Tag: Indiana Pacers

Los Angeles Lakers v Portland Trail Blazers

Kobe Bryant, can this Laker team make the playoffs? “Of course it can. Absolutely.”


Kobe Bryant’s confidence is legendary.

So when Yahoo Sports’ Marc Spears asked this question, he had to know the answer.

With Kobe back, a few solid veterans such as Brandon Bass and Lou Williams, plus young stars like D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle, can this Lakers team make the playoffs in a brutal Western Conference?

“Of course it can. Absolutely. We have talented players in their respective positions. We have some really young players. How exactly will the pieces of the puzzle fit? We really don’t know. We are going to [training] camp trying to piece this together just like every other team does. We have to figure out what our strengths are, figure out what our weaknesses are. And every time we step on the court we are going to try to hide our weaknesses and step up to our strengths.”

What did you expect him to say?

He’s wrong, but what did you expect him to say? It’s what GM Mitch Kupchak said as well.

I can hear the comments from the blind faith in Kobe/Lakers fans now, “everyone has doubted Kobe his entire career, he has proved everybody wrong. He will do it again.” That nobody believed in Kobe is a myth in the first place, but even he can’t overcome these hurdles.

Lakers won 21 games last season, and last season it took 45 wins to make the playoffs in the West — and that number likely goes up next season. The Lakers will be improved, but 24 games improved? Have you seen the West?

There are a lot of questions to answer and a lot of development that has to happen for these Lakers. Russell may develop into a quality point guard one day, but he’s a rookie with a steep learning curve (and he showed how steep at Summer League). Randle needs to diversify his offensive game. Clarkson is still growing and will have to work more off the ball. There are new players to fit in the mix with Bass, Williams and Roy Hibbert.

The real question is defense, the Lakers were terrible last season and likely not much improved this year. Hibbert was a rock-solid defensive anchor a couple of years ago in Indiana, but on a team with quality perimeter defenders (Paul George, Goerge Hill) who funneled drives right to him and allowed him to use his size. The Lakers lack those kinds of perimeter defenders, plus Hibbert has to show he can recognize plays and move in the same way he used to.

The bottom line is you look at the playoffs in the West and see the Warriors, Spurs, Clippers, Rockets, Thunder (with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook back), Grizzlies and Pelicans are locks. That’s seven of the eight seeds. Which leaves the Lakers trying to beat out an improved Jazz team, the Mavericks, Suns, Trail Blazers, and potentially the Kings for that one final playoff spot.

Sorry Kobe, but the 36 wins the Lakers will rack up next season will not be enough.

Jerry Colangelo: Paul George will attend USA Basketball minicamp meeting, won’t play

Team USA Showcase

Paul George has stated and restated his desire to play in the 2016 Olympics after his devastating leg injury in preparation for the 2014 World Cup.

So, you better believe the Pacers star will be at USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo’s mandatory minicamp next week.

Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:

I’m a little surprised George won’t play.

He has even more of an assured Olympic spot than LeBron James, who practically has one for the taking. So, George certainly doesn’t need to get on the court.

But he looks healthy, and he’s not coming off a long playoff run or even much of a regular season. The minicamp could help him prepare for 2015-16.

Alas, he might have a scheduling conflict. Or maybe he’s just not as healthy yet as he appeared in a quick video. George certainly didn’t look like himself in his brief return last season.

Either way, George remains on track for the 2016 U.S. Olympic basketball team – more so than any other player.

Pacers’ Jordan Hill arrested for reckless driving, clocked at 107 mph

Phoenix Suns v Los Angeles Lakers

New Pacers’ center Jordan Hill was driving in excess of 100 mph on a Georgia highway and was arrested for reckless driving on Tuesday, according to multiple reports.

Here is footage from the police dashboard video camera, via WSB in Atlanta.

The Indy Star added this detail.

According to the police report, Hill was taken into custody Tuesday afternoon. A police officer from Alpharetta, Georgia, wrote that Hill explained he was “in a hurry.”

Reckless driving in Georgia is a misdemeanor, and while he could get a $1,000 fine and a year in jail, this is not going to come to that.

Pacers’ president Larry Bird released a statement.

Expect either the league or the team (or both) to give some kind of punishment to Hill, likely a short suspension at the start of the season.

Hill averaged 12.0 points and 7.9 rebounds a game for the Lakers last season, and signed a one-year, $4 million deal with Indiana to replace Roy Hibbert at the center spot. (Hibbert is now with the Lakers.)