Obviously…I’ve been a little down since Austin’s Lakers bounced the Warriors in Game 6. It hurt watching as Klay and Steph both struggled mightily, but we as adults in Warrior Nation tip our hats and say job well done to the Lakers.
For me this is easy though because I pretty much watched every game Austin played at OU for his Hall of Fame coach Lon Kruger. Austin was a baller at OU and made first team All Big 12 his senior season during that season in which Baylor won the national championship behind the Triplet Guard Tandem headed by NBA first rounders Davion Mitchell and Jared Butler.
Austin went undrafted for some odd reason, but Laker GM Rob Pelinka wisely brought Austin on board as an undrafted free agent…and lo and behold…Austin in my mind is the Lakers third best player behind LeBron and Anthony Davis.
Austin is a role player no doubt, but his presence on the floor brings that needed balance to bring the best out of LeBron and AD. He reminds me of Jeff Hornacek with those great Utah Jazz teams which featured Karl Malone and John Stockton. Same thing…two Hall of Fame super stars and then a role player from Iowa State. BTW….I loved Jeff Hornacek back in the day during his glory days in the Big 8.
Anyway…huge Game 2 tonight in Denver, hopefully LeBron has acclimated himself to the altitude and comes out ready to play in the first period. This is very simple for the Lakers, you have to play 48 minutes and make the Nuggets pay when Christian Braun and Jeff Green are on the floor.
Denver in reality only plays eight guys and Braun and Green in my mind are one of the real keys in this series. That being, the Lakers need to punish Denver when Nugget coach Mike Malone goes to his seventh and eighth guys in his razor thin rotation.
Chris Jackson my son from Denver in town tonight to watch Game 2. Chris knows how I feel about Austin… in that I love what Austin stands for as a role player who’s basically making the league minimum. Hopefully, me rooting for the Lakers won’t be a problem for Chris.
That’s the amazing thing about basketball chemistry in that Russell Westrook (also referred to as the (Basketball Greek Tragedy on this blog) with his $43 million plus salary could never figure out how to bring the best out in LeBron and AD. Whereas. Austin gets it.
I’m pretty amped for the Game 2 tonight. Hideaway pizza and maybe one or two Pacificos. Lakers have to win at least one road game in this series…tonight would be a good place to start.