Kobe Bryant the 4th place in the NBA’s All-Time scoring list. With that jumper in last night’s Lakers win, the Black Mamba totaled 31,421 points in his career and took over the 4th spot from former superstar and Hall-of-Famer Wilt Chamberlain. It was another historic moment for No.24 and for LA, too. Now the rest of the spots all the way to number One are ahead. Can Kobe become the NBA’s All-Time leading scorer?
Well, first of all we’ll have to do some quick math. After last night, Kobe now has 31,434 points in his resume. The next target is the 3rd spot, currently held by His Airness, Michael Jordan. MJ has 32,292 in total, which will most probably be an easy target for Kobe to reach. Keeping in mind that Kobe averages almost 25 PPG for his career, we could say that he will reach the 3rd spot somewhere around early 2014, or even late December 2013. In total, during a whole season, Kobe scores about 2,000 points. Nevertheless, this season he is averaging a bit over his career average, at 27.1 PPG.
Despite the 3rd spot could an easy one for the Black Mamba, the road to the 2nd and the 1st ones is not a bed full of roses. Karl Malone is ranked second with 36,928 and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the All-Time leader with 38,387.
Even if Kobe manages to average almost 2,000 points per season, which is not easy, he will need three seasons with such performances to cling the 2nd seed. That could happen of course, if he only manages to stay healthy and play inmost of the 82 games of a season and also during the Playoffs without significant reduction to his scoring numbers.
While Malone could be a reachable target, the 1st spot is a longshot for Kobe. If he manages to retain his scoring averages as he enters the second half of his 30’s he will be able to catch Abdul-Jabbar somewhere around the middle of the 2016-17 season. On the other hand, if, for any reason, his scoring drops, then he will be able to get close to the leading spot in his 38 or 39 years of age. Plus, if we could predict some kind of injuries that would cost Kobe 10-15 games a season, then this period extends even more.It’s natural for any player to experience a reduction at his scoring firepower as he ages and enters the last stages of his career.
Up to now, Kobe has proved he is the exception to the rule. Not only his scoring hasn’t dropped, but he is in fact scoring more than his career average this season. In addition, some other aspects of his game, like distributing the ball have ascended to surface. Can he continue all the way to the 1st spot and become the NBA’s All-Time scoring leader? This should be a fascinating fact to monitor.
Is Dwight Howard ready to compete for a championship?
Despite the loss to the Phoenix Suns, there’s barely a single Lakers fan that can be disappointed by the team’s performance turnaround after the NBA All-Star break. Apart from Kobe, who has been most consistent player of the team throughout this season, Dwight Howard has also managed to improve his game on both ends of the floor. He has been a huge factor that allowed the LA Lakers to save this season.
It’s no secret that both the fans and the team’s officials in the City of Angels were disappointed by the performance of D-12 during the first half of the season. You can blame his adjustment period or the fact that he was coming off a severe back injury. One thing is for sure: Howard was not the dominant player in the block the Lakers expected him to be.
However, he drastically changed his pace both on the defensive end and of offense. Especially on defense, the impact of the three-time Defensive Player of the Year has been big no matter the opponent. When he is not denying shots he is most likely to change them and that’s of course if the opponents find the courage to even attack the Lakers’ paint. This became more noticeable due to the constant and long lasting injuries of his teammate big man, Pau Gasol. D-12 had to step up and take more responsibilities on both ends of the court.
Offensively, Howard has also improved his performance. He is driving stronger to the basket after the pick-and-rolls and he is more efficient when he catches the ball close to the hoop. During the last 10 games, Howard is averaging 17.4 Points per Game on 48% shooting from the field and meantime grabbing a bit over 15 rebounds. He also has almost 3 blocks per game.
Howard’s performance boost comes along with a general improvement to the Lakers as a whole. LA is now showing that the original purpose of this team was to be successful in the post-season. Of course the Lakers didn’t target to finish 8th in the West when the season started. Nevertheless, when Steve Nash and Howard took their talents to LA to join Kobe and Gasol, there was just to one goal, to win another Championship. This team is in a win-now situation. This was the case even at the very beginning of the season and this continues to be their focus. Judging from the aging roster, one could say that this might actually be the last chance for this team to change a ring.
