‘Dwightmare’ Now Everyone’s Nightmare
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Imagine being Ramon Sessions today. Imagine his regret. If my agent had killed a deal for $4.5 million to play another season with the Lakers because of greed and stupidity and I had winded up with the Bobcats, I would have fired him before the flight came within sniffing distance of Charlotte.
My boy Leon Scobey didn’t miss a beat.
“Y’all still ain’t got no bench,” he said Thursday night as we yapped about Dwight Howard being traded to the Lakers. “I still like my boys.”
His boys, of course, are the Thunder, the defending Western Conference champs and the NBA’s most exciting club. They spanked the Lakers something fierce in the playoffs. They were faster and quicker to the punch. They also had a swagger that championship teams exhibit. In addition to their entertaining up-tempo style, something the “Showtime” Lakers would applaud, they wanted to knock the Lakers on their ass. Mission accomplished.
Just to throw more fire on the rivalry before the playoffs, Metta World Peace lost his mind again, slamming a wicked elbow into James Harden’s head. The Thunder couldn’t wait to deliver the big payback, smacking the Lakers in 5 games and advancing to the conference finals, where they manhandled the Spurs and advanced to the Finals before succumbing to the Heat.
I recycled all that garbage above to make a minor point. Mr. Scobey is right. Despite picking up Antawn Jamison, the Lakers bench remains suspect. But it has potential, particularly if Mike Brown, or someone else on the Lakers’ staff with an offensive brain, gives Andrew Goudelock and Devin Ebanks some major minutes and allows their development. Jordan Hill could be a key contributor, too, but hey, who’s nitpicking here?
The bench is the least of the Lakers’ worries now. They have the baddest man in the middle—Howard—after the blockbuster 4-team trade Thursday sent Andrew Bynum to Philly and left Pau Gasol in L.A. Go figure. Three of the 4 teams involved in the deal benefitted. The Magic? The club holding all the trump cards? Still trying to figure that thinking. If you know, email us.
Mitch Kupchak, though, would be the 1st to tell you that ain’t his problem. He and the Lakers have Howard in hand and the attention of everyone in the NBA. Howard’s addition obviously puts the Lakers back in the mix. He creates major problems on talent alone, but for the Thunder it’s their inside game and lack of scoring from their center position. The same could be said for the Heat, who also have no center of note. Imagine the Lakers in this year’s Final with the Heat and what do you see. What hurt the Thunder most (besides LeBron, c’mon dawg) was its lack of an inside threat. Serge Ibaka is obviously talented and it’s scary imaging his potential, but Kendrick Perkins gives them nothing scoring-wise inside. And he’s foul-trouble waiting to happen against Dwight.
See where we’re going here?
And despite his deficiencies on defense, how huge now is the acquisition of Steve Nash? Howard also will be huge when Nash is getting broken down by Russell Westbrook.
It’s foolish to crown the Lakers. They need much time to jell, and that could take more than just 1 NBA season. They also must prove they can handle the younger and hungry Thunder, who, as we hear it, shook off the Howard news like water in the shower. They’re thinking we’ll run his big ass, too.
Still, the Lakers and their fans can almost vision banner No. 17 (ironically, Bynum’s number) being raised to the rafters. It appears more of a reality today than it did before. However, they will be forced to go through the Thunder, the Spurs, the Bulls and maybe the 2nd-city Clippers, who again take a backseat to the Lakers despite all of their wheeling and dealing during the off-season, and the Heat before another parade marches down the streets of L.A.
The thought of it, though, has Laker fans drooling. They’re already barking again much to the disgust of many. “Fakers” is popular with my homies in OKC. Or as my man Scobey says, you’ll always know when the Lakers do something. Because they’ve got to tell everyone.
For Sessions, though, the sound of it is deafening. He could have been a contender.
Still, I’d rather hear what Mark Cuban said. Talk about silence.