Lakers’ Journal

Are you an avid Lakers fan? How about just a sincere hoops fan who wants the scoop on the defending champions? Then I suggest you head over to the Lakers’ Journal at MVN.com to find anything and everything about the Lakers. As of recent I have become a free-lance writer for MVN and have been putting in contributions over there. Of course more is coming soon here at Basketball with Dino Gomez but if you’re in need of some news regarding Phil Jackson and the crew then I suggest MVN is your spot.

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Lakers With Artest Could be Great or Terrible

The Los Angeles Lakers are only a few months past this most recent NBA championship. Of Course they took the title for a fourth time in the last decade and did so by way of a Hall of Fame coach and arguably the best 2-guard in the league.

However the Lakers had other key players that more than contributed to their 2008-2009 title. Pao Gasol did major work for them in the post while Lamar Odom provided the versatility that all teams desire from a power-forward. Lets not forget Trevor Ariza who was an amazing defensive stopper for L.A. and who came up with a few big time steals in the playoffs to seal victories for the team.ron-artest-lead

So the question begs if the Lakers had such a great chemistry on their team and perfect fit players at every position, why did they let Ariza go and bring in Ron Artest? Of course Artest may be an upgrade on the court but Ariza for this specific team is more valuable. You don’t have to worry about Trevor causing problems off the court, in the locker room, or with the media. With Artest you definitely do. Ariza also made all the plays you would have wanted him to make without taking away from Kobe’s brilliance.

Here is why Artest is probably the worst off-season acquisition the Lakers could have made. Bringing in a fellow all-star who desires and expects attention and setting him next to Kobe is simply a bad idea. It was different bringing in Gasol who is humble and isn’t a media whore. But Artest is going to want interviews and the spot light and photographs and I bet he will do what is necessary to make sure he gets all of that.

Championship caliber teams are always about chemistry and not simply about talent. Remember when the Lakers had Shaq, Kobe, Malone, and Payton all on the same starting roster. That did not work out for them. Surprising as it is you need a balance of players that compliment each other and that are not just individually talented.  The lakers had that last year and by getting rid of Ariza for Artest they may have lost it all. It will be exciting to see.

Follow me on Twitter: @DinoGomez.

3 Draft Picks to Watch

Summer league has passed and it is now that time for draft picks to get antsy if they haven’t signed a contract yet with their new teams. Of course there are many first round draft picks who have signed large contracts and will be players to watch shine the following years to come. However it is often exciting to keep tabs on those players who are unexpected to do well in the NBA.nbadraft2009

1) Chase Budinger- First mention goes to Chase Budinger. For those who know me well of course I’m going to talk about his recent multi-year agreement with the Houston Rockets. Here’s a player that came into Arizona recruited by Lute Olson himself who felt Budinger was the best high school recruit that Arizona had ever landed! That is a big deal coming from coach Olson who had recruited many current and past NBA players to Arizona. Budinger put up great overall numbers in his three years at U of A but never truly reached his potential. Perhaps it was due to having 3 different coaches in his 3 years with the program and off-the-court distractions. Either way he averaged 17 points a game with 5.8 rebounds in his 3 years in the desert. This resulted with him earning the 44th overall pick in the 2009 draft. He went from a McDonalds All-American to the 44th overall pick in the NBA draft? The Houston rockets were quick to catch on that Budinger must have had his problems in college but that he was still an amazing player. That is why this past week he was signed to a multi-year contract with the organization after leading the club in scoring through out summer league play. Having watched Budinger at Arizona for 3 years I think he will surprise many with his offensive talent in the league.

2) Terrance Williams With the 1tth overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft the New Jersey Nets grabbed Terrance Williams. Now williams did draft quickly and is expected to do well in the league but it seems his talent is still overlooked. Williams averaged 2.3 steals a game this past year at Louisville and is as quick as lighting for a 6’6″ wing. His average of 11 points per game in the 2008-2009 season was the result of playing amongst a team of all-stars in which he did not have to score excessively. With the exclusion of Blake Griffin in this discussion, Williams is my pick to win rookie of the year in the 2009-2010 NBA season. He will certainly have opportunities to shine on the court playing for New Jersey this year which is a huge part of winning the ROY award. Without the chance to play you can’t possibly win the award which is why I’m thinking he’s got the green light.

3) Eric MaynorSet all kinds of records for his college Virginia Commonwealth which might as well be a junior college? Maybe its just hard to keep track of all colleges these days because until the 2009 tourney I had not heard of it or of Maynor. Either way after some research and after watching his first round performance it’s easy to say that Maynor is an amazing point guard. I expect him to have a successful NBA career although I’m not sure if it will happen in Utah behind Deron Williams. Perhaps this first year he will grab some playing time when Williams needs a break and when he does, watch for him to put points on the board in a hurry. It will be fun to see how he does in his first year. Due to his circumstances in college (which was having to carry his team repeatedly against stronger and more talented teams), I  believe the adjustment to the NBA will be that much easier for him.

Who are your NBA rookies to watch for? Follow me on Twitter: @DinoGomez

Guy dunks basketball with his legs!

