Winter has well and truly come to California this season.
And with some calling for the King’s exile in this Game of Thrones, heads have also well and truly rolled.
LeBron James is the biggest name in basketball today. But right now be faces missing his first postseason in over a decade, let alone the Finals. Despite Magic’s cast spell in the post Kobe age, this Hollywood script rewrote does not look to have the ending the King James version intended to write.
But there’s still some clock on this. This year and the following ones. This team have been the walking wounded and sitting one. From injuries to kitchen sink trade baits that have thrown everything at them and everyone under the Coach missed team bus. But there’s still hope. The gap in the bench can still be smoothed over despite the splinters.
In this game and this city of movie stars, there’s always hope. Like the desire that somehow, someway Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone’s characters in ‘La La Land’ get back together. Such is the nature of ‘Crazy, Stupid Love’. And it doesn’t get much crazier than the Lakers right now.
But hold your coat and scarves tight. Because despite the harsh March winter in sunny California as of late at least you can still feel the effects of the drafts. Like a Philadelphia process, the Lakers over the last coming half decade now have made better use of the lottery than Nicolas Cage in ‘It Could Happen To You’. And it could happen to them again this off-season with the way things are tanking at the moment (yeah we wish it was actually tanking and not just plain, actual losing). The Lakers have been so good with their selections their late round draft choices have bloomed almost as well as their top tens, if not in some cases more and better.
Let’s list them for purple heartbreak and gold celebration in order of year. Since 2015 they’ve taken Julius Randle (sniff), Jordan Clarkson (O.K. So who’s cutting onions in here?), D’Angelo Russell (straight out ballin’. And I ain’t just talking about his play right now), Larry Nance Jr. (seriously?), Brandon Ingram, Ivica Zubac (straight Matthew McConaughey in ‘Interstellar’ watching those home movies in deep space right now). And before the year of the King and these new kids that are more than alright they drafted Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart and Thomas Bryant (just watch a Wizards game and see that Magic pulled a rabbit out the hat with this one and then lost it to another Hogwarts) in the same freaking year.
But alas only Ingram, Kuzma, Ball and Hart remain (not “only”, they’re outstanding). And the Lakers almost offered all of them and the rest of the damn team and real estate in the Hollywood Hills (sorry Jack. Hit the road and pack up. You’re in the trade too) just so the All Star love look of LeBron James and Anthony Davis could partner up for some two on two. And the Pelicans still said “I think we’ll be alright” to this footed bill. N.O.?! Seriously?! I’m just glad we didn’t lose these guys. But in a way, either or we might actually have done anyway. Leaving us much worse off.
I mean would you really give up all these kids for one guy like Anthony Davis who looks to be free to be on his way regardless? Or all the aforementioned for one King like LeBron?
I can’t help think of the late, great Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s immortal words in the Brad Pitt, Oakland A’s baseball movie, “you’re killing this team”. But Brad’s Billy Brand actually wasn’t so let’s hope for a Magic master move here.
Thank the Basketball God’s for Moe Wagner.
Yeah I said it.
The former GIF-able, Ronny Turiaf bench presence with the look of a kids face on Christmas who somehow got to sneak onto the Lakers bench has turned into a baby faced assassin. He’s gone from sitting next to the former Shaq and Kobe era dancing king and being the Mark Madsen energy and enthusiasm guy on the pine, to showing that same new generation, Mad Dog hustle on court. Moritz, the former Michigan Wolverine college star is a slasher like Logan and can complete this young core fab four with his small ball length at center and his Brook Lopez ability to hit the open three when scaling back downtown. So why the Lakers had to give up a guy who needs us as much as we need him in the meme team completion of Michael Beasley and Ivica ‘for the love of God do you not see how big this big man was getting’ Zubac, our post Gasol international man (you see that Pop and Pau photo the Bucks posted as they stopped at the Spurs last night Lake Show? Learn from it!) to our crosstown and arena rivals the Clippers. All for some Muscala man we barely use is beyond well even the most messed up trade pitch these too Hollywood for the blue collar Boston run game have dreamed of dry erase drawing up. But I kind of digress.
