Tag Archives: Mamba

MoNeYBaLL 15: Prime Kobe & LeBron?

Featuring Opinionated MJ, NilClassic, Lenny Justice, and J. Johnson

Pod is NSFW

*ADULT LANGUAGE

*NSFW

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LeBron, Lakers, and Low Expectations..?

I don’t really understand why all the major media outlets believe that this is an “off year” or “honeymoon” season for LeBron. That’s wild. Must be the new narrative for the year to continue this LeBron/Jordan debate.

By: Opinionated MJ

Low Expectations Bron. You like what I did there? Let’s talk. Best player in the world. Best player in the NBA. Best player by far, right? Better than Steph, KD, Kawhi, and whoever else you would argue is second. Wait, distant second, right? Okay. If that’s the case, why is everything thinking this Lakers team won’t be a top 4 seed in the West this upcoming season. I’ll go on a limb and say that they will be a top 3 seed this upcoming season.

Who is standing in LeBron’s way besides Golden State, Houston, OKC, and Utah? Yes, Utah. They have a good wing player in Donovan Mitchell, a great rim protector in Rudy Gobert, and a point guard who seems to still be improving in Ricky Rubio. Not to get off subject, these are the only teams I think truly are a threat. With that being said, I see the Lakers landing at the 2 or 3 seed.

Golden State may get bored like they did last year. Houston may take a step back. OKC may hover and be where they have been the last 2 seasons. The wildcard here is truly the Spurs. I’ve got to see what product they put on the floor once training camp is underway. It’ll take time for things to transition smoothly for the Lakers, the Spurs, and maybe the Rockets as well. The Warriors didn’t retain everybody either and may face growing pains. Let’s not ignore the shortened preseason either. It’ll be less time to gel when it doesn’t count and they’ll all have to get it together as the season progresses.

This narrative that this is an “off year” for LeBron only sets up the idea that if he wins this year, many will raise him above Michael Jordan. I don’t know how many still expected LeBron to make the finals in the east but there were many. We just watched him carry a team that was constructed in FEBRUARY throughout the rest of the season and the entire playoffs. He landed the Cavs in the finals. The NBA Finals! I don’t care Kyrie and Gordon were hurt. I don’t care the Pacers were inconsistent when it mattered. I don’t care that the Toronto, Barney, LeBronto Raptors really loved LeBron so much that they just let him walk by, untouched. Then he came up against the mighty Warriors. Mistakes by George Hill and JR Smith, then a total collapse that followed. The Cavs were also loaded with old, but highly depended upon Kyle Korver, a troubled Tristan Thompson, and coaching inconsistencies with Ty Lue.

Excuse my sarcasm. I had to use it to make my next point. How does anyone really expect that this Laker team will struggle and that the Laker youth will struggle next to LeBron? I think LeBron will reinvent himself. He’s already done so by luring in a team of rivals. The signings of Rajon Rondo and Lance Stephenson show me that LeBron is ready to try a different approach to his style of play and to how he incorporates his teammates. LeBron will have those playmakers that he’s asked for. There’s also this myth about the Lakers, that they can’t shoot. I’ve seen numbers that were just under 40% from 3 from a few Lakers during the second half of last season. It will easily go into the 40 percentile with LeBron, Lonzo, and Rondo at the helm. Rondo alone will be enough to ensure better flow.

How about we realize how much you guys scream that he’s the greatest active player, and then turn around and actually give him credit for carrying Cleveland to another 50 win season all by himself. Translate that to the west, along with the fact that anyone out west will need to win Game 1 to stand a chance against LeBron in the Playoffs. Period. I don’t think any of you die hard LeBron fans truly believe that anyone outside of the Golden State Warriors will dust the Lakers off. You can be honest. Let’s stop the Kobe slander as well. LeBron hasn’t even played a preseason game as a Laker yet. Let’s just focus on LeBron in his own version of purple and gold. You’ll realize what these Lakers are by game 40. They’ll be 29-11. That’s when everything will click in and run like a well oiled machine, if not sooner. Let’s give LeBron credit for his maturation as well. I expect to see his game mature this season too. He may just take MVP.

I predict a 53 win season. Once this happens, you’ll realize why I call him, “Terror”. Welcome back to the playoffs LakerNation!

