Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fine, Because I Should

Now almost three full days since Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles hoisted their 15th NBA title, I'm breaking my silence. With a twist . . . (we're too close to the beast that is the NBA draft for me to leave it entirely out, enjoy.)

Crown him god damn it. 3 NBA Titles as co-star, 1-NBA Most Valuable Player (2008), 11x NBA All-Star, Olympic Gold Medal, an NBA Finals MVP, and now, 1 shiny NBA Title in the post-Shaq era of his career. Bean Bryant is and has been the greatest thing since Michael Jordan, it's time we take away that title and call him what he is now, in the conversation. In the conversation with Michael, Larry, Magic, Oscar, Bill, and anyone else you want to throw in, that is where Kobe Bryant has landed himself in his 13th NBA season. Yes, Kobe isn't exactly the most liked player that Magic was or the global icon that Michael still is, but on the hardwood? He's just as good. I don't feel as happy for him as I felt for Paul Pierce when he got his, I'm not looking forward to his every game as I was after Dwyane Wade won his, and in his favor, I don't hate him liked I hated the champion Detroit Pistons, but Kobe has a spot all his own. That spot is called Validation. He didn't need it from me, but he needed it for history. Crown him god damn it, it's about time.

Not so fast with Phil, come on. If we're going by championships, sure Phil Jackson is the best coach in NBA history. Don't give me that and Kobe aren't just great players, they are THE great players in basketball history. As far as straight up basketball coaching goes, I'd take any list of collegiate basketball minds, Coach K, Pitino, Wooden, Knight, Dean Smith, it could really go "every great coach has great players" speech, I've heard that. I could argue that Michael on and on. However, in the NBA all we have to measure greatness by, is rings. Michael's six, Russell's eleven, and now Phil's ten, that's how we measure. The truth is the NBA is more about managing talent than drawing up plays, at the end of the day who managed more talent better than Phil Jackson? Michael's demanding play, Scottie's attitude, Rodman's antics, Shaq v. Kobe, and Kobe v. Himself, Phil Jackson managed stars better than any coach in the history of the game, and that is how he should be remembered. From the Jordan Years through the Shaq/Kobe Lakers and now back to the top, Phil Jackson is the NBA's greatest talent manager. The one who invented the victory cigar is the greatest coach, truth be told.

That's what you get, when you don't fix it. I guess I liked it better when we were fixing The NBA Finals. I was pissed when Orlando beat the Celtics and elated when they beat the Cavaliers, now I'm just bored. Call me a Monday morning quarterback, but didn't we all want to see LeBron v. Kobe? Now we know why. Guy who wants to say "well, the Magic could have been up 3-1 heading into game 5 if they'd just hit this shot or that shot" needs to smarten up. They got embarrassed in 2 of their 4 losses in The Finals, when I say embarrassed I mean embarrassed like the Lakers were in game 6 @ Boston last season. When arm-chair coach understands you don't push Jameer Nelson back into the lineup and your own head coach doesn't, we have problems. When you have no plan to cover Kobe after having an entire season to develop a plan, your in trouble. Time to realize and apologize, I should have pushed for Kobe v. LeBron much more, I should have known Orlando wouldn't get past game 5, at the end of the day we just wasted a fantastic season on that NBA Finals, great. With that said, can we get Kobe v. LeBron in 2010? Before Kobe enters the decline and LeBron is living in the Big Apple, can we see Kobe v. LeBron for a title? Please?

The playoffs has impacted the NBA draft, bank on it. The rise of Dwight Howard and subsequent success of Orlando has made an impact on the East, your about to see it. If your the Boston Celtics you understand that the injury to Kevin Garnett really hurt your front court. While Kendrick Perkins played Howard better than anyone in the postseason, it's not enough. Judging by the way Orlando handled LeBron and the Cavs, clearly the Cavaliers must get bigger and more physical. As the Lakers realized their need to get tougher after Boston's shut down defense exploded on them in the '08 Finals, the Cavaliers and those same Celtics understand their need to get bigger inside. For Boston, mega deals could send Ray Allen out of Beantown and bring in a deeper front line for the Celtics who plan on making another deep run in the coming season. If the Cavaliers are truely planning on bringing Shaq to Cleveland, the most likely reason isn't for his scoring but for his ability to take up space and alter shot attempts, something they really lacked against Howard & Orlando. Expect one of these two to make noise prior to draft day, for they know the window is closing shut and their best shot may be past them.

That's how the draft talk you'll get for now. For more talk on the NBA and the NBA Draft check out The Right Now Podcast and you can also find us on Twitter. Now excuse me while I go cry about the Lakers winning another gold ball.

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