Tag Archives: Jeremy Lin

Lakers Training Camp

Three things to watch as the Lakers enter training camp

The Lakers enter training camp with a new head coach, largely the same roster as a year ago, and uncertain expectations. While the team they share the STAPLES Center with, the LA Clippers, enter the year a big national story and a potential NBA title contender, the Lakers enter the second year of a massive rebuild.

Here’s a look at three things to watch as the Lakers enter training camp:

Kobe Bryant LakersCan Bryant and Nash stay healthy? Last year was largely a wasted one for both Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash. Bryant never did quite come back from the torn Achilles he suffered in the playoffs the previous year, suffering a knee injury shortly into his comeback. Nash, a former two time MVP who was signed two years ago along with Dwight Howard with the hopes of bringing the Lakers a championship, has never been healthy as a Laker. The word out of the Lakers camp is that both players are in great shape and feel confident about the upcoming season. How long that health will last is the big question. Nash is forty and Kobe is on his way to forty. Both players are first ballot Hall of Famers and greats at their respective positions. What they have left in the tank will dictate how much the Lakers are able to contend this upcoming season.

LinsanityCan Jeremy Lin re-emerge? The Lakers essentially replaced Jordan Farmar with Jeremy Lin. Lin, who burst onto the scene three years ago with the New York Knicks, earning a big contract with the Houston Rockets, has struggled the last couple of seasons. His inconsistent play had him fall out of favor in Houston, leading to his acquisition by the Lakers. If Lin can re-capture the form that made him the talk of professional basketball the Lakers will have a good compliment to Nash and an upgrade at the point guard position. Last season the Lakers suffered such an incredible glut of injuries at the point guard position that they never really had any semblance of consistency. If Nash can stay healthy and Lin can provide a steadying force the backcourt situation should be more settled.

LA Lakers Julius RandleCan Julius Randle have a breakout rookie season? Of all the members of the heralded rookie class, Julius Randle might have found himself in the most advantageous position. The Lakers are badly in need of young talent, especially athletic interior players that can make an immediate impact. While Bryant will remain option number one in Los Angeles, Randle has an immediate opportunity to seize big minutes and a major role on the team right off the bat. The key for the former University of Kentucky star is to get off to a fast start in training camp and take hold of a key role in the frontcourt, whether it be a starting position or the first option off the bench. Randle surprised many in the Las Vegas Summer League with his ability to handle the basketball, displaying a skill set that may earn him minutes at small forward as well as his more natural power forward.

The Lakers open training camp this coming week and kick off their exhibition schedule on October 6 in San Diego. Chris M.

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What can Boozer bring to the Lakers?

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LAKERS

Finally, After several weeks of misery since the 2013 – 2014 season ended, the Los Angeles Lakers can see a positive turnaround in their offseason performance. The Lakers claimed the 32 – year old Carlos Boozer off waivers and he will now join Kobe in LA. Boozer was just recently waived by the Chicago Bulls, who brought in the former Laker Pau Gasol. The former All-Star was in the books for $16.8 million for the Bulls. But what can Lakers fans expect from Boozer next season? Will he manage to fill in for Gasol and even reach a star level?

First of all, Boozer was a starter a few years ago. In fact, when he signed with the Chicago Bulls in the summer of 2010, he was projected to be the next big thing in Chicago. His game did have some limitations but in overall, he was considered as one of the top power forwards in the league.

His performance gradually dipped in Chicago and last season, with no Derrick Rose around, he averaged 13.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 45.6 percent shooting from the floor. Those are no superstar numbers of course and considering the fact that Boozer even lost his main contributor role in Chicago’s frontcourt from Joakim Noah, it becomes obvious that he was a star in decline up to last season. Bulls’ head coach Tom Thibodeau ended up benching Boozer in favor of Taj Gibson, who gave more energy to the team when he stepped foot on the court.

Now, however, in LA, he will have a unique chance to revamp his career. Playing alongside Kobe Bryant and Jeremy Lin, in a team which desperately needs some star power, Boozer will be able to prove that he has some basketball left in his tank. He will instantly take over as a starter for the Lakers and he will most probably see much playing time.

The Los Angeles Lakers now already have three power forwards, Boozer, Ed Davis and the rookie Julius Randle. Jordan Hill was also re-signed and he will definitely eat up some minutes from the other big men. It will be interesting to see how the Lakers will handle the playing time of each player of their front lone, as they will have to balance the minutes of both the younger guys and the veterans.

In overall, Boozer’s addition is a great one for the Lakers. LA didn’t manage to land a superstar like LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony this summer. And with no trade chips to initiate a trade for Kevin Love, the Lakers had to turn their interest into other players and of course, take some risks. That’s what they did when they agreed to acquire Jeremy Lin from the Houston Rockets and that’s what they did now in the case of Boozer. The 32 – year forward will hopefully play better than the previous season and hopefully provide much help to the Lakers next season. The puzzle is gradually taking shape in LA. Chris M.

Gasol Leaves For Greener Pastures

Pau Gasol

GASOL

The domino effect out of LeBron’s Decision 2.0 has already started and affected several teams around the NBA. The Los Angeles Lakers are one of those teams which saw their ambitions getting demolished, as both LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony turned down the possibility of joining forces with Kobe in the City of Angels. After the two superstars took their respective decisions, lots of other significant players were moved. Pau Gasol turned down two consecutive offers from the Lakers and decided to head to the Chicago Bulls. The Lakers took advantage of the Houston Rockets’ urgent need to trade away Jeremy Lin and received him along with his huge contract.