It seems like every week there is another new video that surfaces with amazing footage of a basketball play. This video is no exception. My cousin sent me the link and it is perhaps the craziest of trick shots that I’ve ever seen. Already people are claiming its fake. I would like to think its real. Everything isn’t a set up and doesn’t have some hidden underlying purpose. The lebron dunk tape incident was not some Nike stunt to increase Lebron’s hype. He has plenty of it and was seen at 3 media televised events in the two weeks in which the tape was hidden. With that said heres the video. What do you think about it? Follow me on Twitter: @DinoGomez

Great NBA Twitter Accounts

Since everybody and their mom is on Twitter, I thought that I would go ahead and list some of those NBA players who have also joined the bandwagon. Now not all of the following players actually tweet every message themselves… some players have ghost tweeters or people that tweet messages for them. However all the following accounts are real and do represent the players themselves.The following list is composed of those accounts which I enjoy following and those which tweet often. A more comprehensive list can be found at Blogs with Balls.nba-twit1

Handle of the Week- Peter Robert Casey

It was easy for us to decide who was most deserving of The Handle of the Week award this Friday, Peter Robert Casey. (Handle of the Week award is described at the top of this page in more detail… look above)  Peter is a one of a kind basketball intellectual as well as a networking king. He is all over the internet and has 50k plus followers on Twitter. He also does a great job with his blog, PeterRobertCasey.com, where he recently interviewed Claude Johnson, the founder and president of Black Fives, Inc. Make sure you check out how that Q. and A. went with Mr. Johnson over there and while your at it read about New Heights.

Our Handle of the Week award goes to… Peter Robert Casey.

Follow me on Twitter: @DinoGomez.

Peter Robert Casey: Director for Entertainers Basketball Classic (EBC)

Recently I was given the opportunity to interview Peter Robert Casey, the director of sponsorships and business development for the Entertainers Basketball Classic (EBC) at the legendary Rucker Park in Harlem, New York. Peter is responsible for the future coordination of the EBC’s  first ever out door AAU tournament and for operating the EBC’s online social media efforts. He has an amazing resume and is a huge name in the basketball realm.

Besides his work with the EBC, Peter is also a freelance Basketball columnist at ESPNthemag.com, Bouncemaruckerjayg.com, and Slamonline.com. He most recently wrote an article on his own blog that is a must read titled, “150 Reasons to love the game basketball.” With that said, lets check out his responses to a few questions I threw at him.

Peter:

1) You are the Director of Sponsorships and Business Development for the Entertainer’s Basketball Classic at Rucker Park in Harlem, New York. That sounds awesome but I have no idea what that encompasses? What is it you do for EBC?

Peter Robert Casey: “My role with the Entertainer’s Basketball Classic at Rucker Park (herein EBC) has shifted recently. I am now responsible for building an online community for the EBC using a combination of social media tools. My former role focused on researching, targeting, and approaching prospective corporate sponsors to help underwrite our well-recognized summer league and special events. Sponsorship development is just one aspect of marketing. Now, I’m focused more on leveraging marketing strategies to enhance our brand’s reach and to build community with and between our intended audience.

2)You were also responsible for coordinating the first ever outdoor AAU tournament. How was that turn out? Any amazing hoops moments or player appearances? Did the tourney work well outside?

Peter Robert Casey: “The AAU tournament had to be deferred until next year. Our current economic climate forced us to trim down on the number of special events that we could coordinate and execute this year. Unfortunately, the AAU tournament will have to wait.”

3)So you have this great career going for you which involves a ton of basketball. Plus you have the best slogan for your personal website that I’ve ever seen ( 3 first names, one love, basketball). How did you end up with this all of this going for you? Do you think you could give us a quick step by step play of how you came into working for EBC and how you came into coordinating these big events?

Peter Robert Casey: “Funny you ask the former question. The slogan was born out of frustration for having such a common name (Thanks, mom! JK): Peter Casey. While hard to mispronounce, there are already two famous Peter Caseys – an Australian music composer and an American television producer – roaming this Earth and search engines are well aware of it. Pete Casey was too competitive as a keyword and P.R. Casey is a Senate Minority Counsel in the Ohio Senate. Thus, I decided to brand myself with first, middle, and last name (Peter Robert Casey, and each happen to be acceptable first names.

My involvement with the EBC spawned from a LinkedIn connection and follow-up phone call. As you can probably discern, I’m a huge proponent of using social media to build relationships. I start the process online and grow the relationship offline. The greater majority of my writing, consulting, and marketing work in basketball have either started from, or were a byproduct of, relationships forged on social media. The rest carried over from my former playing and coaching days.”

My interview with Peter ended there as I did not want to take too much of his time away from the game we all love so much. I want to again thank Peter for his valuable insight. What I really have taken to heart from his responses is how he explained that he is a huge proponent of using social media to build relationships. Of course he used relationships from former playing and coaching days as well but you get the sense that not all people use social media as effectively as possible. For example, my interview with Peter was done through email. We have never met in person but have now connected and served to help one another out. Peter gave me an interview and I hope to return the favor by giving him a good name and sending readers from here over to his blog. Social Media really makes sense when you use it properly. Perhaps in the future I will actually get to hang out with Peter. It would be great to make it to one of his future events and even better to play him on the court.