April 07, 2005

Lakers Officially Out of It: They'll miss the playoffs for the first time in 11 years, and the fourth time in their 45 years in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, the Heat Secure Home Court in the East. The Lakers did not choose wisely. And the word of the day is schadenfreude.

posted by kirkaracha to basketball at 01:49 AM - 16 comments

I secretly hoped it would work, despite my doubts about handing the franchise to Kobe. I envisioned something like the Heat had last year, except better because of Kobe. It's not even as good. Obviously I overestimated Kobe and his new teammates, underestimated Wade, and everyone underestimated Shaq. Shaq is what, 33 now? In the long run it may even out, but yeah, it's looking like a very bad choice now.

posted by dusted at 02:07 AM on April 07, 2005

There is no long run for these Lakers. The only advantage they have, playing in marquee L.A., is offset by being stuck in salary cap hell with bad, aging, or disappointing players. I suspect that Ray Allen is correct, and Kobe Bryant will bitch his way out of town rather than play for a rebuilding team digging its way out of salary problems.

posted by rcade at 09:34 AM on April 07, 2005

whoever predicted a sub .500 Laker team at the start of the season sure knew something the rest of us overlooked. And Shaq must be happy as a pig in sh*T! A healthy Vlade and Deavan George might of gotten them in the playoffs but they have too many headcases like Lamar( an awesome talent but takes off games like Eddie Jones used to) and Chuckie the executioner(beacuse he is a rally killer). This team needs a big man in the middle who doesn't have butter-fingers like Chris Mihm(who always seemed to mishandle brilliant passes from Kobe). It also needs a good coach. Shaq's salary was a killer and he seemed complacent the last couple of seasons in LA. Kobe and the fans were tired of his act. He is doing great in Miami just to prove a bitter point. Shaq doesn't make himself more liked by what he is doing in Miami because LA fans are asking "why" didn't he do this here??? Why didn't he lose weight here and play more motivated? Losing to Detroit like they did last year should of provided all the motivation the Lakers needed to get back to the Finals this year! The fault isn't Kobe Bryants. Shaq chose to put off toe surgery till the season began 2 year ago and it cost them a better seed in the playoffs and homecourt. Shaq chose to get fat and remain so thru out the last 2 seasons. Shaq chose to play the leader and hardly ever make Kobe feel just as important. Shaq always stole the credit. Kobes briliant play and game-saving antics were all but forgotten by Shaq when talking to reporters after games. It isn't Kobe who created this mess but Shaq who demanded more money but wouldn't improve his shape or pratice his FT's! If Miami wins a title(which I doubt because Detroit will play the Heat the same as they did the Lakers(it's almost the same team with Wade playing Kobes part) and the SA Spurs have the fundamentally brilliant Tim Duncan and Ginobli).

posted by bluekarma at 10:16 AM on April 07, 2005

"Schadenfreude" ...? Yeah, maybe. For ego-monster Kobe "Me-I'm-THE-Man" Bryant a better word might be "comeuppance."

posted by the red terror at 10:27 AM on April 07, 2005

I didn't think there would be any Kobe apologists...he is clearly reaping what his whiny ass hath sown. As for the stuff about the Heat being the same kind of gig as the Lakers because Wade is now in the Kobe role, if you can replace Kobe with Wade and it will work, but you need Shaq for either team to work...then what does that tell you? What was the critical part of that machinery? It sure wasn't Kobe...he is interchangeable with Wade if that is what you believe. Its like Shaq says: "I hate you Kobe."

posted by chris2sy at 11:24 AM on April 07, 2005

A complacent Shaq is obviously better than no Shaq. With a complacent Shaq you go to the playoffs and maybe even the finals. With no Shaq, you miss the playoffs. While blaming Shaq before may have worked, now that the season has played out, it is obvious that the Lakers underestimated his importance. I am not sure how Kobe cannot take full credit for this implosion. He wanted to get the chance to prove that he can carry a team. Well, he carried this team right to the cellar of the Western conference. Way to go, Kobe.

