Sunday, 16 October 2016
#CourtsideColumn DUNKING IN L.A.
L.A.X. Welcome to Los Angeles, California. Hollywood. The home of movies and stars. Now as we make our descent on our runway, look to your left and you may see someone running like that time Leonardo DiCaprio took off from his Pan Am flight and told Tom Hanks 'Catch Me If You Can'. Ready to fly it could be a bird, a Griffin, or even a Jordan. And whose controlling all this air traffic? A man holding a basketball instead of those two ping pong bats. Some call him CP3. The Lakers almost called him theirs. Until NBA commissioner David Stern was involved in a nixing scandal, no Watergate, but no water under the bridge. See Los Angeles will always be Lakerland but in recent years from news clippings to barbershop ones the Los Angles Clippers have claimed their home town as their own. Even renaming it as the red, white and Buffalo blue have taken some of the gold gleam from the purple reigned heart of the City of Angels. But who would have thought that the retirement of one of the greatest ever, let alone the West best L.A., Kobe Bryant would be the thing that truly brought the Lakers back from the brink?
And now they're about to take Lob City...and make it theirs!
Last night in a coastal Californian clash the Lakers lost to the Western Conference champion and NBA finalist, almost Kevin Durant guranteed next seasons title, the Golden State Warriors. Nothing new there. You can see it one more time this week in preseason, or even three times in November for the season. But what you really should have seen was a reflection. From Draymond Green to Julius Randle. Superstar signing, big ticket Kevin Durant to number two lottery draft pick Brandon Ingram. And the Splash Brothers to the Swag Brodies. Sure these Laker men in the mirror may look like Warrior wannabes, but they're actually an even more run ready "death line-up" that could run this small ball revolution association into the ground.
Yeah Chris Paul's lane and alley to the big oops and "aah's" of beasts Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan may be the big L.A. blockbuster franchise to marvel at right now in Hollywood. But you don't need to go to the Venice Beach boardwalks or courts to see something more athletic, unless it's a rookie GQ photo-op shoot. All you do is have to walk across the STAPLES hall to the Lakers lockers to see that Purple and Gold men can jump too. Of course we all know the parentage and lineage of Larry Nance Jr. The nightly highlight reel is about to be a star in his own show and right, but when it comes to above the rim this man has all eyes on him like 2Pac. He should have been in the Slam Dunk Contest last season. This year he'll win it.
But junior isn't the only one who can get up. Have you seen rookie Ingram's coast to coast wingspan? They call the kid thin, but in the thick of it this buck fifty soaking wet could reach for the rim, all whilst putting all his teammates jerseys out on the line for washing...and maybe even pin his number 14 one up there in the rafters with 24 or 8 whilst he's at it. Everyone can get it and get it good. From Brown to Black, Ant and Tarik. New bigs Mozgov and Zubac. Even All-Star veteran Luol Deng still has some hop. Whilst Randle can handle the rock like that as Julius channels the good doctor. It's all going to be like the freewheeling ABA once Jose Calderon and Marcelo Huertas know whose starting the break like the first person to leave a coffee shop past putting the chairs on the table closing. That is if they don't defer to clutch Sixth Man spark shooters Nick Young and old Lou Williams mind. Of course in reality it will be the Brodie backcourt of D'Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson leading the fast break amd their still young enough to ride the rim and rock away themselves, even if they don't seem tall enough.
And when the Lakers go real small and ball out with a line-up of Clarkson, Russell, Randle and Nance Jr and Ingram flanking then it'll really be over. Talking about a revolution? This 'Death Lineup' stat sheet scout reads more like a eulogy for other teams, delivered in gold from the Buss brass. Now before you can say, "what the hell are they doing dunking in L.A." like a drunk Bran Van 3000 this franchise flipped script surprise is giving you a new Hollywood Frat Pack picture set to run and run. Until this Academy of gifted youngsters in this superhero star age become Oscar gold winners. Act up! TIM DAVID HARVEY.