offensive RPM, from minus-0.2 to plus-3.0. That suggests that last season more than ever, Thompson improved his ability to leverage his threat as a shooter in a way to offset his lack of measurable production. Of course, last season, his measurables were better than ever, too, as he posted career highs in true shooting percentage and usage rate, all while posting solid on-ball defensive metrics. It'll be interesting to see what Steve Kerr can do with him.


Ginobili
9. Manu Ginobili, San Antonio Spurs
Projected 2014-15 WARP: 6.0 | Win%: 60 percent

Even at 36, the only thing holding back Ginobili is Gregg Popovich's masterwork at keeping his stars' playing time down during the regular season. Note that Ginobili's forecasted winning percentage is the third-best mark on the list. His performance has never faltered.


Stephenson
10. Lance Stephenson, Charlotte Hornets
Projected 2014-15 WARP: 5.6 | Win%: 51 percent

Leaving aside Stephenson's goofy on-court antics, 2013-14 was a breakout season for a player who didn't merit so much as a mention in the rankings of his position a year ago. Stephenson's usage rate jumped by more than 4 percent, yet his efficiency soared: His true shooting percentage increased from .529 to .564. His increased assist rate and elite rebound percentages made him a consistent triple-double threat. However, there are rough edges in his game even beyond the enigmatic behavior, but if Steve Clifford can harness what Stephenson does best, Charlotte's summer investment in him should pay off.

Next five: Kobe Bryant, Bradley Beal, Danny Green, Wesley Matthews, J.R. Smith

Beal's winning percentage fell from his rookie season, and he's been negative in RPM on both ends of the floor in both of his NBA seasons. Yet his late-season performance, including the playoffs, suggest he'll move well up this leaderboard by next summer. As for Bryant, his playing-time forecast is predictably suppressed, but even if it weren't, his projected winning percentage would just barely get him into the top 10.

Also notable: DeMar DeRozan, Joe Johnson

DeRozan is probably underrated at this point, but it's no mystery as to why: He had a fine 2013-14 season with 5.4 WARP, but he had been well under replacement level in each of his four campaigns. One more solid season, and DeRozan will be a top-10 fixture.

Rankings methodology
The annual offseason position rankings offer a snapshot of the top players in the league by base position, according to the forecast quantity and quality of performance for the coming season. Players are ranked by wins above replacement player (WARP), an estimate of the number of wins a player adds to a team's bottom line above what would be expected of any easily acquired talent from outside the NBA. Players are measured for usage and efficiency on both ends of the floor, and these ratings are converted to an individual winning percentage. From there, WARP is calculated based on the player's winning percentage and forecast playing time for the coming season. Playing-time projections are based on recent seasons, health and role on the player's current team. Players are assigned a position according to where they appeared most often in their most recent NBA season, though subjective adjustments have been made for some players based on anticipated usage in 2014-15.

The underlying methodology of calculating the player efficiencies used in these rankings has changed since last year and now relies on real plus-minus methodology, with adjustments. Each player's offensive and defensive RPM is converted to efficiency ratings for each end of the floor. Those ratings are then evaluated for "direct" and "indirect" impact. Direct impact is composed of points scored and possessions used, as calculated from traditional box scores. Indirect impact uses RPM to evaluate how a player affects the possessions finished by his teammates while he's on the floor. RPM has been split in this manner for a couple of reasons. First, indirect impact has a higher season-to-season correlation and is less affected by player aging patterns. Also, splitting direct impact and indirect impact is useful for projecting how players will perform in new environments and in calculating team projections. For first-year NBA players, their SCHOENE projection is used as their WARP projection in these rankings.


I realize the whole thing about ESPN, but wow i am lost for words. Such ignorance it's unbelievable, they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law

http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/11374705/nba-projecting-top-10-shooting-guards-warp-2014-15
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Re: Kobe Discussion: McMamba? (817)

Postby LTLakerFan on Wed Sep 03, 2014 9:21 pm

laakers wrote:At first I thought Kobe was endorsing McDonald's... Speaking of which, doesn't LeBron do that? Pretty disgusting for a professional athlete...


Yeah I was thinking oh crap another "fat" pic of Kobe had surfaced. :man10:


^^^ and just above….. WTF with the asinine WARP metric? :disagree: :bang: Measuring performance against hypothetical "replacement" players? :man10: Admittedly I know nothing about it but sounds like a bunch of crap ….. my knee jerk reaction.
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Re: Kobe Discussion: McMamba? (817)

Postby Rooscooter on Thu Sep 04, 2014 6:17 am

laakers wrote:At first I thought Kobe was endorsing McDonald's... Speaking of which, doesn't LeBron do that? Pretty disgusting for a professional athlete...


What's wrong with Mc Donald's? Endorsing shoes made with basically slave labor in foreign countries seems worse to me.
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Re: Kobe Discussion: McMamba? (817)

Postby therealdeal on Thu Sep 04, 2014 7:05 am

Rooscooter wrote:
laakers wrote:At first I thought Kobe was endorsing McDonald's... Speaking of which, doesn't LeBron do that? Pretty disgusting for a professional athlete...


