Bank Shots: ESPN needs to leave LA alone
Allow me to preface this column by saying that I am in no way a “Laker hater” or have anything against them. In fact, before the season started, I predicted them to win the NBA Finals over the Miami Heat after acquiring Dwight Howard, Antawn Jamison, Jodie Meeks and Steve Nash in the offseason. I’m also a fan of Kobe, so that just about takes away any bashing that can be thrown at me as far as that goes.
Now let’s begin.
I am sick and tired of all the coverage ESPN gives the Los Angeles Lakers after every game. Win or lose, ESPN asks the same questions over and over again about the Lakers.
“What’s wrong with the Lakers?”
“Can Dwight and Kobe co-exist?”
“Does Dwight want to be a Los Angeles Laker?”
“Are the Lakers worse when Kobe shoots the ball?”
I understand that the Lakers are one of the most storied franchises in all of sports.
I understand that they have one of the greatest players of all time trying to win another ring in his final seasons. I understand that.
What I don’t understand is how a team that sits below .500 gets more attention and press than the top two teams in the same conference: the San Antonio Spurs and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
San Antonio has been one of the better teams in the league for the past decade and never gets talked about, most likely because it’s in a smaller market.
This whole ordeal is beginning to remind me of the coverage ESPN gave Tim Tebow.
Day after day, “Can Tebow play quarterback?” “Do you have a problem with Tebow showing his faith?”
Everybody already knows the answers to the questions ESPN brings up every day about the Lakers.
Mike D’Antoni is not the best coach for the Lakers. He was brought in over Phil Jackson because of his relationship with Nash.
His system, which is a “run-and-gun” system, does not fit a team that has one of the oldest rosters in the league.
Staying with the coach, D’Antoni is known for not emphasizing defense. When he was the head coach of Phoenix, they weren’t known for defense, and when he was the head coach of the Knicks, they weren’t known for defense either.
And, staying with a lack of defense, Nash doesn’t even know the definition of defense. Watching him “guard” other point guards is humorous.
Kobe and Dwight can co-exist, but people have to realize that Dwight is playing with a torn labrum and a back that still isn’t fully healed after off-season surgery.
It’s also known that Los Angeles was not Dwight’s top preference when he wanted a trade out of Orlando.
So no, ESPN, it does not appear that Dwight wants to remain a Los Angeles Laker.
And no, the Lakers are not worse when Kobe shoots the ball more than anyone else on the team.
Kobe needs to shoot the ball because the other players on the team, for a good part of the season, haven’t been scoring (aside from the few games where Kobe racked up assists when his teammates made shots). Why bother asking if the best player on the court shouldn’t shoot the ball so much?
Stephen A. Smith has also done multiple interviews with Kobe and Dwight since the season started asking the same questions.
The whole situation is getting out of hand.
I’m sure there are other storylines in the NBA that can be talked about.
As a matter of fact, I’m sure there’s other storylines in sports altogether that can be talked about during some of the Laker segments.
ESPN, let the Lakers breathe a little.