Offseason musing. Top 5 favorite Lakers shots

 
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spflakers
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:06 am    Post subject: Offseason musing. Top 5 favorite Lakers shots

I can only think about lottery balls so much before the section of my mind focused on the Lakers (which is 87 percent of my brain) starts drifting. This time, I was thinking about my favorite Laker shots. Not individual shots in games like Horry's 3 vs. the Kings or Magic against the Celtics in Game 4. No, just shots that certain Lakers took over and over and over again, and that I enjoyed watching year after year and, in some cases, would also try impersonating.

Anyway, here's my top 5 list. I realize some of them would be on any fan's list and I'm not exactly being creative here, but maybe you have something different. Somewhere out there I'm sure is someone who actually enjoyed Terry Teagle's turnaround jumper. If so, tell us about it...and then seek help!

Top 5 favorite shots:
5. Jamaal Wilkes jumper. I mean...Jamaal. Has to be on here. Chuck Klosterman once had a line that talked about how Lakers fans and Celtics fans would be in bed. It mentioned that Lakers fans would be more funky like Wilkes' jumper while Celtics would be workmanlike and fundamentally sound ala Danny Ainge's J. No comment. But who DIDN'T impersonate Wilkes at some point in their life? Bringing the ball behind his head, barely jumping, yet uncannily accurate from midrange. It was ugly...yet somehow pretty too? Complicated, yet smooth. Silky, if you will.

4. Magic junior hook. One (of the 5000) things I admired about Magic the player was that I can't think of a great player who added three weapons to their game like Magic did in the latter half of his career. There's the hook, of course. But also his free throw shooting and his 3-point shooting. He went from a good free throw shooter to 90 percent and leading the league. He went from a travesty as a 3-point shooter to a halfway decent one. And, of course, he added the hook. Didn't have the majestic beauty of Kareem, but from 87 on was just as effective. Left or right he could swing that thing in against opponents of any size. It became such an iconic shot in its own right that when Magic had to retire in 1991, him shooting a hook was the picture on the cover of SI. And to be so confident in your newfound expertise that you rely on it in the closing seconds of a crucial game in the Finals? Only Magic.

3. Kobe turnaround. What was so impressive about Kobe's turnaround J (or fadeaway) was that he was so good doing it while turning left-shoulder or right-shoulder. And from all over! There's Kobe turning toward the baseline. There's Kobe on the right block. There's Kobe on the left block. There's Kobe at the free throw line extended. Perfect turn, perfect form on the jumper, the line drive J finding nothing but net. In Kobe's later years (before the injuries) people talked about how he could use it to his advantage like Jordan did in the last part of his career. But I remember TNT doing a feature on Kobe's turnaround way back in 2002, and its similarities to Jordan. It was February when the Lakers played the Wizards. I remember because I watched it in a NYC hotel room having moved to the Apple with about 1,000 bucks to my name. That move didn't work out. Kobe's turnaround did.

2. James Worthy's straight-arm dunk. This could seriously be number one. Damn. has anyone ever dunked like Big Game James? Off the top of my head I can't think of anyone. SWOOPING in, clutching the ball, that right arm (and occasionally the left) extended and almost flicking in a dunk. Occasionally James would throw down a tomahawk or something and I'm sure at some point in his career he had a two-handed dunk. I can't remember one, though. Instead it was the one-arm dunk, usually on the break of course, filling the lane, the best finisher in league history. Or he could spin to the baseline and extend that arm for a lightning-quick slam while the defender is still standing on the block wondering what the hell happened.

1. Kareem skyhook. Predictable, I know. The shot could sometimes, even to a Lakers fan, be boring. Swing left shoot right. Swing left shoot right. Swing right shoot left. Thousands of times. But the thing was just so beautiful, a truly gorgeous piece of art when you have a 7-foot-2, graceful, balletic man rising and extending the arm, putting the off-arm up to ward off defenders and tossing it in. And it was so comforting, like a hug from mom assuring us everything will be all right. We knew that if the Lakers were struggling, if the break had stalled, if Worthy was in a funk on the road or Byron's jumper was off, the Lakers could always dump it down to Kareem and he could take his one or two dribbles and then turn and drop in a skyhook. I once got a letter from a guy who played for UCLA in the 1950s. He wanted me to write a story on why almost no one shoots a hook anymore. He said Wooden disliked it when he played because it took the shooter out of position on the offensive glass. I'm going to assume his opinion altered by the time Kareem came to campus. People today could learn to shoot hooks like Magic did. I really believe that, if they worked on it, like Magic did. But no one's matching Kareem's height and finesse and greatness. No one is replicating that shot. Even at 41, with the Repeat on the line vs. the Pistons, the Lakers went to The Captain and the hook in Game 6 of the 1988 Finals. Kareem actually missed that one, barely, but he did get a foul and made the two FTs. (cue Pistons complaining, probably rightfully, but, hey, too bad, about the call). It's the shot that, along with the fast break, made the Laker so powerful, and it was that shot that was their saving grace so often.