What's wrong with Mc Donald's? Endorsing shoes made with basically slave labor in foreign countries seems worse to me.

To be fair McDonalds is also among the leading reasons for obesity in the US which either directly or indirectly links to Heart Disease and Diabetes which are among the leaders of causes of death in the US.

But it's a good point. Endorsement deals are all about the money, these players rarely think about the causes/effects of the things they endorse.

Incidentally Durant is one of the first athletes of this generation to endorse only healthy foods, no fast food. He's a bright kid.
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Re: Kobe Discussion: McMamba? (817)

Postby kenzo on Thu Sep 04, 2014 7:51 am

You can eat McD daily and still be fit and healthy, just saying :man12:
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Re: Kobe Discussion: McMamba? (817)

Postby laakers on Thu Sep 04, 2014 8:22 am

Rooscooter wrote:
laakers wrote:At first I thought Kobe was endorsing McDonald's... Speaking of which, doesn't LeBron do that? Pretty disgusting for a professional athlete...


What's wrong with Mc Donald's? Endorsing shoes made with basically slave labor in foreign countries seems worse to me.


Both are bad.. Pick your poison, multi-millionaire athletes! :man9:
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Re: Kobe Discussion: McMamba? (817)

Postby Barnstable on Thu Sep 04, 2014 9:32 am

kenzo wrote:You can eat McD daily and still be fit and healthy, just saying :man12:


McDonalds is basically a slow poison like smoking. It will catch up to you eventually
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Re: Kobe Discussion: McMamba? (817)

Postby V.V.V.V.V. on Thu Sep 04, 2014 11:50 am

Ridiculous rankings. Consistency would be nice. If they're going to rank some players based on how good they USED to be ( like Dwade and Manu), why not put Kobe on there as well?

I bet Coach K is upset over this whole campaign to put Harden front and center of the USA team. His lack of defense along with his inflated plating time might lose the US a title this year.
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Re: Kobe Discussion: McMamba? (817)

Postby LooN3y on Thu Sep 04, 2014 1:19 pm

Barnstable wrote:
kenzo wrote:You can eat McD daily and still be fit and healthy, just saying :man12:


McDonalds is basically a slow poison like smoking. It will catch up to you eventually



mc donalds is completely fine if you dont eat it everyday.


i mean who eats mc donalds everyday though. hell since im 25 i hardly eat any fastfood, unless its late night or going on trips.

but the jalapeno double :man13:
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Re: Kobe Discussion: McMamba? (817)

Postby Barnstable on Thu Sep 04, 2014 4:27 pm

LooN3y wrote:
Barnstable wrote:
kenzo wrote:You can eat McD daily and still be fit and healthy, just saying :man12:


McDonalds is basically a slow poison like smoking. It will catch up to you eventually



mc donalds is completely fine if you dont eat it everyday.


i mean who eats mc donalds everyday though. hell since im 25 i hardly eat any fastfood, unless its late night or going on trips.

but the jalapeno double :man13:

No, its still not doing the job food is supposed to do to properly nourish your body. Eating it sometimes doesn't change this fact, you're just not feeling the full effects of it unless you eat it in excess, but its still about as ok as smoking a cigarette every once in a while, ie, not good for you.

But this is off topic, so we should take that debate elsewhere.
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Re: Kobe Discussion: McMamba? (817)

Postby V.V.V.V.V. on Thu Sep 04, 2014 4:40 pm

LeBron should endorse Burger King. Much more appropriate.
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Re: Kobe Discussion: McMamba? (817)

Postby Rooscooter on Thu Sep 04, 2014 7:16 pm

therealdeal wrote:
Rooscooter wrote:
laakers wrote:At first I thought Kobe was endorsing McDonald's... Speaking of which, doesn't LeBron do that? Pretty disgusting for a professional athlete...


What's wrong with Mc Donald's? Endorsing shoes made with basically slave labor in foreign countries seems worse to me.

To be fair McDonalds is also among the leading reasons for obesity in the US which either directly or indirectly links to Heart Disease and Diabetes which are among the leaders of causes of death in the US.


Prove your first statement..... No one is forced to eat at Mc Donald's and the food in grocery stores is far more fattening. Check a pack of Oreos out.....

This line of thought applied elsewhere in life is never pursued except where money can be extracted. Cigarettes are the cause of smoking..... Whiskey is the cause of drinking......

The leading cause of death in the US.... By a long ways is auto accidents..... Caused obviously by the auto manufactures. ......

What happens when someone eats so called bad foods smoked and drank for 94 years and dies of natural causes? That was my father. He didn't even have a prescription medication until he was in his early 90's.

This idea that the food producer is somehow responsible for heart disease and obesity is patently ridiculous. It's an individual choice.
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