Opinion: The Lakers SHOULD Retire Pau Gasol’s #16

Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers

Like it or not, he played better than Dwight Howard and helped LA win championships.

When your team retires your jersey number, your greatness will forever be immortalized not just by your team and your fans but by the league that you’ve been playing for a long time. A jersey retirement ceremony is definitely an emotional occasion for any player because it means that the team is making sure that your legacy as a player will forever hang among the team’s greats. 
Just last month, the Los Angeles Lakers retired not one but two of Kobe Bryant’s jersey numbers that he wore during his 20-year stint with the Purple and Gold. And frankly, the Black Mamba deserves all of the praises that he continues to receive even though he’s long retired from the NBA. Who could score 81 points in a game? Or, who could finish his career by pouring in 60 points in his final game? Only one player did those things. His name is Kobe Bean Bryant.
Back in the 2007-2008 season, the league was shocked when the Memphis Grizzlies traded Pau Gasol and a draft to the Lakers in exchange for 4 players which include KWAME BROWN and the draft rights to Marc Gasol. That trade benefited the Lakers early on as they went on to the NBA Finals that season only to lose to the Boston Celtics in 6 games. But, the Lakers came back stronger, winning the next two NBA championships, with the last one being against the Celtics in a series that went to a classic Game 7 at Staples Center.
The Lakers then parted ways with their Spanish giant as Gasol bounced from the Chicago Bulls until finding a new home with the San Antonio Spurs where he recently signed a 3-year deal. Unfortunately, Gasol’s numbers have been on a downhill drive as he’s only averaging 10 points and 8 rebounds this season. He’s the 4th leading scorer of the Spurs behind LaMarcus Aldridge, Kawhi Leonard and Rudy Gay.
After beating the Spurs for their third straight win, current Lakers Head Coach Luke Walton has said that the Lakers should indeed retire Pau Gasol’s #16.

Question: Should the Lakers retire #16 beside #8 and #24?

While it’s debatable that Pau Gasol isn’t among the best players to play for the Purple and Gold, just imagine if he wasn’t traded to Hollywood back in 2008, would the Lakers have gone to 3 straight Finals and won 2 NBA championships during that span of time? Nope!
Frankly, this pundit on wheels really thinks that Pau Gasol’s number should be retired by the Lakers for one good reason: he helped Kobe Bryant win 2 more championships while averaging 18 points for 3 seasons. 
Statistically, Pau is ranking among the greats of the Lakers. He’s in the 9th place in the all-time’s rebounding average while he’s also in 7th place in the blocks per game.

Conclusion

While Pau Gasol has been repeatedly criticized for his being “soft” on defense, there’s no denying the fact that he was fully utilized by Phil Jackson during their stint together in LA and it produced 2 championships. Is Pau among the Lakers’ great? Debatable. Does he deserve a jersey retirement ceremony? Definitely. 

A Wheeler’s Opinion: Lonzo Ball Should Come off the Bench

Given his struggles offensively, Lonzo doesn’t deserve to start a game

Fortunately, Lonzo Ball will remain a starter. For now.
Despite not playing, Lonzo Ball in the 4th quarter during the past two games, despite going to Jordan Clarkson for the fourth quarter, one thing is certain for Head Coach Luke Walton: “He’s our starting point guard”
Okay. While this basketball pundit on wheels respects the decision of Luke Walton to keep his prized but horribly shooting rookie in the starting five, it’s a complete waste of minutes, of possessions, of opportunities. Why? Let’s run some comparisons between Lonzo Ball and Jordan Clarkson:

Lonzo Ball

  • 9 points per game- 30% field goal shooting and 23% from the three-point line
  • 6.9 assists per game- leads the team
  • 2.7 turnovers per game- leads the team

Jordan Clarkson

  • 15 points per game- 49% field goal shooting and 38% from the three-point line
  • 2.9 assists per game 
  • 1.9 turnovers per game
Okay, there’s no doubt that Lonzo Ball is seasoned to become one of the most exciting playmakers in the league in the coming years. He’s currently averaging almost 7 assists per night and he can definitely create more opportunities for his teammates. 
However, you cannot simply rely on your playmaking abilities to lead your team to victories. You need to score more especially when the team needs a basket and none of your teammates are open. Sure, Lonzo Ball exploded for 29 points against a bad team but up to this point, he hasn’t shown any sign of consistency especially when it comes to his shooting. 

Conclusion

Luke Walton has already decided to keep Lonzo Ball in the starting five, for now. But if Lonzo Ball does continue to struggle offensively, how many defeats will the Lakers need to face before Coach Walton realizes that yes, Lonzo Ball NEEDS to come off the bench, for now? 

