Lakers chat transcript

September, 5, 2012
9/05/12
9:51
AM PT
Kamenetzky By Brian Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
Lots of great questions in today's chat, ranging from Dwight Howard's health to the ways in which all of L.A.'s new parts will mesh on the floor.

Click below for the transcript...

(Note: I didn't realize there were new capacity rules for CiL chats until we'd already started. If we do it again this way, we'll get that fixed. Sorry to anyone who was shut out. Please feel free to hit us up on Twitter (@espnlandolakers) with a Q if you have one.)


BK: Hi everyone. We're live for the Lakers chat... Fire away with your questions.


Comment From SoonerLaker
Do you see Kobe passing Kareem in total points?


BK: Hey Sooner.

No, I don't. I did the math on this once, and basically he'd have to play for too many years to get it done, and that's assuming almost perfect health. It's a long shot, to say the least.


Comment From Noodles
Rumors were circulating that Lakers are looking to move Steve Blake and Chris Duhon. What have you heard? Who would they target as Nash's backup?


BK: I haven't heard them -- granted, I've been on vacation -- but don't count on it. Certainly Duhon could move later on in the year given his contract status (his next season has a reasonably cheap buyout) but Blake isn't a terribly appealing chip.

These are the backups to Nash going forward, unless there are more rabbits in Mitch Kupchak's hat.


Comment From Roni
any chance Reeves Nelson makes the Roster?


BK: No.


Comment From Davey
What happened to Matt Barnes? Was he really that bad, or was there some kind of falling out that didn't go public. Who is going to guard LeBron if Metta is injured or on the bench?


BK: Hi Davey-

At his exit interview, there as a tangible sense that his time in LA had run its course. He was at different points critical of Mike Brown, though I don't know of any real major personality conflicts or issues that would have kept him from coming back on those grounds. I think they just see him as someone they can replace, whether with Ebanks or in other ways. Barnes played well for them, but he's certainly a player they can replicate in


Comment From Lakersfan1
How many shot do you think kobe should take this year i would think 15 is a good number


BK: It's really not about a set number, but doing what the defense gives. It will undoubtedly be tougher to double Kobe this year than last, so if he's left with more open, clean looks there's no problem with taking them. What Kobe -- and all his teammates for that matter -- need to avoid is settling. There is so much hoops IQ on this team, so much passing, that they shouldn't give up on possessions.

There will be nights Kobe takes 13 shots and it's great, some nights where he takes 25 and it's great, other nights where he takes 18 and people might cringe a little. Don't count shots, look at the types of shots that are taken.


Comment From Jonathan Sanchez
how does this team rank to all time great laker's teams?


BK: Well, they haven't won anything yet. But on paper, they have the potential to be special. Given we're talking about a franchise with 16 banners, saying how good they'll be relative to the other title teams isn't easy. But they can be special.


Comment From Dub
The offseason signings were great, but our biggest hole has been defense at point guard. I know Dwight helps that, but can Darius Morris or Johnson-Odom step up and be an athletic defender?


BK: Dub-

Neither of those guys you mention will play much, assuming they make the team (DJO is no lock, though I think he will). The key to improving the defense this year over last is Howard. He's the lynchpin. Once he's healthy, he'll make a significant difference in how the team defends. There will be a tangible, measurable improvement.


Comment From Jdogg
How long will it be before D-12 joins the team?


BK: Don't know, but there's nothing yet to indicate he isn't on a good path to return. It doesn't really matter if it's at the top of training camp, by the first game, or the beginning of December. Just as long as he comes back healthy.


Comment From Dustin
What do you think Howard could realistically gain from working with Kareem. Do you think it would be too late in his career to develop real "back to the basket" skill or a good hook shot?


BK: Hi Dustin-

Honestly, I have no idea. I don't really know how good a teacher Kareem is, how often they'll be working together, or how deep this relationship goes. KAJ worked with Bynum for a long time, and some people think he made a big difference, while others didn't. Overall, I don't think this is the sort of thing that we'll all look back on and believe it had a significant impact. But no question, if Howard is willing, Kareem can teach him things.


Comment From Felipe Contreras
Matt Banes said in an TMZ interview that he was still talking to the Lakers. Is this true? I thought he left on sour terms end of season last year.


BK: That could mean anything. Maybe he is, maybe he's not. "Talking" is a vague categorization, when it comes to free agency.


Comment From SHree
How do u see Pau and Dwight fitting in the Frontcourt ??


BK: Beautifully.

Howard's mobility will allow the Lakers to move Pau around a little more, instead of having to plant him almost exclusively in the high post or beyond when Bynum set up on the block. They'll be able to run that 4/5 pick and roll, Pau will be able to find Howard as he moves without the ball, and Pau will likely benefit from the attention teams give Howard on the defensive glass. Both Nash and Howard are good news for Pau.


Comment From Kobe Bryant
Why do people keep saying im the second best player on my Team?


BK: Because most people believe that Dwight Howard -- when healthy -- is a better, more dominant player, and those people are in fact correct. But functionally, it doesn't really matter. Kobe is still elite, and can be treated as such.


