Monday, January 21, 2008

Another One Bites the Dust

And the derailing of the Lakers season continues - Trevor Ariza goes down with a broken foot suffered in practice. According to the LA Times, there's no timetable yet for his return, but one will be set after Ariza sees a foot specialist today.

UPDATE: Ariza will be out for eight weeks. At least Bynum has a buddy in rehab now.

Though Ariza was not starting in recent games, this is a major blow to the Lakers. Ariza was one of the best defenders on the team and was also one of our most athletic players. In one game against Denver about a month ago, Allen Iverson was going crazy until the Lakers assigned Ariza to shadow him. While AI still got a few buckets, he was contained the rest of the night.

Though Ariza is not a very good perimeter shooter, limiting his offense, his activity level makes him a very important player on offense as well as on defense. Not many players on the Lakers can do this - and not many would even have the guts to try. I've been impressed with how fast he picked up the triangle, and if he could develop a jumper in the offseason, teams wouldn't be able to sag off him as they do now.

The best thing about Trevor was that he wasn't Brian Cook. I still can't believe that we got Ariza for Cook and Evans (though I did like Mo), and dumped salary in the process. Then again, Cook would never have suffered a foot injury from coming down on someone else's foot. That would require that he either go in the paint, try to rebound, or be guarded by Bruce Bowen.

All that is moot now though, as a broken bone in the foot certainly doesn't sound good. Ugh. This season seems to be going the way of last season, with a fast start derailed by injuries.

To follow-up on the home LA fans booing Kwame Brown during the Phoenix game, Kobe and the rest of the team seemed to close ranks around Kwame. Of particular note is what Kobe said:

"I thought it was terrible," Kobe Bryant said after the game. "If [fans] want to do that, they can stay home. He's going to be our guy for two months. Kwame's sensitive -- you boo him, it's going to affect him. I told him I've got his back."

I still think the boos were an indication of how bitter Laker fans are at losing Bynum, rather than real ire at Kwame - we know who he is, and who he isn't at this point. Regardless of whether the booing was justified, however, these are the things Kobe needs to say to be a leader on this team. Good to see him saying them.

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