Coach Luke Will Keep 15-man Regular Season Roster

The maximum number allowed by the NBA are fifteen players.  Head coach Luke Walton intends on keeping the roster for the 2016-17 Lakers season the maximum, hinting at two more cuts according to Mike Bresnahan of Spectrum SportsNet.

The Los Angeles Lakers waived forward Zach Auguste, guard Julian Jacobs, and forward Travis Wear last week and the Lakers continued their preseason with 17. The backcourt all but appears set with D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Lou Williams, Jose Calderon, and Marcelo Huertas. However, the frontcourt still has some question marks around which players will make the roster.

Behind Julius Randle and Larry Nance Jr., the power forward position needs to be solidified. It is likely Brandon Ingram and Luol Deng will be spending time at the four, but the Lakers would like to have more depth available.

It appears the team will be choosing from Yi Jianlian, Metta World Peace, and Thomas Robinson. As World Peace hopes to provide another season of his veteran presence, Jianlian is attempting an NBA return and Robinson is looking to be on his sixth team since being drafted in 2012.

Position, Number, Player
F / C   28  Tarik Black
F  3  Anthony Brown
G  5  José Calderón
G  6  Jordan Clarkson
F  2  Luol  Deng
G  9  Marcelo Huertas
F  14  Brandon Ingram
F / C  11 Yi  Jianlian
C  20  Timofey Mozgov
F  7  Larry Nance Jr.
F  30  Julius Randle
G  1  D’Angelo Russell
G  23  Lou Williams
G / F  0 Nick Young
C  40  Ivica Zubac
F  37 Metta World Peace
F 15 Thomas Robinson

New Season, New Headquarter and Practice Facility for the Lakers

Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, Jordan
Clarkson. D’Angelo Russell and Ivica Zubac

The under-construction UCLA Health Training Center will be the new home of the Lakers and Development League’s D-Fenders. It is scheduled to open in the fall of 2017. The Lakers will own their new building rather than lease space, as they do now from the NHL’s LA Kings.

Lakers COO Tim Harris said that it is not a sponsorship. It is a true partnership with UCLA. Not only the team will have their new practice facility, UCLA Health will also serve as the exclusive in-game health provider.

“The new building is three times the size of the one we’re in now. It’s got state-of-the-art everything,” coach Luke Walton said.

Miss Jeanie Buss, and the mayor of El Segundo was also at the event.

Source: Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Daily News

The Kobe Bryant-less Lakers Tip Off and 2016-17 Schedule

The Kobe Bryant-less roster tips off at Staples Center on October 26 against the Houston Rockets. Life without the Black Mamba is now a reality for the LA Lakers.

The No. 2 pick Brandon Ingram and No. 32 Ivica Zubac of the 2016 NBA Draft, Coach Luke Walton, Timofey Mozgov, Luol Deng and Jose Calderon will make their debut in purple and gold.

Fourteen of their games will be nationally televised and we sure do not want to miss some of this season’s highlights:

Nov. 4 vs. GSW- Kevin Durant as a warrior debut at Staples Center.

Dec. 16 and PHI: fans of these two teams will finally see the No. 1 pick Brandon Ingram and No. 2 pick Ben Simmons competing for the first time in the regular season of the NBA.

Dec. 25 VS. LAC: Lakers will play at home on Christmas Day for the second straight year. But before that, the boys will be on the road for twelve days. Eastern Conference’s top three playoff seeds from last year: Cleveland, Miami and Toronto as their opponents will highlight their games away from Los Angeles.

Feb. 3 and BOS: NBA’s greatest rival teams collide. The two greatest franchises in the NBA as well. One of the Lakers’ annual Grammy road trip highlights will be this this game.

March 19 vs. CLE: LeBron and the defending champs come to Los Angeles for the only time.

We have pictured a roster without Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neil, etc.  I think we can picture one without Kobe Bryant.  But he will forever be missed.  Let’s go Lakers!

Check out the full Lakers 2016-17 Schedule HERE.

Source: Los Angeles Lakers and the NBA’s official website

Kerr takes leave due to back surgery

Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr will take a leave of absence as he recovers from back surgery and will be replaced on an interim basis by Luke Walton.

The Warriors announced Thursday that Kerr will need time off for rehabilitation and recovery. Kerr underwent back surgery to repair a ruptured disc in late July and had follow-up surgery in September.

“After the first two days of training camp, I realized I need to take a step back and focus on my rehabilitation in order to be ready for the grind of another NBA season,” Kerr said in a statement. ”As I noted last week, my summer was difficult and no fun due to the multiple back surgeries. At this point, I simply want to get healthy and back to my normal daily routine on and off the court.”