Comment From Golakes
Say OKC signs Harden soon. Which team is stronger now and in the future?


BK: The Thunder. "The Future" lasts longer with them.


Comment From Rick
Do you think Lakers have enough depth on their bench?


BK: Hey Rick--

Yes, I do. Jamison gives them scoring they didn't have last season. We're talking about a 17 point a night guy joining a team that barely scratched out 20 points a night on their bench. Meeks is a legitimate perimeter threat, something they've badly needed as well as a real, useable backup to Kobe. Jordan Hill provides athleticism for the frontcourt. They probably won't be the best bench in the league, but the Lakers don't need the league's best b/c of their starting lineup. What they can't have is the league's worst, and that's not a problem anymore.


Comment From TDLaker
Love the stuff KBro's. Any chance Lakers could land James Harden sometime in the future? He's from LA and his contract is up next summer I think.


BK: Not gonna happen.


Comment From Brian P
Do you forsee a problem with Nash and Dwight playing together because of the fact that Dwight will take up too much space in the middle for Nash to operate? For example, the Shaq and Nash experience in Phoenix?


BK: Brian P-

Our friend Kevin Arnovitz once described the partnership of Nash and O'Neal as a hummingbird playing inside a paper bag, because as you mention Shaq took up so much space on the block it was harder for Nash to operate. No question, there will be times when Howard occupies a place Nash might otherwise have gone, but generally speaking I think Howard's mobility and cutting ability (he's one of the league's best scorers off the cut) will be a great fit. Plus, Howard is a dominant force in the pick and roll, and having him around will open up all kinds of avenues for interior passing.

They'll be good. Shaq wasn't nearly the player Howard is when he and Nash were together in Phoenix.


Comment From SHree
Do u think Mike Brown is a Capable of Coaching this team with their egos ???


BK: I do. The onus will be on the players to accept what the roster demands of everyone, but I think they'll be ok. Everyone comes in with his eyes wide open. But should things get a little hairy, Brown will have a tough challenge on his hands. He does have something to prove, no question, but there's no reason to assume he can't do it.


Comment From Kobe Bryant
People keep saying me and nash will have a problem playing with each other when i wanted him to come whats the deal?


BK: I don't really get it. Both players will have to adjust to not having the ball as much as they're accustomed, but we're talking about two guys who are both intelligent enough to know the window isn't open for long.

Kobe will be fine with Nash. Better than fine -- he has a chance to thrive. He won't have to work as hard, will likely become more efficient, and can concentrate more on scoring than running an offense. As he's said, he can get back to what he does best.


Comment From IheartLakers
Should Laker fans fear the new TWC sportsnet? I know they have not reached deals with most providers like directv...


BK: I can't guarantee anything, but I think TWC will have agreements in place with all the major parties before the season starts.


Comment From "Boshtrich"
How worried should OKC and Miami should be about the Lakers? Do you think those teams make big trades of their own to counteract what Mitch and Jim put together?


BK: No, I don't think they'll be reactionary. Miami, adding Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis haven't been standing still, and OKC doesn't need to add players, they just need to continue improving naturally. Neither of those teams is reactionary, both will stay their respective courses. And why not? The Heat are the NBA title holders, and the Thunder just went to the Finals. Don't be cute.


Comment From Sam
Can you see Ebanks starting before MWP this season? I know he started a few games for the Lakers last season and even showed improvement when he came back from the D-league middle of last season. He reminds me alot of ariza when we had him in the past..


BK: Metta will start.


Comment From Tommy
hey kbros! I was wondering what you guys believe is the key to the Lakers beating the Thunder in a 7 game series? Thanks for your time!


BK: Thanks for stopping in, Tommy.

One good place to start is better fourth quarter execution. The Lakers can't suffer the types of late scoring droughts they had against the Thunder. Nash goes a long way to addressing that problem, and moreover by adding Jamison and Jodie Meeks, the Lakers have more floor balance and a greater ability to score throughout games and in a variety of ways.


Comment From Ling
If this Lakers team gets a championship or 2 in the coming seasons, do you see Kobe walking away from such a great team at 35 like he says he would?


BK: It depends on a) his health, and b) at what level he's still playing. B is particularly important. I don't believe Kobe will play a moment past that time he's no longer "Kobe Bryant."


Comment From Memo
Do you think Howard will be ready for the season opener? If not, how long do you believe he will be out for?


BK: I really don't know. I don't expect it to be addressed in great detail by the team until they know more. They certainly won't rush him, that's for sure. I've had people tell me they think he'll be good to go by the opener, I've heard people worry he'll come back in December and promptly get re-injured. There's really no way of knowing exactly, but the lack of back news is encouraging.


Comment From Luis Isidro
Lakers no doubt made big signing this off-season, but what do you think was the small signing that is going to pay off the most?


BK: Meeks is a big deal, Luis. The Lakers operated last season without a backup for Kobe Bryant. Not having a backup for your best player? This is not a good idea. This year, Meeks affords Mike Brown the opportunity to use Bryant a little more judiciously, something he would have liked to do more next year. Plus, Meeks becomes a badly needed floor stretching presence. The Lakers have been killed by an inability to make teams respect them on the perimeter. It has the potential to be a very significant addition.


