As a long time fan of the Phoenix Suns I hate the Los Angeles Lakers. By Transitive Property of Sporting Hate, that easily extends Kobe Bean Bryant with all his jaw jutting, lip pouting, (alleged) Colorado crime escaping, shot making, foul taking, and jersey sucking ways. And now, he's been felled by a (probable) torn Achilles.
But let's face it, that mutha-fracker can flat out ball. He defines the phrase "Iron Will" and when there was a whisper of a chance the Suns might have hope to sign him in 2004 we were all crossing our fingers that he would come to Phoenix. We got a pretty decent consolation prize with Two Time MVP Steve Nash -- but still no rings. And Kobe means rings.
So now we only hate him a little bit more for the signing that never happened (and probably never had a snow ball's chance in Phoenix to happen in the first place).
For the first time in his 17-year career, Kobe is down with a serious injury. He says he'll be back so he will be back. But even Kobe in an EPIC 3am pain pilled induced Facebook rant isn't exactly sure what that means.
In the mean time, there's the very real issue of the Lakers making or missing the playoffs and the Suns getting or not getting their lottery pick. Here's where that stands.
- Kobe went down with only three minutes left in the game Friday night against the Warriors. (Because, of course, he couldn't go down earlier in the game and perhaps help the Suns just a bit more.)
- The Lakers squeaked out that win thanks in no small part to a HUGE 50-16 discrepancy in free throw attempts. Thanks, David Stern!
- (I don't really believe in NBA officiating conspiracy theories, but how many times in recent weeks have the Lakers gotten ALL THE CALLS?)
- The Jazz also won at home, beating the T-Wolves but they are now full game behind the Lakers.
- The Jazz have two games left, both on the road: Monday at Minnesota and Wednesday in Memphis.
- The Jazz have the tie-breaker, but thanks to their own inability to not suck, need to find one extra win than the Lakers in the next two games. Even if the Lakers drop both games, the Jazz still need to win one and I have no confidence in their ability to do that.
So, that sets up Kobe's final revenge on the Suns. If his injury comes a week earlier, or perhaps even an hour earlier, the Suns chances of getting that extra pick are much greater.
But it's Kobe so even in horrific injury he's still breaking our hearts.
Get well soon?
Yeah, at the end of the day, the NBA is a better place with Kobe in it so despite my legal obligation to hate him...I'm not ready to see him go.
The flirtation with the concept of a "Super Team" has consumed sports over the years, dating back to the New York Yankees (forever), to the mid-2000's Los Angeles Lakers, and to the present day NBA. Some have tried and failed while others have succeeded, but the process is fascinating, which is what makes the 2013 Phoenix Mercury a must watch for basketball fans in general.
In large-part that is due to the re-signing of forward DeWanna Bonner creating, for the Mercury, an in house super team with tremendous potential.
"We are thrilled to re-sign DeWanna and keep our core group intact for the next several years," said Mercury President and Chief Operating Officer Amber Cox. "We expect DB to be a cornerstone of this franchise for years to come."
Per team policy the terms of the deal were not disclosed other than the "multi-year deal" part which ensures that Bonner will join Candice Dupree, Samantha Prahalis, Penny Taylor, and of course All-World star Diana Taurasi. That onslaught alone is a championship worthy team or at the very least in the conversation. Taurasi, Taylor, and Dupree have all played at an all-star level throughout their careers, after last season they have added a fourth star to that group with a potential fifth star on the way.
The addition of the No. 1 Overall pick (likely between Brittney Griner, Elle Della Donne, or Skylar Diggins) and this is a ceiling-less team.
Make no mistake; Bonner became a star last year.
She was asked to carry the load and did that and more. Last season was a season of tough losses through injuries, but was more about the ascension of Bonner as she eclipsed her career-highs in points (20.6), rebounds (7.2), assists (2.2), steals (1.7), free-throws (5.75-6.75 per game), three-point shooting (52 made), and total field goals (212 made) showing her full and diverse overall game.
Offensively the workload will not be solely on the shoulders of Bonner next year as it was this past season. The most important fact is that she is capable of carrying the load for the entire season.
The offensive balance pacing the ball with the four potent scorers will be a gift and a curse for Head Coach Corey Gaines as he will have to sell the team concept to his stars while translating it to the court.
With this group that should not be a problem.
Taurasi is the most selfless star in the game while Taylor is used to being a second option, Dupree has done the dirty work, and Bonner is comfortable with her previous role as the super sub off of the bench.
Unlike other "Super Teams" this team has collectively played together in the past, but has evolved with Bonner and will continue that evolution with the addition of the No. 1 pick in this year's draft.
This team can be as good as its collective parts acceptance their slightly reduced roles to make the team a better overall team.
Bonner is the x-factor and the key to how great this team can be. An accepted role coming off the bench as the torch is passed to her as the new face of the team could result in championships as the veterans' transition out. Championships.
When your best player is somewhere between the 10th and 20th best at his position - PG Goran Dragic - and your top draft pick is in the top 6 overall it makes sense that, despite it being a down year, whoever the Phoenix Suns draft will instantly become the most talented player on the team.
Yet, when David Stern calls out a name in the first round of the 2013 NBA Draft for the Phoenix Suns, that player will have the greatest upside and talent on the team.
The Suns' current draft position is #3 overall, but with the lottery, that could move to anywhere from #1 to #6.
DraftExpress is not looking at team rosters for "fit" yet, but I still think the Suns would do well to bring in Marcus Smart despite having Goran Dragic on the roster. Smart is a big combo guard that gets to the line, is a team leader, and plays relentless defense. Having him and Dragic running a two-headed attack would be a tough matchup for opponents. Remember the days when the Suns forced their opponent to play weird lineups to match up with the Suns? Those days could be back with a Smart/Dragic backcourt.
Ford already has Noel and Smart off the board with the top 2 picks, leaving the Suns with sweet-shooting Ben McLemore. Clearly, McLemore could be a Joe Johnson type that scores consistently on jumpers and screens. Ben's problem is that he's not an "alpha" and the Suns desperately need an alpha next season.
Kris has Nerlens Noel dropping out of the top spot due to knee concerns and going to the Suns. Maybe that's wishful thinking? While Noel's lower body is wafer-thin, he is sturdy nonetheless at 225 at only 18 years old. Noel has tremendous defensive potential and is a clean slate on the offensive end. He will only get better and could be the only contender of the draft to be a perennial all-star and/or player-of-year candidate.
NBADraft.net also has Noel dropping from #1, but not all the way to #3 like Kris did. Here, the Suns get Marcus Smart again.
Not even yet paired to teams, the CBS mock draft has a whole different look and feel. Apparently, Anthony Bennett and Cody Zeller are higher-rated, while Marcus Smart doesn't even sniff the top 6.