Tag Archives: Pau Gasol

Rent In Lob City Actually Higher Then LA For The First Time

Lob City LA Clippers

Lob City

Which came first the Sport or the Team? You love basketball and you love the Lakers, Clippers, Bulls, Thunder or whoever but which was your first love? So which came first your love of basketball the game itself or the love of a team that got you into the sport basketball?

For years now I have offered friends, family, strangers Clippers Tickets as an inexpensive way to watch a pro basketball game even if for years they were treated like a junior college team play against one of the other NBA’s finest and for years I always got the same response “umm do you have any free Lakers Tickets”? If the Lakers were playing the Bucks and the Clippers were playing the Michael Jordon, Lebron, Kevin Durante and maybe the Lord himself 99 out of 100 friends and family would still take the Lakers. So it has to be about the TEAM itself right and not about the love of the game.

Los Angeles Clippers

Chris Deandre Blake

The truth is that history in sports has its own gravity, its special weight. No matter if a team is struggling during a season, like the Los Angeles Lakers are, the name of the franchise and its history in the league are enough to keep the team’s value at high levels. Nonetheless, this season we are witnessing a radical change in the balance between the two LA teams.

In fact, the Los Angeles Clippers can be characterized as the better product for the city of LA at the moment. They are the ones selling more, they are the ones that almost any fan in LA but also around the globe wants to watch. On the contrary, the Lakers are dead last in the West, they are playing awful basketball, they are lacking their superstar, Kobe Bryant and if we had to characterize them with one word, that one would be “decomposed”.

Blake Griffin LA Clippers Super Star

Griffin

It’s no secret that the Clippers are one of the most spectacular teams in the NBA, if not the most spectacular one. With Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan conquering the air and with Chris Paul and Jamal Crawford adding to the Clips’ stardom, Doc Rivers’s group is one of the hottest teams around the league. After their recent acquisitions, the Clippers are now considered to be one of the two strongest favorites for the title in the West, together with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

On the contrary, Lakers fans have all the rights to feel disappointed with their product. It’s not just about their awful record and not just about the fact that Kobe Bryant has missed all but six games this season. The Lakers seem like they have no plan, neither for this season nor for the next one. Lacking a bunch of draft picks over the next couple of years, the team is forced to carry the burden of the contract of the 40-year old Steve Nash, who is doubtful to ever be able to play the game again.

Chris Paul & Blake Griffin

CP3 & Griffin

All the above translate into a change in the “product value” for each team. On the one hand, the Clips are on the rise. On the other hand, a legendary team like the Lakers is tanking badly. Taking a look at the pricing of the tickets of each team in a game against the same opponent, the difference is obvious. The

Although face value of Lakers tickets is significantly higher then that of the Clippers the retail value has always reflected the same pricing until this year the Clippers retail Ticket prices for a game like Clippers Vs Thunder Tickets are just passed double the price of Lakers Vs Thunder Tickets. This is pretty much the first time in the history of the Clippers that their retail prices are higher then the Lakers.

Clippers Lakers Vs Thunder Ticket Prices Staples

Clippers Lakers Vs Thunder Ticket Prices

Are you a Clippers Fan? Lakers Fan? Just a lover of the game of basketball? I would love to hear your thoughts about the possible changing of the guard in the city of angels.

Chris Michaels

Should The Lakers Keep Kobe Bryant Out For The Season

Kobe Bryant Lakers

Kobe

The latest news about Kobe Bryant and his knee injury state that the Black Mamba will remain sidelined for three more weeks. He will also miss the 2014 All Star Game. Multiple sources point out that Bryant feels internal swelling pain in his knees and that’s why he will have to extend his rehabilitation period. Now the Los Angeles Lakers face a significant question: Should they just keep Kobe out for the remainder of the 2013-2014 campaign?

The Lakers can almost be considered as done for the season. The team currently stands in the second spot of the bottom in the Western Conference, holding a 16-30 record. Due to very high level of competiveness within the conference, it will be almost impossible for the Lakers to overcome the 10-game deficit they have from the eighth-seeded team, which currently is the Dallas Mavericks. But even if they manage to get the ticket for the postseason they won’t go far. If the Lakers finish eighth, they will face the first-seeded team in the West, which will be either the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Portland Trail Blazers or the San Antonio Spurs. And it’s easy for every fan of the team to imagine what the outcome of such a series would be.

Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers

Kobe Bryant

As a matter of fact, if Bryant comes back this season the Lakers won’t see a big difference in their final ranking. Even the Black Mamba’s contribution might not be enough for Mike D’Antoni’s team to bounce back. In addition, the Lakers would also risk Kobe’s health if he is rushed back. The 35-year old Bryant certainly needs some time to fully rehab now that he has the chance.

Allowing Kobe to fully rest for the season seems to be the most rational choice for the Lakers at the moment. The main focus of the team should be the near future, the upcoming season. That’s why they should take their attention off Kobe and start planning their next moves to strengthen their roster, either through trades or significant moves. The Lakers will also have to focus on the upcoming, star-loaded NBA Draft. Then they will have a great opportunity to land potential superstar.

Kobe Bryant LA Lakers

Kobe

Certainly, Kobe Bryant is always a hot topic in LA. Every fan of the team wants to see him dressed up and ready to play when the Lakers are playing in the Staples Center. In fact, Bryant is one of the main reasons many fans support the team. Bryant is a big part of the Lakers franchise at the moment. Nevertheless, if the Lakers think rationally, they will realize that due to the bad situation the team is in at the moment, they will have to find the best way to bounce back quickly.

The team has to undergo significant changes soon. Steve Nash obviously can’t contribute, Pau Gasol is unhappy with the team and the Lakers neither several draft picks nor assets to trade away. Thankfully, as of lately, some young players, like Manny Harris and Kendall Marshall, have started to show promising sings. Now that Kobe is out, they will have a chance to see more playing time, gain experience and be on his side for the next season. Chris Michaels

Should The Lakers Tank?

Lakers Home Court

Staples

It’s been a tough month since the return of Kobe Bryant for the Los Angeles Lakers. Prior to the return of their superstar the Lakers were contending for the 8th seed in the Western Conference with a revitalized young roster playing a more exciting brand of basketball. Upon Bryant’s return the Lakers struggled incorporating their star back into the lineup. Less than two weeks into his comeback Bryant suffered another injury, putting him on the shelf for six weeks and sending the Lakers into a tailspin. Since Bryant returned on December 8 versus the Toronto Raptors the Lakers are 4-13, including a current streak where they’ve lost nine of ten games. The poor run of play includes STAPLES Center losses versus Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Utah. The Lakers are now third from last in the Western Conference, just two and a half games up on last place Utah. Even with the return of Kobe Bryant the playoffs are unlikely for the Lakers this season, giving Lakers management some big decisions to make regarding whether or not to hold a fire sale before the trade deadline. The presence of one of the greatest college draft classes in years has once again brought up the possibility of teams ‘tanking’ the season in order to get more ping pong balls in the lottery. The NBA’s system doesn’t guarantee the top draft pick to the worst team but the weighted lottery does give teams with the best record a higher chance of a low draft pick. Right now the Lakers are well-positioned to not only have the flexibility to add a max free agent after next season, they should be in the running to draft a potential future All Star in next June’s draft.

Should the Lakers tank the second half of the season?

They’ve earned the slack: The Lakers have continually put a winning product on the floor for decades, avoiding the full rebuilding process that many great franchises have gone through. Next to perhaps the San Antonio Spurs it’s difficult to find another NBA franchise that has had such continued excellence over the past 20 years. For that reason the Lakers have earned a bit of slack from their fan base.

The upcoming draft is important: Next June’s draft features one of the best crops in years with several potential All Star talents. A poor finish can mean a top five draft pick. Kansas center Joel Embiid and forward Andrew Wiggins, Kentucky power forward Julius Randle, Duke forward Jabari Parker, Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart and Arizona forward Aaron Gordon should all be available in June’s draft and are potential difference makers. The selection of a top draft pick combined with the targeting of a key free agent could rebuild the Lakers roster quickly. This June’s draft is important since the Lakers traded their 2015 first round pick to Phoenix as part of the Steve Nash trade. It’s hard to imagine a proud franchise like the Lakers tanking the second half of the season, but if they are going to tank this is the year to do it.

Pau Gasol

Gasol

They need value for Gasol: The Lakers would be wise to deal Pau Gasol before the trade deadline. The potential Cavaliers trade which would have sent Gasol to Cleveland for Andrew Bynum (who would have been waived), fell through and the Bulls ended up making the deal. The Lakers need to determine quickly if Gasol is not in their long term plans. Dealing him and getting a package of players or an expiring contract to waive would help Los Angeles avoid the luxury tax while potentially picking up a player or draft pick. With the February 20 trade deadline fast approaching the Lakers should find a suitable place to ship Gasol, getting some value in return. Even with a player option for next season it’s questionable whether he would want to return. Letting Gasol walk for nothing next summer would free up cap space, but wouldn’t give the Lakers anything of value for a top ten NBA center.

