Tuesday Ramblings : Los Angeles Lakers Slump, Calipari Scores Big

Sid SinghContributor IApril 1, 2009

CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 31:  Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers watches as his teammate Lamar Odom #7 reacts to a call against the Charlotte Bobcats during their game at Time Warner Cable Arena on March 31, 2009 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

I don’t understand college basketball.
John Calipari heads to Kentucky and no one bats an eyelash.
Yet, if a player wanted to switch teams, say because he wanted to restore the glory of a fallen school and get a pay raise for doing so, he would have to sit out an entire year.
Plus, college basketball players don’t get paid (err, at least not publicly.)
I’m just saying. There is a weird double standard going on here, and I’m not entirely sure why.

Kobe Bryant is going through one of the worst slumps of his career. Considering the Lakers are losing a lot of games that they should win as a result, it’s surprising that this hasn’t received greater press.
Still, I can also understand why there isn’t a lot of alarm right now. The Lakers have home-court advantage already throughout the Western Conference. They also probably can’t catch up to the Cavs for the Eastern Conference.
Thus, there isn’t a whole lot to play for, which could be part of the reason for the slump.

There is a bigger problem that the Lakers are dealing with—their bench without Odom has been terrible. They have no direction on offense, and are basically guaranteed to give up whatever lead the starters have acquired.
Jordan Farmar is the person that I blame the most. The kid shoots every time he touches the ball, and basically throws the offense out of sync when he does so.
Still, Sasha Vujacic is eternally streaky, Luke Walton is smart, but hopelessly not athletic, and I hate Josh Powell.
I should have something more constructive to say as a basketball analyst about Powell, but the Laker fan in me gets in the way. I hate the guy. Every once and a while he has a good game, but for the most part he just irritates me. I cannot wait for Bynum to get healthy so I never have to see him in a game for more than five minutes.

In other LA news, Isiah Thomas almost becoming a member of the Clippers has become huge news, and I think its time I said my piece about the man.
I just feel bad for him. He entered the Knicks in a no-win situation. That team was full of bad contracts and aging players. He drafted well, and continuously tried to trade for players he felt could make a difference.
He swung and he missed—pretty badly, sure. Still, he tried. Plus as a coach, he certainly had his moments.
My ultimate point being that Thomas took over from Scott Layden, who did a terrible job as well. Yet, it is Thomas who has become the reviled one even though Thomas at least has some bright moments—in the form of good, late draft picks.

Garry Sheffield was cut today. He is sitting at 499 homeruns. I generally believe that athletes should choose when they should retire, but if, hypothetically, Sheffield were to ask me what he should do, I would tell him to retire.
He’s been injured for much of the last two seasons, and his long term health could be at risk if he decides to play again. A couple of homeruns won’t greatly improve his chances of making it into the hall of fame, because voters would assume that the numbers are inflated anyway due to the steroid era.
Besides, Sheffield admitted to using the both the cream and the clear so his chances of making the Hall of Fame aren’t great anyway, unless they change their mind about PEDs.
If he does want to keep playing, I would suggest that he sign with the Mariners. They have tons of money and could use even an average hitter for their DH spot. It isn’t going to be the type of situation that has him going out with a World Series ring or even being semi-competitive, but it does give him a chance to keep playing baseball in a relaxed environment.
Plus, if he can become a team leader and helps his young teammates improve their game, maybe he convinces voters he has done enough for the game in general to get into the Hall.
Essentially, I’m imploring him to do what Bernie Mac did in Mr. 3000. Not original, but that’s the game plan.

Jay Cutler is now officially on the trading block. As a Raider fan, I could not be more delighted. The Broncos had a poor defense and no running game. Their best wide receiver is a head case, and they are now dealing with a youngm inexperienced coaching staff. Their one bright spot was their young quarterback Cutler who showed extreme promise.
Obviously he isn’t perfect, but if you’re a middling team trying to convince yourself that—I don’t know, off the top of my head—Shaun Hill is your quarterback for the season, don’t you owe it to your fans to try and sign him?
Honestly, I’m surprised that 20 teams aren’t going after him.

That’s it for this week. The ramblings are a bit shorter than usual, but on the Brightside, there is another column coming out on Friday. for the first time in a while.  So this is it until then.