The Lakers have responded well to their first task, to pick up the pace, find ways to win and enter the Playoffs. Nothing’s 100% certain yet, but the fans can be optimistic. The next challenge for them is to put their names as an eligible Championship Contender. In a way they have achieved that, too. They went from a team scratched off the Championship puzzle, to a strong presence in the West. They will now have to fulfill the fans’ expectations.
Is Dwight Howard ready to compete for a championship?
It’s been almost seven months since the blockbuster trade that brought Dwight Howard to LA, to join forces with Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. No one can say that this trade was worked out well for the Lakers up to now. However, during the last weeks the team has really picked up its performance and Howard is no exception. He finally shows what a dominant player he can be, a beast down the block.
In recent win of the Lakers over Howard’s former team, the Orlando Magic, he scored 39 points and also grabbed 16 and denied 3 shots. An amazing stat he had was his 39 free-throw attempts, of which he managed to get 25 to go in. This tied the NBA record for most free-throw attempts in a game. Since the start of the season, lots of teams have followed a weird –yet successful- tactics against the 6’11” center. They intentionally fouled him when the Lakers had possession, even if Howard didn’t have the ball and tried to score a basket. That led him to missed free-throws.Nevertheless, Howard proved during the last game that he can handle such situation and he punished the Magic.
Possibly the most essential fact is that Howard is finally healthy. He entered the season not at his full strength, after passing through a serious back problem that could be proved to be even more severe. The surgery he underwent last spring and his time off the courts made him lose his pace.
After the All-Star break, D-12 started showing some urgency, as the rest of the team did. In fact it was time they all did. His numbers show the truth, 17.6 points per game, almost 15 rebounds and 2.6 blocks. It’s like he is a different player and it’s way more than just stats.
With the constant and long-lasting injuries of Pau Gasol, he had to step up and take more responsibilities, both offensively and on defense. He now seems to have accepted his role as a defensive wall in the paint and as top option on the offensive end, together with Kobe. The Lakers will definitely need him at his best as they progress through their schedule. Especially in the Playoffs, Howard can be an ace hidden in the sleeve for them. There is arguably no player currently in the NBA that can defend him in the post on a consistent basis. If he catches the ball close to the basket, it’s really possible that he’ll score or get fouled, or both. That’s the Dwight Howard the league got to know, during his first years in Orlando and that’s who the Lakers’ fans expected to see after the trade.
The number one priority now should be health for Howard. As he stated, he feels great with his body and admitted he has started finding his rhythm. Coach Mike D’Antoniagreed, saying that he sees the improvement in his condition and performance day by day. At last, as Dwight is the Superman we expected him to be.
When Kobe Bryant makes statements, press talks or tweets the world is watching. Are his statements always true and correct? That question is a little tricky. The latest news that Kobe gave us is that according to his point of view the media have actually manufactured the drama over the team.
We’ve seen many times Kobe making comments regarding his teammates and his team, trying to motivate them to play harder or even through pain and even making some suggestions. This time though, he tried to underplay the fact that the general picture the Lakers have shown us up to this point of the season is not convincing. Talking about the comments he made on Dwight Howard and about the need for urgency from his team, he said that his comments about Howard were misinterpreted. Additionally he said that he only tried to motivate his teammate and the rest of the story was in fact manufactured by the media.
Trying to push your teammates so that the team rolls up and finds its pace is one thing. However, to call the Lakers drama manufactured this season might be a little too much. It’s an awkward moment for the franchise and with if they don’t manage to enter the playoffs with this roster, then the drama would become real and for good. Surely this is the last thing the Lakers have to think about. Now it’s time for focus and hard work, so that the team gets some wins. However, handling the media and solving a problem internally is what great teams do. There’s no need to avoid looking failure in the eye and there’s also no need to put the blame on a single player or coach. Teams win as a whole and teams fail as a whole. That’s the way sports work and that’s how the NBA works, too.
