Dwight Howard or Andrew Bynum? That seems to be the question that has yet to be answered by Lakers management. Should they trade for a known superstar that can handle a team on his back or for a budding All-Star that has been having maturity issues for as long as he has been in the league?
For Lakers fans, the decision is to keep Andrew Bynum. There are multiple reasons why his name shouldn't even be on the trading block.
1. Andrew Bynum hasn't peaked yet, talent-wise.
Bynum had his best year in the 2011-2012 season which earned him a spot on the All-Star Roster. He averaged 18.7 PPG and 11.8 REB's a game.Dwight's 20.6 PPG and 14.5 REB's is still more than Bynum's, but he had to share the ball with Gasol and Bryant which limited the amount of time he had the ball in his hands.
2. Bynum can step aside and be a team player while Howard wants to be the leader.
Why would the Lakers risk a conflict with Howard and Bryant when Bryant and Bynum have already proven that they can work together and make it to the playoffs.
3. Bringing in Howard poses a risk.
Lets say that the Lakers do bring Dwight to LA. Lets say he start the season. And lets say he re-injures his herniated disk in his back. Now he's out for most of the season and the Lakers are even worse off then they were before. A good risk? I don't think so.
4. Howard's defense is superior, but that can be fixed.
By bringing in a couple key free agents, the Lakers could bolster down a strong bench which could bring them back to the Finals. I'll elaborate later.
To me (and most Laker fan I have spoken to), Bynum is a sure thing that has proven his worth to the franchise. If the Lakers really want to improve, the free agent market is where it should happen.
These are the deal(s) that LA should make this off-season.
1. O.J. Mayo to LA in sign and trade.
For those who say that OJ won't fill nay needs of LA don't watch the Lakers. What do the Lakers need? A bench scorer who give valuable resting time to Kobe? Someone who can fill it up from long range? Someone who can downright play ball? Sounds a lot like OJ Mayo. And maybe learning from Bryant might interest Mayo even more to come to Hollywood.
2. Brandon Rush to LA.
While the Lakers probably only could bring in one player with the mid-level exception, if Mayo doesn't come, Rush is a great player to fill the role. He can shoot, play D, and still help take time for Kobe.
3.Deshawn Stevenson or Jodie Meeks.
These are just some valuable guards that can play SG or PG who might be valuable to the Lakers. Meeks is a fast, energetic guard and Stevenson can shoot the 3 ball and play D. Options are good.
4. Kenyon Martin or Carl Landry.
Old, yes. But they can still contribute to a team that needs backup post players. This would also help their defense. Keep Bynum and grab Martin to secure a strong post presence.
Getting any of these players would be amazing and if the Lakers find a way to get them, they MIGHT just be better than the Heat.
If I post every time there is drama in Orlando, I wouldn't be able to sleep. This time, the drama is between the 6x All Star Center Dwight Howard and the Magic’s head coach Stan Van Gundy. The relationship between Van Gundy and Dwight has been a bumpy one to say the least. (Kardashian-esque? That might be the right word for it.) From being knocked out of the first round of the playoffs last season by the 5th seed Atlanta Hawks to the trade rumors in February and early March and the eventual 2 year resigning, there has been no real unity between anyone in the organization. On the court and in the locker room, Dwight Howard had and has been continually criticizing his teammates for not playing at the level that he thinks they can compete at. Jameer Nelson looks lost, no real bench contribution, and Jason Richardson just rolls the dice on whether he will actually try to play that night. The trade deadline drama and then to top it all off, this. Dwight Howard has been asking for the Orlando Magic to fire Stan Van Gundy. (You can read the full report on nba.com right here->http://hangtime.blogs.nba.com/2012/04/05/magic-coach-stan-van-gundy-confirms-report-dwight-howard-wants-him-gone/?ls=iref%3Anbahpt1) With Dwight on board for the next two years, what will the Magic do if they want to keep him forever?
1. Trade pieces to get a better supporting cast in the off-season.
Jameer Nelson, an underachieving point guard. Jason Richardson, an older shooting guard with a streaky shot. Hedo Turkoglu is Hedo Turkoglu. Ryan Anderson and JJ Reddick, the second and third best players on the team. That is nowhere near a championship caliber team. In fact, I’m really surprised that they are 5th in the conference. Maybe its time for Otis Smith to get trade for a solid point guard and some good pieces that can come off the bench.
2. Get a veteran.
This is kind of a 1a. sort of thing because it goes with my first point. If a Steve Nash type player joins this team and they are already a 5th seed without one of those, this would drastically change the way the Magic are right now. Locker room drama would subside, Dwight wouldn’t have to worry about not getting touches, and they would become a decent contender again.
3. Keep Dwight Howard as happy as possible.
Maybe that means fire Stan; maybe it means wait it out. Either way, keep you superstar in Orlando because Dwight Howard’s don’t come very often. If they do decide to fire Van Gundy, there are many capable coaches on the market. D’Antoni’s offensive style might suit the Magic better. Or if John Calipari wants to jump on a plane and fly to Orlando, that would be a fun team to watch.
In all, the Magic need to re-evaluate their plan. They obviously desperately want Dwight Howard in Orlando, but the Magic front office needs to actually consider what Dwight wants. Not necessarily DO everything he demands, but show him that they’ll actually consider his thoughts on a trade, a coaching change, etc. After all, the 32-22 Orlando Magic who are on a 4-game losing streak (New York, Dallas, Denver, and Detroit) just need to lose 5 more games and they could be out of the playoffs. Tonight, the drama continues as the struggling New York Knicks face Dwight and the Magic in Orlando on TNT.
Austin Rivers, one of the most exciting players this year in NCAA basketball, has declared for the 2012 NBA Draft. Starting at the SG position at Duke, Rivers put up 15.5 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 2.1 assists. He also added 1 steal but followed that with 2.3 turnovers per game. So just how would the game winner, driving, confident shooting guard hold up in the NBA.
Lets start with the positives. He is a decent shooter from the field. He clocked in 43.3% of his shots from the field and rained down 36.5 % of his trey's. He has also shown his late game abilities by hitting a game winner against North Carolina. He could try and improve his shooting, since most shooting guards in the NBA will hit way higher percentages of their shots. Another positive is that he is a great ball handler, with impressive crossovers and hesitations, but that will only get him so far.
At 6"5 with a 6"7 wingspan, he could be a very long and versatile defender, but did not show commitment all year round for Duke. He can keep up with smaller guard and stick with the bigger ones, but that's it. Not many steals and blocks were non-existent at 0% on the year.
For me though, this is all about what he can improve on. First of all, his free throw percentage is horrible. Averaging 5.4 free throws a game, he only knocks in about 65.8 percent. Most, if not all guards should be near at least 80%. Granted its college, but he does take quite a lot of free throws a game for being on the court 33.2 minutes a game.
Another downside to Rivers is that he is very thin for a NBA shooting guard. To me, it looks like he hasn't been focusing in the weight room as much as he should, which might reveal something about his character. Or maybe he's just skinny, who knows.
The main thing that bothers me though is how he is just a scorer, and that's it. He has shown at Duke that he would rather put on a head of steam and try to finish at the basket instead of passing the ball out to the wing. He rarely can dish out assists and teams might want to try him at the point position, where he might struggle.
Personally, I think Rivers could use another year in college. His basketball IQ is high on the offensive end, but lacks on the defensive end, passing, and rebounding. He could also use that year to grow into his body, which when he does, he would be even more of a threat. The NBA might be a little too much for him right now, as he has barely seemed to change from his high school days, besides his shooting percentage. If he stayed in college, he might even be the #1 pick later on in the future.