Moe getting mo’ buckets isn’t just a perimeter presence, he’s an all round collegiate schooled player. Who along with big Isaac Bogna, the sprightly Johnathan Williams and Svi (who we actually decently swapped like for like for Laker lover and three ball devotee Reggie Bullock) shows the Lake Show can even draft well even in the same summer of bringing in the King and the one year vets of JaVale McGee, Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson and Bease’ (keep that proud head up legend). They’ve done it again. This team has bigger balls than an unflinching Kobe when before they were teammates Matt Barnes tried to inbound the ball into his face.
You saw the flagrant disrespect and foul by Draymond Green on a hard fought lay-up that Moe completed, shouting with anger and the and one you can’t stop me defiance. Kid just wants to play and show his worth with the big boys. And boy is he. Now that Brandon Ingram and probably Lonzo Ball are shut down for the season (please don’t let this be the last time they ever wear purple and gold), Kyle Kuzma is out injured too (seriously the look of the Lakers this year. Give some leeway). And in the latest storied Celtics clash the Lakers dropped 120-107, more people were interested in trying to see what LeBron was saying to former Cavalier teammate and free agent to be Kyrie postgame as he pulled that ‘Casino’ behind the jersey cheap talk trick again. But I’m more interested in Moe Wagner said to Coach Walton when Luke told him he was starting in place of Kuz, calling him up like a South Bay Caruso or G-League Ingram for his moment and asked Moe if he was ready.
Wagner who has been wagging his tail on the bench all season is a dog and said nothing. He just went out and Chris Pratt in ‘Moneyball’ went out and swung big and struck (and we all know what happened to that Guardian when we went out the Galaxy). A career high 22 points to go along with 8 rebounds in his first start? That’s practically a 20 and 10.
We need more guys like Moe.
Jared Dudley Is The Lakers Unsung Hero
There’s a hero that could save us in Hollywood right now.
And I ain’t talking about The King.
Or the Brow to ‘Bron in A.D. and his best since Shaq and Kobe dynamic duo combining for 70 like one off Elgin Baylor’s career high.
I ain’t talking about Kuz. Canada’s champ Danny Green from downtown purple and gold. Or the redemption reunion of Superman returns Dwight Howard in the hash-tag “Washed King’s” revenge season.
I ain’t even talking about the bald identity of my hero the Alex Caruso show this time.
I’m talking about Jared Dudley people.
Yeah I said it!
Not the same Jared that got replaced by Joaquin as The Joker. Not the same Dudley that got nut checked by Shaquille O’Neal on the Knicks before lamely quarterback pitch throwing the ball after him on the inbound technical (we didn’t think centers apart from Shaq could pass like that). Or the same J.D. that like going with Coke welcomed us to Atlanta with Ludacris. But just Jared.
You may think the former Brooklyn boy fan favourite owns the last roster spot that should have gone to a blazing Carmelo. Or still a free agent Jamal Crawford (even a J.R. Smith?!). A spot reserved for Andre Igudola once he gets out of contract hell. Or even a South Bay call-up for legendary names in young Lakers like Antetokounmpo, Stockton and Payton II. And let’s not forget the one Ingram they didn’t trade in the Grey Mamba ‘dre.
And with that headband over his shaved dome you may think the guy who Balenciaga bigger than Basketball looks the part in the players only catwalk runway to the stadium for his fashion fit drip looks like he’ll definitely be in ‘Bron’s ‘Space Jam’ sequel too. That’s all for your insults folks (“baldy?!”). But with that number ten to go with the head check he kind of looks like a less ripped version of a former King that used to kill the Lakers…and that’s no insult to J.D. Have you see Mike Bibby these days? He really is a unit.
But to me he looks like one of those bench energy guys who lifts the whole team in the mould of a Rony Turiaf or ‘Mad Dog’ Mark Madsen. Even if his time on the pine is more than on the hardwood. He still has his Laker legend like that photoshopped number 10 next to James and Davis for the new big three, tongue in cheek.
And speaking of that number ten you just may see that jersey in the seats of STAPLES almost as much as the King’s 23. Why you ask. Are fans waiting until A.D. adds a King’s 2 to his 3 as LeBron carries the 6? Was there a sale? An in-game giveaway like that Shaq City Edition being on everyones seats pregame for its debut in L.A.?
It’s because Dudley has literally been gifting his number ten signature to almost everyone (hello!) whose asked this season on Twitter and it isn’t even Christmas yet. What a statement. And if you thought that was a grand gesture then half of these people in the stands in tens are there because Jared has personally left comp tickets waiting for them for games at will call (the other half probably just in thanks). Not just at STAPLES…but on the road too. Now how’s that for player power? Reaching out to fans in precarious positions, with problems when it comes to getting to games, or even those whose lifelong dream was just to see Hollywood’s Lakers live and in living colour one time.
