Sports Illustrated cover writer Lee Jenkins painted the perfect portrait to why the Los Angeles Lakers passed up on Duke 7 footer Jahil Okafor with the second pick in the 2015 NBA draft, which now left the third choice by the 76ers joining literally the biggest big-three ever in Philadelphia.
In his latest article Jenkins made the case for the Lakers joining the small-ball revolution that Stephen Curry’s Golden State Warriors across California have championship certified, by going with the changing and selecting of a guard instead of their nostalgia of Hollywood Hills tall players.
He says for Lakers. G.M. Mitch Kupchak (a big man himself, and in the 80’s Showtime days one of the best, big-men role players the franchise has ever had) the moment of epiphany came when the General Manager looked at the adorning arena wallpaper that is retired jerseys all the way up there in the Lakers rafters of legacy and championship legacy. All the names and numbers that could reach there. Guys like Mikan. Wilt Chamberlain’s 13. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s 33. Shaquille O’Neal’s 34. A long line of legendary big-men that have left their huge sneaker stamp on Lakers and NBA basketball, leading the Lakers to look for the next in line from Pau Gasol to Andrew Bynum and Dwight Howard…and this years NBA Draft and upcoming free agency.
Then however, as S.I.’s Jenkins wrote; when Mitch looked to his left, he saw other names. Names like Gail, Jerry and of course Magic. The Lakers has just as good-if not underrated-legacy of legendary guards.
And soon they’ll add the number 24 (or 8) of Kobe Bryant to that list.
That day is soon coming. No matter how much Kobe, the Lakers or the NBA as a whole don’t want it. Like the end of Michael Jordan’s reign or the greatest since him to ever do it in second place. Still, however with the last few years riddled by season ending injuries and critical career calling write offs, Kobe is back and still very much in this game until he say’s so. He’s still the man on this team able to take the them and his town back to glory. But after he does it’ll probably be his time and time to pass the torch, like Magic did to Mike before 23 was followed by 24.
Everyone has their time…and then everybody in turn has their time.
This is when the taste of making it with victory champagne is replace by the finger-crossing of becoming winners in the lottery and now after his draft the Lakers have their ticket to ride into the future. In selecting D’Angelo Russell from Ohio State to shake Adam Silver’s hand, instead of handing the keys to Okafor for a big and tall future, the Lakers now have a big-three for the future with last years rookie surprise Jordan Clarkson and the sophomore status of last years injured rookie and top ten pick Julius Randle…a big-man of the future himself. That is unless the Lakers try and relate across the Californian county to Cousins of Sacramento. Which as star-studded and successful a move right now this potential trade would be, switching up three faces of the future across all the major positions, in a league today built on big-threes for one DeMarcus would be as volatile a move as the man himself. The thinking is with these new young guns, a supporting cast as raw and freshly talented and of course Kobe the Lakers will be able to pursue a more seasoned big-man of legend in the open free-agent market from interested parties like LaMarcus Aldridge and Kevin Love, to former draft pick Marc Gasol…or a combination of sorts. The draft is as smart a move as what’s about to come for a team that has courted interest from the likes of floor wings like Jimmy Butler, but know in turn the contract for his Buckets is restricted by the Bulls. With a lot to consider, after this summer the Los Angeles Lakers may be good enough for this season right now.
Even if this is the case, the point is the Lakers have to cultivate for the future of California once Kobe fades away into the sunset and the ageing Vino has to be a fine-tuned part of that. Just like his season ending injury helped him nurse rookie Julius Randle’s own campaign crucifying one. As bad a break anyone can get, that heartrendingly came for the kid in the confidence crushing first game of last season. Just like Kobe’s courtside collaborative position last year helped him coach Clarkson from the Point Guard position into being the heir Jordan of this squads season to come. The same must happen with D’Angelo. Russell is the athletic young understudy of Bryant and Kobe must become his mentor, because let’s face it soon the kid will be the icons replacement in guard position (forming a brilliant and booming, ballistic backcourt with Clarkson) and star status just like Kobe was to a former purple and gold All-Star swing-man called Eddie Jones.
Kobe knows this and despite what critics think will be perfect in orchestrating this, X and O for dry-erase (just look at his mature handling of other rookie Larry Nance Jr’s now infamous, ill-advised tweet from 2012) in what will one day play as D’Angelo Russell’s team when the former zero becomes hero and like the back of his vest now possesses (Nick Young still holds ‘0’…for now); the number one in Lakerland.
Watch THIS Work! The WNBA Bets On Women
Ten years ago the motto of the Women’s National Basketball Association was to, ‘Expect Great’. Now a decade later and into the roaring 20’s of a whole new one and world, the league that tells you to watch them work truly has for all it’s worth.
The WNBA and CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) has reached a monumental moment in the leagues history and its time to read all about it on Los Angeles Sparks twin superstar Chiney Ogwumike’s Twitter thread.