Comment From 81points
Do you think there were any political reasons for the Lakers to retire Shaq's jersey this season?


BK: I guess it depends on your definition of political, but this is kind of a no-brainer. He was an integral part of three title teams, and one of the greatest Lakers of all time. There's really no reason to wait for him to be added to the rafter.


Comment From Jessie
Am I the only Laker fan saddened by Bynum leaving? I mean I can never play "what's in Andrew Bynum's hair" anymore...


BK: Journalists citywide are sad as well, Jessie.


Comment From Ivan M.
Do you see any weak links in this Laker team?


BK: Obviously they have some age, and with age comes higher risk of injury. They're thin at the 3, and don't have the most dynamic PG's in league history. They won't beat teams up and down the court. Things like that. But no team is perfect.


Comment From Matt
any new developments with the Lakers being shown on local (SoCal) television? Are the local fans going to be blacked out?


BK: The Lakers will no longer appear on free TV (save Sunday ABC games). They'll all be on cable, whether ESPN, TNT, NBA TV, or the new Time Warner Sports. Local fans with cable should be fine.


Comment From Guest
With Nash playing less minutes because of his age and his back, do you think Chris Duhon will get the bulk share of the backup PG minutes?


BK: I think Blake starts with that job, but he's certainly shown himself capable of losing it.


Comment From SHree
Why r the Lakers running Princeton Next yr . Shoudnt they PNR teams to Death with Nash and Dwight ???


BK: Take a look at the conversation I had with Mike Brown (posted to the blog). Basically, MB believes they'll run a sort of hybrid. Nash will have the opportunity to P and R whenever he wants, particularly early in a trip. Then it's his job to orchestrate and direct the O.

I'd be shocked if there wasn't plenty of P and R.


BK: Comment From Doc Rock LBC
KBROs, people keep saying Big 4 this and Big 4 that but why leave Metta out of the conversation? Now that having the newest recruits, doesn't that free him up to be a defensive headache and not a defensive nightmare? IDK why they keep leaving him out. His game got better and polished by the end of the season and his 4Q defense was still a force in games last season. What do you guys think? BIG 5 right?


BK: I think MWP is a step below those guys, but he's not some irrelevant factor. When people talk about LAL having the NBA's best starting five, MWP is part of that. As you mention, his defense improved substantially as the year went on, and despite the fact his offense rode the roller coaster in terms of productivity, on this team none of that really matters. All he has to do is go sink his teeth into guarding the opposition's best wing player every night, then knock down an occasional open shot. And make no mistake -- he will be left open.


Comment From 81points
Some rumors about the Lakers potentially getting Chris Paul for the post-Kobe era to play alongside Dwight. While I think that pair would dominate, how would signing him even be possible?


BK: It isn't. The Lakers don't have any cap space to offer, so they can't sign him. Nor will they be allowed to do the sort of sign and trade bringing them Nash over the summer, b/c the CBA doesn't allow it. That leaves a swap between the Lakers and Clips, netting them CP3. Why would the Clippers do that? Oh, and what then would they do with Nash?


Comment From Guest
Kenyon Martin would be a good defensive backup for the Lakers. Heard he was narrowing his choices to LA and NY. Is this off the table now?


BK: I don't think that'll happen. There just aren't enough minutes to go around. Good chance K-Mart stays a FA into the season, and joins a team mid-stream, perhaps after an injury.

Comment From Carly Bezilla
How long before the Lakers get some team chemistry/mesh in your opinion?


BK: Obviously Howard's health is a major factor in there, but I don't think it'll be too bad looking at the team overall. There will be growing pains, but even if they do struggle a little to adjust to Nash, he's so good they'll still look better than last year, I suspect. I like, too, that they're running a system on offense in the Princeton. I think the structure of the offense will make the process of meshing easier.

It won't be instant, but it shouldn't take that long.


Comment From Philip G
How do you feel the Lakers will manage with athleticism? Besides Dwight, I feel like they haven't improved in that category during the offseason (ie fast break and wing defense)


BK: They'll use Howard to erase many mistakes defensively, and will look to control the opposition's ability to run with a much more efficient offense. But you're right, they won't be the most athletic team by a long shot. That's ok, though. They just have to be good enough/proficient enough to defend against highly athletic teams, which I believe they can be.


Comment From Sleepy Glen Peters
Are you comfortable with Ebanks and Blake off the bench? Seems Lakers lack a defensive presence off the bench.


BK: The bench isn't perfect, but it's a significant improvement over last year, and that's probably enough. Keep in mind, this isn't hockey. When Ebanks or Blake or whomever comes in, he's got a support system around him frequently containing 2 or 3 starters .


Comment From Jenny So

In your opinion does anything less than a championship this year appears as a failure?


BK: It will be seen as such, though it's hard to say now if they got to the Finals and lost in six or seven it would be a failure. Disappointing, perhaps, but hard to call that a failure.

But the players will, which is what matters.


OK, folks. That's all the time I have. If I missed your Q, feel free to hit me up on Twitter. @espnlandolakers.

Thanks for stopping in. Really appreciate it.

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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