THE CLIPPERS - It still comes as a shock to me that the Los Angeles Clippers are the best professional basketball team in the state of California. Is this a signal that the end of the world is near? At this point, the Clippers have won 38 games and the Lakers only 19.
They are clinging to a two and one-half game lead over the hard charging Golden State Warriors. The expectation is, that with Doc Rivers determined leadership, they will prevail as the champions of the Pacific Division. The future battles between these two teams will be entertaining and exciting.
Blake Griffin has improved every facet of his game, and he seems destined to become an iconic superstar. He is also doing pretty well as a pitch man for Kia Motors.
THE LAKERS - They are legally trying to get as bad as they can be this season the more games they lose, the better their chances of getting high draft picks and the upcoming NBA Draft Lottery. They are hoping to get at least one game changer in the Draft, and couple him with a star Free Agent, and then hope that Kobe Bryant returns to form. There are a lot of ifs in their plans, and still things could go very wrong for the Purple and Gold.
It seems clear to me, and too many others, that Mike D'Antoni is an awkward fit as the team's head coach. The teams that he coaches seem to lack the discipline and the intensity that championship teams have to have. I felt the same way about Vinnie Del Negro, who coached the Clippers to a winning season last year. He was not a bad coach, but in my opinion, his teams would never have the grit to achieve greatness.
Many of the fans would like for the team to rehire Phil Jackson. I do not think that will happen. In addition, if it did, I do not think that he would be able to return the team to the glory days of yesteryear. All of his championships were won, when the teams that he coached at its least 2 1/2 superstars. His vaunted triangle offense did not lead to any championships, when Michael Jordan was not on his team. So, I think that their best bet is to roll the dice with Derek Fisher. He is smart, he is tough, he knows basketball, he has great leadership skills, and he understands the mystique of what being a Laker means.
CALIFORNIA COLLEGE BASKETBALL - Did you ever think that you would see a day when the only college basketball team in the top 25 was San Diego State University. Their won loss record is 23-3. When you look at the ratings, you will not see UCLA, Gonzaga, California, Stanford, and certainly not USC. Maybe the state is already feeling the effects of the water shortage.
BARRY BONDS - He finally got some good news, probably the best that he has received since the year 2007. His old team, the San Francisco Giants have hired him to work for 10 days during spring training. He will be the Batting Instructor for the younger players. The story of his hiring also mentioned that he made his first request for this job two years ago. So, it seems that the Giants were not exactly eager to put him on the payroll.
There is the general feeling that Bonds was using performance-enhancing drugs, and the baseball hierarchy was very disappointed that he was doing so. Later, the league and the fans began to realize that many of his competitors were doing the same thing. He had a total of 762 home runs. Drugs or not, he was the most disciplined home run hitter that I ever saw. He would go to the plate with the absolute determination to hit a home run, or to get a walk to first base. He would refuse to swing at a pitch, unless he thought that he could drive it over the fence. The pitchers would often hit him, or try to do so, but they could not break his concentration. He would be at the plate, watching and waiting, for the pitch that he wanted. When it came, he would knock it into the San Francisco Bay.
Bonds did not enjoy the incredible popularity that was available to him. His arrogance, and his lack of social graces made many fans dislike him, and cost him millions of dollars in endorsements. He still lives in the 17,000 sq.ft. home in Beverly Hills, but unlike Mark McGwire and others with similar histories, he is begging to get back into baseball. Good luck Barry, I am still a fan and I wish you well. If I wanted to learn how to hit a baseball, I would choose you to be my teacher.