Kobe Bryant Lakers

Kobe

The Lakers decision to re-sign Kobe Bryant to a 2 year/$48 million deal does limit their options over the next few seasons. At best they have the opportunity to sign one max free agent. Next offseason Kevin Love will have the ability to opt out of his contract and the former UCLA big man may be interested in moving back to Los Angeles. A good draft pick this year combined with moving Gasol for an asset and leveraging the Lakers remaining cap space well could give the Lakers the ability to contend after next season. The most important thing now though is to maximize their draft value this season.

By:Chris Michaels.

Barry's Tickets LA Office

Barry’s Tickets

Barry’s Tickets is located just caddy-corner from the LA Staples Center:
1020 S. Figueroa, Los Angeles, CA 90015
(across from the Staples Center inside the Luxe City Center)
Open 7 days a week, 10am – 9pm, for pickups.
(213)749-0057
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Lakers or Clippers Tickets Giveaway

Battle Of LA Contest

BOLA Contest

The 14-22 Los Angeles Lakers take on Blake Griffin and the 25-13 LA Clippers at the LA Staples Center tonight at 7:30pm. The Clippers, have home court tonight and are coming off back-to-back wins without Chris Paul. Tickets for tonight’s Lakers Vs Clippers game are still available with no service fees!

Your chance to win tickets to an upcoming game?

Vanessa Won Clippers Tickets

Won Clippers Tickets

Congrats to Vanessa Gutierrez she won a free pair of Clippers Tickets!

Battle Of Los Angeles

Which Team Would You Want to See?

To Enter: (Hashtag) #barrystickets as well as the team you would want to see either #clipperstickets or #lakerstickets via your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, G+ account or below and you could win tickets to see either the Lakers or Clippers play at the Staples Center! No purchase necessary!

Winner will be able to select a game from various dates available. Tickets must be picked up the night of the game from our downtown office by the winner and winner must show legal identification. If a winner is not able or chooses not to accept prize “as is”, winner forfeits his/her prize, and Barry’s Ticket Service reserves the right to select another winner.

Rules: No Entries accepted after 7:15pm January 10th 2014! To be eligible entry must have #barrystickets and #lakerstickets or #clipperstickets. All entries will be placed in a random drawing and the winner will be contacted and announced on this blog post on Monday January 13th 2014. Any edits or picks after 7:15pm January 10th 2014 will be forfeited! Facebook, Twitter, G+, Instagram and Disquss all use time stamps so we are able to see the exact time of post as well as editing of posts

Contest does not include lodging or transportation to or from the LA Staples Center. Please read all Rules before entering:

Barry’s Tickets reserves the right to change a promotion at anytime. No purchase necessary Barry’s Tickets Service is an Official Partner of the Los Angeles Clippers. Only One Barrys Bucks/Discount Code/Promotional Code may be used per transaction.By:Chris Michaels.

Barry’s Ticket Service has been buying and selling Lakers Tickets and Clippers Tickets with NO SERVICE FEES since 1985 and is located caddy-corner from the Staples Center. All Tickets come with a 100% guarantee that they are Authentic and will be delivered on time!

Barry’s Tickets is located just caddy-corner from the LA Staples Center:
1020 S. Figueroa, Los Angeles, CA 90015
(across from the Staples Center inside the Luxe City Center)
Open 7 days a week, 10am – 9pm, for pickups.
(213)749-0057
Published by Barry’s Ticket Service.

Barry’s Tickets is not affiliated with the NBA or Los Angeles Lakers.

Battle Of LA Lakers Clippers Giveaway

Clippers Vs Lakers Tickets

Clippers Vs Lakers

Tonight the Clippers look to even the score in this seasons Battle For Los Angeles Series after losing the season opener 116-103 to the Lakers. Both Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant will be watching from the bench as Blake Griffin and Pau Gasol both look to make statements. Battle Of LA Tickets are still available for tonight’s Lakers/Clippers Game!


SORRY THERE WERE NO WINNERS FOR THIS CONTEST! SOME CLOSE SCORES BUT NO WINNERS!

Barry’s Contest for Tonight’s Battle Of LA!

