Los Angeles Lakers: Polls

Five reasons why Dwight Howard for Andrew Bynum makes sense for the Lakers

July, 4, 2012
7/04/12
12:37
AM PT
Kamenetzky By Brian Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
UPDATE (8:11 pm PT) - Obviously this was written before tonight's bombshell, with the Lakers acquiring Steve Nash from Phoenix. How it impacts the possibility/probability of a Bynum-for-Howard deal I can't say. It could make it more likely, it could make it less. Ultimately, it's still on the Nets to put together a viable deal. If they can't, though, and the Lakers have a chance to pull the trigger, my thoughts regarding what's below don't change. Assuming his back is on track, you do that deal, even if Howard won't commit right away to an extension.

Put Dwight Howard with that crew, erasing mistakes defensively and the Lakers become a terrifying group.


On the winds of epic-level wishy-washiness, Dwight Howard has officially sailed his S.S. Destiny into an offshore barrier reef. Now that Brooklyn has re-upped with Deron Williams, traded for Joe Johnson, and so on, the simplest, cleanest paths for Howard to his preferred destination have been gummed up. He can still join Jay-Z's crew, but between their financial constraints and a lack of high-end options to send back, as John Hollinger notes (Insider required), squeezing Howard onto their roster could be difficult for the Nets on a few levels.

Brooklyn still must form a deal satisfying the Magic while navigating the CBA's arcane mathematical demands. If they can't, the landscape changes and Howard's "Plan B" cities are back in play. With Andrew Bynum, the Lakers, not a team in which Howard had expressed much (if any) interest, can still offer Orlando the single best player known to be available in the endless trade conversations surrounding Superman over the last couple years.

That's always a good place to start, but would the Lakers move him without a firm commitment from Howard on an extension? Should they?

Without it, the Lakers would risk sacrificing Bynum for what amounts to a one-year rental. Still, assuming Howard's surgically repaired back is healing up and won't be a long-term problem -- a major issue, obviously -- there are compelling reasons to take a shot, even without securing assurances from Howard on the front end:

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Would you have preferred Kobe sat out the Bobcats game?

February, 15, 2011
2/15/11
6:10
PM PT
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
When it was announced Kobe Bryant missed shootaround with flu-like symptoms and would be a game-time decision for Tuesday's contest against Charlotte, I joked with Brian about "game-time decision" being purposely tossed out for dramatic effect, because everyone knew where this was going. We've all seen this movie before.

Act One: Kobe catches the flu for the billionth time in his career. (On a side note, why is this guy constantly sick? Is it because he has kids, and children are little more than germ factories? A refusal to get a flu shot? An unknown, debilitating allergy? This development has always perplexed me.)

Act Two: Kobe play through illness with an effectiveness somewhere between "solid" and "flat out brilliant."

Act Three: Fans ponder whether this performance equals Jordan's "flu game."

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Nothing came easy for Kobe against the 'Cats.



As it turned out, there was no attempt at theatrical flair. Kobe was dead sick -- which may also explain a lack of oomph against Orlando -- and it showed on both sides of the ball and in nearly every facet of the game.

Offensively, he missed 12 of his 20 shots, with ten bricks in succession. He turned the ball over five times, and the tally could have been higher. The attempt to check various Charlotteans proved futile and two frustration fouls were picked up bowling over Bobcats. Just hanging onto the rock was a struggle.

There were bursts of energy and effectiveness, but on the whole, Bryant didn't look like himself. At all.

Lest anybody flip out, I'm not putting this loss on The Mamba's shoulders. Period. Similar to my thoughts about the lagging backcourt against the Magic, I'm much more disappointed by the failure to pick up for Kobe than Kobe himself. Especially considering the inferior competition, the Bobcat curse acknowledged. It was a group effort (or lack thereof) and everybody who stepped on the floor had a hand in the mess.

(As long as we're handing out demerits, I have no idea why Phil Jackson opted to play the starters -- particularly his sick one -- so far into a game so out of reach. That's just begging for an unnecessary injury. If this was a message or punishment of sorts, I'd have preferred a locker room riot act or running them silly during today's non-existent practice.)

Plus, Kobe wanted to compete and felt a responsibility to his team and even those in paid attendance to lace 'em up. I admire that professionalism and wouldn't ever criticize the urge in and of itself.