FoR Kobe

kobe_bryant

By: Opinionated MJ

I am a Kobe Bryant fan. I have been there throughout all his ups and downs. From his draft day and continuing through now. He was the next in line after Jordan to me. He stepped into Jordan’s space when Jordan retired for me as a fan. Now I see KD or Russell Westbrook carrying that torch when Kobe is done. More likely Russell. Anyway, I’ve been a fan throughout all of the criticisms and throughout all of the early naysayers. You know:

“He’s not better than AI. He’s not better than T-Mac. He’s not better than Vince Carter. He’s not going to win a championship. He’s a ball hog. He doesn’t pass the ball. He won’t win like Michael. He won’t be a leader. He won’t win a second championship. He won’t win a third championship. That thing in Denver, yeah, he did that! He did that! He’s going to jail. He’s a r*****. He’s not one of the best of all time. He won’t win without Shaq. He doesn’t impact his teammates. He’s not a likable person. He’s egotistical. He’s too selfish. He only wants to win on his terms. He took too much money. No one wants to play with him. No one likes Kobe.”

The charges are almost endless. I didn’t agree with those as a super die-hard fan of Kobe’s. I’ve since cooled but I am still very much in Kobe’s corner but now I’m also very realistic. My reality is simple though and looks past all of the prior things people would’ve said, past all of the personal things, past things that don’t relate to Kobe Bryant when he is on the court. Super simple: Facilitate or Retire.

Let it rain in, “Oh! You’re no Kobe fan!!” I very much am. I’ve been a witness to all of his successes and all of his failures. The only time you could question that is when he played the Detroit Pistons and lost. Come on, it’s the home team. He had to lose that one. You can’t win them all right? I’ve seen the duels against everyone they tried to make be “Kobe Stoppers.” HAHAHAHAHA! Ruben Patterson, Raja Bell (did the best job on him, IMO), Ron Artest, Bruce Bowen, Doug Christie, Matt Barnes, Tony Allen, and I know there’s more I’m missing but you get it.

He’s overcome all the obstacles and things people said he couldn’t do. He even used it in a manifesto for inspiration, twice. The man’s work ethic is second to none, literally. So why, really, how could I call on Kobe to retire? Well, he isn’t truly known to facilitate but he does have a nickname as “facilitator Kobe” that we’ve all forgotten because he is a scorer first, second, and third. He needs to be more of a player that’s going to threaten defenses near the rim and set his team up for easy shots, cuts, and drop in passes. He’s built to do this. He’s known widely as a scorer and no one would dare leave him open unless he was shooting 10% from the field on the season.

Imagine what he could do if he operated from where LeBron operated in the NBA Finals. Mid-post area to either score close to the basket, get to the basket using his footwork and fundamentals, or kicking it to an open or cutting teammate. It’s almost too easy. I’m not asking him to be LeBron, I never did. There are things that LeBron can’t do, Kobe can and vice versa at this point. Prime Kobe could do anything, but not now. I also think that Kobe may actually be one of the most dominant post players in the league only 3rd behind Tim Duncan and Demarcus Cousins. May sound like a reach but do your research. We can argue and debate, but do your reasearch about Kobe close to the basket. I’m not too interested in seeing him hoist Steph Curry distance 3 pointers, nor super contested long 2 pointers.

Kobe needs to understand that simple is better as his career winds down. He needs to allow these rookies to prove and teach them how to overcome their mistakes and become better players. Kobe has always improved his teammates whether you believe it or not. His hard bargain driving, superman work ethic, and dedication to the game rub off on everyone unless you’re just a super lazy, weak-minded individual. It’s gold to be able to be playing alongside Kobe. Practicing, watching film, and everything else that comes with it. He’s one of the last students of the game who can actually untap your potential without even actively being LeBron-esque or Jason Kidd-esque, Steve Nash-esque, or Magic Johnson-esque. I’m not asking him to turn into some superhero point guard either, I’m asking him to allow his teammates to become, well, his teammates. He doesn’t have to hijack every game if they brick 7 straight shots. He doesn’t have to let his takeover gene kick in when they fail on a few assignments. Jordan Clarkson wouldn’t have developed if it wasn’t for Kobe having to sit the rest of the season. That’s my honest opinion. No All Rookie First Team for him. He statistically matched Andrew Wiggins during the second half of the season. Having Kobe is gold, having Kobe be a mentor and a guide as you play is almost like having a diamond. His knowledge is worth more than anything else that anyone could provide. Who could better teach them? NO ONE! Phil Jackson doesn’t coach, LeBron doesn’t want to teach kids nor sit through a rebuild or he would’ve at least kept Wiggins around, and Durant, Russell, and other teams don’t have someone who could honestly teach these kids the ropes better than Kobe? Who would actually improve them by being hard on them, like a parent? Who would actually DEMAND that they show up or shut up? Who would actually tell them that they’re as soft as Charmin during practice? LOL! KOBE! KOBE! KOBE! KOBE! KOBE! KOBE!

Enough. Kobe… Facilitate or retire.