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Thursday, January 20, 2011
New PodKast: Eye of the Tiger, Kobe's elite future

By Andy Kamenetzky

Win, lose or draw, the ear candy never stops. A breakdown of the talking points:

PODCAST
Andy and Brian use 'Eye of the Tiger' to determine if the Lakers do indeed still have the eye of the tiger and discuss Phil Jackson's comments about Kobe's future as an elite player.

Podcast Listen

- Wednesday's disappointing loss to the Dallas Mavericks featured a second half with bad execution on both sides of the ball and sporadic attention to detail. For Lakers fans following their team from under a rock without cable TV or even a radio feed, this is not a unique occurrence.

The team is a solid 31-13, but these games have hardly been given their full attention on a regular basis. Players have admitted difficulties getting up for early season contests and fans have doubted whether the two-time defending champions remain motivated enough to win a third title. To arrive at an answer, we call upon the gold standard for measuring athletic hunger:

"Eye of the Tiger," by Survivor.

Lyric by lyric, we evaluate if the Lakers have traded their passion for glory, lost their grip on the dreams of the past and not are just hanging tough, but staying hungry?

- All joking aside, how truly problematic are the issues experienced by the Lakers? Is this a question of faulty execution due to mental disengagement, which can be fixed, even as the sand undeniably trickles down the hour glass? Or has the gap between them and other contenders decreased, along with their overall talent? At the end of the day, how good does this team need to be to Three-peat?

- We discuss Phil Jackson's comments on The Max Kellerman Show about Kobe Bryant's shelf life as an elite player. How many years does he have left "being Kobe," so to speak? In my opinion, 2-3 more years, but probably not without some changes on Bryant's part as the aging process continues.

Around this time, I have my doubts Kobe will be able to explode for 30 points in a half on a regular basis, like the recent takeover against the Warriors. I just don't think his body will cooperate. But I could absolutely see him remaining a 15-20 point scorer (give or take) with a greater emphasis on facilitating. It's a not only potentially deadly role (picture Tracy McGrady's incarnation in Detroit as a table setter with a scoring instinct, but better) but ease the wear on Kobe physically.

However, would Kobe really want to play at any level other than "alpha male, top dog, unquestioned first option of a team?" It's an interesting question. For that matter, would he walk away from the NBA if that wasn't his role? After all, his Turkish connections make the "A.I." route as an overseas "guy" exceptionally easy to undertake.