Oh, and my least-favorite shot in Lakers history: Mychal Thompson's jumper. I feel like Chick Hearn would have agreed with that.

Would love to hear if anyone else has any favorites.
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lakerlynx
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:35 am    Post subject:

Most are tongue-in-cheek but:
Orlando Wooldridge dunks
Robert Horry buzzer beaters
Elden Campbell lob dunks from Magic
Michael Cooper 3 pointers
Julius Randle crushing two-handed dunks
Byron Scott pull-up jumpers on fast breaks
Shaquille O'Neal "black tornado" moves in the paint
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Chick Hearn and Vin Scully. How lucky are we?
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JUST-MING
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 11:58 am    Post subject:

I'll add Magic's "half-court" shots.

https://youtu.be/q8Qbo0WqvOI?t=12m20s

He had the strength to throw the ball the length of the court even as a rookie. I think I have a clip of Russell marveling at his arm strength from 1980. It's a childhood memory of mine being in disbelief after he made one of those shots.
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spflakers
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 12:09 pm    Post subject:

JUST-MING wrote:
I'll add Magic's "half-court" shots.

https://youtu.be/q8Qbo0WqvOI?t=12m20s

He had the strength to throw the ball the length of the court even as a rookie. I think I have a clip of Russell marveling at his arm strength from 1980. It's a childhood memory of mine being in disbelief after he made one of those shots.


So true! And since you link his video, I think NPZ has speculated before that no one made more halfcourters than Magic. Impossible to prove of course but anecdotally it sure felt like it.

Lynx,
I loved Byron's pull-up J. So springy! In comparison to how, on 3-pointers, especially in late 80s, he was practically set shotting 3-pointers. But those dribble drive and pull-ups, just rose so quickly off the court.
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Vishnu
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 12:25 pm    Post subject:

Derek Fisher layup
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underdogsgv
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 1:42 pm    Post subject:

1. Kareem sky hook - Swing Left/Shoot Right, or vice versa, didn't matter
2. Shaq 1-handed power dunk on a stiffs head
3. Shaq 2-handed godzilla slam with both legs raised up in some guy's face
4. Coop-A-Loop
5. Orlando Woolridge dunks (with accompanying yell - I LOVED THAT)
6. Sedale Threatt mid-range jumper at top of key, money.
7. James Worthy statue of liberty dunk on fast break
8. Cebric Ceballos' layup wizardry around the basket
9. A.C. Green's maniacal pump fakes to set up the bank shot
10. Byron's methodical free throw style
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MIMLaker
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 4:16 pm    Post subject:

OK, I'll bite...

(5) Kobe pull-up at the elbow. From about 2001 to 2009, that thing could work in iso, off pick and roll, in transition -- however he wanted it, at whatever speed the game was going.

(4) Worthy, low-post, turnaround fade-away. That shot demonstrated a now lost art - the high release shot from the post. You don't see SFs doing that shot anymore.

(3) Shaq, drop-step. Say what you want about Shaq's size advantage. He needed coordination and balance to pull that off against a variety of defenders, whether Sabonis or Mutombo or Yao or any other centers (or PFs playing one position up) without getting blown for a charge or just tripping and falling over the defender's leg.

(2) Kareem, skyhook. Because, DUH.

But in a pick that's likely underrated or unknown or forgotten by many on this Board...

(1) Byron, 20-footer from either wing (usually left), in transition. Seriously. People talk today about Steph and Klay pulling up behind the arc in transition, but that's usually closer to the half-court line and with momentum carrying them forward into their shot

But when Riles was coaching the break, he screamed at players to "touch the sidelines!" in order to open up the court horizontally and keep defenders from gathering in the paint. That could only work if you had players fast enough to get out there ahead of Magic, and either skilled enough to either dribble it in from there or long enough to only need 2-3 steps before finishing.

More often than not, Byron would pull up in the CORNER on one of the first fast breaks of any game (usually in the 1st 3-4 minutes) and hit from out there. And by 2nd quarter, as a defender would race out to cover him, he'd either whip it back to a driving Magic or a trailing Kareem, or just duck under the defender and slam it home.

You could tell that Showtime was on just by watching Byron's first 2-3 shots. If he hit even ONE of those, then the break was going to be ON that night, and the team would be in the opponent's heads and making those heads swivel on D for the next 2 hours.
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