The Lakers need Kobe to be the leader. He has to stand up for his team now that it’s a difficult time. It’s great to see him not giving up – that’s certainly not the way he is- and try to force his teammates and especially Howard, Gasol and Nash to show some urgency. That’s how Kobe has used to be during his 17 years in LA. However, finding the appropriate way to fire up the rest of the team is important. Controversies and mutual press statements are not the solution to the problem.
Is Dwight Howard ready to compete for a championship?
The latest news that came from the Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak is that the team is not intended to seek for a trade for big man superstar Dwight Howard. Despite his injuries and his below expectations performance, Howard is still a longshot for the Lakers. He is believed to be the next star to supersede Kobe Bryant, when his career is over and the Lakers are very confident that the 6-11” center will resign with them this summer.
It’s no secret that Howard will have a bunch of teams that are going to give a go to land him, like Houston, Dallas Mavericks and perhaps even the Brooklyn through a trade. Those teams have chased Howard last summer, too, when he decided to take his talents to LA to join Kobe and Nash. Although he has kept his mouth closed and diplomatically avoided any true answer regarding his intentions this off-season, it’s widely believed in Lakers circles that he his remain with the team and they have some strong facts that support their beliefs.
First of all, the team can offer him more money than any other team can. It might sound odd, but the new CBA gives a huge advantage to the Lakers in the aspects of keeping Howard. That’s because they are able to offer him 5-year deal with a maximum salary of about $23.5 million and in the same time a 7.5 yearly increase rate. That means that each other team could totally offer him $30 million less, so a big a plus for LA in this point.
Also, having Kobe Bryant on your roster can only push another start to sign with you and in this case it will be to remain with the team. Despite the difficulties, chemistry and bonding will eventually come for the team and that’s when Dwight will be more willing to stay. Up to now, this season might have been an unsuccessful one for the Lakers, but when things turn around and Howard gets to see that they are capable of chasing a championship, he will be urged to remain to LA. There’s nothing more convincing for an NBA player than a ring, at least for most of them. Howard has clearly shown that he desperately wants to play for a contender and the Lakers are that team. After all it’s one of the reasons he left the Orlando Magic.
There are also secondary reasons that strengthen the team’s belief that Howard will stay and those might be the big market that Los Angeles is, with the star shine of Hollywood and the glamorous lifestyle and also the chance to work and with the Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul Jabbar. These only add up to the already strong motives that Howard has in order to stay for the team. So not seeking a trade for Howard is definitely the best choice for the team right now.
Chris Michaels I live in Los Angeles, CA and work as an Chief Wisdom Officer
at Barry’s Ticket Servicewww.barrystickets.com.
Barry’s Ticket Service
1020 S. Figueroa, Los Angeles, CA 90015
(across from the inside the Luxe City Center next to the Staples Center)
Open 7 days a week, 10am – 9pm, for pickups.
You can also visit now on Google+
Kobe will record his 15th straight All Star appearance, all as a starter, while in the meantime he leads the votes overall for the third time in his career. This is well deserved by him despite for the Lakers being just 11th in the West. The 34-year veteran superstar is leading the league in scoring with 30 PPG and also is also shooting a career high 48% from the field this season.
Also at guard Chris Paul will make his appearance as a starter for the 4th time in his career, his sixth time generally as an all-star. Paul has been the leader of his team this season and has managed to change the whole picture of the Clippers together with Blake Griffin and the rest of the crew. He is averaging 17PPG and also almost 10 assists and he has provided some huge games for his team, lifting LA over tough opponents. His presence and his basketball IQ is what makes him so special, as he has the unique ability to make every teammate look better, a skill that only a few players in the entire NBA history possessed. Paul had a tough competition this season with Russel Westbrook for the starting point guard role, but managed to finish ahead from the Thunder’s star at votes.
At center we find Dwight Howard, his seventh straight All-Star appearance and his sixth as a starter. Although his team has not had a rather successful season till now, the monster center is putting huge numbers almost every game in rebounds and field goal percentage. He is averaging almost 18 points per game, 13 rebounds (first in the league) and 2.5 blocks. Even with some ups and downs in his performance, Howard is still considered to be one of the most, not to say the most complete players down the block and his starter role is well deserved.
