Los Angeles Lakers: Lakers Poll

Rock the Vote: Lakers - Clippers poll data

November, 2, 2012
Kamenetzky By Brian Kamenetzky
'Tis the season to get all votey, celebrating the democratic process in all its forms. Tonight's matchup between the Clippers and Lakers, about as highly anticipated as a first-week regular-season game can be, is no exception. All week long, ESPN Los Angeles has offered the opportunity to weigh in on important questions concerning both of L.A.'s NBA squads.

See the results here.

Now let's parse some of the numbers a little:

Issue 1: Which of these statements best describes your feeling about the Lakers' 0-8 preseason record?

83 percent (as of Thursday evening) went either for "completely meaningless" or that the Lakers will "quickly" get in sync and contend for a title.

After Wednesday's showing in Portland, "meaningless" might now be too strong a word. Once again, the turnover bug that was so prevalent during the preseason came back to bite the Lakers hard, and the defense was again missing in action. (Note: Those two problems are related.) It's still absurdly early to declare these Lakers a bust, or that sweeping changes -- in the offense, in their coaching, in something -- are needed in order to save the season. But feel free to wonder how long it will take for the Lakers to look the way we all expect, what length of time is reasonable and at what point early-season struggles might impact the chances for late-season success.

Issue 5: Which team's weakness is a bigger concern for its fans?

Maybe it's the growth potential of DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin, maybe it's faith that Lamar Odom will pan out or maybe it's visions of last season's crew of reserves. Regardless, 59 percent of respondents went with "Lakers' lack of consistent bench production" over "Clippers' lack of size and rebounding."

No question, frontcourt depth is a question for the LAC until Odom (who played well in the opener Wednesday night) shows he's a high-end, functioning member of the basketball community again. If he's not, the Clippers are left with Ryan Hollins and Ronny Turiaf, neither of whom is fully reliable for one reason or another. The Lakers, meanwhile, are undoubtedly going to rise and fall with how well the starters play. Still, those starters won't reach the Finals dragging along the least productive bench in the NBA, as the Lakers had last year. This year, the additions of Antawn Jamison and Jodie Meeks, plus the return of Jordan Hill, were designed to shore up the team's depth. On Tuesday, they had their moments. Wednesday, fewer.

The Lakers will get a real test of their depth Friday night, because the Clippers can come in waves. Plus, with Steve Nash unlikely to dress, both Steve Blake and Chris Duhon will need to step up.

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Lakers Poll: What constitutes a successful road trip?

February, 3, 2012
Kamenetzky By Brian Kamenetzky
Six games over 10 days, all on the road.

There will be no easing in period, either. It starts tonight in Denver against a Nuggets team that just throttled a heretofore red hot Clippers squad by 22 points. Next, a trip to Utah, where the Jazz are 10-4, followed by a visit to Philadelphia and a Sixers squad with a 12-2 mark at home and, overall, the NBA's third highest winning percentage.

Game 4 is an always emotional revival of the Lakers/Celtics rivalry. Beware athletes with an opportunity to use a nationally televised game to restore some pride in a season that likely isn't going to finish with the deep playoff run they had hoped for.

Then it's the Knicks and Raptors. I won't insult you by pretending either game is anything but one the Lakers should win, though nothing is really a gimme at the end of a long swing. All told, it makes for something pretty burly.

Probably as good a time as any to note the Lakers are 2-7 on the road, displaying very little consistency, particularly among the reserves. Though they've won three of four overall, only one victory came over a playoff caliber team (last week against the Clippers), making a full buy-in on the mini-hot streak pretty foolish. So toss all these factors, and the myriad others, and ask:

How many wins are required to call the trip successful?

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Lakers Poll: Which game interests you more, Miami or Orlando?

January, 18, 2012
Kamenetzky By Brian Kamenetzky
Generally speaking, any time Kobe Bryant and LeBron James walk on the same court it creates an enormous amount of hype and interest, meaning Thursday's game in Miami is prime time stuff. Add the first reunion (of sorts) between James and his former coach Mike Brown, and there's another level of intrigue.

Normally, this is Game of the Week type stuff.

Except less than 24 hours after Black Mamba vs. King James, the Lakers head to Orlando. There, all eyes will be aimed at the paint, with Andrew Bynum, Dwight Howard, and The Great Trade Speculation of '12. When next these teams meet, will the centers have swapped uniforms? I suspect many Lakers fans will be rooting for Bynum to outplay Howard, not because it could lead to a Lakers victory, but in the hope it might encourage Orlando to take Drew in a deal.

"Play well, so we can get someone better!" Kinda cold, but that's sports.

So I ask: If you could only pick one game to watch, which would it be?

Personally, I'll take Orlando (the likely lack of Dwyane Wade sucks some air from the Lakers/Heat balloon), but I can see the results of this one going either way.

Lakers Poll: Do you feel any differently about Andrew Bynum?