It tells us the CBA means…
When it comes to players salary and compensation there will be a 30% increase to the salary cap as the higher max pay player salary jumps like Lisa Leslie’s first dunk from $117,500 to $215,000. Whilst there will be an additional compensation for those top tier Candace Parker players around $300,000. Moving millions this is thee first time the league has moved units like this in six figures. And like Russell Westbrook why not? Because for every player like him there’s an Ogwumike. For every Candace a LeBron. Every Luka Doncic a Breanna Stewart. Every Larry Bird a Sue. Kobe Bryant, Diana Taurasi. For every Michael Jordan a Lisa Leslie.
Every insufferable, couch potato chip, sexist fans who unlike a Suffragette doesn’t believe women deserves equal pay needs to check their pockets…yep like Rakim said that’s nothing but lint. Now paid in full these women deserve this and more like diversity at the Oscars. Just as good as the men like Michelle Wie (she’s not the logos sons wife people) golfing with the guys of you claim you’re “woke” on social media but can’t wake up to this then you’re about as woke as still in bed gone half 12 in the afternoon. It feels like all those trumped up people who had a problem with a female ‘Ghostbusters’ reboot. Or those old men who would rather bully a 17 year old girl with Aspergers online than believe in the actual happenings of climate change.
Sure there’s an argument that sportspeople shouldn’t be paid these ridiculous amounts of money. But the point is if the men get paid this much then why shouldn’t the women?
This should have happened a long time ago. But at least it’s happening now.
It’s about time.
Working mothers are also finally getting their due in a groundbreaking deal on this date. Players will receive a salary whilst on maternity leave with an additional new childcare stipend. Whilst up to $60,000 of progressive family planning benefits for veteran players for costs for adoption, surrogacy, oocyte cryopreservation, fertility and more. No longer will go hard greats like Skylar Diggins-Smith have to play whilst pregnant and hide it to protect herself whilst the CBA lists it as a “condition”.
Perks of the game that the men have had for years and the world class women deserve just as such also include individual hotel rooms for players, more mandatory leg room on flights (how important is this for basketball players? The NBA would cry personal foul if the King and them would be forced to fly economy), and further for the finances, off-season job opportunities with league partners that along with the salary rise will mean that WNBA players won’t, overplayed and underpaid have to go overseas in the off-season to earn more money to make ends meet in foreign leagues. Something which has been a conditioning condition and pay for play issue since the leagues inaugural inception.
And let’s not forget about the players mental health too in major improvements across the board and world to an issue still surrounded with stigma despite the lengths taken and measures made. More resources will be offered in addition to the adoption of a Nutrition Council that will aid peak performance by offering players a commitment to this optimization.
But it’s probably the stand made by the WNBA and the CBA against violence to women which is the most important. Ending domestic and all sorts of violence to women which has happened to players around the league and still happens everyday, effecting everyone needs to end NOW like it should have never happened. It seems like such a ridiculously obvious thing to say…but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be said.
Again and again until we don’t have to.
The wide world has finally met the standards of the women’s game and league on the way to leveling the playing field. More of the same…do we really need to add the please now?
Betting on sporting events is a losers game. But betting on women-like the ones in this league-is a sure thing.
The game changed for real today.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander 20 Pts, 20 Rebs, 10 Asts first Canadian NBA triple-double since 2006
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Hamilton, ON) became only the second Canadian basketball player in NBA history to record a triple-double — and the first in nearly 14 years, since Steve Nash in 2006.
Gilgeous-Alexander racked-up 20 points, career-high 20 rebounds and 10 assists in the 117-104 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. The former one-and-done Kentucky Wildcat continued his efficient campaign shooting 8-of-12 field goals, connecting 2-of-3 triples and 2-of-2 from the foul-line.
Steve Nash recorded three triple-doubles in his illustrious 18-year career, the last one on April 19, 2006 — Nash finished with 16 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds.
The 20 rebounds is also a record-high by a Canadian guard and only the second 20/20 double-double by a Canadian — Jamaal Magloire notched a 22 point, 21 rebound game against the Toronto Raptors’ on March 21, 2004.
Most rebounds by a Canadian in the NBA
Samuel Dalembert (Montreal, QC) holds the record for the most rebounds in a NBA game with 23 against the Golden State Warriors on March 20, 2009. Followed by Magloire 22 and Tristan Thompson with 21.
Gilgeous-Alexander becomes the youngest guard to record 20-20-10 stat-line and joins Russell Westbrook as the only guards with a 20-point, 20-rebound triple-double over the last 30 seasons. He is also the youngest player in NBA history with a 20-rebound triple-double, passing Shaquille O’Neal.
RJ Barrett became the first Canadian basketball player to record a triple-double at the NCAA level in nearly 35 years during his lone freshman season with the Duke Blue Devils.
The OKC Thunder continue their playoff push with their 18 victory in the last 25 games and currently sit in 7th place in the western conference.
The Canadian guard is currently averaging 20 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists — shooting 46.4% from the floor, 33.6% from three-pointers and 81.6% from the foul-line while turning the ball over just 1.9 per game.
Canada NBA All-Star Drought
The 2020 NBA All-star game in Chicago is less than month away and as it currently stands, Gilgeous-Alexander doesn’t currently rank as one the top fan vote earners in a guard heavy western conference. Nevertheless, the Canadian stud could end Canada’s eight year NBA all-star game drought by earning a coach’s selection.
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