Gasol’s departure in combination with the acquisition of Lin and the fact that the Lakers failed to land a megastar this summer brings LA in a brand new era, a strange one. The Lakers will now have to depend mainly on Kobe Bryant, who will turn 36 before the start of the new season. On top of that, there will be no second star, no second pillar alongside him. With Gasol gone, there will be no pillar to support Kobe on the offensive end for the Lakers, unless Mitch Kupchak manages to make a surprising move this summer.

Pau Gasol Trade

GASOL


The Los Angeles Lakers were aiming to return to a championship contending course in 2014 – 2015. Apparently, this won’t happen. All the Lakers will be able to do now is to try and make the playoffs next season and hope they can chase another superstar, like Kevin Love, next summer. The certain fact is that the window is gradually closing for Kobe and if the Lakers really want to stand a chance to win another championship while he is still active, they will have to act smart and quickly.

This new era will be a very strange one for the Lakers. After years of success LA struggled over the last couple of seasons. It was made clear that Mike D’Antoni’s run and gun system just didn’t fit well with the philosophy of the Lakers, or at least the group of players the Lakers had on board. This new era will also find Kobe in a different situation than the ones he was used to up to now. Kobe had a capable, star big man on his side almost throughout the last decade and that’s how he managed to lead the Lakers to success. At first it was Shaquille O’Neal and then it was Pau Gasol, when the Spaniard center was in his prime. Now, Kobe will have to try and carry the team on his own.

Lakers fans may feel disappointed with the evolution’s of free agency up to now. The major change, the upgrade or the superstar addition everyone in LA expected did not come. Now, the Lakers will have to cook up a new plan for their near future.

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BY: Chris M.

Jeremy Lin Verbally Agrees to Houston Rockets

Jeremy Lin

Jeremy Lin

As of July 6, last season’s NBA sensation Jeremy Lin has verbally agreed to sign a four year offer sheet with the Houston Rockets. The New York Knicks have until July 11th to make a counteroffer.

You can see the 2012-2013 Houston Rockets Schedule or the New York Knicks Schedule.

The purported deal is said to be approximately worth $28.8 million. Of that 28.8 million, 10.2 million would come in Lin’s first two seasons with the Rockets, and over $9 million in each of the last two years of the deal.

Lin, a restricted free agent, can still be retained by the New York Knicks if they decide to match Houston’s offer. Likewise, the Knicks have been adamant that they intend to do everything they can to keep the star player.

A source within the league stated that the Rockets intended to offer Lin a back worthy deal worth roughly $30 million. Currently, it is estimated that the best deal the Knicks can offer Lin is a four year contract worth $24.5 million.

Ironically, the Rockets had Lin in their own training camp last season, but waived him due to roster space. Now Houston is doing everything within their powers to get him back.

Lin, who was undrafted out of Harvard, averaged 14.6 points, 6.2 assists and 3.1 rebounds in 35 games with 25 starts last season for the Knicks.

The Houston Rockets already are extremely popular in Asia due to the playing career of their former star Yao Ming, who retired in 2011. Jeremy Lin could certainly add to their appeal in the region as the first American-born player of Chinese or Taiwanese decent.

The Jeremy Lin Phenomenon

Jeremy Lin New York Knicks

Jeremy Lin New York Knicks

Odds are if you are a casual basketball fan you have heard the name Jeremy Lin a lot in the last week or so.  Let’s be honest though the first time you heard about the new Knicks upstart point guard you had to do a quick Google search on him so you could actively participate in any conversation in regards to him.  It is well chronicled by now that Lin came to the New York Knicks by way of Harvard and more recently by way of being cut by the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets.  All he has done in his 3 games in a Knicks uniform is score 25.3 points per game, dish out 8 assists a game, while logging over 40 minutes in those contests.  Jeremy Lin is the perfect blend of basketball talent, guts, and personality that the Knicks and their fan base have been thirsting for going on 10 plus years now.  Not to mention that the style of play his coach preaches fits his skill set perfectly.  All of these combine to make up the perfect storm that is the Jeremy Lin phenomenon.

Let’s establish one thing, this kid has staying power.  He is not a flash in the pan type player.  I am by no means saying he is going to average 25 and 8 every night, but he has the talent to be an everyday starter in the NBA.  His skill set is such where he will be able to contribute on a consistent basis because his ability to pass, create for others, and shoot make his game much more than someone who may be one dimensional. 

To come in and burst on the scene like he has it takes a serious amount of guts as well.  It takes a huge amount of confidence in your ability to come onto maybe the biggest stage in the world, New York City, and not back down from the challenge that comes with being the point guard for the New York Knicks.  In the short time he has been active he makes players around him better and his love of the game is infectious as evident by the overall energy level increase by the team as a whole.

Lin comes to the Knicks when their loyal fan base needs something to latch onto and to have hope in.  They hired a coach whose system heavily revolves around a point guard and the ability of that point guard to penetrate, but were building their team with personnel that did have this essential piece.  This was the sort of great frustration for Knicks fans who have been waiting for over 10 years for something to hope for on the court.  Overnight it seems as the interest in the Knicks on a local and national level is back again thanks to Jeremy Lin.

Another aspect of the Lin phenomenon that cannot be ignored is the valuable vehicle he has the potential to be for the NBA as a whole.  With the retirement of Yao Ming the NBA is desperately seeking another face to promote their product in China and all over Southeast Asia and Lin fits that bill perfectly given he is of Taiwanese decent.

Do yourself a favor if you get the chance and the Knicks are on TV sit down and watch this kid play.  He is someone that old school and new school NBA fans can watch and enjoy alike.  Hopefully for the sake of the Knicks organization, their fans, and the NBA as a whole the Jeremy Lin phenomenon continues to grip us all.

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