Lonzo Ball (nearly all Laker articles start this way don’t they?!) was meant to be the Rookie of the Year for Lavar Ball sure. The number 2, second pick in the draft was meant to be the second coming in the post-Kobe generation. Especially after the storied purple and gold franchise raised both Bryant’s 8 and 24 jerseys to the rafters in a Mamba moment for the everlasting memories this week.
Sure despite some struggles this could still be the Lonzo Angeles Lakers, but right now the Rookie Of The Year wears purple and gold, but is more than a big baller (and can’t resist trolling and teasing Ball over the boys trainers).
Who would have thought you would have called a number 27 pick R.O.Y.?!
But right now Western Conference Rookie Of The Month Kyle Kuzma is exactly that for games played in November. Whilst in the East its season rookie favourite Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers (technically an injured sophomore) taking home the honors.
Now that Brook Lopez Brooklyn trade which gave the Lakers his draft rights doesn’t seem like such a waste after all (and you’ve seen the other Wookie play right?!). It looks like the Lakers weren’t moving former Point star D’Angelo Russell (like they should just have to a more natural shooting guard spot) to the B.K. to make way for Lonzo Ball after all.
But to make way for Kuz.
Killer Kyle has ice in his veins too. Even if in the clutch right now the Lakers look like Paul Walker’s “yo dude I almost had you character” in the first ‘Fast and Furious’ movie. The Lakers still have plenty of answers to why they are still smiling right now as the young golds future looks bright under the young dubbed Golden State Warriors California sun. Diesel powered by the likes of Ingram, Randle, Clarkson, Nance Jr. and Ball. And let’s not forget the Power Forward who is solving the Julius or Larry P.F. debate by leaving them both on the bench.
“He should have been a lottery pick”, Warrior league leader Kevin Durant added after some back-to-back close calls with the Lakers this week. And he already knows how good his skinny clone and real emerging Lakers leader Brandon Ingram really is. But like Ball, B.I. should look out for 2K too like every NBA fan with a console under the tree this morning (and to that end Merry Christmas to you and yours from everyone at Basketball Buzz). Kuzma’s even beating his own career high each night. 30 one day. 38 the next. Even after receiving his likeness award in frosted glass, K.K. became the first rookie since the Lakers Jerry West in 1961 of all plus half centuries ago to record three straight consecutive games of 25 points or more.
That’s the logo people.
And to think the kid that’s averaging 16.7 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists off 50.4 percent shooting and a team high 37.9 from three has already amazingly become the first Laker rookie since President Magic in 1980 to record at least 30 points and 10 rebounds in a single game.
And if that wasn’t enough for the doubters K beat everyone by becoming the first rook to record 330 points, 120 rebounds and 30 made three-pointers in the first 20 games of his career. Forget Rookie of the Year this young blood could be an All Star, franchise face one day.
It’s no wonder Kuzma is the first Lakers Rookie of the Month since original late round Lakers draft steal Jordan Clarkson who started this whole Nance Jr., Ivica Zubac and now Kyle Kuzma thing off.
Now it won’t be long before the Lakers are in Kuz’s control.
The Warriors Came Out To Play This Series
Even without the fantasy Basketball of Kevin Durant in this series, the Golden State Warriors still brought out the brooms like ‘Fantasia’.
And swept out of Game 4 like Thanos click finger dust, the Portland Trailblazers may have only lost by a bucket (119-117)…and in overtime at that. But with all the Splash they had to contend with this series from brothers Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, they were left dealing with more leaks and holes in all of their own ones like Mickey Mouse in said Disney epic.
This was meant to be the showdown between Dell Curry’s boys Steph and Seth which divided a household. And although the youngest gun stepped up to the plate, swung big in this carnival and knocked them down, big brother was always watching.
Steph Curry averaged over 36 points a game this series. Just read that again. 36 points. Right now we don’t need to talk about Kevin.
The Warriors are a dynasty for the ages even without their best player (although this writer thinks he wasn’t missing this entire series). The first team to make it to five straight finals since the Boston Celtics. The 1960’s Bill Russell Celtics. That’s King James crowning legendary. And Steph Curry with the shot and that facet of the game is just as iconic and dominant as a Bill block.
Give some credit to a blazing Portland side who never gave up despite the box score. They can hold their heads in the PDX. Even in their Moda Center home-stand City Of Roses end in RIP City. Their season eulogy should read as a celebration and commiseration, not a trolling condescension from critically entitled fans who have done nothing to determine the outcome of these games and could never make it this far in their wildest memes. They call themselves “influencers”? Well no one’s going to remember them in 50 years.