posted by bperk at 11:51 AM on April 07, 2005

chris2sy is exactly right. And Shaq knew it the same way 95% of the NBA knew it. Any team with him on it is going to have an unfair advantage as long as his feet and back hold out. All he needs is someone who can get him the ball (and Wade is obviously that guy, just like Kobe was), and your team'll have a fighting chance against anyone. And if Wade develops the big head like Kobe has (I'm guessing he won't, at least as much; college has a way of leveling one's head sometimes), then when Shaq retires in two or three years he too will have a rude awakening.

posted by chicobangs at 12:24 PM on April 07, 2005

whoever predicted a sub .500 Laker team at the start of the season sure knew something the rest of us overlooked. Somebody link to the post where we were predicting playoff positions at the time of the deal (I can't find it) because I TOTALLY, like, called this.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 12:54 PM on April 07, 2005

I found two threads about the Lakers/Kobe: Weedy, you're probably looking for this. I also thought this comment by dusted looks pretty good.

posted by blarp at 01:10 PM on April 07, 2005

Shaq is replaying the movie role first created by that original loafer cum multi-Cy Young winner, Roger Clemens. Clemens got better after he left the Red Sox because he regained the ever-necessary chip on the shoulder and re-dedicated himself to winning just to prove that everyone was mistaken about him being too self-centered, complacent and unfocused to be a winner...all of which was true of Last Year Red Sox Clemens and Last Year Laker Shaq. Still, Shaq at 80% is much more of a centerpiece for a championship team over the next 4-5 years than Kobe will ever be. Kobe (the anti-Garnett?) isn't the next Jordan. He is the next Dominique Wilkins, i.e. a nice highlight reel but not able to make a good team great on his own. Lakers bet on the wrong horse there!

posted by 15Vikings at 01:23 PM on April 07, 2005

"Schadenfreude" ...? Yeah, maybe. For ego-monster Kobe "Me-I'm-THE-Man" Bryant a better word might be "comeuppance." Comeuppance for him, schadenfreude for me, everybody wins! (And nice reference for "comeuppance," btw.) Especially if they finish behind the Clippers. Shaq and the Heat may win the title this year, but if they do, it'd be the first time either Kobe or Shaq wins without Phil Jackson coaching. Shaq couldn't win it with the Magic, Kobe couldn't with the Lakers, and Kobe and Shaq couldn't get there with the Lakers until Phil Jackson got there.

posted by kirkaracha at 03:07 PM on April 07, 2005

Thanks, blarp. I forgot that I had made a prediction. Pretty damn spot-on, huh?

posted by dusted at 03:57 PM on April 07, 2005

Not to toot my own horn, but I called it way back. And dusted, speaking of Schadenfreude... :) And in the perfect twist, I like how the Lakers got eliminated on the same day that the Heat clinch the East. Good stuff.

posted by platocave at 04:24 PM on April 07, 2005

Good job, platocave. I called it as well, a few threads later, and even more impressively, called the Suns to win that division. Looks like I'll actually have predicted at least 6/8 of the Western Playoff Teams (who really saw Seattle doing anything?). Hmm, speaking of, time for Mavs/Spurs.

posted by Ufez Jones at 07:42 PM on April 07, 2005

Ha ha ha ha ..... I TOLD YOU SO now its not nice to brag....and mother always said if you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything at all. Kobe is a hack he is just a another T-MAC.... great skills no leadership and no ability to help others.....not even Phil could fix this one Kobe has no Pippen.

posted by bballcoachreid at 06:58 PM on April 11, 2005

"Kobe is no Michael Jordan" and now everyone has to believe that statement. They lost Shaq and Jack, those were the only reasons they won the way they did.

posted by cheramieiii at 11:20 PM on April 13, 2005

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