Sweeping Generalizations Made Off 48 Minutes of NBA Basketball

Shannon Brown is apparently really good. As in “Most Improved Player” good.

May 04, 2010 - Los Angeles, California, U.S. - Los Angeles Lakers guard Shannon Brown (12) celebrates a score in the first half of game two of a Western Conference second Round Playoff basketball game at the Staples Center on Tuesday, May 4, 2010 in Los Angeles.

I live in Ohio, and a lot of my friends are Cavs fans. When the Lakers acquired Shannon Brown and he went on to win a title, I always joked that the Cavs (whom drafted Shannon Brown in the 2006 draft) would never win a title due to the “Curse of Cannon Brown.”

Four falls later, and it’s actually looking like it could be a legitimate curse.

I’ve always liked Shannon’s game, but there were plenty of times where he’d make me put my face in my hands. The player I saw Tuesday night? A player that appears to have added an outside shooting touch to his other-worldly athleticism, and that’s a scary proposition to the NBA. Especially in a season where Kobe’s minutes will be limited for the stretch run, the emergence of Shannon Brown could be a game-changer for the Lakers.

One of the best basketball (and just life in general) follows on Twitter —former Bulls scout Clarence Gaines–tweeted an article about Brown during the game. It was written by the LA Times’ Mike Breshnahan detailing the amount of work Shannon Brown put in on his own this summer back in Illinois. Being around a player like Kobe Bryant, I’m sure the work ethic has rubbed off, but it’s crazy to think that two years ago Shannon Brown was a “throw-in” in a trade involving Vladimir Radmonovic and Adam Morrison.

Has Lamar Odom found his nirvana?

I would have kids with Lamar Odom. I really would. Just seems like a genuinely nice guy, and people have always moaned about what he can’t do, rather than simply standing in awe out of all of the things he can do.

Lamar brought the whole package last night. The best beat-writer in the NBA, OC Register’s Kevin Ding, even had a Tweet that he was taken back by how much effort Lamar Odom was putting in last night.

It really makes you wonder–outside of Kevin Durant–I think this summer’s World Championships helped Lamar Odom the most. People had always expected Lamar to be an alpha-dog–and some people just aren’t built for that or aren’t ready. Up until a few year’s ago–I don’t think Lamar Odom would have stepped up to the challenge of being the veteran leader of a young Team USA squad. While he clearly wasn’t the alpha dog, all one has to do is gleam the gushing quotes of anybody involved with USA basketball to see the calming effect he had on his teammates. Odom has turned into a true professional, when early in his career, people would have simply laughed at that idea. (ARE YOU READING THIS, MICHAEL BEASLEY? THERE IS STILL HOPE).

It makes you wonder–after the life Odom has had, now that he is married, a 2-time World Champion, a FIBA gold medalist, successful on and off the court–has Odom found his nirvana? Because, I haven’t seen Odom maintain intensity throughout the game like that…. in… ever?

There was a lot of talk about Kobe and Pau taking the summer off of basketball, and with Ron Artest loving the spotlight, and Andrew Bynum being hurt… Odom quietly coasted under the radar this summer, which is remarkable considering he was the starting center on the first US team to win at the World’s since 1994.

I don’t feel there’s anybody in the league who can guard Lamar Odom when he’s firing all pistons. And if, for whatever reason, it took until the age of 30 for all the pieces to fall into place for the Candyman, then, that would be what we call a “game-changer.”

Next: Steve Blake and that Bieber Kid

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