The NBA will remember one of their Top 100 greatest of all-time in a half century though. As after hitting the biggest buzzer beater in playoff history against Paul George and the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round, Damian Lillard played through the pain of separated ribs this series and still made the Basketball God’s look down from the hoop heavens with praise. Like New York singer St. Vincent tweeted, “Damian Lillard is my hero”. Even his backcourt brother of splash CJ McCollum in the only small man set up to rival Curry and Klay came out to play against the Warriors after midrange mining the Nuggets into submission in Denver just over a week ago.
But Curry’s red hot triple double, starter, mains and dessert dish of 37, 13 and 11, to go along with a playing not crying, Draymond Green’s day of 18, 14 and 11 assists also was just too much in the clutch. As Stephen and Dray became the first teammates in NBA history to have a triple double in the same playoff game. Forget how much this team can unbelievably keep winning, how does this ball manage to get shared this much?
Well that just may be the secret of success?
The real test is dubbed next however in the Warriors last season in Golden State before they move across that Golden bridge to the Silicon Valley of a digital age in San Francisco. They will play the winner of the Milwaukee Bucks (probably…Giannis…MVP. Sorry Toronto but come on!) and Raptors series. But by then they should have some guy called Kevin back.
I mean come on. This has been getting crazy. This is just out of hand like said ball in Splash City.
Now Bill Russell and the Boston Celtics’ record of eight straight finals and wins doesn’t look far out of reach for Steph Curry and the player and team with the biggest range in the association over the gate of the Pacific.
Welcome to the Toronto Raptors’ Jurassic Park
“In Jurassic Park, Raptor fans wait until after dark. Even if the cold might eat them!”
Fans find a way.
An ace serve or two away from being as legendary as Wimbledon’s ‘Murray Mound’ or ‘Henman Hill’ outside the Scotiabank Arena, the Toronto Raptors Maple Leaf Square’s “Jurassic Park” may just be the ticket for this sold out crowd.
Raptor Klaw, Kawhi Leonard ruled the earth last night. He and the T-Dot at the final tick beat the Sixers in The Six, as his shot bobbled like a beach ball on the surface of a swimming pool before making the biggest splash of these postseason playoffs. Taking longer to fall than Leonardo DiCaprio’s spinning top in ‘Inception’. But this was no dream.
And if you thought the Scotiabank Arena in downtown Toronto erupted last night, then outside in Maple Leaf Square it was like the volcanoes that killed the dinosaurs after that big ball dropped. An Armageddon even Bruce Willis couldn’t save like he wish he could his career.
Welcome to Jurassic World.
With all due respect to the Linsanity of Jeremy Lin, or pick your poison whoever is your flash card pick of the bench mob pack, but the Jurassic Park crowd fenced in outside of Scotia is the teams spiritual sixth man, spark plug. As electric as the paddock like perimeter fence surrounding them feels with this buzz over basketball (and national sport hockey come Leaf picking season), this crowd can’t be contained.
Forget rain or shine. You see the slickers. These faithful fans will pitch a spot waiting for game time like the ball to drop in Times Square for New Year in New York, sleeping bag lining up all day in their hordes huddled for warmth. These beautiful fans will brave the harshest, most frigid temperatures to be the coldest fans in the game in more ways than one. Part of the ‘We The North’ community in the 6 that the Basketball God’s look down on with pride, whilst other armchair fans watch this game for the throne from home. Or leave early like those suit and tie corporate seats trying to catch that last red eye Matt Bonner home.
Can you imagine of they called game early before Kawhi last night?
I could imagine Drake taking in the CN Tower looking up views of the Jurassic though, like it was all the basketball God’s plan.
Well those in the park for recreation stayed until the beautiful end to a game Butler almost delivered bitter. And you could could phantom cam see every emotion in slow motion last night as Leonard’s buzzer beating ball toyed with the rim like three dots on messenger, or Damien Lillard even further downtown in Oklahoma City.
This is the spirit of the stadium and the soul of the squad, expanding the capacity arena and the Canadian ballclubs worldwide fanbase watching on their own Jumbotrons.
And the Toronto Raptors are going to need all the north they can get if they’re going to stop the Bucks in Milwaukee.
But this club has the claws to do it. And if you don’t think they can win in Wisconsin on their own road to being the first franchise outside of the United States to be NBA finalists and who knows what next against the Warriors(?), then just watch this Canadian cornerstone from the Jurassic era.
Extinct in six? Nah! Get ready to hear the North roar.