To Enter: (Hashtag) #barrystickets as well as (Hashtag) the winning team either #clippers or #lakers and the SCORE on either your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, G+ account or below and you could win your teams sweatshirt as well as $50.00 Barry’s Bucks good on www.BARRYSTICKETS.com! ALL THREE MUST BE INCLUDED IN ORDER TO WIN! ONE WINNER WILL BE CHOSEN! No purchase necessary!

Lakers Vs Clippers Contest

Who Will Win Clippers or Lakers?

Rules: No Entries or Edits will be accepted after 7:15pm January 10th 2014! The winners who #barrystickets, winning team (#lakers or #clippers) and the correct score of tonights game will be placed in a random drawing and the winner will be contacted and announced on this blog post on Monday January 13th 2014. Any edits or picks after 7:15pm January 10th 2014 will be forfeited! Facebook, Twitter, G+, Instagram and Disqus all use time stamps so we are able to see the exact time of post as well as editing of posts. You can also see our “terms of use” page for a complete lists of rules and disclaimers.

Barry’s Tickets reserves the right to change a promotion at anytime. No purchase necessary Barry’s Tickets Service is an Official Partner of the Los Angeles Clippers. Only One Barrys Bucks/Discount Code/Promotional Code may be used per transaction.By:Chris Michaels.

Barry’s Ticket Service has been buying and selling Lakers Tickets and Clippers Tickets with NO SERVICE FEES since 1985 and is located caddy-corner from the Staples Center. All Tickets come with a 100% guarantee that they are Authentic and will be delivered on time!

Barry’s Tickets is located just caddy-corner from the LA Staples Center:
1020 S. Figueroa, Los Angeles, CA 90015
(across from the Staples Center inside the Luxe City Center)
Open 7 days a week, 10am – 9pm, for pickups.
(213)749-0057
Published by Barry’s Ticket Service.

Is Pau Gasol For Andrew Bynum A Postive For Lakers

Gasol Bynum Trade

Gasol Bynum

With the Lakers struggling in a tough Western Conference and Kobe Bryant on the mend from yet another injury the NBA rumor mill is swirling once again regarding a potential Pau Gasol for former Lakers center Andrew Bynum. It’s been a difficult year and a half since Bynum was shipped to the Philadelphia 76ers in the massive four-team trade the sent Bynum to the Philadelphia 76ers and Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers. The talented former Lakers center, when healthy and motivated a top three NBA center, has battled injuries and a lack of motivation the past two seasons. The Cleveland Cavaliers took a chance on the enigmatic center this offseason and it hasn’t quite worked out in Cleveland. On the surface the deal doesn’t make sense due to Bynum’s recent injury history and poor attitude, but a couple of interesting factors may create a deal that can benefit both clubs. Here’s a look at the positives and negatives of a potential Gasol for Bynum trade.

Positives for the Lakers: The deal would move Gasol and get some potential value for him, while helping the Lakers avoid a stiff luxury tax penalty. In making a decision like this the Lakers will need to decide whether or not Gasol is in their long term plans. It’s been an up and down year for Gasol in Los Angeles, who’s played at a level that doesn’t reflect is overall career. His motivation and interest has been questioned at times, especially when Bryant was injured. The Lakers have a $20 million option on Gasol for next season. If the decision is to not bring the big Spaniard back it’s important to maximize the value the Lakers get in return for Gasol, with the double benefit of having his expiring contract. Unfortunately for Los Angeles they wouldn’t necessarily be getting the same player they dealt two seasons ago. Bynum has had chronic knee injuries and has publicly stated that he could retire early due to knee problems. His motivation and attitude has also been extremely poor. If the Lakers are confident that Bynum’s knee problems won’t be career shortening, and a return to Los Angeles will improve his outlook, the move would make sense. Due to the contracts the Cavaliers would have to include another team or add another player to the deal. Bynum’s contract is only partially guaranteed for this season, so the Lakers could make the trade and then choose to waive Bynum. If the other asset they get from Cleveland is a solid one, Los Angeles would save a great deal of money and avoid punitive luxury tax penalties in the future while picking up an asset and creating cap space for next season. They could conceivably be a player for Bynum after this season, with the expectation that the former center will catch on with another club should the Lakers/Cavaliers waive him.

