E.C. Does It.
“We are losing Los Angeles”! Nick Nolte’s grumble in the latest cop and robbers classic motion picture ‘Gangster Squad’ may as well be applied to the current state of the damsel in distress that is the L.A. Lakers. This Summer blockbusters where made to take this Hollywood team back up to the Miami Heat talents of the NBA. Yet almost halfway through this season this gang of All-Stars is losing it’s city, players (the alumni of Lamar Odom, Matt Barnes and the always what could have been of the nixed Chris Paul) status and STAPLE to the Clippers of all teams.
There’s no surprises in this league these days but a few years ago you would have scoffed at this notion. Just like the fact that the best team the Lakers have ever had on paper is the worst performing team in the Kobe era (we hear you Ben Collins of SLAM, ‘L.A. Noire’ is THE article). Just like the idea that at 34 years of age Kobe Bryant would be playing some of the best basketball his career…then again that’s not too hard to believe, it is Kobe after all. The remaining years of his career deserve better. It seems like the pairing of Bryant and Howard really is the new Bryant and O’Neal as these two inside and out stars are fighting like Shaq and Kobe’s. If that isn’t enough of a one-two punch for you, the great Steve Nash isn’t getting any younger and right now the down and out Pau Gasol isn’t getting any healthier.
This team shouldn’t be like this. Not a team that can leave the likes of Metta World Peace and Antwan Jamison on the bench. Now it seems like the only new stars on the floor are the ones surrounding the team logo midcourt (great look by the way). Just think Phil Jackson was even one stroke of a pen away from fixing this mess before the Lakers traded Mike Brown for D’Antoni. Now everyone wants him and almost everyone else ran out of the door faster then one of his plays and on a ‘Buss’ out of Los Angeles.
It’s not all bad however and there is light at the end of the STAPLE Centre. Besides this is L.A., where dreams are made and the NBA where teams get it together after the All-Star break. Consistency and staying together is the key. The “wrecking ball” has swung enough. Its about Springsteen blue collar hard work in a movie star city. Haven’t they learned from Boston time and time, decade and decade again? Some get it, Kobe of course and some others will…eventually we hope. There’s a silver lining in this playbook however and like Bradley Cooper possibly winning an Oscar its a real, pleasant surprise. There’s one guy in the middle of this hangover that Kobe can be proud of right now. His name is Earl Clark.
Part of the mega Dwight Howard package deal that’s an even better piece then the projected, reliable point backup of Chris Duhon. Hell, right now Earl Clark is the best thing about the Dwight Howard deal. That is until Dwight finds himself and commits to not just escaping from Los Angeles once he’s a free man this Summer. The 6 foot 10, 225 pound, 25 year old is a prototype, prime-time role player. Wearing the number 6 and standing next to Kobe with a smile. It hasn’t looked this good since Eddie Jones. This guy, sure is no All-Star, but he’s one of those glue guys the Lakers should really keep hold of and not let go like they’ve done countless, foolish times before. The winning x-factor Trevor Ariza comes to mind (Devin Ebanks your closer than everyone thinks). Besides this is a team that was better off with Odom, Bynum and Fisher, then Howard, Nash and Jamison.
Straight out of Plainfield, New Jersey this kid knows that ‘boss’ hard work and is set to ignite the Lakers like gaslight. The Earl of Los Angeles is beginning to show not only his new city, but the league that his 14th pick out of Louisville is more than a sleeper…it’s justified. A points, rebounds and steals man with athleticism in limited minutes can maximize his time and potential. Just reference his 22 points and 13 rebounds in 27 minutes against storied last decade Laker rival San Antonio. In a breakthrough game this young buck earned his spurs in a wild-west showdown. This once raw talent is ready now and is an off the bench burner who can give the microwave tasting Lakers a healthy kick.
“Phenomenal” is how Mike D’Antoni put it…and he’s right. The walking double double machine had three in six games and has more than made up for the losses of Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and last years Laker sleeper Jordan Hill. This frontcourt force has been formidable enough to be a well deserved, more than most starter and his rise on the slumping Lakers gives hope to a purple and gold side of the city that recentely has had to look to the STAPLE ceiling with rolled eyes and a sigh for inspiration. This is a banner year for Earl Clark. Sure he can’t do it on his own, not even Kobe can, but amongst all the doubt and uncertainity at least the Black Mamba has some more venom in his fangs. He has a sure thing in Clark. Some say the Lakers are finished and this year they may be right, but right now with Earl they have a little more fight in what’s been a losing battle. Now that’s at least a start.
Philadelphia 76ers’ make Marial Shayok Ottawa’s first-ever NBA draft pick
Ottawa’s Marial Shayok has achieved his ultimate dream — becoming the city’s first-ever NBA draft pick. The Philadelphia 76ers selected Shayok with the 54th-pick overall in the second-round of the 2019 NBA Draft.
The former St.Patrick’s Irish high school standout celebrated his special and emotional moment at home with family and friends.
“You did it bro, you did bro…”
“Let’s go baby! You going to Philly…”
For Shayok and his family the historic moment is a culmination of life-long sacrifices that started in South Sudan with his 6’9″ father Makor Shayok moving his wife and three-daughters to America. The elder Makor set post at Alvin Texas Community College and earned a scholarship to the Dayton Flyers, playing from 1990-1992.
