ANY PITY FOR THE LAKERS?
The Lakers are in trouble. Most of the problems that they have are at least partially self-inflicted. Also, they have learned that you cannot have a successful franchise without strong leadership at the top. Like them or not, most great basketball coaches are great leaders. The teams that they coach are both competitive and well disciplined. They try very hard to win every game, although they realize that won't happen.
There was a time in team sports when every team simply wanted to win a championship. So, that was the single goal for all of the players. The game has evolved in such a way that there are many individual awards for outstanding players. The players receive these awards, irrespective of how well or poorly their teams perform. Players now have to decide if something is good for them, or the team, or both. Players in the NBA keep careful count of NBA Championship Rings, Most Valuable Player Awards, Scoring Championship, Rebound Leaders, and so on.
There was a time when it was considered selfish and ill-mannered for a player to attempt to have the spotlight shine on him. Now, everyone does it, and it is just a question of degree or taste. This behavior by players has to be somewhat understandable since any notoriety, good or bad might lead to lucrative endorsement contracts. During Magic Johnson's first year with the Lakers, he was in the dressing room with his team, after they had scored a victory over the Phoenix Suns. One of the reporters said to Magic, "You scored only three points." Magic looked at him for a moment and then replied, "Didn't we win?"
This year's version of the Lakers is having a tough time. However, this team as it is presently configured would probably go deep into the NBA Playoffs. They have a new head coach and an unusual collection of Players. They have their own talented, but selfish and narcissistic Super Star. They are hoping that they can blend his talents with those of their new Center, who has not played as well as everyone thought he would, and who cannot make free throws. They also have Ron Artest, who is currently known as Metta World Peace. There are those who have suggested that he call himself "Box of Chocolates", since you can never be sure what you will get from him.
In my opinion, the Lakers need to have a head coach with strong leadership credentials. I would pick someone like Boston's Doc Rivers, San Antonio's Great Popovich, Oklahoma's Scott Brooks, Cleveland's Byron Scott and Nate McMillan, who is currently unemployed. These are tough, no-nonsense competitors, and their teams always play hard. Mike D'Antoni, the Lakers new head coach, seems to be suffering from the same loose lip issues as his predecessor Mike Brown did. He is constantly revealing too much about himself and his team to the Los Angeles Media. Some of his statements are contradictory, and others make it appear that he is uncertain about what he will do next. This is surprising, since he coached in New York City, which has the worst Media in the world.
As this article is being written, the Lakers are in Cleveland to play the Cavaliers. Byron Scott is the head coach there, and he too is having a very tough season. The team does not have a lot of talent. Their star point guard Kyrie Irving is expected to play tonight, after missing 11 games with a broken left index finger. Without him, the Cavs have managed to win only four games. However, the Lakers know enough about Scott to know that his team will put up a furious fight, and that they will be lucky to come away with a victory.
I have always felt that Byron Scott would be the ideal head coach for the Lakers. He has one championship as a player, and he has coached two teams to the NBA finals. He has not yet had the pleasure of coaching a team that had a lot of talent. However, all of the teams that he has coached have been both tough and hard to beat.
Robert Griffin III has quickly become my favorite NFL football player. He has enough talent to become one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play this game. However, his behavior has me worried. He is being tackled more, much more, that he should be. He is suffering through many rural tackles, because he either will not run out of bounds, or he will be fighting to gain a next her yard. He does not seem to realize that the opposing players are trying desperately to tackle him in such a way that he will have to leave the game.
On the path Sunday he suffered a mild knee strain, and had to leave the game. It now appears that he was not seriously injured. If I was his head coach, I would take him out of the game every time he showed reckless disregard for his own health. If he can avoid having a serious injury, then he has the possibility of becoming one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the NFL.
The NFL - On Monday Night Football, the New England Patriots slaughtered the previously unbeaten 42-14 Texans. The Texans have not been beaten so badly since they were vanquished at the Alamo. In my opinion, Patriot head coach Bill Belichick is the best in the coach in the NFL. As great as the years, he still resorted to cheating by using illegal video tapes. When he was caught, the NFL fined him $500,000.00.
Has Belichick found any new ways to cheat? No one can ever know for certain, unless he is caught doing it again. The one solution that I see would be to have him appear on the Maury Povich Show after each game, and take a Lie Detector Test.