Is China Where the Lakers Need To Be?

I have always had lots of trouble with major league sports teams traveling several thousand miles across the globe to play exhibition games, when time can be so much better spent nursing injuries, getting in shape, and,… and,… oh, PRACTICING. Of course, the NFL has taken this concept to new levels, with all these regular season games in London, and Machu Picchu or somewhere. No games in Los Angeles, but they have to play in London.

I write this as the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors, who reside in Northern California’s Bay Area, are currently preparing to do battle against each other in the first of two NBA-sanctioned (and encouraged) exhibitions games in the largest and most powerful county ruled by a communist government that the world has ever seen. Entertainers who happen to be Democrats are castigated by right wind media for taking vacation to Cuba, but billionaire basketball team owners can send their employees to entertain the Chinese communists without a snarl from fox news or right wing radio. Weird world out there.

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But, back to the point. The Lakers have several new players and key personnel recovering from injuries both serious and merely nagging, as they try to rebound from what was to many people the most disappointing season in LA Lakers’ history. I must however note that it was not disappointing to me, but played out just as I expected and as I predicted

right here last year. Nevertheless, Kobe Bryant and his surgically repaired Achilles and lingering knee problem, and 80-year-old Steve Nash and his assortment of injuries should be at home, working themselves in to playing condition. Wesley Johnson, Jordan Farmar, Xavier Henry, Pau Gasol, and several others have missed exhibition games already, and need to work to be ready to play a real NBA season, not entertain a far off audience for the

purpose of adding a few extra pennies into NBA billionaire coffers.

The new Lakers’ crew needs to work together for as many hours as possible, so they are an actual team, come the opening bell and the beginning of real games.

Just before the team left on its trip, Mike D’Antoni made this comment about Nash, after he was able to play only nine minutes in

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Thursday’s game against Sacramento:

“I think this will happen off and on all year, but he’s going to give you a good season and good stuff. We have to take care of him.”

“Taking car of him” to ensure that the team gets the maximum out of him this year does NOT mean letting his ankles and knees freeze up in a cramped airline seat for two 13-hour flights. I personally think it would more rightly be exercise and physical therapy sessions surrounding team practices, in a gym, in LOS ANGELES COUNTY or at the arena of another NBA team in preparation for one of three or four exhibition games within a couple of travel hours from home.

The Lakers, and the Warriors, will in effect each miss more than a week of camp and pre-season preparation. You don’t perfect the pick-and-roll while walking across the Great Wall of China, or having McMuHsu at the Beijing McDonald’s.

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