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Poll: More awkward? Kobe's photo shoot or Lamar and Khloe's fragrance ad?

February, 6, 2011
2/06/11
11:41
AM PT
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
When Kobe Bryant's L.A. Times Magazine photo shoot was revealed last May, the consensus response was, shall we say, unfavorable. The Internet jokesters went crazy mocking the Mamba, and sanctuary wasn't even found on his own turf. Bryant has been, from my vantage point, the Laker least likely to get poked fun at among teammates, but this shoot provided the rare exception. To my awareness, only two Lakers expressed admiration for the pictures. One was Ron Artest, and the jokes here basically write themselves. The other was Lamar Odom, whose questionable taste in photo spreads was recently reinforced by his questionable taste in unisex fragrance ads filmed with spouses.

PODCAST
The K-Bros talk about the commercial for Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom's "unisex scent" fragrance.

Podcast Listen
I give you the new commercial for "Unbreakable."

Sweet fancy Moses!

But it actually got me to thinking: Which was more awkward: Kobe's pics or the "Unbreakable" ad? By no means an easy call, one of those classic "there is no wrong answer" questions. But at the end of the day, I gotta go "Unbreakable."

Make no mistake, Kobe's pictures were an epic "fail." By his own admission, the finished product isn't exactly what he had in mind. But there appeared to be an attempt at an artistic statement. The concept swung for the fences and missed wildly but still, with ambition comes the risk of failure. And mockery from Derek Fisher.

The "Unbreakable" ad, however, feels like a spoof of a perfume commercial. The stereotypical smooth jazz. The blown kisses and finger shushes. The glimmer of light bouncing off LO's wedding ring. The couple (who admittedly register a palpable chemistry) writhing around shirtless.

Plus, the premise. "There's something sexy about a couple sharing a scent."

No, really, there isn't. I fell in love with my wife in very large part because she smells nothing at all like me. Not that a unisex fragrance can't work, but labeling it an aphrodisiac would be a major stretch. Oysters are losing no sleep over unisex fragrances.

I have tons of respect for Lamar as a player and a person, but he nonetheless shares my vote. Feel free to voice yours in the poll below. And if it's any comfort to Kobe or Lamar/Khloe, both still have a long way to fall before reaching the depths of Sasha Vujacic's "walk on the beach."

Shaq in the rafters: Who says no?

January, 27, 2011
1/27/11
9:37
AM PT
Kamenetzky By Brian Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
The debate, to me, is cut and dried: Of course Shaq gets his number retired by the Lakers. To the point it's not actually a discussion. (Or, as ESPNLA's Ramona Shelburne writes in this debate, "Duh.") Three titles, three Finals MVP's, a garden variety MVP, and eight seasons of consistent dominance. Sure, he left the team on poor terms. He did the whole "Pay me!" thing, made a bid for the Mt. Rushmore of Selfish Athletes with his "injured on company time/heal on company time" declaration following toe surgery undertaken just before training camp back in '02, and has since become something of a caricature of himself. Among other things.

PODCAST
Andy and Brian talk about Shannon Brown in purple and gold, Shaq in green, and which players belong in the Laker rafters. How 'bout Fisher?

Podcast Listen
But c'mon, how is this a conversation?

Still, according to the poll data on ESPNLA.com (vote by clicking the link above), over 40 percent of respondents believe the Lakers shouldn't raise his 34 to the rafters. Really? Not at all? Want to add some stipulations? I can live with that. Wait until he's officially inducted into the Hall of Fame, for example. Reasonable enough. Some suggest the Lakers should wait until Kobe Bryant is up there first. Seems unnecessary, but fine. Or, as 710 ESPN's Steve Mason suggests, "Because he went and played with the Celtics, you have to wait until he's dead... That's officially the rule."

Undoubtedly extreme, but hey, we're talking about the Celtics, right?

It's a bit of a moot point, since the Lakers have said repeatedly they will retire Shaq's number. To me, the reasoning is patently obvious. I'm much more interested in the opinions of those who think they shouldn't.

Why?

Ron Artest finishes sixth in DPOY voting (Lakers poll)

April, 20, 2010
4/20/10
2:39
PM PT
Kamenetzky By Brian Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
Anyone have a problem with that? Besides Artest, I mean?

