Wednesday, February 06, 2008

It's Shaqtastic!

Am I dreaming? Is this really happening? Has this been the weirdest week of sports ever?
The Lakers just got Pau Gasol for some crumbs, the Suns just traded for 35 year old Shaquille O'Neal who moves about as well newly retired coach Bobby Knight, the Giants beat an undefeated Patriots team for the Super Bowl, and the Lakers won by 15 on the road with Kobe scoring 6 points.

The greatest part of this Shaq deal for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks is that even Suns fans are in disbelief. Half of them hate the trade and the other half are currently in prayer mode, as evidenced by my boy Duff.

DoofyUofA (11:30:49 PM): ya but we wouldnt make a dumbass move like that just out of the blue
DoofyUofA (11:30:59 PM): there has to be something behind the scenes or something we dont know yet
DoofyUofA (11:31:13 PM): and ive been looking at the positives of it
DoofyUofA (11:32:42 PM): i just dont know yet man
DoofyUofA (11:32:55 PM): steve kerr dantoni and sarver arent morons right?
DoofyUofA (11:33:05 PM): can u at least say thats true
DoofyUofA (11:33:15 PM): in their basketball ops as of yet
DoofyUofA (11:33:18 PM): they have been pretty solid
DoofyUofA (11:33:26 PM): right?
DoofyUofA (11:33:56 PM): so why would they do something that would be so seemingly stupid on the surface
DoofyUofA (11:33:59 PM): it doesnt make sense
DoofyUofA (11:34:04 PM): unless they know something that we dont

My conversation with huge Suns fan, Schwartz:

Me: Have fun wit Shaq
Schwartz: I still don't think it will happen
Me: He'll be in Phoenix tomorrow to take a physical
Schwartz: Yeah, hopefully he fails

Ric Bucher said the Suns hope that Shaq will be a defensive presence for them. All Laker fans will tell you, have fun with Pick and Roll defense.

I think the best part of being on the suns will be watching Shaq and Boris Diaw box each other out for first in the buffet line. Shaq not only plays little defense, but the Suns will be lucky just to see him actually play. He's missed 79 games in the past three seasons.

And what about the Suns style. Do they really expect Shaq to run with them? Shaq is if anything, disinterested. He's more concerned about being a Sheriff than policing the paint. The last time Shaq was dominant was back in 2004. He can't pick and roll anymore but he sure eats a lot of rolls.

I'm looking forward to a potential Lakers/Suns conference finals or any playoff series. Think of all the subplots. Kobe/Shaq, Shaq/Andrew Bynum, a rematch of the past two years. The Suns making a trade right on the heels of a Laker trade. It makes for great theatre and should be the highest rated series in a long time for the NBA.

And there's this: Remember the Hawks/Heat game that is supposed to be replayed because of a timing error.

bigtmoney032 (11:28:16 PM): now what happens in that hawks - heat game
bigtmoney032 (11:28:22 PM): when shaq fouled out
bigtmoney032 (11:28:26 PM): now he isnt even on the team

Meanwhile, it was Pau's first game in a Laker uniform. Yes, I'm now on a first name basis with Pau. He just had 24 points on 10-15 shooting, 12 rebounds and four assists, including an over the head no look pass for a wide open layup to Derek Fisher.

Kobe scored just six points and it didn't matter. If someone told you before the game Kobe would score six points and not attempt a free throw, yet the Lakers still won, you would have called that person an idiot. But the Lakers don't need Kobe to be a cannon anymore. He doesn't have to fire shot after shot until his arms are tired. Instead, he can play like he did for team USA this past summer. He can focus on the defensive end where he plays hard on every possession unlike some other superstars I know. See James, Lebron. People will look at the Nbox score of the Nets game and see that Vince Carter had 27 points. They'll look at the highlights and see Vince on No. 3 and No. 2 of ESPN's top ten plays, including his vicious dunk over DJ Mbenga. But with Kobe guarding Vince, half man, half fadeaway jump shot shot 10-26 including 1-6 on 3-pointers.

Oh and Kobe is straight giddy about having Pau alongside him.

"I watched him play so many times, I know his skill level and what he can do, and this offense is perfect because he can showcase his versatility as opposed to being in Memphis where he had to hug the post or go out and set pick-and-rolls," Bryant said. "Here, he's being asked to make plays and asked to make decisions with the basketball, and he can showcase a little more of what he has, which is what he does for the Spanish national team. He's an incredible player. He makes everybody's life easier. It makes the game simple. It's fun."

The Lakers finally have all the pieces in place to make a championship run. Instead of Smush Parker airballing open jumpers, Derek Fisher is scoring 28 points on 4-7 from beyond the arc. Instead of Kwame Brown fumbling the ball like he was Tiki Barber as a rookie, we have Pau grabbing six offensive rebounds and committing just two turnovers in 35 minutes.

Having Pau takes all the pressure off Lamar Odom as well. Odom is now the third option and will be the fourth once Andrew Bynum comes back. And he likes it that way. Odom doesn't need to score to be effective. He took just four shots, yet had 14 points, 15 rebounds, and five assists. I'll take that from him any day.

Banana record: If anyone watched Rob and Big today, you saw that Big Black broke the Guiness World Record for bananas peeled and eaten in three minutes. Well, let me say this. That record has been tied. By me. I ate three bananas in 1:16. If I had more than three bananas that record would have been obliterated.

Even the Nets are excited about the Lakers:
Check out this promo on their website.

As most of you know, I am the Daily News beat writer for Cal State Northridge basketball. The Matadors (15-5, 7-1) will be on one of the ESPN networks on Feb. 23 against Rider in a BracketBusters game. Here's why you should care:

  • This is the best start for Northridge since they became a Division I team
  • The Matadors have only made the NCAA tournament once, in 2001 after winning the Big Sky Tournament
  • They're second in the Big West in scoring and play an exciting brand of basketball
  • In Saturday's loss to Cal State Fullerton, the Matadome drew its first sellout since 2001
Sad yet kind of funny: A two star recruit announced his intentions at a press conference to go to Cal, but Jeff Tedford never recruited him. It was an impersonator.

As always, an updated Lakers +/- (through 47 games) Lakers: 31-16 5th in West

Fisher +179
Kobe +331
Turiaf +68
Odom +181
Gasol +20
Mihm -16
Walton +113
Bynum +236
Farmar +113
Radmanovic +169
Brown -44
Vujacic +55
Crittenton -40
Karl +6
Ariza +5
Mbenga +10

Up Next: at Atlanta Wednesday 4:00 p.m. PST KCAL


Anonymous said...

Good work infringing copyright...Stealing pictures, Maxx might sue you!

CaliBall said...

peter vescey said shaq's physical was given by the coroner