More Kobe Thoughts

Okay, usually one post a day is my limit. But I don’t feel like writing my final or grading (or much of anything else) before I teach at 2pm. So here are some more thoughts on Kobe Bryant.

Following Kobe’s Lead

Disclaimer… the following is meant to be humorous. I think this is obvious (at least I hope so) but sometimes telling a joke in academia can get you in trouble.

After reading about Bryant’s outburst I started to do some thinking. When I came to California State University – Bakersfield six years ago I was promised that steps would be taken to build an economics department that would contend with the best in the country. After six years, though, it’s clear that CSUB is not as driven as I am to build a contender. Several top economists have told me that they would join me in Bakersfield for less money, but the administration here refused to bring these people in. At this point, it’s clear that I have no choice but to seek a trade. So this morning I asked my agent to begin negotiations with other universities. CSUB says they will accept nothing less than two top assistant professors for my services. Of course I know from experience that what people say is not always true. In fact, I am sure a trade could be arranged if a university offered one top assistant and a professor to be named later (or a professor to be named later and a gift certificate to Quiznos).

I do wish to add that I am certainly sorry it has come to this, but I am driven to be a winner. And I cannot work with people who do not have the same drive.

More Silly Thoughts

Peter Vecsey reported in the New York Post yesterday that the Lakers might consider trading Odom and Andrew Bynum for Jermaine O’Neal. This trade does make sense. Bryant has never won a championship without a player named O’Neal, therefore this is clearly a trade that has to happen if Bryant is going to win another title. In fact, one would have to applaud the Lakers for recognizing the key to their championship run.

Of course some people might be skeptical of the claim that the name “O’Neal” was the key. After all, Jermaine has never won an NBA title. And Mike O’Neill also failed to win a title with the Milwaukee Hawks in the early 1950s.

Perhaps the key ingredient is the productivity of your O’Neal. Shaq played eight seasons in LA, where he produced 140 wins and posted a 0.348 Wins Produced per 48 minutes [WP48]. Jermaine played his college ball with the Portland TrailBlazers, where he majored in watching NBA basketball for four seasons. Upon graduation from Portland he joined the Indiana Pacers in 2000-01. In seven seasons in Indiana, he has produced 52.3 wins with a 0.150 WP48. Clearly Jermaine is no Shaq.

He also isn’t any more productive than Odom. Odom has produced 56.3 wins across the past seven seasons. And his WP48 across these years stands at 0.166. In other words, it’s hard to see how the Lakers are any better off substituting J. O’Neal for Odom. In fact, given that J. O’Neal played well below average the second half of last season (a development I need to comment on in more detail later), it’s possible such a trade would make the Lakers worse off.

To make matters even worse, Vescey claims the Lakers would have to surrender Andrew Bynum. As a sophomore last season, Bynum posted a WP48 of 0.132. This is an above average mark and suggests that Bynum might develop into a quality NBA center.

In sum, if Vescey is right, this proposed trade does not appear to benefit the Lakers in the short-run or long-run.

– DJ

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