With the Golden State Warriors taking on the Los Angeles Lakers tonight, Warriors World reached out to Forum Blue & Gold, the Lakers’ ESPN TrueHoop Affiliate blog, in this latest installment of 3-on-3.
1. Best moment of the Lakers season?
Ryan Cole, Forum Blue & Gold: Steve Blake’s game-winner over Dwight Howard was easily the highlight of this season. In a year where everything has seemingly gone wrong, the Lakers finally had something go right. It would prove to be the sweetest revenge that the franchise would get from Dwight Howard choosing to leave the Lakers franchise in the summer of 2013.
J.M. Poulard, Warriors World: Kobe Bryant’s return to the lineup. He looked rusty and out of sync, but watching one of the all-time greats rejoin his teammates was certainly enjoyable. Ultimately, it only lasted six games, but his return was a sign that the Lakers can still rely on him at least on some level.
Phillip Barnett, Forum Blue & Gold: I’m sure many will point to the Lakers epic win over the Houston Rockets that saw Steve Blake drill a jumper over Dwight Howard at the buzzer. I prefer to turn your attention to Nick Young’s premature celebration of a three-pointer that he didn’t make in a win over the Knicks in what many considered a must-lose game for the Lakers. That single moment of that single game captured the zeitgeist of this Lakers season wonderfully: even when things were ostensibly going well a bad break was right around the corner. This time, the bad turn was coupled with comedy.
2. Fact or fiction: Steve Nash has been a disaster in L.A.
Ryan Cole : Fact. The Lakers brought Nash in to be a key piece on a championship team, and paid him according to that plan. The Lakers have not contended since signing him, and given the constant injuries, it is safe to say that the Nash signing has certainly been a disaster. Had the Lakers paid Nash less, or given him one fewer year, I wouldn’t have this opinion. But when you give an old veteran point guard 27-million dollars over the course of three years, he has to produce. Nash hasn’t even been healthy enough to do so.
J.M. Poulard: Fact. Defense notwithstanding, Steve Nash is arguably the perfect prototype for a point guard because of his combination of skill, court vision and unselfishness. With that said, he’s been known in L.A. more so for the minutes off the court than the ones on. Nash has been injured for the better part of his career as a Laker, which makes his stay with the Purple and Gold a disastrous occurrence.
Phillip Barnett: Fiction: Steve Nash’s body has been a disaster in Los Angeles. Steve Nash probably should have never received a three-year deal worth $27 million as he approached his 40s, but hindsight is 20/20 and fretting over bad contracts isn’t going to make anything better anytime soon. Nash was brought in to run the point guard for the Lakers, and he’s had his bright moments while on the floor. He was never the ultimate answer to the Lakers problems (especially on the defensive side of the ball), but when healthy under Mike Brown (albeit it was just a few preseason games and 1.5 in the regular season), he was never given an opportunity to do his thing. Once D’Antoni was brought in, Nash was never quite himself to no fault of his own. If anything, Damian Lillard has been a bigger disaster to the Lakers than Nash has.
3. Eddie Jones or Nick Young?
Ryan Cole :Eddie Jones. He’s by far a more complete player than Young. Jones was an elite perimeter defender, and could score. While Young is very crafty and entertaining, his style of play doesn’t necessarily translate to “good” basketball. Jones is going to help teams in ways other than scoring. I’m not sure Swaggy P can do that on a consistent basis.
J.M. Poulard: Eddie Jones. Jones was unquestionably a better player for the Lakers given his two-way skills. He combined long-range shooting with impressive athleticism to turn himself into one of the better 2-guards in the league. And yet, Nick Young just seems to win you over with his charisma, style and on-court demeanor. Swaggy P acts like the best player on the court, and he takes the ridiculous shots that go along with it. Step back fade away Js are the norm for Young, and it’ll make him a memorable Laker in what has been a fairly disastrous season.
Phillip Barnett: J.M., you know this question offends every part of my being. There’s a reason LeBron James switched from 23 to 6. Eddie Jones forever.