If you said anything about Ron Artest, no matter how outrageous and off the wall, would people really have trouble believing it? For example, Ron Artest recently expressed unhappiness that Pluto is no longer considered a planet. He will be getting his own reality show on E! entitled “They Call Me Crazy”. Since he’s a producer on the show, you have to figure the title was approved, if not created, by him. A New York native, Artest played at St. John’s University, and then played professionally for Chicago, Indiana, Sacramento, Houston and now Los Angeles. This 6’7″ 30 year old small forward will be starting his second season with the Lakers; he will be more experienced in the triangle offense, but he should not be the primary or secondary option within it. Prior to last season, there was some concern with how Ron Ron would fit in and what his impact on team chemistry would be, but I think the end results from the playoffs were pretty good. As long as he continues to play lock-down defense and to make a few key shots in the playoffs, it’s all anyone could ask from Artest. Of course, he continues to be an excellent interview and active on Twitter; his lack of predictably is what make him entertaining. As the sole Laker not to participate in the ring ceremony at the beginning of last season, one hopes he’ll be even hungrier for a second ring this season. He has committed to selling the ring from last season as a fundraiser to help provide for more psychologists and therapists in schools:
Ron Artest on Pluto:
My prediction is Derek Lamar Fisher will hang’em up after his current contract expires in three years, when he’ll be almost 40. You didn’t think he was going to retire now, did you? After winning his 5th NBA Championship with Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson in his 11th year as a Laker, there is no reason to think he won’t continue playing for more rings. This 6’1″ 36 year old was born in Little Rock, Arkansas and played there in college; he will be playing his 15th year in the pros this season. Fisher has numerous detractors; no one would argue that he is the best point guard in the league. He is just the best point guard for the Lakers, providing leadership and clutch shooting. He has the highest 3-point field goal percentage in NBA Finals history, and is second in made 3-pointers. The good thing about Fisher slowing down as he ages is that he wasn’t exactly quick in his youth, so the decline is less drastic than with speedier players like Allen Iverson. And at least Fisher is durable, having played every game in 7 of the last 8 seasons and averaging 80 games in the 12 seasons he didn’t have a serious injury. With the Lakers having an excellent back-up for Fisher, the goal should be to limit his minutes during the regular season and have him well rested for the playoffs. Fisher is president of the National Basketball Players Association, and Theo Ratliff is vice president.
Lamar Odom, a 6’10” 30 year old forward remains the most enigmatic of players. He may give you a double double in points and rebounds, or he may have so few as you can count them on one hand. I believe his inconsistent play frustrates fans, his teammates, coaches, and management. The double-edged sword here is that his potential, like Andrew Bynum’s, is great enough that every trade rumor features him, and his salary is great enough that you could envision the Lakers doing it. Growing up in New York, his favorite player was Magic Johnson. And in his youth, Odom was an AAU teammate of Elton Brand and Ron Artest; his friendship with Ron-Ron would be another reason to keep him a Laker. Lamar was drafted by the Clippers after playing at Rhode Island, then spent one year in Miami. He came to the Lakers with Brian Grant and Caron Butler when Shaq was traded to the Heat. This will be his 12th season in the NBA. He is the Lakers 6th man and his main role is back-up to Pau Gasol at power forward position. He’s also capable of playing minutes at the small forward. Last season, he played in all 82 games, 38 as a starter, and averaged 11 points and 10 rebounds. This summer he was a major contributor on the US Team that won the gold medal in Turkey. He also has a bronze medal from the 2004 Athens Olympics. In case you hadn’t heard, he’s married to Khloe Kardashian.
Over a period of several weeks this summer, I expected to hear that Shannon Brown would be playing for the Knicks or some other team this season. After all, he had opted out of his contract after contributing to the Laker’s back-to-back championships. There were rumors circulating of bigger salaries being offered. He had to know the Lakers, faced with having the league’s highest payroll, would already be making a hefty payment to the league because of the luxury tax. So in the end, after he received an extra year, a little more money and the privilege of continuing to get to play on a contending team, one concludes that it worked out well for all parties involved. I was pleasantly surprised, although the argument could be made that Brown is not indispensable. This 6’4″ 24 year old will be starting his fifth season in the pros after playing at Michigan State. He will have the primary function of backing up Kobe at shooting guard. NBA analysts talk about the Lakers being neither young nor athletic. Shannon Brown must be considered the exception to that statement, because of his youth and his vertical leap of 44.5″. Last season he played in every game, averaging 21 minutes and 8 points for the regular season and 14 minutes and 5 points for the playoffs. One hopes that with improved production from all off the bench, each starter will have a chance for more rest during the regular season and be in better physical condition when the playoffs start.
And after his playing days, Shannon can continue with his side interest of guest starring in music videos.