In what probably amounts to the best Lakers news of the week, Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum were named to the 1st and 2nd All-NBA teams, respectively. From the press release:
Bryant, an All-NBA First Team selection for the seventh straight season, becomes the active leader for most First-Team nods with 10...Bryant’s 10 First-Team selections tie for second all-time (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Elgin Baylor, Bob Cousy, Michael Jordan, Bob Pettit, and Jerry West). Karl Malone is the all-time leader with 11.
Even with as many illustrious achievements Bryant has garnered over the past 16 seasons, these are some really astounding figures for the Black Mamba. It's not the right time to fully expound upon "legacy" questions for Kobe, but if he can hold off Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Dwyane Wade, Tony Parker and Rajon Rondo for another 1st Team selection, 11 nods would certainly be amongst his greatest career achievements.
Bynum joins a list of 16 Lakers ever to make the 1st or 2nd team, an accomplishment all on its own. Regardless of what anyone can (rightfully) argue about "Bynum being Bynum", no one can dispute his productivity on the court in his 7th season. He's clearly established himself as the 2nd best center in the game, a notion all but cemented with his All-NBA 2nd Team selection.
Meanwhile, the NBA community continued to sound off following the Lakers' playoff elimination at the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder. The logo himself, Jerry West, publicly commented on his old team yesterday (from ESPN):
"Their team is not dead, but they're not one of the four best teams in the league, I don't think, anymore," the former Lakers executive told "The Herd with Colin Cowherd" on ESPN Radio Thursday. "They're very, very good. The people of Los Angeles have been fortunate in seeing so many good teams and so many championship-caliber teams, but to point the blame and blame this and blame that, give Oklahoma City credit."
GM Mitch Kupchak echoed the sentiments of his mentor, in saying (from Los Angeles Times):
Still, on the heels of the Lakers losing in the Western Conference semifinals for the second consecutive season, Kupchak made one thing abundantly clear.
"There will be some change," he said.
We've all anticipated it on SS&R for the past few days, but it feels like a big shake-up is almost inevitable for a squad with an aging Kobe Bryant itching for a sixth title and a franchise that rarely completely rebuilds. The trade rumors have already started to whirl, with Andre Iguodala, Dwight Howard and Deron Williams as the names that keep popping up. Even in defeat, the LA Lakers are still one of the most fascinating teams in the NBA.
In other NBA news, the playoffs rolled on last night, with the Miami Heat eliminating the Indiana Pacers, 4 games to 2 in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. Without an injured Chris Bosh and a suspended Udonis Haslem, LeBron James and Dwyane wade combined for 61 points in a 105-93 win in Indianapolis. Their opponent has yet to be determined, as the Celtics face down a surprising game Philadelphia 76ers team in Game 7 in Boston tonight.