Posts Tagged 'Kobe Bryant'
Tags: Kobe Bryant, NBA Trade Deadline
Tags: Bill Russell, Championship rings, Charles Barkley, Clyde Drexler, David Robinson, Dream Team, Hakeem Olajuwan, Jack McCallum, Jerry West, Kobe Bryant, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan. LeBron James, NBA Championships, NBA Finals, patrick ewing, Tim Duncan
Tags: Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
Tags: Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, Clippers, Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
For decades the Los Angeles Clippers have been the laughing stock of the NBA, the red-headed step-brother to a Lakers franchise which has dominated the league with a flare that captures the glitz and glamor of Tinseltown.
The Clippers have made the playoffs just twice since moving to L.A. in 1984. Their notoriously stingy owner Donald Sterling routinely allowed his best players to walk, bungled draft picks and failed to attract any star power to the media capital of the world. Meanwhile, the Lakers won eight NBA championships during that period on the backs of superstars so big they only need one name, Kareem, Magic, Shaq and Kobe.
So when the NBA lockout finally concluded last week and two of the league’s top players, Chris Paul and Dwight Howard, were on the trading block and both reportedly interested in playing in L.A., basketball fans and insiders assumed that the Lakers would land one, if not both of them. Given the Clippers reputation as a moribund franchise, nobody believed they were seriously in the running, even though they had several attractive young assets.
Initially, it looked as though the scenario would play out as expected, with the Lakers reaching an apparent agreement on a three-team deal involving the Rockets and Hornets in which they would obtain Paul in exchange for Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom. Then at the last minute, the league – which currently owns the Hornets – set off a firestorm by nixing the trade for “basketball reasons.”
Still, history dictated that the Lakers would find a way to restructure the deal and get their guy. But that’s not what happened. Instead, a devastated Odom reportedly asked to be traded. Instead of giving their versatile big man time to cool off, in Clipper-esque fashion, the Lakers shipped one of their biggest trade chips to the Mavericks for virtually nothing (the Mavs 2012 first round draft pick.)
The Clippers swooped in amid the chaos and began serious negotiations with the Hornets for Paul, which culminated in a deal Wednesday night in which they sent Eric Gordon, Minnesota’s unprotected 2012 first-round pick, Chris Kaman and Al-Farouq Aminu to New Orleans for the four-time all-star point guard.
The trade gives the Clippers the best guard-big man tandem in the league with Paul and last season’s Rookie of the Year Blake Griffin, a combination reminiscent of Steve Nash and Amar’e Stoudemire during their glory days in Phoenix.
Paul wasn’t the only move the Clippers made this past week. Donald Sterling’s club won the bidding for veteran point guard Chauncy Billups, who can also play some two guard next to Paul, after he was waived by the Knicks under the amnesty provision. The club also signed gritty small forward Caron Butler and matched the four-year $43 million offer Golden State made to their up-and-coming restricted free agent center DeAndre Jordan.
With a formidable starting five and the best one-two punch in the league other than LeBron and D-Wade, for the first time ever, the Clippers have the makings of a legitimate rivalry with the Lakers. In fact, one could argue that they have a better chance than their Staples Center cohabitants to win the championship this season.
The Lakers were swept by Dallas in the playoffs last season, Phil Jackson retired and they completely mishandled the Odom situation, turning their biggest strength, their deep front line, into a weakness. They have numerous question marks heading into the season, including an aging backcourt, the relationship between Bryant and new head coach Mike Brown and as always, whether Bynum can stay healthy.
Yet, the Lakers still have the potential to be an elite team. Don’t forget, they’re just two years removed from back-to-back championships and last I checked, they still have one of the top five players in the world in Kobe Bryant. Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum form a devastating power forward/center tandem and both are solid bargaining chips for a potential trade with Orlando for Howard.
The Clippers have weaknesses as well, particularly inexperience and a lack of depth down low, which will be crucial in this compressed season. With several new parts and very little time to gel, the Clippers probably aren’t ready to compete for a championship this season, though they’re legitimate contenders and they’ve certainly closed the gap between themselves and the Lakers.
As Blake Griffin said when asked about the acquisition of CP3, “When you hear the Clippers, it’s not going to be a joke anymore. I can guarantee you that.”
Tags: Bill Russell, kareem abdul-jabbar, Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, NBA duos, Scottie Pippen, Shaquille O'Neal
by Paul Knepper
Basketball is a team game, though often performed at the highest level when two players work in concert. The pick-and-roll remains the most productive offensive set and no play is more enthralling than an alley-oop. Rarely has a lone superstar carried a team on his back to an NBA championship. Shaq needed Kobe, Jordan needed Pippen and Isiah needed Dumars.
