Sunday, May 5, 2013

NBA 2012-13 Season: Lakers and Clippers Recap


This season sucked.  As a Lakers fan, it couldn't have gone worse.  I stopped posting last season partially out of laziness, partially because I saw it coming (okay, I didn't think it'd be this bad, but I knew we weren't making the Finals).  When did I know we wouldn't be raising a championship banner this season?

Right when Jim Buss decided to blind side Phil Jackson and every single Laker fan by hiring none other than Mr. Mike D'Antoni.  WHY WOULD ANYONE HIRE MIKE D'ANTONI??!!!?!  DID THEY NOT WATCH WHAT HE DID WITH THE KNICKS?  DID THEY FORGET THAT HE DOESN'T BELIEVE IN DEFENSE?  DID THEY IGNORE THE FACT THAT HE ACTS LIKE HE'S PLAYING WITH A BUNCH OF COLLEGE PLAYERS BY EXPECTING THEM TO SPRINT UP AND DOWN THE COURT THE ENTIRE GAME?  The Lakers are an old team and the only way old teams win championships is with other words, Mike D'Antoni was the worst possible coach the Lakers could have hired.  

Nobody but Jim, Jerry, and Mitch know what really went down when they decided to pass on 11-time NBA Championship coach, Phil Jackson, but everyone knows the aftermath of that decision.  The Lakers sucked all season (give or take a short run after the All-Star break), Kobe Bryant went down with a career-changing injury (I won't say career-ending because he's Kobe Bryant, but the injury will definitely change him as a player), and the Lakers were swept in the first round.  Oh and we completely wasted a season of Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol's NBA lives.  D'Antoni refused to play Pau for part of the season because he didn't know how to use him and trashed him to media.  Once Kobe went down and D'Antoni was basically forced to play him, Pau proved his worth and why he's still one of the best players around when he's actually given the opportunity to play.  D'Antoni will say the team was plagued by injuries (true to an extent but he caused the biggest one), he didn't have a full summer training camp (true but he had an entire season), blah blah blah.  I'm sorry, but D'Antoni just sucks as a coach.  I don't understand why NBA coaches keep getting recycled?  Somehow in the NBA, getting fired is perfectly okay and has no repercussions on future employment prospects.  Geez, if only real world employment was like that.  But seriously, can't some of these teams take a cue from the Chicago Bulls and hire some fresh, new blood (last I checked, Thibodeau is doing pretty damn well as head coach)?  After Jackson retired, the Lakers should have hired Brian Shaw.  It was a big mistake not to and they're still paying the price for it.

Anyways, everybody knows what a disaster this season was, so there's no need to get too far into it.  It sucked and I'm skeptical about how much better it can get next season.  If Dwight stays, it seems almost for certain that Pau goes and vice versa.  So, which would I prefer?  Well, if Dwight stays but demands that D'Antoni go I would prefer that...but if Dwight and D'Antoni both stay and Pau goes, brace yourselves Laker fans.


Okay, I'll admit it...once I saw the Lakers season going downhill I kinda sorta jumped on the Clippers' bandwagon.  The regular season was pretty reflective of the post-season for the Clippers--started off strong, but dwindled towards the end.  I was at Game 2 and afterwards I was REALLY drinking the Clippers' kool-aid.  How could I not after watching CP3 put on his best Kobe imitation and completely take over the game?  He shot that game winner with such confidence and there was such a high afterwards that I thought there was NO WAY the Grizzlies were coming back in this series.  I figured the Clippers would steal a game in Memphis and wrap it up at home in game 5.  Boy was I W-R-O-N-G!  Memphis manhandled the Clippers--Z-Bo started playing like if he was on steroids, Tony Allen was a defensive pest, and Marc Gasol started making the family name proud.  On the Clippers side of things, CP3 just didn't have enough gas to will the team to victory, Blake was too busy bitching about missed calls to be effective, DeAndre disappeared, and Lamar Odom was being Lamar Odom.  It was hard to watch.  The Clippers completely blew it.  That team was built to win and the landscape in the West couldn't have been more perfect for them to do so (Kobe out, Westbrook out, Lee out, and the Spurs are just straight up old).  They had the potential of being the Heat of the West and just cruised through to the Finals, but they choked.

And by "they" I mean Blake Griffin and DeAndre.  Sure, Blake was playing on a bad ankle but so is Stephen Curry and Z-Bo.  These are the playoffs, you gotta play through the pain. Joakim Noah is playing with plantar fasciitis and just about everybody on the Bulls is playing hard through the pain (except Derrick annoying but I'll leave that for a later post).  If Blake had .000000000001% of the heart that the Bulls have, the Clippers would have destroyed the Grizzlies.  As for DeAndre, I have no clue what the heck happened.  Maybe he just decided since his bestie wasn't giving it 100%, he's follow his lead.  Maybe he was mad at CP3 for trying to boss him around (you know what DeAndre and Blake, grow the eff up!  You're not children!  I hate it when people use the "he's young" excuse in sports, 24 years old is NOT young!  In the real world, you'd have a Bachelor's degree by now and possibly even a Master's--that's not young!  Nobody is going to say he's only 24 that's why he's acting like a children, so why do people do that in sports?  It's such a ridiculous cop-out.)

This brings me to Vinny Del Negro.  I don't think he did a horrible job this season or during the playoffs, but at the end of the day the Clippers' season fared just as badly as the Lakers'.  I think Vinny has the potential to be a really good coach, but the Clippers don't really have time to wait around for that to happen.  With CP3 apparently willing to bounce on out of Clipper Nation, management needs to come up with a formula (coach included) to win now.  Somebody who can control the immature personalities that are Blake and DeAndre, somebody who can make adjustments in a series, and somebody who the players will respect. kinda sounds like I just described Laker-rejectee Phil Jackson!!  People are saying that PJ would never do it, that with his fiancee being Jeanie Buss, it'd just be too weird, his relationship with Donald Sterling isn't the greatest, etc.  But who knows?  Did we ever think he'd coach Kobe after the whole Shaq-Kobe-Phil fallout?

To end, if the whole CP3 thing doesn't work out for the Clippers, how about a sign-and-trade with none other than my Lakers--CP3 for Dwight Howard?  Who says no? ...

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