Fans of the Lakers have been eagerly waiting for this coming Friday night. It has been announced that Kobe Bryant will make his first appearance since the surgery on his Achilles tendon. The new, young Lakers have been exciting to watch, but they are in fourth place, and about three games behind the league leading Clippers.
For most of his career, Bryant has played in something called the Triangle Offense. This meant that someone would leisurely dribble the ball into the frontcourt, and then throw it to one of his teammates. The recipient of the ball would survey the landscape, solve several mathematical equations, wave to Jack Nicholson, and then throw the ball to one of his other teammates. At that point, there would be about four seconds left on the shot clock, and only then would Bryant take the shot.
Under the D'Antoni system, his players get a rebound, and then they race up court, as if they were fleeing a burning building. They do not waste any time, and they try to get a shot off within four or five seconds. This style of play could also be called "Young Men's Basketball". Will they try to change the system to accommodate Bryant, or will he try to play racehorse basketball?
The Lakers do have some talented young players and some of them could become starters. Can they find a way to blend this new talent into a system that is compatible for them and Bryant? I am not the coach, but I just don't see any way for this group of players to become an effective team. Something has to change, and someone has to go.
It does appear that the Lakers are positioning themselves to go after at least one and possibly two superstars for next year's season. There are rumors that Lebron James, or some other superstar, may join the team. Most of the rumors are just speculation, or just idle dreams. They are also hoping to get a game changing player in the NBA Draft. Any way that I look at it, their immediate future looks murky. While I hope that the Mamba can save the day, I just don't think that it is possible for him to do so. There is also the unspoken fear that he may not be able to overcome this injury, or that he may suffer an entirely new one. Welcome back Kobe; we are rooting for you!
UCLA - The Bruins and Coach Mora deserve congratulations for their decisive win over the Trojans. With Brett Hundley, they have one of the best quarterbacks in the nation. With both his passing and running skills, he is destined to become a major star. In just two years, Coach Mora turned this team into a powerhouse.
USC - Since the loss to UCLA, the Trojans have hired Steve Sarkissian to be the new head football coach. His record for the Washington Huskies this year is a mediocre 8-4. I do not think that he is the answer that the Trojan Fans were seeking, but that he is just another problem. His overall record there is 34-29, so he clearly is not an elite coach. The characteristics that made people love coach Orgeron apparently do not appeal to Pat Haden. Many loyal Trojans, including this one, are not happy with this move. However, we do hope that it was the right one.