During past this season LeBron James and Dwyane Wade distinguished themselves as the most dynamic duo in the league, even though they fell just short of a championship. Before they can be considered among the elite duos to ever player the game they have to do it for more than one season.
These are the ten greatest NBA duos ever.
10) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson (Milwaukee Bucks)
“The Big O” and Lew Alcindor teamed up for the 70-71 season and led the Bucks to a league best 66 wins. They rolled to the NBA Finals, where they defeated a Baltimore Bullets team led by Earl Monroe and Wes Unseld 4-0. The next day Alcindor announced that he’d changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The two hall of famers played just three more seasons together and never returned to the finals, as Robertson’s skills declined in his mid-30′s.
9) Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars (Detroit Pistons)
Isiah and Dumars teamed up four nine seasons as the starting bakcourt for the Detroit Pistons. Isiah handled the ball and Dumars knocked down jumpers, while locking down the best shooting guards in the league. The “Bad Boys” won back-to-back championships together in 1989 and 1990. Dumars won the 1989 Finals MVP and Isiah took the award in 1990.
8) John Stockton and Karl Malone (Utah Jazz)
Stockton and Malone mastered the pick-and-roll over their 18 seasons together and went to the playoffs in every one of them. The NBA’s all-time assist leader and second all-time leading scorer led the Jazz to the Western Conference Finals five times in seven years, including back-to-back trips to the NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998, but weren’t able to get past Jordan and the Bulls.
7) Tim Duncan and David Robinson (San Antonio Spurs)
Robinson’s injury during the ’96-’97 season was a blessing in disguise for the Spurs. With the first pick in the ’97 draft they landed Tim Duncan, creating the twin towers that would lead the Spurs to the promised land. San Antonio defeated the Knicks in five games in the ’99 Finals and after a three-peat by the Lakers, Duncan and company delivered Robinson a second ring as a retirement gift in 2003. Duncan was named the MVP of both finals.
6) Wilt Chamberlain & Jerry West (Los Angeles Lakers)
West and the Wilt played together in L.A. for just five seasons, though they advanced to the NBA Finals in four of them and defeated the Knicks to get “the logo” his first ring in 1972. That season West and “The Big Dipper” led the Lakers to 69 wins, including 33 consecutive wins, a record which still stands today.
5) Larry Bird & Kevin McHale (Boston Celtics)
Bird and McHale made five trips to the NBA Finals during their 12 seasons together in Boston, winning championships in ’81, ’84 and ’86. Larry Legend ripped teams hearts out with his long range shooting, while McHale dominated inside with a vast array of post moves. Were their careers not derailed by injuries (McHale never fully recovered from playing on a broken foot in the ’87 playoffs and Bird’s back gave out on him), they may have won more rings.
4) Bill Russell and Bob Cousy (Boston Celtics)
Russell and Cousy were the first dominant duo in the league, both innovators who changed the way their positions were played. They won 6 championships in the late ’50′s and early 6o’s before Cousy retired in 1963. They don’t rank higher on this list because they had so much talent around them, especially Russell. In fact, you can argue that Cousy wasn’t even Russell’s greatest wing man. Slick-shooting Sam Jones was by Russell’s side for 10 of his 11 rings and Havlicek joined him for the later years of his career.
3) Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal (Los Angeles Lakers)
Shaq and a young Kobe joined forces to form an indefensible inside-outside punch which carried the Lakers to three consecutive championships from 2000-2002. Shaq won the Finals MVP each time. Ultimately, the only thing that stood in between this dynamic duo and several more rings was their own egos.
2) Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen (Chicago Bulls)
No two players have ever controlled the perimeter on both sides of the court like MJ and Pippen. Together, they led the Bulls to 6 championships, by way of two different three-peats, ’91-’93 and ’96-’98. Had Michael not walked away from the game for nearly two seasons they likely would have won eight in a row.
1) Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Los Angeles Lakers)
They’re two of the top five players to ever to play the game, the flashy point guard, with the no-look passes and the dominant big man with the unstoppable hook-shot. Magic and Kareem won five championships together and appeared in 8 NBA Finals over their ten seasons as teammates. Kareem led the way in the early years, then Magic carried the load as Kareem grew older.
Jerry West and Elgin Baylor (Los Angeles Lakers)
Moses Malone and Julius Erving (Philadelphia 76ers)
Willis Reed and Walt Frazier (New York Knicks)