5, 11, 16, 30 and 37. A seemingly random sequence of numbers which may be of little relevance outside of playing the lotto, but not to the Los Angeles Lakers. In Lakerland these four numbers may be reason to celebrate come next June. For Kobe Bryant it could be his winning of ring number five placing him just one piece of jewelry behind the recently HOF enshrined Michael Jordan on the all-time great list, for Phil Jackson it would further solidify his position as the most efficient and accomplished head coach in NBA history with 11 NBA titles, for the Laker franchise it would put them only one banner behind the Boston Celtics at 16, and for Pau Gasol (the backbone of this team) he will be only days away from turning 30 and still in his prime when the O’brien trophy is awarded to the 2010 NBA world champions.
The most peculiar and potentially costly of all these numbers is the last one, the number 37. Every few years the lotto reaches $200 million plus and inevitably office pools grow all around the country and people buy big quantities of tickets hoping they’ll be the lucky enough to hit the big one, for the Lakers the world is at stake and they’ve put five years and $33 million on a player who has been subject to more controversy than Dennis Rodman but with less hardware.
Technically there has never been anything like this guy, I say never only because no one in league history has ever gone on a 20 minute tirade pummeling basketball fans with his fists midway through a game warranting the longest non-gambling/drug related suspension in league history. He is extremely talented but more inconsistent than anything and has a reputation for putting up bad shots at the worst possible time. All things considered he is generally lucky to still warrant contract offers from teams in the NBA, however there is something undeniable to the thought that maybe he is the final piece to a mini-dynasty that’s already got the crown.
There’s multiple reason to suspect that the Lakers can keep this cannon firing at the right enemy, for one the Zen master does have his ways of harnessing aggression and attention, and their beginning to build a culture of winning again all the way through the organization so there should be more than one babysitter willing to watch wild Ron-Ron. Another pressing issue is whether or not Artest can accept being the third, fourth, or maybe even fifth scoring option on the team or can even keep the voices in his head quiet all the way through the season. Either way, when tampering with a substance as volatile as Artest there is potential for huge success or huge failure.
To get an idea of what to expect from this new addition let us examine the track record of the Lakers’ general manager Mitch Kupchak while at the wheel of the organization since the departure of Jerry West. I will not include the Pau Gasol donation from the Memphis Grizzles because trades don’t get much dirtier than that in the NBA, so that aside he brought in old dogs Gary Payton and Karl Malone (who couldn’t finish the 2004 finals), traded away Shaq (who won the 06 championship), traded for Kwame Brown (I still for the life of me cannot figure out why), let Robert Horry walk (onto long time rival San Antonio to help them win two titles), and finally traded for Trevor Ariza.
What’s amazing about this list of transactions is that the only un-questionably successful move was trading for Ariza which is now almost nearly negated by the fact that they let him walk only weeks after winning a championship with the guy. Payton, Malone, and Kwame were all simply failed experiments of Kupchak’s but the most obvious move was when he traded away the most dominant center of all-time and only received a small amount of redemption with the winning of the 2009 title. However, if for any reason the Lakers didn’t win the title this year Odom more than likely would not have been lucky enough to 파워볼사이트 receive the $33 million dollar offer he did from LA and likely would be in playing in Miami with his bride to be at which point the big red stamp of total failure would ultimately have landed on the Shaq trade. With exception of the Ariza trade Kupchak’s moves have been mediocre at best, but in Ariza there was a real diamond in the rough; a player who’s just getting into his prime, who comes up with big plays (WCF game 1 steal with 30 seconds left that arguably saved the series for LA) and big shots when his team needs them most, a true role player and defense/team first kind of guy, and as if that wasn’t enough he shot a staggering 48% from the arc in the playoffs. Artest was essentially traded for Ariza because the two swapped teams and have nearly identical contracts so apples to apples you’re getting a guy who is 24 and possess many qualities of a dynasty piece for a 29 year old drama queen who shot 27% from the arc in the 2009 playoffs.
The stakes couldn’t be higher for the Lakers and the guy wearing number 37 is going to have a lot to do with the outcome. There are many factors working against the Lakers this season such as the bulls eye that’s now drying on their backs, the new contract their often emotional/inconsistent 6th man Lamar Odom was just awarded as well as his off court activities which are sure to occupy his mind, the impending depature of Phil Jackson, how long Kobe will demand the ball until he defers to a younger more efficient Gasol? Many uncertainties face the Lakers but the very flammable Artest may well be the element that blows the roof off of a new dynasty, or he will be just another poorly timed failed experiment in the Kupchak laboratory. We shall see.