Blake Griffin will also start for his 2nd time in an All-Star game, his third appearance overall. He is averaging 18 points on a 53% shooting from the field and also 8 rebounds per game. His has provided some huge games this season for the Clippers and also boosted the team’s 17-game winning streak that broke the franchise record. Apart from all the numbers and the stats, Griffin might be one of the strongest and most enjoying players to watch in the entire league, with all the dunks and alley-hoops his putting down.
Barry’s Ticket Service
1020 S. Figueroa, Los Angeles, CA 90015
(across from the inside the Luxe City Center)
Open 7 days a week, 10am – 9pm, for pickups.
You can also visit now on Google+
It may be a weird question for every Lakers fans, but it’s the reality we all have to face. We may be used to ask whether or not we are going to win the Pacific Division, the Western conference or even the championship. However this season, things have changed. What we’ll have to fight for is to secure the 8th spot in the conference and enter the playoffs. Can we do that? Of course we can. Will we manage to achieve that? Let’s hope so.
After 37 games the Lakers now are 16-21 and rank 11th in the Western Conference. The 8th seed is taken currently by the Portland Trailblazers, who have a 20-17 record. They are 4 games ahead of the Lakers. Houston is 7th with 21-7 and the Nuggets are now 6th with 23-16. So the first target for us at this point is to achieve as many wins as possible in order to secure at least the 8th seed. We might have a tough schedule up ahead, with lots of games against above 0.500 teams, like the Heat, Memphis and the Thunder, but with Howard back on the team after an unspecified injury and with Nash already back, we can be pretty confident that we can win any game. Gasol is also expected to return the next few days and that will allow us to see the full potential of our team finally. We have yet to see how the entire team can play all together since the very beginning of the season. Due to our misfortunes and the constant injuries of our best players, we are in a tough position right now. But in the end I think we will manage to get what we want and believe me, as soon as we enter the playoffs, things will change drastically. We are champions, we have the heart of a champion plus a bunch of superstars in our team and we will not be easy prey for any predator in our Conference.
If we manage to get our entire team back and keep them healthy so we can get some rhythm, I am sure wins will come. Perhaps some tweaks during till the transfer deadline could help in that direction. Chemistry is not built overnight and that has to be made clear to all of us. We can play like a contender and I am sure we will when we have everybody up and rolling once again. Not only can we enter the playoffs, but we can take over many of our playoff opponents.
Which team can claim itself for being the best in Los Angeles? Is it perhaps the legendary Lakers of Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard or is their era coming to an end and they have already been dethroned from the young and energetic Clippers?
I think that whoever had a doubt this season about the above questions, got his answers for good after yesterday’s Clips domination on the floor. You don’t need to be a stats specialist to understand that the power and dynamics of the Clips is way beyond our city rivals. It’s been too long since we could celebrate a win against the Lakers. They were always a championship team with some great players always on their roster and of course Coach Phil Jackson doing his magic orchestrating the way of play. But from this season on things are about to change. We have made some huge steps forward and we are in a position right now that we can claim our team being the best in the city.
Of course they got Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard and also Steve Nash, not to mention their role players. However the Clipps still got the advantage here. I mean look at their aging roster. How many years do they have left? Can Kobe continue his acrobatics after he turns 35? And how about Nash, will he still be playing at 39? I don’t think they can even reach us and I also don’t think that they will be in a better position in the near future. Not when we have two monsters in the team, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. Paul made Kobe look old and slow once again, as he stated some days ago. In the meantime, Griffin put on a show last night scoring 24 points against a team with arguably the best front quart in the league. Not only did he smash the key and made some huge plays against Gasol and Howard, but if you watched the whole game, you could clearly see the difference between the energy level and the effort from our players against the Lakers.