Negatives for the Lakers: Does Bynum have anything left in the tank? By virtually all media reports the big man has been a cancer both in Philadelphia and Cleveland. The Lakers have experience with his quirky personality and likely have some confidence they can turn around his attitude. The big factor is his health. Bynum may never regain the form he showed in Los Angeles or ever be able to give the Lakers the amount of minutes they need. A trade for Bynum should only be explored if the Lakers truly want to not bring Gasol back and when they’ve exhausted all potential high value trade options for Gasol. The decision to trade for Bynum and release him is interesting, but it also signals to the fan base that they feel they are not contenders this season. That decision makes sense in a tough Western Conference, but is never a popular message to send to your fan base.

By:Chris Michaels.

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Do the Lakers Need Some Love?

Kevin Love LA Lakers

Kevin Love

The Los Angeles Lakers are constantly searching for ways to shake things up. They are exploring trade scenarios, they are looking for their next superstar. They will have to find a way to turn things around and stop their descent.

The team might make a move soon, this summer or eventually the next one. But it will make a move, a big move, that’s what the Lakers have always done. LA needs to find the player who will lead the franchise to the post-Kobe Bryant era. Kevin Love might be exactly that player.

Love could be the perfect fit for the Los Angeles Lakers. He could be the superstar the team needs.

The 25-year old power forward has a contract that expires no sooner than the summer of 2016, but he does have a player option for the last year of his contract. If he chooses to opt-out, he could be a really hot target for the Lakers.

Although the Lakers would be eager to land him sooner, the team doesn’t have the assets to offer the Timberwolves. So such a deal would never work.

Kevin Love trade

Love

Nevertheless, Minnesota signed Love to a four-year deal, when they could have offered him a maximum five-year contract. That seemed to bother Love a bit, whilst he wasn’t dissatisfied with the deal, of course. Nonetheless, Love certainly is not 100 percent happy in Minnesota. It’s not just about money. The team still hasn’t found a way to reach the highest level of competiveness.

Love’s addition by the Lakers only makes sense for the team. The departure of Dwight Howard and the rejection of the Chris Paul trade from the NBA left the Lakers with little hopes of finding the next big thing, their next superstar.

Love has many ties with Los Angeles. He was born in Santa Monica and he attended UCLA. There is an obvious link between the Lakers and Love. It’s growing constantly. However, Lakers fans will have to wait for this process to evolve.

For now, Love is just showing a bit of his talents to the Lakers fans, to the entire franchise. That’s what he did during the Lakers – Wolves meeting, earlier this season, when he put up points in bunches and sank one three-pointer after another.

Lakers Kevin Love trade

Laker Love

There not many more options for the Lakers in the market. LeBron James most probably will stay in Miami, where he will have the chance be a member of a winning organization and play alongside his buddy, Dwyane Wade.

Carmelo Anthony is another tough case. Melo is in the middle of his prime and the last thing he wants is to become a part of a one-star franchise. That’s what the Lakers are projected to become after Kobe retires. Melo has been in a similar situation, when he was a member of the Denver Nuggets.

The addition of Kevin Love is one that only makes sense for both the Lakers and the 25-year old superstar. Time will tell if this will become reality. By:Chris Michaels.

Lakers Heat Christmas Day What To Expect

Kobe Lebron Christmas

Kobe Lebron

Over the past week the Los Angeles Lakers have slowly integrated Kobe Bryant back into the lineup, after his six-month absence due to a torn Achilles. Los Angeles is 2-4 since the return of Bryant, but is coming off of a solid road victory over the Memphis Grizzlies. The Lakers will have three more games to tune up for their big Christmas Day game versus the Miami Heat. Due to their incredible success under Kobe Bryant the Lakers have been a regular participant on Christmas Day for years with many memorable games. This year will be no exception when the Lakers welcome in Lebron James and the two-time defending NBA Champion Miami Heat into STAPLES Center. Much maligned after his exit from Cleveland, James has taken his already incredible game to an even higher level this season, operating at an offensive efficiency that few players in league history have ever achieved.

Here’s a look at what to expect when Miami visits the Lakers on Christmas Day:

Expect to pay an arm and leg for Lakers Vs Heat Tickets on Christmas Day. Prices for Lakers Tickets on Christmas Day against the World Champion Miami Heat can run roughly two and a half times the average game. A 300 level “get in the door” ticket usually will cost about $90 per ticket but for the Lakers Vs Heat they can run $215 per ticket. A 200 level for the Lakers Vs 76ers is about $168 per ticket but the same section (207) for the Heat is about $566.00 per ticket. Dead Center section 111 row B for an average game can run $625.00 per ticket and for the Lakers Vs Heat it is about $1750-$2000 per ticket. If prices are to steep and after your done opening presents you can always go down to the Staples Center to checkout LA Live and the crowd around the Venue then hop into our office next to the Staples Center and see if there is last minute tickets available at a cheaper price.