In a landslide, Orlando's Dwight Howard won his second straight Defensive Player of the Year award, trailed in the voting by, in order, Josh Smith, Gerald Wallace, LeBron Somethingorother (a real up-and-comer, I hear), and Rajon Rondo. Artest was next, a scant 547 points behind Howard in the voting.

Kobe Bryant, for the record, finished 12th.

Given the award is (or at least should) be reflective of a season's worth of defensive impact, I certainly wouldn't argue with Howard winning the award. Whether Artest should have been ahead of Smith, Wallace, James, or Rondo is, to be perfectly honest, hard to say. I saw 77 games worth of Ron this year, far more than any of the other guys. It's hard to compare. (This, by the way, gets to a larger problem with DPOY voting; Given how hard it is to quantify defense statistically, it puts an extra premium on taking in more game action than most writers can reasonably put in. Reputation, then, can play far too large a role in the results.)

But there is a reasonable question to be asked here. Were you pleased with Artest's defense this season? This is no empty query. You can vote on it below. As always, your comments are welcome.

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Lamar Odom and J.R. Smith are not tweeps (LAL-DEN videos and polls)

February, 28, 2010
2/28/10
9:58
AM PT
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
So explained Lamar Odom when asked after Friday's win over Philly if he was aware of the Denver sharpshooter's rather confident tweet about going mano a mano with Kobe Bryant. Fair to say, he's not losing sleep over Smith's Twitter account.



He does, however, care about the actual game against the Nuggets. For that matter, so do Lamar's teammates.

Check out the videos below the jump for a buffet of opinion.

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Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images
Should Chris Kaman get an invite to Dallas?



In particular, as a center. And really in particular, over Pau Gasol.

On the heels of the announcement for the All-Star starters, Chris Kaman, omitted from the ballot altogether in what ultimately proved a glaring mistake, was asked if he'd be upset if El Spaniard, currently fourth among Western Conference forwards, was named a reserve via the "slide over to center" treatment. As NBA Fanhouse's Chris Tomasson reports, nary a bush was beaten around with Kaman's response:
    "I don't think Gasol should be in it at all,'' Kaman said when asked if he would be disappointed if Gasol, who starts at power forward for the Lakers, is slid over to be the backup center when West coaches vote for All-Star reserves. "He's only played like 20 games (he played Thursday in his 25th out of 42 Lakers games) this year. I think there should be a number of games you should play. I think you should have to play like 80 percent of the games.

    "It shouldn't be 50 percent (of games a player has logged) over a guy who plays 90 percent and who has better numbers. Not just me. Zach Randolph, a power forward, he has better numbers (than Gasol). But he's not on the Lakers.''

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Ron Artest to miss tonight's game against the Phoenix Suns

December, 28, 2009
12/28/09
1:03
PM PT
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
It's being reported by two of the local outlets that Ron Artest, after a concussion sustained by falling down the stairs, hasn't been cleared to play in tonight's game against the Phoenix Suns. While his condition has improved, there hasn't been enough progress to throw on a uni.

So who will start in Ron Ron's place? Well, as the O.C. Register's Kevin Ding reminds us, Phil Jackson was anything but complimentary of the "triple towers" as a starting unit against the Kings, which doesn't provide a huge vote of confidence for Lamar Odom getting another nod. The Press-Enterprise's Jeffrey Eisenberg concurs, predicting Shannon Brown's strong performance against Sacto will bump him from reserve to temporary starter. I also expect that to be the case (and would likely make the same move), unless Phil Jackson decides to go with Sasha Vujacic to better match Phoenix shooting guard Jason Richardson's height and leave the typical rotation as intact as possible. In any event, someone out of the ordinary will be announced among the first five.

Thoughts on the matter?

The season's one-third over: Poll time!!!

December, 27, 2009
12/27/09
4:14
PM PT
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
The Weekend Dime recently reminded us the 2009-2010 season is more or less one-third in the books. Seems as a good a time as any to take the Laker Nation's pulse and see how they're feeling about the purple and gold. Stand up and be counted for, people! Vote early and often. The polls are listed below the jump.

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SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Nick Young
PTS AST STL MIN
17.9 1.5 0.7 28.3
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Hill 7.4
AssistsK. Bryant 6.3
StealsK. Bryant 1.2
BlocksW. Johnson 1.0