HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Lakers coach Phil Jackson says no.
When asked if FC Barcelona could be a team of consequence in the NBA, Jackson didn’t hesitate to dismiss the idea. And that was after the 2010 Euroleague champs had dispatched the two-time champion Lakers Thursday afternoon.
“They played really well, but they’re not up to the competition that we face night in and night out,” Jackson said. “But that’s not taking anything away from them. The physicality of our game, the size of our players, those are things that night in and night out are very difficult to contest.”
Lakers star Kobe Bryant says yes.
When asked if he agreed with his coach, Bryant dipped his head, rubbed his hands back and forth over the top of his dome and politely disagreed with his coach.
“I don’t know why he says these things sometimes,” Bryant said. “”I think they execute extremely well, they know each other extremely well, they move the ball extremely well and that’s what you’re looking for. In the NBA, teams that do that are few and far in between, teams that play together as a unit. You see a lot of isolation game; you see a lot of guys going one-on-one. They do a great job moving the ball, they do a great job helping each other defensively, so I disagree, but, what do I know?”
You’ve got it exactly right Kobe.
The kind of fluid play we saw from Barcelona is the kind of teamwork and chemistry teams at all levels strive for. Those weren’t amateurs the Lakers were dealing with. They were pros. Maybe not with names and faces easily recognizable to NBA fans, but pros nonetheless.
I’d be willing to bet one of Kobe’s paychecks that if you placed a championship level team from Europe in the NBA for one full season they’d more than hold their own.
I’m not ready to sell them as a potential NBA champion or anything (we’re not that bold), but a team of consequence … absolutely!