King James Lebron

King James

Lebron James is really, really, really good: With Lebron James ascending to levels that few have reached, fellow stars Dywane Wade and Chris Bosh have taken a back seat to the Heat superstar. James is shooting just under 60% and 41% from behind the three point line. Under the leadership of Erik Spoelstra, James has refined his game to maximum efficiency, shooting from select spots on the floor, while maximizing his unique passing skills and vision. Considering how well he’s played the last two seasons it’s hard to fathom that James continues to get better as a player. Dywane Wade, who nearly singlehandedly won an NBA title in 2005, has dealt with chronic knee pain over the past three seasons and has to play in spurts, typically missing back-to-back games and playing fewer minutes this season. Bosh has carved out a secondary role that emphasizes his unique ability to extend the floor as a shooting big man, helping make the Heat ball-movement offense work.

The Lakers are a lot more fun to watch: Last year’s debacle, where the Lakers barely made the playoffs after being touted as a title contender coming into the season, was a failure on multiple fronts. Beyond the underachievement of the team was the fact that Los Angeles just wasn’t fun to watch. The Lakers offense was stagnant and plodding due to their lack of youth and multiple players (like Gasol) playing out of position. This year’s club may not be as talented but they’re a lot younger and a lot more fun to watch. Mitch Kupchak has done a good job infusing life into the lineup on a limited budget.

Miami has built a solid core: General Manager Pat Riley has smartly built a veteran core around James, Wade and Bosh through smart moves and veterans taking reduced contracts. Shane Battier is versatile defender often found guarding power forwards while providing grit on the boards and hitting the open three point shot. Ray Allen, perhaps the greatest three point shooter in league history, hit one of the biggest clutch shots in league history last season to send game six of the NBA finals to overtime. The ageless Allen helps extend the floor as one of eight legitimate Heat three-point shooting threats. The Heat shoots just under 39% as a team from behind the three point line.

The surprising evolution of Michael Beasley: Perhaps the most interesting Heat acquisition is Michael Beasley, the former second overall pick who fizzled out in Minnesota and Phoenix. Beasley is a talented scorer who may have found a home during his second stint with Miami. He has an impressive PER of 22.1 while averaging 11.4 points per game in just 17 minutes played. Beasley is shooting a lights out 55% from the field and 50% from behind the three point line.

Kobe the Distributor: During his re-insertion into the lineup Bryant has often taken a secondary role, more of a classical “point-forward”, looking to make the extra pass. As he gets comfortable athletically his shot volume should increase and he should once again be the go-to guy down the stretch. Bryant hasn’t quite found the rhythm yet, but his minutes and offensive contribution is increasing.

Lakers Miami Tickets

Lakers Miami

Any Kobe Bryant and Lebron James matchup is a big deal with this year’s game being perhaps more anticipated than in years past. The STAPLES Center crowd and the national television audience should eagerly tune in to see how Bryant, coming off a potentially career ending injury, can match up with the reigning champions. Expect a great deal of energy from the Lakers, especially from their athletic youngsters like Wesley Johnson and Nick Young. With Pau Gasol the Lakers will have an advantage over the smallish Heat interior and will need to exploit the big Spaniard’s advantage in the post to offset the difficult Heat “small-ball” attack. Look for a spirited effort from the Lakers, especially Bryant, as they play in front of a national television audience. By:Chris Michaels

What Can The Lakers Expect From Kobe Bryant’s Return?

Kobe Bryant

Kobe

After consecutive days of practice where he was able to fully participate in team activities all signs point towards a potential Kobe Bryant return Sunday at home versus the Toronto Raptors. With the Lakers off to a solid start and the look of a potential Western Conference playoff contender the return of their superstar from an Achilles injury suffered last April versus the Golden State Warriors should give the franchise an additional boost. After a difficult playoff exit that involved a sweep at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs and the loss of center Dwight Howard to the Houston Rockets tmany pundits were critical of the Lakers chances heading into the 2013-2014 season. After remaking the roster with limited resources to do so the Lakers are in the thick of the playoff race in the Western Conference and in a position to make a potential playoff run.