He’s done it countless. More times than the 23 and 2 team to start their best season since the year 2000 have won.
Now how about that? You love to see it. Right now no one does more for the fans than the people’s champ Jared Dudley.
When he gets his ring it won’t be from riding coattails, but giving his all, everything.
And let’s not forget the heart and hustle he puts down on the floor every night his box score doesn’t read DNP-CD for a second, or minute of time.
Let’s see more from Dudley.
The Lake Show are the Hollywood story of the season. But we all know when it comes to the script from the Basketball God’s you need your character actors as much as the academy of award winners. And if Jared Dudley really is the Lakers unsung hero in L.A. like Denis Irwin was for Manchester United (know your history) it’s time to hit the high notes and shoot our shot like he does his.
Now is this enough for me to get a jersey Jared?
DO Call It A Carmelo Comeback. Anthony Is Guaranteed For Years
Three fingers like “what’s your poison” and shots to the dome like LL Cool J’s comeback. I’m calling it…
La La said knock you out.
They say there are no guarantees in this life, or league. But now after almost crossing off an entire calender, Carmelo Anthony has one in this league of X and O’s.
You best believe every team that slept on him has woke up now.
O.K. Thunder? Like old New York. No ‘Melo in Lakers yellow, or Houston’s problem.
And let’s not talk about that ATL jersey Atlanta tried to hawk.
The Nugget type of fellow that Nelly rapped about like ‘Na-Nana-Na’, with the heart of a champion sweat until he was no longer in a suit and part of the Sportscenter theme again. After waiting longer to align with The King in Hollywood for this Game Of Thrones than another Anthony (Davis), Carmelo ended up coming up roses in the RIP City of Portland. And boy has he blazed a trail. Voltron forming arguably a big three with the best backcourt in the league not in this nation’s capital with C.J. McCollum and Dame ‘Time’ Lillard with the look like the OK3 of Russell Westbrook and PG3 and not the Beard and the Brow.
And now he’s exceeded everyone’s greatest expectations. As one of the G.O.A.T.’s has polished his path to the Hall with a comeback even better than the return of Superman Dwight Howard with the Lakers…which could have had a Hollywood sequel with Carmelo’s comeback.
But the Lakers loss is the PDX’s blazing gain.
What more would you expect from a guy who still put up competent averages in the soaring Rockets cosmos, despite being grounded by little court acclaim? The problems in Houston could have actually been attributed to another guy who ended up ousted and in an Oklahoma home too. Despite the trolls who are now trading in hot takes like they never simulated 2K videos of him building a Commodore house with his shot selection. Or the analysts who are changing their discussion like a report rewrite.
Carmelo ain’t calming down. Anthony is taking everyone back to school.
Class has been in session.
And how about the report card? Eight games. 16.9 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. Big shots. Western Conference Player of the Week. All Star legend spot? He belongs like the Carushow in the Slam Dunk Contest. He’s unstoppable like LeBron James’ Eurostep, spin-cycle lay-up that is like a runaway freight…word to Denzel Washington. Or his Kareem sky-hook. Tokyo 2020 Team USA bid for the best in five rings Olympic legend in his golden age? Big shots from the double 0 like seven. From nothing twice?! This is no time to die Mr. Bond.
He’s gone toe-to-shot with the MVP. Showed he was more than a most imported or Sixth Man, but still a star. More than the name, but the actual game. And now he’s guaranteed to be around for a while longer like he never left, but is here to stay. As the Blazers changed the trail on the end of the signature of his contract before the ink even dried for this guy’s with the wet jumper like staying outside in the snow with your ugly NBA sweater this Christmas.
This tax is more than a luxury. It’s about to cap off a classic career with one compelling closing chapter.
Even when he bit career highs at the core of his career in the Big Apple, the ever humble hero Carmelo was a walking and dribbling, “I just take it one game (or day) at a time” postgame soundbite like he has been in his comeback off court to on it. Well now the Blazers can guarantee him 365…or at least 82 or however far he takes them.
From the headband to the hoodie, stay ‘Melo. Anthony is here to stay.
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