Blake Griffin dunks on a lot of teams. Of course, it’s easy to say a lot of teams don’t have Dwight Howard protecting the rim and the Lakers shouldn’t allow this. The problem for the Lakers is their perimeter defense is so poor Howard is often trying to stop the guard driving in for a layup and the rotations to help him are often slow if they come at all. Whatever the reasons, we saw plenty of Griffin dunking on the Lakers Sunday.
The dunk above was a transition play for the Clippers where Griffin has the time in the air to change his mind and go from layup to dunk.
Below, that is a pick-and-roll with Chris Paul that illustrates the Lakers defensive woes. Paul comes off the pick and Pau Gasol does a good job switching and taking away his driving lane, forcing a midrange pull up over Gasol’s long arms that rims out. But that means Kobe Bryant is on Griffin and outside trying to draw a foul out high he doesn’t slow him at all. Howard does his job and has a body on his man While Steve Blake is in a no man’s land, not on his guy at the arc or taking away Griffin’s path. The result is a monster put back.
He will eventually warm to San Antonio and the Spurs, but for a franchise that has seen star after star push their way out of town — Chris Bosh, Vince Carter, Damon Stoudamire, and on down the list — DeRozan was the one guy who embraced the city, repped it, and not only said he wanted to stay but did just that. DeRozan was all in on Toronto and loyal, and they shipped him out anyway. It may well have been the right basketball move, but it was cold. And a lot of Raptors fans were not happy about how it went down.
DeRozan, classy as always, thanked the Raptors fans in a heartfelt Instagram post.
LeBron James has been up front about this before: He wants to play with his son LeBron Jr. for a couple of years in the NBA before retiring. That son, about to enter ninth grade, would graduate in 2022 — the year the NBA is expected to go back to allowing teams to draft players out of high school, and the year LeBron’s Laker contract ends.
(Does LeBron Jr. want this? Of course he’ll say publicly he does, but would you want your dad with you in the locker room and on the road with you when you’re an NBA rookie finally out of the house and able to explore life a little?)
Taking that to the next step, Twitter user @Shady00018 pieced together an NBA 2K mixtape of LeBron playing with his son. LeBron saw it and LOVED it.
Kawhi Leonard is a member of the Toronto Raptors now. There’s no way of getting around it. Even with rumors swirling about whether or not he will be happy in Canada, the truth is that we have already seen some embrace of Leonard in the six.
Likewise, DeMar DeRozan is a member of the San Antonio Spurs whether he likes it or not. Now, each have been seen for the first time in their new jerseys.
The only catch? It’s via a video game.
2K Games decided to tweet out new rendered images of both players in their respective jerseys. To be honest, I don’t think they look all that bad.
It’s going to feel a bit like a real life franchise mode of NBA 2K19 when we see these guys on the court in their new kits next season. But eventually we will get used to it, much in the way we will no doubt get used to LeBron James in a Los Angeles Lakers jersey or Tony Parker in a Charlotte Hornets jersey.
We’re going to have the matchup between the Raptors and the Spurs circled on our calendar next year. That is, if Leonard ends up playing in it. There still might be some doubts in that department.
Another LeBron James mural vandalized in Los Angeles
Most of Los Angeles — and the vast majority of Lakers fans — are fired up that LeBron James is coming to Los Angeles. They see a return to glory for the franchise (well, once they get the rest of the roster right… sorry Lance Stephenson).
However, there is a segment — particularly the die-hard Kobe fans — who are having trouble assimilating to the new reality.
So when an artist did a LeBron James mural near Venice in Los Angeles recently — a really well-done tribute — it was quickly vandalized. Then eventually covered up.
I’m not shocked by any of this, but it is depressing. If you’re vandalizing art, you are a cowardly buffoon.
There’s no way to really know the motivation behind the second attack, although the smart money is on it being the same as the first one — a few people think they are protecting the Lakers’ brand by not welcoming the best player on the planet to a team that hasn’t made the playoffs in five years. It’s incredibly flawed logic, but frankly flawed logic has become trendy in recent years, it can get you elected to all kinds of offices.
Credit real Lakers fans who showed up to help fix this.