The big question is what can the Lakers expect from Bryant when he returns? Bryant isn’t the first NBA superstar to return from a torn Achilles. Four well known players who have suffered the injury and returned are Dominique Wilkins, Isiah Thomas, Chauncey Billups and Elton Brand. For Wilkins and Thomas, the results were mixed. Wilkins, the former Atlanta Hawks superstar suffered his injury at the age of thirty-two and returned nine months later, playing an additional seven seasons and averaging nearly thirty points a game in the season he returned. Thomas, the former Detroit Pistons Hall of Famer suffered the injury fourteen seasons into his career and never returned. Elton Brand returned and played an additional seven seasons but never had the same explosiveness. Bryant, known for his incredible work ethic, has aggressively rehabbed the injury and all indications from Lakers practice are that he’s ready to return to the NBA.

General Manager Mitch Kupchak did a solid job this offseason adding to the roster to inject some youth and athleticism into the roster. The Lakers now go as much as ten players deep with no one on the roster averaging more than thirty-minutes per game. Bryant will be able to smoothly work his way back into the rotation but unlike last season the Lakers won’t be forced to play their superstar more minutes than they’d like. Last season Bryant averaged 38.6 minutes per game, his highest number in nearly five seasons. The Lakers renewed depth will allow D’Antoni to slowly build up Bryant’s minutes as the Lakers contend for and hopefully reach the playoffs. The fewer minutes should make Bryant more efficient on both the offensive and defensive ends. He had a wonderful season last year but by most indications his defense suffered. Like most veteran players Bryant has reached the point where he has to pick his spots defensively and conserve his energy. Fewer minutes should allow Bryant to maximize his energy on both the offensive and defensive ends of the court. With the addition of Wesley Johnson, Nick Young, Xavier Henry and Jordan Farmar (once he returns from injury) the Lakers have more options off the bench to spell Bryant. At the same time the Lakers young players, especially Young and Johnson, should benefit from the presence of Bryant. Johnson, a former fourth overall draft pick of the Minnesota Timberwolves, is a tremendous athlete with the ability to defend several positions on the court and hit the three point shot. Nick Young, a Los Angeles native, has provided instant offense off the bench and given the Lakers a go-to perimeter player down the stretch. When Bryant returns he’ll be able to once again take over the crunch time duties and allow Young to come in and provide a scoring touch when Bryant rests. The Lakers depth should also allow them to not have to play Bryant in back-to-back nights until he works himself back into game shape.

Kobe Bryant Black Mamba

Black Mamba

In addition to his customary shooting guard/small forward role, Head Coach Mike D’Antoni indicated that Bryant may play some point guard upon his return, signaling the fact that the return of Steve Nash be not be as soon as the return of Bryant. With Jordan Farmar on the shelf for at least the next month the Lakers need an option to spell current starting point guard Steve Blake. Sliding Bryant into an occasional point guard role will not upset the Lakers current rotation and give them a bigger lineup that could provide some defensive challenges for Western Conference teams with smaller back courts.

If Bryant does return Sunday versus the Toronto Raptors he’ll have a fired up STAPLES Center crowd and consecutive home games to get ready for a tough slate of upcoming games. Following the matchup with Rudy Gay and the Raptors the Lakers host the surprising Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night. Following the Suns game the Lakers have three days off before they head out on a road trip that includes four games in five days. The road trip kicks off with a high profile matchup in Oklahoma City versus Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the Thunder. With a manageable schedule prior the Lakers could very well head into Oklahoma City multiple games over the .500 record mark. After the Lakers face the Thunder they have to travel to Charlotte to face the Bobcats in a back-to-back. As much as Bryant would love to play against the team built by his boyhood idol Michael Jordan it’s hard to imagine the Lakers playing him in back-to-back night so soon after his return. The Lakers will spend the weekend on the east coast followed by consecutive games at Atlanta and Memphis before they return home to STAPLES Center to face the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday, December 20th.

The big date on the Lakers calendar is the Christmas Day visit to STAPLES Center by Lebron James and the two-time defending champion Miami Heat. If Bryant can return Sunday night versus the Raptors he’ll have just over two weeks to prepare for the Heat and the traditional nationally televised Christmas Day games. If the Lakers can properly manage the next three weeks of games they’ll be well positioned to charge into the New Year as legitimate playoff contenders.

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By:Chris Michaels

Five Reasons To Be Optimistic About The Lakers

Kobe Bryant Returns

Kobe

A little over a month into the 2013-2014 NBA season there’s a general feeling off positivity among the Lakers fan base. This year’s Lakers club clearly isn’t a title contender but they’re also not the outright disaster that many predicted. With Kobe Bryant rumored to be making his season debut Friday night versus the Sacramento Kings at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, things are looking up. Here are five reasons for optimism among the Lakers fan base.