A close look at the stats, can unveil a great difference between the two teams. We average 101.5 PPG while holding our opponents to 93.2. The Lakers are near to us scoring points, 102.8, but take a look at their defense; they allow 100.5 PPG. That’s a big difference maker for a team’s winning record. Plus, the Lakers rely too much on Kobe and Howard. Kobe scores almost 30% of the points his entire team does every game. He, together with Howard, combine to reach almost 50%. In contrary, we are a well balanced team, so even if one of our stars is having an off-game, we have many other guys who can step up and lead the team towards victories. Just look at Jamal Crawford’s stats. He’s averaging almost the same points as Paul does and also Matt Barnes. He came as a mediocre role player and has provided some huge minutes for us up to now.
It’s the second time the Clips got past the Lakers this season; first one came on November 2nd, while Mike Brown was still coaching them. Despite almost 2 months have passed since and we really can’t wait to meet them again, because after all it’s not only about winning the Lakers but also winning the Battle for LA.
Four years ago at the trade deadline, the Los Angeles Lakers made what was considered a blockbuster move — they traded a package centered around Marc Gasol (although at the time we thought it was Kwame Brown) for Pau Gasol. Pairing him with Kobe Bryant led the Lakers to three straight finals and two NBA titles.
After tonight, Pau Gasol may be offensive option No. 4 on the Lakers.
To what is certainly the frustration and consternation of Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and other owners (nice competitive balance), the Lakers have had the best offseason they have had since 1996 (getting Shaquille O’Neal and drafting Kobe Bryant). The Lakers were able to work trades for both point guard Steve Nash and the most dominant center on the planet today, Dwight Howard.
The Lakers are now the team best positioned to challenge the Miami Heat for the NBA title, they can match up in raw talent. And with real strengths at point guard and center — the two weakest links of the Heat — Los Angeles may well be the best team in the NBA.
Acquiring Dwight Howard is another bold move for the Lakers, just what we’ve come to expect from a franchise that measures success in championship rings.
So Howard is coming off back surgery and might not even be ready to start the season? So what? The Lakers don’t do Novembers. The Lakers do Junes. This is who they are.
Stay Tuned, this could be an amazing season in Los Angeles.
The fundamental 1992 Dream Team set the gold standard-both literally and figuratively-for Summer Games basketball. Kobe stated the 2012 Dream Team could beat Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and the rest of the 1992 group. Is he right?
Miami Heat LeBron James, LA Laker Kobe Bryant and Thunder Kevin Durant head line the latest edition of the “Dream Team,” one that will defend Team USA’s World and Olympic championships in basketball at the Olympic Games in London.
Much has been made about the current team’s weak frontcourt. The 1992 team had 4 players who grabbed at least 15 percent of available rebounds in 1991-92 (Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, David Robinson).
The present team has about three players at that rebound rate last season (Tyson Chandler, Clipper Blake Griffin, Grizzlie Kevin Love). The 1992 team had two players (Ewing, Robinson) who blocked no less than 5 percent of the shot attempts they faced in 1991-92. No 2012 player had a block percentage greater than 3.4 last season (Chandler).
The 1992 team was about 2½ years older on average (28.8-26.2). Other than Bird and Magic, every Dream Team member was 30 years old or younger. Each member of the current team is 29 or younger, apart from Kobe, who is 33. But the NBA experience level is about the same.
The 1992 team had, on average, 7.3 years of practical experience per player. This year’s team has 7.1. The 2012 version has seven championships among them, carried by Kobe’s five. LeBron and Chandler each have one. The present team has members of each of the past four NBA champions, while the 1992 team had members of the then-past two champions.
There’s no assurance the 2012 team wins the gold medal this summer, but LeBron, Durant and Kobe could probably rampage through the other teams at the 1992 Olympics relatively conveniently.
The 1992 Dream Team involved greats such as Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Magic Johnson among others. In all 11 Hall of Famers were on the team.
The latest 2012 U.S. Olympic basketball team consists of superstars such as Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Lebron James and Carmelo Anthony.
2012 team has looked strong during its very first two games at the London Olympics 2012, and you can anticipate to see more of the same during Team USA vs. Nigeria as the team continues its bid for a gold medal. This year’s team may be preferred to bring back the gold from London, yet compared to its counterparts who took Barcelona by thunderstorm in the summer of 1992, the 2012 team appears at the silver podium.