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.
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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