1. The Return of Kobe Bryant: A week ago the Lakers locked up there superstar for two more years giving Lakers fans peace of mind that one of the franchises greatest players will play his entire career in Los Angeles. The two year contract extension will ensure the presence of Bryant as the Lakers complete this transition period. How effective Bryant will be on the court is still to be determined, but his legendary work ethic and intensity should have a positive effect on this year’s Lakers team. Young players such as Nick Young and Wesley Johnson should benefit from the return of Bryant, both from the presence of Bryant on the court and the example he sets in going about his business. Most importantly the presence of Bryant will give the Lakers a deadly option at the end of games. Los Angeles has been in most every game they’ve played of late but have lost some close due to fourth quarter fades. The presence of Bryant should give the Lakers the fourth quarter edge he’s provided throughout his legendary career.

2. They are fun to watch: By all accounts last season’s Lakers team simply wasn’t enjoyable to watch. With nearly a full season and an offseason to instill his system the Mike D’Antoni style is taking shape. General Manager Mitch Kupchak has done a fine job injecting life into the roster with limited resources. This year’s club is one of the more entertaining teams in the Western Conference. Nick Young gives them instant offense off the bench and has thrived in D’Antoni’s system. Former fourth overall pick Wesley Johnson is showing signs of the talent that made him such a high draft pick and provided major energy and athleticism on both ends of the court. Jordan Farmar is out for a month due to injury, but prior to getting hurt gave the Lakers excellent minutes off the bench.

3. Pau Gasol is Free: Playing Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard on the floor last season just didn’t work. The presence of Howard often made Gasol play in spots on the floor where he just wasn’t as effective or confident. With Howard in Houston, Gasol is no longer playing out of position and the 33-year-old veteran is back in the post and after a slow start is picking up his play. The absence of Howard has also allowed Jordan Hill to flourish. The former first round draft pick is playing the best basketball of his career and doing many of the things the Lakers envisioned from Howard. Hill’s constant hustle and grittiness has given the Lakers a positive companion to Gasol. The Lakers will get Chris Kaman back from injury this week, adding another big body and veteran post player back into the rotation. The trio of Gasol, Hill and Kaman gives the Lakers solid depth at a position where many of the contenders are lacking.

4. Mike D’Antoni: After much criticism last season the Lakers head coach has had a year to institute his system and the Lakers are showing very positive signs. As his time in Phoenix demonstrated D’Antoni often does his best job when expectations are low, as they were heading into this season. Whether the D’Antoni system can ever produce a title is debatable, but there’s no question that it is effective at times when he has the right mix of players. The potential X factor for Los Angeles is when and if Steve Nash can be effective again. Nash became an MVP in Phoenix under D’Antoni and he’s uniquely qualified to run the system. Steve Blake has done a great job in Nash’s absence but the potential return of their veteran point guard can be a huge factor in their ability to compete in the Western Conference as the season moves forward.

Of course the big criticism of any D’Antoni team is their inability to play defense. The Lakers are generally more athletic across the board this season but are still struggling defensively, ranked 27th in the league in points allowed. Granted their free-wheeling style contributes to defensive struggles but they’ll need to shore up the defensive unit as they get into the heart of the playoff race. Bryant, once a great defender, has struggled defensively in recent years and will likely struggle more due to the fact he’s coming off of injury.

5. They’ll be fresh down the stretch: The Lakers legitimately go eleven deep on their roster with Gasol leading the Lakers in minutes per game at just over 30. Los Angeles may not have a starting unit that can contend with Portland, the Los Angeles Clippers and the San Antonio Spurs but their strong depth will benefit them greatly in a long and arduous NBA season. This depth will also allow the Lakers to slowly work in Kobe Bryant when he returns, as well as Steve Nash if and when he finally comes back from his latest time off due to injury. As the season turns into the final third the Lakers, specifically their veteran players, should have legs that are fresher than many of the teams they’ll be competing against. Add in D’Antoni’s aggressive style and the Lakers should have many a fourth quarter edge on teams toward the end of the season. The increased minutes from the bench players should also build the confidence and comfort of many of the young players. As the Lakers near playoff time their rotation will surely tighten up, but the head coach will have a deep potential bench to rely on moving forward.

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