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Laker Thoughts
by Milan Babic

These are my Laker thoughts for the season so far:

Showtime is a thing of the past. This team wins ugly and loses really ugly.

The concept of team defense is not there. They defend ok, but are working way to hard in order to make up for constant breakdowns.

There is no ball movement on offense. There should be plenty of opportunities for weak-side looks once the ball goes into Shaq, but everyone just stands around in the set offense.

So no defense, no fast break opportunities, and a lousy half-court offense means close games and no blowouts against much weaker opposition.

Nick Van Exel is not a true point guard. He should be a shooting guard... on another team.

Kobe Bryant should be in Western civilization 101 at Duke right now. I can't see how his talent will develop when he won't get any quality minutes in the near future.

The good news is that Cedric Ceballos is coming back. The bad news is that there isn't a spot on the team for his type of play right now.

If Elden Campbell is worth $49 million, I wish I were 6' 11".

Bring Magic back. Let him play the point. Imagine him and Byron Scott in the backcourt together again. Doesn't sound too bad right now, does it?

Oh well, the Lakers are in first place right now, and will probably end up there in this watered down league called the NBA.

Author: Milan Babic at FILM-HVFS18-BURBANK

Date: 12/17/96 12:42 PM

Priority: Normal

Subject: More Laker Thoughts...

More thoughts on these guys we call the Lakers:

Okay, maybe I was a bit too critical last time, but I had just watched a game where they had scored 79!

Outside of the BVHV "Mickey in Heat" B-Ball team's last game, it was the worst basketball game I have ever seen at any level.

The best basketball game I ever watched was the 1982 LA City High School championship game between Crenshaw and Manual Arts.

It matched two of the best players yet to come out of LA: Duane Polee of Manual Arts and Gary Malone on of Crenshaw.

Neither of these guys ever made it to the NBA (Polee went to USC and then to Pepperdine, Maloneon played for UCLA--all PAC 10 I think), but that game was awesome in both team and individual play (the point guard for Crenshaw is still the fastest guy I have ever seen dribble a ball up and down a court).

My point is that you do not necessarily need marquis, all-world players to field a great and entertaining basketball team. (Also see UCLA Bruins for further proof of this).

The Lakers are 18 and 7 right now and in first place in the Pacific. If they keep that pace up, they will win...59 games. Big deal!

The Bulls, who they play tonight, won 70, or something like that last year. Even last year's Shaq-less Lakers won 55.

So, for $120 million they will get four more wins. Do the math--that's $30 million for each game of marginal improvement! What a deal!

And parking now costs $10 at the Forum (What a dump).

This Laker team better improve and in a hurry. Tonight they play, what I still consider to be the best and most entertaining team in basketball. So, this game should be a good indicator of where they are.

Note: The Lakers are four and one in the last five years in Chicago. Oh, again that was the Shaq-less Lakers.

Author: Milan Babic at FILM-HVFS18-BURBANK

Date: 12/18/96 11:44 AM

Priority: Normal

Subject: The Laker Dell-bacle

The Lakers have Greg Norman to thank for sparing them the worst breakdown loss in all of sports this year.

Being up 18 with only a quarter of basketball left to play usually should mean a victory, but these Lakers have proven that they have the uncanny ability to clutch defeat out of the jaws of victory.

You really can't blame the players this time (however, if they could just make a free throw this thing would have been over), this lastest gem belongs to the coach.

All I want to know is one simple little thing...IS DELL HARRIS ON CRACK?!?!?!?

If Kobe Bryant can't get any minutes against Sacramento, what's he doing in there against the champs. At one point, Dell had three rookies on the floor at the same time against Jordan and Pippin.

Albeit, the lead was 22 points at the was only 12 by the time he got the rocks out.

Dell-baby, a 22 point lead is analogous to your chess opponent losing his queen. All you need to do is trade moves and you win. Phil Jackson didn't make any substitutions, so why did you?

It's time the Lakers got themselves a coach with some vision. Heck, their announcer Stu Lance could do a better job. But what a crazy idea that would be, bringing in an announcer to do the coach's job.

Wait a minute...wasn't Pat Riley once Chick's announcing side kick... Hmm.

Milan Babic

Los Angeles, California

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