It doesn’t get any more iconic than being “The Logo.”
So it seems fitting that the Lakers are going to honor Jerry West — the legendary Lakers player and general manager — with a statue in Star Plaza outside Staples Center. The statue will be unveiled All-Star Weekend (which is at Staples this year).
West will join Magic Johnson and broadcaster Chick Hearn as Lakers with statues. Also out there are Wayne Gretzky and Oscar De La Hoya. Yes, Oscar De La Hoya.
West the player was part of the legendary Lakers Big Three of the 60s —West, Elgin Baylor and Wilt Chamberlain. They changed the game with their combination of skills, that combo never won a title because of Bill Russell and the Celtics. West got his title as a player in 1972 (with Chamberlain, not Baylor). Still, we are talking about a 14 time All-Star who averaged 27 points a game. Nicknamed Mr. Clutch because of his shooting. A gold medal from the 1960 games. A gimme Hall-of-Famer. One of the 50 best to ever play the game. An icon.
West the general manager took over a good Lakers team and made the little moves — hello Mychal Thompson, AC Green, Glen Rice, Byron Scott, and on and on — that made Showtime run through the 80s. Then swindled Charlotte out of future Staples Center statue guy Kobe Bryant and lured Shaquille O’Neal to Los Angeles to form another dynasty. Most great players are not great judges of talent (we’re looking at you, MJ) but West was the exception to the rule. An icon.
A guy who deserves a statue.
Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.
His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.
George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).
As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.
Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.
This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?
He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.
The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.
“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”
As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.
“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”
Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.
I think Cousins can help provide that.
I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.