Makor’s eldest, Shayok Shayok (born in Miami) and his sister Yar Shayok also followed dad’s footsteps and played NCAA basketball – Shayok going to Bradley and transferring to UMKC and Yar playing with Detroit Mercy Titans women’s program.
The family migrated to Ottawa, Canada in the mid-90’s and on July 26th, 1995 the youngest Shayok was born.
Marial left Ottawa for New Jersey’s Blair Academy after three-years with the St.Pats Irish — he originally committed to the Marquette Golden Eagles but transferred to the Virginia Cavaliers after the coach (Buzz Williams) that originally recruited him bailed on the program in 2015.
Shayok had busy NBA draft process – showcasing his versatile skill-set to 14 NBA front offices. Here is footage of his 76ers’ work-out.
Mardi Gras For New Orleans On Pelicans Road To Zion
Zion. Zion. Zion.
Cause for celebration, or at least a premature parade in a conclusion as foregone as the Anthony Davis trade with the Lakers. The Duke KABOOM of all the all dunking Zion Lion is a YES for N.O. As with the first pick in the 2019 NBA Draft live from New York City a few days before Saturday Night, Williamson is a New Orleans Pelican.
The most exciting league prospect since LeBron James may not get to play with the King’s new man after the Davis trade. But he has all the toys in the form of all the boys that would have been the future of the Lake Show (out of a lucky 13 over the last half-decade of drafts only Kyle Kuzma remains) in the young princes of soaring, scoring Brandon Ingram, true teammate Josh Hart and the alley-oops to be thrown by point man and former number 2 pick like B.I., Lonzo Ball (have you noticed that since this trade there has been little word of Zion dropping out the draft and heading back to college like Yeezus in reverse?). Not to mention Julius Randle if they can convince the big to stay and bolster their Davis-less frontcourt with the top picks of guys like Okafor. And not to forget like Jrue Holiday all the draft choices over the next few years the Pels will get. Just like the one they’ve just traded on draft night. As with the fourth pick in the 2019 Draft the Los Ange…sorry the New Orle…excuse me, the Atlanta Hawks select DeAndre Hunter.
Good will hunting. See what you could have won Lake Show?
I guess the Duke isn’t going back to college anymore.
What a way to replace Davis in a matter of days with the Thanos game changing, season of wind in a draft snap.
But like the year the King took his throne with the likes of Carmelo and the Flash of Dwyane for his first dance, the NBA Draft isn’t just about one man, Sam Bowie.
And as the Just Do It Nike campaign “from underated to undeniable” don’t write off Murray State’s Ja Morant like people did and for some reason still do (Hello Brooklyn?!) D’Angelo Russell. Replacing veteran the Grizz grit legend of Mike Conley Jr. traded to Utah, Morant will bring that grind. Rolling, expect Ja to rule Memphis like another King with the rock.
Now the New York Knicks may have wanted to make Zion their new King, but the lottery that New York didn’t win weeks ago already said balls to all that. But judging from the reaction of ‘BlackKklansman’ director Spike Lee with the big three pick, the Mecca made the right choice with the franchises new face of Madison Square Garden and Big Apple in another Duke standout in R.J. Barrett, for their post Porzingis and ‘Melo era. It almost looked on the cards, or in the bag like his shot on the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon show. Where he bucketed a Knicks mannequin head (don’t ask) after trying the cap it wore on first to which Jimmy replied after he nailed it, “it must be the Knicks”!
Darius Garland completed the top five for the Cleveland Cavaliers still searching for that new Land owner after the King took his talents to Hollywood. The Timberwolves got the sixth of Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver after a trade with the Suns that will soon be as official as the AD one. Whilst coming in seventh and eighth, the Bulls got Coby White and the Pelicans after a trade with Atlanta further their Lake Showtime future with two top tens and Texas’ blocking and dunking with a Texan name straight out of ‘A Star Is Born’, Jaxson Hayes.
Big in Japan. History was made last night in a draft that was already one for the record books as straight out of Gonzaga and now a Wizard like Harry in Washington D.C., Rui Hachimura became the first ever Japanese player to be drafted in the first round with the ninth. But don’t sleep on last year’s rookie out of Memphis, Yuta Watanabe who still has all the tools to be the future next to Morant.
But in one of the best drafts in recent years in a class of its own, there was so much talent to choose from in this pool that there was always bound to be players that missed the top ten cut, way below their deserved position. But just making it to the first block, Duke’s Cam Reddish taken at ten by the Hawks (who also have their talons in two top tens for their Trae Young lead future) still seems like a sleeper. This Laker fan who when we originally held the fourth wanted us to go with Cam or Manute’s son Bol Bol (second round slide? Really? This guy with the spiders’ web suit has the length and versatility to be a game changer). But just wait until this fire under him proves everyone (or at least nine or so other teams) wrong this killa season.
This draft is so Method Man abyss deep that it won’t just be the Pelicans who fly this season in Crescent City. With so much uncertainty this free agency at least some teams that hit the lottery have just the ticket punched for the future of their franchises with what the draft blew in.
But reaching the mount with Zion at number one is a gift from the Basketball God’s.