Saturday, May 29, 2010

One quick complaint about ESPN

I have tried to keep my angry sports rants off of this blog. However, my never ending fight ESPN must take another step here on this blog.

ESPN always plays up to the big cities. That is why they hate the SEC (not in LA or NY). They push their people on us and forget reality. The latest example is a piece about how great the Lakers are how smart it was to trade away Shaq. That is just out right foolishness. The premise of the article is that six pieces of the Laker puzzle are linked to Shaq's departure. Included in that list is Lamar Odom, Jordan Farmar, Pau Gasol, Adam Morrison, Shannon Brown, Andrew Bynum, and Derrick Fisher.

I am willing to grant that Odom, who came in the trade, and Farmar, who was drafted with a draft pick received in the trade, are linked to Shaq. The rest is a stretch including Fisher, who was already on the team when Shaq was there, left, and was re-signed.

In fact, I think the facts are the exact opposite of what this guy claims. The Shaq trade was a disaster that sunk the Lakers for a couple of years and they are now still not as good as they were. The Lakers missed the playoffs the next year and then were bounced in the first round for two years in a row while Shaq and the Heat won a title. Let us not forget that the Lakers basically back tracked on their blow up of the Laker team. They re-hired Coach Phil Jackson. They re-hired Derrick Fisher. The re-hiring of Fisher seems to indicate that the drafting of Jordan Farmar was a mistake. Farmar is the back up of Fisher, who is a sub-par point guard. Andrew Bynum is decent enough when he is not injured, but is he really better than Shaq? Maybe this year, but what about those other 4 years? Probably not a victory there. Remember Kobe wanted Bynum traded because he realizes that Bynum is not consistently good. Odom has the same problem. A good 6th man, but not a guy who lives up to potential ever. Other than Gasol, they are all bench players and the bench of the Lakers is their weak spot.

Gasol came to the Lakers in a fire sale going on over in Memphis. The key lynch pin of the Gasol trade was the rights to the younger Gasol, drafted by the Lakers. Add in the two first round draft picks. Was Kwame Brown really that important to the trade. If they had kept Shaq, and never gotten Kwame would that trade not have happened? Sure it would have. The Lakers had the younger Gasol's rights and draft picks to trade.

One other thing that needs to be mentioned is that the Lakers are not really on the top now. Two years ago they lost to the Celtics. Got whipped by the Celtics in fact. Last year the Celtics were the best team in the league again and then Garnett got hurt. The Celtics still took eventual Eastern Conference champs to seven games. Now they have Garnett back, and the Celtics are back in the Finals. Assuming the Lakers make it back, they need to defeat the Celtics to prove that they are back on top. I currently think the Lakers are defending champs because of an injury to Garnett. I bet the Lakers are going to get stomped on by the Celtics in the finals.

Either way, claiming the Shaq trade is the basis for this team is a re-write of history. The Lakers did what Kobe wanted, and they had to undo it by re-hiring their point guard and the coach. Kobe on his own failed. Kobe running the show failed. They had to go out and get Pau Gasol, a big man role that was filled by Shaq. It is true that Shaq is now past his prime and is not going to be a cog in a team. But, look, Shaq was on the team with the best record in the league. He was a role player for LeBron. Could he have done that for the Lakers? Probably. In the years after the trade the Heat were the better team. Shaq has since been traded twice. The Lakers had lots of other opportunities to get rid of Shaq without having to miss the playoffs for one year and lose quickly in the next two.

I just can't stand ESPN's constant playing lap dog to teams like the Lakers. How did that silly article get the top billing?


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.