Un-Common Ground

Carmelo Anthony of the Knicks and Kobe Bryant (from www.newsday.com)
(from http://www.newsday.com)

By: Opinionated MJ

Regarded as the biggest two markets in the NBA, these two teams find themselves struggling to maintain an identity although they possess two of the games biggest names. The Lakers and Knicks find themselves stuck while the rest of the NBA acquires big names and stars elsewhere. Prior to the latest CBA, would those players have actually made themselves available to the smaller markets? I guess this is a win for David Stern who pushed to make the league more marketable from top to bottom, and Stern who also may have single-handedly put the Lakers in the situation they’re currently in. At this point though, that’s water under the bridge.

Looking at some of the players both teams have acquired, you can blatantly see desperation. Once you take off the “hate” glasses and allow these teams to soak in their own messy situations, you can see that they still are actually trying to be as competitive as possible. What more could you ask for? Lakers miss out on LaMarcus Aldridge and they go after Roy Hibbert. When was the last time they actually had a defensive center? Bynum? That’s not a bad look to me. Low risk, high pay, high reward. What’s better, Robert Sacre? I’m not too sold on the Lou Williams deal, but then again, his deal will be a bargain in the long run and he’s already acclimated to coming off of the bench. Not too big of an ego I’d guess. I’d think if his ego was inflating, it was satisfied by simply becoming a Laker. They’ve also acquired Brandon Bass who is a hard worker. Who’s better? Was Boozer better? Maybe offensively. So why not?

Everyone loves to kick the Laker dog while it’s down, which is usually never. Not the way it is right now. This is the worse. They’ve hit bottom as of this past season and can only go up from here. I’m a longtime Kobe fan/supporter but I am ready for him to ride off and pass the torch myself. Friends question my status as a true Kobe fan when I say that amongst them. I guess the front office still wants to help Kobe believe he’s going to be able to compete in the playoffs, for championships specifically, and to help satisfy his eventual retirement. Maybe this will help fulfill his drive or whatever is pushing him to continue. Maybe just to be professional and fulfill his contractual obligations. Who wouldn’t at the tune of $25 million? I’ll ease off the Lakers by asking them to let D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, and Julius Randle start, play huge minutes, and hopefully develop into something like Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. Far-fetched? I’ll touch on this in another story down the line.

Now, the New York Knicks! NEW YORK, NEW YORK! Let me start by saying that I also am a Carmelo Anthony fan/supporter. I guess I love some volume shooters, eh? The more, the bigger the individual score, the merrier! Damn Carmelo has got to be thinking about his decision to stay in NYC turned out bogus, at least in the short-term. He would’ve competed for a championship with the Chicago Bulls or Houston Rockets. I prefer he had gone to Chicago. I mean, Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, Carmelo Anthony, Pau Gasol, and Joakim Noah?!?!?!?!!??


The Knicks are also trying to make some moves. I actually expected Phil to go after Roy Hibbert. Guess he told Jeanie about his intentions a little too soon! At least they acquired Arron Afflalo which should serve as a replacement for losing Iman Shumpert. I do NOT understand WHY they traded Tim Hardaway Jr. If he was still apart of this team as it’s being constructed, I could actually see them trying to compete.. for an 8th spot in the East. Isn’t that good enough? Why not see LeBron in the first round? Develop your team that way, through disappointment. Let them know what it feels like to go against a juggernaut. Learn, improve next summer, add to the team, come back with everybody knowing what it’s about. Throw them to the wolves! Let me pose my first question… What is Derrick Williams going to do for this team, in thee (yes, “thee”) triangle offense, and with Calderon potentially still starting? Why not start Jerian Grant? He’s a Grant for godssake! Coveted by Phil Jackson himself. Or, wait! Maybe it’s another move to coddle to the people he’s fond of. I thought when Phil arrived to NY that he’d bring Fisher, Shaw, Clemons, and everybody he’d been associated with. I definitely didn’t see Derek Fisher as a fit for coach. Second question, would Derek Fisher have led Golden State to a championship? Meh. The Robin Lopez move, to me, was made to lure Aldridge and ended in an epic FAIL! At least they acquired a big man who can defend and rebound. Let’s not talk about Kyle O’Quinn. He averages 5.8ppg, 3.9rpg, and 1.2apg. Those numbers may fall with Melo on his team. No disrespect to my boy but he truly IS a ball-stopper. Deservedly so considering he will have only Afflalo as a decent weapon. I hope the Knicks aren’t done dealing because they need another scorer. Maybe they should request Nick Young from the Lakers who they oddly share NBA dungeon space with.

Hold on to hope cause there’s light at the end of the tunnel for both teams. They have to trust in their youth (yes Knick fans, even Kristaps Porzingis), let them all soak up as much experience and knowledge as they can early, and hopefully resemble cohesion by the time mid-January rolls around. The Lakers have much more upside in their youth, especially with Clarkson having a season under his belt running the show. He should be the example of my “throw them to the wolves” theory. They can only get better. No one wants to constantly embarrass themselves every night on the biggest stages. If someone told you that you had to do the Apollo or audition in Hollywood studio every night for 9 months, you’d get better. I don’t see it any other way. Unless you’re stuck behind the curtain.


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