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Sports Watching and Wondering

Black news from Pasadena - Sports - Lakers, Clippers, Dodger news and more.PLEASE RELAX . . . Fans of the Lakers appear to be in need of a dream team of psychiatrists. From their point of view, the end of the world has come. This is because Dwight Howard is taking his tarnished cape to Houston. They seem to have forgotten that he did not do much when he was here, and that he is not likely to do much in the future. So, in a manner of speaking, Super Child has left the building. The Lakers should not fret, since they still have Jack Nicholson.

Looking back, this fiasco was not all Howard's fault. He had two indecisive head coaches; both of whom were controlled by Kobe Bryant. So, Bryant was not only his teammate, he was also Howard's chief critic. Even if Howard had been everything that the Lakers wanted him to be, that is likely to not have been enough for Bryant. The Lakers surrendered control of the franchise to Bryant about five years ago. They and the fans now worship every move that he makes. However, the head coaches are in charge of the other 31 teams.

Howard appears to be one of those players who cannot handle the pressure of playing for a large market team. The fans in these markets expect the players to perform at a very high level, in every game. They demand championships, and they want them every year. Every player will be scrutinized by radio and television commentators 24 hours a day. There is no let up and some athletes simply cannot handle that kind of pressure. While others need and actually thrive in that kind of environment. The bigger the stakes; the better they play.

The Lakers will likely have to do what Boston is already doing. They are going to have to become real bad, before they can become good again. They're going to have to trade most of their players for draft choices, and to create salary-cap space, so that they can pursue the next superstar. They want to be in the position to go after the next Kobe Bryant, or the present LeBron James. King James will become a free agent after next season, and he could decide to take his talents from South Beach to Los Angeles. He is in the process of building a financial empire, and California might be a better place for him to do that. Unlike Jordan and Bryant, James has higher goals than just basketball championships. He has better social and business skills then either of them, and is already comfortable in the business world. He is more likely to want to produce a movie than to perform in it.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Doc Rivers is busy adding to the Clippers roster. The latest edition is rookie Reggie Bullock. He played for North Carolina, and he shot 43.6% from three point range. True, he will be just a rookie, but that is a scary number. Coach Rivers will do here, what they do in Boston.

The Lakers, especially under coach Jackson, have not drafted a player who became a starter, since Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher were drafted about 17 years ago. If you are not among his top seven players, he might not even bother to learn your name, and you were certainly not going to get any meaningful playing time. If you think that I am not a fan of the so-called Zen Master, then you are correct.

Just when it appeared that interest in baseball was disappearing, the Dodgers went out and found the next great superstar. His name is Yashiel Puig, and he defected to the United States from Cuba. He appears to be the second coming of Willie Mays, although he is just a bit bigger. However he has created the same kind of excitement that Mays did. He does everything at full speed and he swings at the baseball so hard that he might just send it into orbit. As a manager, Mattingly is not like Lasorda was. He walks around as if he is in a trance and leaves it up to the players to motivate themselves. Puig does that and his enthusiasm has become contagious. Since he has been with the team, they have moved from last place to second.

Puig is now the sensational l player that every fan wants to see.

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