Last season was not the most fun Pau Gasol has ever had in the NBA. Andrew Bynum and Kobe Bryant were soaking up his post touches, Mike Brown’s offense had him at the elbow and at other times as a glorified stretch four. He was not used well.
Gasol has to love the Dwight Howard for Andrew Bynum trade. For a whole lot of reasons.
Starting with he never wanted to leave Los Angeles. He likes living in a diverse city where there are touches of his native Barcelona — José Andrés’ The Bazaar for food, the weather — as well as a nice lifestyle near the beach. Now he stays (at least for a few years until his contract runs out). Now he has Kobe Bryant saying Gasol will be a Laker as long as he is there (which again is not a long-term guarantee).
But on the court Howard is a better fit with Gasol. Howard isn’t a guy just going to the block, he is also a very effective pick-and-roll big man — he shot 74 percent when he got the ball back rolling to the rim last year. And now it is Steve Nash running that play a lot of the time. Howard may stay out top, giving Gasol room to operate in the post at points. (Howard and Kobe will get touches there as well.)
Gasol will get mismatches at the four he can exploit. He will get runs with the second unit where the offense will go through him. If the Lakers do move to more of a Princeton offense, Gasol will get a lot of touches because of his passing skills.
And on defense Howard will make everything easier. He will clean up a lot of mistakes and shut down a lot of pick-and-rolls.
Don’t worry, at some point this season Kobe is going to rip Gasol to the media because Gasol will be coasting. Gasol does not bring Kobe’s nightly fire to the game.
But he does bring a lot of skills and a lot of things that were key to the Lakers winning two rings. And now maybe he will get the chance to use them rather than being forced out of his comfort zones like last year.
The Boston Celtics season has taken a turn for the worse.
During Tuesday nights opening game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, new Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward broke his leg after landing following a leaping back cut to the basket.
It became immediately apparent to those in the arena, and the broadcast angle of the left leg injury was not pretty.
Just be warned here, the resulting photo and media is pretty disgusting. I let out a big yell when I saw it live, so it’s not for the faint of heart.
This is just the most awful way to start the NBA season, for all of us. Get well soon, Gordon.
We Californians take a few things seriously. Surf reports, for one. Winemaking/tasting. Tech toys. Coming up with potential blockbuster movie franchise ideas, getting a star to buy in, then maybe or maybe not worrying about getting a decent script.
Also, In-N-Out Burger. If there is one thing all Californians can agree on, it’s that In-N-Out is the best burger chain in the world. It’s not up for debate.
Apparently Kings’ rookie De'Aaron Fox did not get that memo. He did a Q&A with Rolling Stone’s Seerat Sohi and crossed a sacred line.
“All I gotta say, you can tell everybody that lives in the state of California this: In-N-Out is not good.”
What’s your beef with In-N-Out Burger?
“Their burgers are overrated. They’re OK.”
Even Animal Style?
“Yes. People always say, you haven’t tried this. You haven’t tried that. I’m like, “Yeah, I looked up the secret menu. I’ve tried it all. It’s just not good.”
That’s controversial. What’s the best fast food spot then?
“Honestly, for me, I don’t count Chick-fil-A, because it’s way too good to be considered fast food. So I’m gonna say Wendy’s. Fat Burger in L.A. is better than In-N-Out.”
It’s this simple: Fox is flat-out wrong.
First off, Chick-fil-A is wildly overrated, so we know the taste of the 19-year-old point guard is off. Fat Burger is legit. But Wendy’s? Come on now, that’s just average.
If Fox had tried to argue Five Guys, I would have let it slide — I don’t think they’re as good, but I will admit a California bias. But Wendy’s? You lose the entire argument right there. It’s like saying Pixels was the best movie ever.
In-N-Out is the best. Fox needs to get on board with this.
It was going to be a difficult season in Chicago if everything went right — and two days before the first game of the season things have gone horribly wrong.
Bulls’ starting forward Nikola Mirotic got into a shoving match with Bobby Portis, and Portis turned and sucker-punched him, according to multiple reports.
The Bulls have confirmed the fight and have announced Mirotic suffered a concussion and maxillary fractures in his face — the upper jaw and nasal cavity area — which likely will require surgery. He is going to miss weeks of time.
Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports had more details.
Mirotic was taken to the hospital Tuesday after their shoving altercation during practice ended with an alleged cheap shot from Portis to Mirotic’s face, league sources told The Vertical. Mirotic is undergoing tests, but is expected to be out for the foreseeable future, league sources said.
Mirotic will miss weeks, according to a source, and you can be sure severe discipline from the team is coming down for Portis.
In the short term, this likely means more run for rookie Lauri Markkanen as well as just re-signed Cristiano Felicio.
Did we really expect anything else?
LeBron James was a game-time decision for the season opener in Cleveland against Boston and Kyrie Irving due to a sprained ankle. We expected he would go, but ankles can be tricky and are easy to re-injure once sprained, so the Cavs wanted to be careful.
He’s going to play. Coach Tyronn Lue made it official.
LeBron is the best player on the planet, but he can coast through the regular season at times. What teams try to avoid is giving him extra motivation… say bringing in a guy who left the team last summer on opening night. Expect full force LeBron tonight.