Los Angeles Lakers: ESPN Los Angeles Kamenetzky Brothers Land O' Lakers PodKast

PodKast: On Kobe's team, flopping, and endorsements LeBron doesn't want

October, 5, 2012
Kamenetzky By Brian Kamenetzky
Aaaaaaaaaaand, we're off!

The 2012-13 season kicked off this week with Monday's media day, and overall it's been a good week for the Lakers. Dwight Howard is participating more fully in practice than most expected when the trade came down in early August, raising the odds for an early season, or even an opening night, debut in purple and gold.

Steve Blake, meanwhile, is back on the floor following his parking lot mishap last month, returning in 10 days instead of the three weeks originally projected.

Still, with four All-Stars and a new offense to integrate, questions of chemistry abound and right away headlines were made as Kobe Bryant declared the Lakers "my team" on day 1. The reaction -- in some cases overreaction -- was swift. And that's where we start (after Andy tells a quick story of his airport encounter with his favorite member of the 'What's Happening!!' cast) in the newest podcast.

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We touched on those comments in the latest edition of The Forum, and expand on it here. (3:05) In terms of practical impact on actual basketball games, what does Kobe's declaration actually mean? We asked Pau Gasol, Steve Nash, and Bryant himself at practice this week. (7:45)

We're big on the idea of waiting to see how guys actually play before making judgments, but is there anything Kobe might (realistically) say that should cause genuine concern? (11:45)

The NBA has introduced it's new flopping rules. Good idea or not? Where could the whole thing go goofy? Yes, we all want to punish the bad floppers, but shouldn't the truly outstanding/absurd ones be somehow rewarded? (17:00)

Finally, we find a LeBron James branded product we are absolutely certain LeBron James didn't actually endorse. (22:00)

PodKast: Jordan Hill on staying in L.A., his role and braids vs. dreads

August, 1, 2012
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky
The acquisitions of Steve Nash and Antawn Jamison may have overshadowed Jordan Hill'sdecision to remain a Laker, but the big man sticking around was nonetheless a very important development. Beyond the rebounding and shot blocking provided by Hill off the bench, he's also a legitimate option to back up Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. The last few seasons have demonstrated the importance of limiting minutes for the starting frontcourt as much as possible, but also the difficulty in realizing that mission. Hill on board is a big step toward keeping Pau and Drew healthy and fresh throughout the season. Plus, the ability to re-sign Hill using his Bird Rights allowed the Lakers to keep their mini mid-level intact, creating more flexibility to continue building the team.

No doubt, Hill is a raw player in need of refinement, but he's likely better than anybody the Lakers could have signed as the primary reserve big man. He should play an important role next season.

We spoke Tuesday with Hill for around 15 minutes. The PodKast can be heard by clicking on the module, and below is a list of talking points:

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- (1:00):Hill recounts his late arrival with the Lakers last season and how he stayed ready for his eventual "shot," which came during a double overtime victory against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Staples Center. Without making good on that chance, Hill doubts he would have ever entered the rotation for the playoffs.

- (5:10):The Lakers provided Hill with his first taste of playoff basketball, much less teammates the caliber of Kobe Bryant, Gasol and Bynum, or the type of prestige accompanying this particular franchise. That made it tough to leave, even with more lucrative offers and/or larger roles available elsewhere.

- (7:16): Like any basketball player with the ability to roll to the basket, Hill is excited at the prospect of playing alongside Nash.

- (8:20):Already a bona-fide journeyman heading into his fourth season, the odds heavily favor Hill being a bench player the next two seasons. In the eyes of many, this will further the perception of Hill not living up to the expectations of being picked eighth overall in 2009. He knows, and doesn't care.

- (10:15): Hill explains what's expected from him as one of the few youngsters in the rotation.

- (11:51): Kwame Brown, Ronny Turiaf, and Josh Powellhave created a recent tradition for Lakers big men, one that Hill unfortunately cannot keep alive (but with very good reason).

PodKast: The future of the NBA, D.Fish and the "big 3" formula

June, 9, 2012
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky
With the Finals approaching and questions a'plenty surrounding the Lakers, there's nary a shortage of talking points this young offseason. Along with ESPNLA.com's Ramona Shelburne, we chop up the following:

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- (2:54): The OKC Thunder pulled off what was the seemingly impossible, reversing a 2-0 Western Conference Finals deficit with four consecutive wins against the San Antonio Spurs, heretofore undefeated in the postseason. And in a nice bit of symbolism, they defeated the Mavs, Lakers and Spurs along the way, and those just happen to be the ONLY teams who've represented the west since 1998. Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Serge Ibaka are all 23 or younger. Save perhaps luxury tax implications, can anything prevent OKC from becoming a sustained powerhouse, and can the Lakers be a part of that roadblock?

- (6:50): A note to NBA players who dig the no-lens glasses (and we're not judging this fashion trend, just making an observation): If you wanna wear them at the podium, where you'll be filmed from a distance, knock yourself out. But as Dwyane Wade demonstrated after the game 5 loss to OKC, those glasses look ridiculous while filmed in a media scrum from close up. You look like a kid doing a high school play.

- (12:30): However the Lakers retool the roster, they need to make sure the pieces complement each other. Star power alone doesn't guarantee wins. Just ask the Knicks. For that matter, any role players added must be more reliable and compatible as well.

- (16:30): The Lakers' cap issues are very real, and very hard to circumvent.

- (21:50): There are some Lakers fans rooting against the Thunder because they don't want to see Derek Fisher get a sixth ring before Kobe Bryant. Umm... why? Has the "Count the rings!!!" mantra really made us this literal-minded? I understand Mamba fans being prideful/protective of 24's legacy, but I can assure you, his first ballot Hall of Fame resume doesn't become diluted in the slightest by Fish owning one more chip. Trust me on this. I have a blog.

- (25:08): None of us are rooting for the Heat, but if they do happen to win a title, we're hoping a byproduct will be a change in the way fans and media talk about basketball.

- (29:00): If the Heat don't win, will it put an end to the "You must have a Big 3 to compete" narrative of the last couple seasons?

- (32:10): Metta Weatherman Peace!
Kobe Bryant's passing of Jerry West as the Lakers' all-time leading scorer will be forever a part of franchise lore. But as is often the case with The Mamba, the milestone wasn't reached without some controversy attached.

The accompanying loss featured Bryant taking 28 of the team's 73 total shots, indicative of an effort with few players making presences felt. Basically, you had Kobe, Ron Artest (15 points on nine shots) and... well... that's about it. The Lakers often appeared unsure whether the goal was to run the triangle or get Kobe a record, and Phil Jackson said at halftime to "get (Kobe) over the hump" so they could start "playing team ball." Obviously, the objective never came to pass.
Andy and Brian break down a "so-so" eight game road trip, and look forward to a brutal February schedule. Plus, is Kobe Bryant overshooting? Have the Lakers lost their balance?


You've already heard Gasol and Derek Fisher discuss the importance of playing inside-out and offensive balance. You've heard Phil offer a further two cents. With those shmoes accounted for, you can now get the perspective that really moves the needle:


-(1:45) Brian and I deem the 5-3 roadie solid enough, but felt it featured little truly great ball, a microcosm of the season as a whole thus far. Is this a sign of problems to come? Brian is a little more concerned than me about the lack of focus and execution, but even as somebody with no need to see January games approached like Gladiators fighting for their lives, I agree "fun time" is more or less done. Time to start the process of clicking.

-With that in mind, we discuss the question of offensive balance (11:57). The happy medium between Kobe making his presence felt and everyone else chipping. What constitutes "too many shots" for Kobe, particularly with a bad hand and this many weapons at the Lakers' disposal? Is there controversy brewing in the locker room?

All that, plus a prog-rock reference! While his ability to inspire wayward youth may fall short of Gene Krupa's, does any lyricist in music history make us think like Neil Peart?



Kobe Bryant
24.6 4.9 1.4 35.4
ReboundsJ. Hill 8.3
AssistsK. Bryant 4.9
StealsK. Bryant 1.4
BlocksE. Davis 1.2