March, 7, 2011
Kamenetzky By Brian Kamenetzky
It's not that he's never been good before, nor that he hasn't shown toughness or commitment to his teammates. Certainly last season's playoff run, one which he finished basically on one leg, proved a lot to a lot of people.

Still, since the Lakers again rose to the top of the Western Conference, on a team generally loaded with scoring options, the coaching staff has tried to impart to Andrew Bynum the impact he could have as a rebounder and defensive presence. Phil Jackson said following Sunday's lambasting of the Spurs they spoke to him again on the subject during the All-Star break. Clearly something clicked.

In the seven games since -- all wins for the Lakers -- Bynum has been an interior force, positively changing games for L.A. whether he is scoring points on the offensive end or not. Against Atlanta (15 rebounds, three blocks), Charlotte (17 rebounds, six blocks) and San Antonio (17 rebounds, including six offensive, and three blocks), Bynum was often the best player on the floor. His 16 point, 10 rebound, five block afternoon last week in Oklahoma City was arguably Bynum's best two-way game of the year.

He appears to have embraced his role, perhaps emboldened by the tangible nature of his impact. It's impossible not to notice, whether by his teammates or the assembled media. "This team is going to win regardless of if I get 15 points or if I get four points. That's the kind of team we are," Bynum said following Sunday's win. "But this team won't win if we don't have defensive toughness on the inside. I just think that's the biggest thing I can bring."

While he's had big defensive moments before, they've come in fits and starts and often have been about his literal presence (he's really big) than sustained runs of shot-blocking, shot-altering, athletic dominance. Whatever the reason, whether due to improved health (it certainly looks like he's moving better as he gets further away from offseason surgery), outlook, or understanding, in an albeit non-scientific examination of Bynum's career it feels like this is the best stretch he's had on that side of the floor.

So here's the question, as it relates to one of the great flashpoint figures the Lakers have to offer: Does this seven-game run change how you feel about Andrew Bynum?

Lakers poll: Live in the now, or think of the future?

February, 9, 2011
Kamenetzky By Brian Kamenetzky
Beyond the nuts and bolts questions of how Carmelo Anthony would fit with this year's Lakers squad if he arrived in a pre-deadline deal- still a long shot in my estimation- the prospect of trading Andrew Bynum for Denver's star forward raises other larger questions. Among the biggest is a debate about Bynum himself, and his viability as a cornerstone of the franchise down the road.

Another, of incredible relevance for this year's Lakers, is the question of sacrificing the present to secure the future.

Like a lot of people, I believe pulling the trigger on a 'Melo-for-Bynum trade (or any other "blockbuster" level deal, for that matter) almost certainly lowers L.A.'s chances of winning a third straight title. Talented as Anthony is, his arrival would profoundly change the way the Lakers operate on both sides of the floor and leave them frightfully thin in the frontcourt. With fewer than 30 games left in the regular season, asking the re-made Lakers to gel in time to win another Larry O'Brien is a very tall order.

Given a summer to fill out the re-shaped roster, the Lakers could with this trade make themselves deeper and more dominant, while at the same time answering the question of who takes over for Kobe when he's not quite Kobe anymore. In the now, the odds go down.

Which is more important? Even if you reject the analysis (believing the Lakers get better immediately with Melo, or worse down the road without Drew), the question remains relevant, if not in this scenario perhaps in another. Sports offer no guarantees. Is it worth injuring a legitimate opportunity to win a championship now if it means a potentially brighter future? Particularly in a city like Los Angeles, where three seasons of non-contention are treated like 300?

As I'm on record supporting the potential deal, my answer is obviously yes, but it's the strongest argument against this trade, or anything else shaking up L.A.'s current core.

Lakers poll: Did you feel sympathy?

January, 12, 2011
Kamenetzky By Brian Kamenetzky
"None. You forget who you're talking to."

That was Kobe Bryant's response Tuesday night when I asked whether at any point during the game he felt a little compassion for guys on the other bench, given the severity of the beatdown the Lakers laid on them. The Cavs scored only 57 points, and the 55-point margin of victory was the third-largest in Lakers history and their lowest point total surrendered since the advent of the shot clock more than a half century ago. Any empathy for Byron Scott? Yes, from the more macro perspective of watching a close friend suffer through what is an eight-win season unlikely to get better any time soon. But the players? No love from Kobe.
Shannon Brown was similarly unsympathetic, noting that none of the Cavs would have been if the tables were turned, particularly if given a chance to humiliate the Lakers. Nor would the guys in the locker room want it. (I suspect the Cavs don't, either.) Andrew Bynum shed no tears for the wine and gold, despite their extensive injury issues. "No, not really. The same situation with people being out can happen to any team, so we have to go out and handle our business the same way," he said.

From a player's perspective, I get it. As Bryant said, "You beat them by as many points as you can beat 'em." That's the object. No need to sweep the leg, but a good, clean beatdown is totally appropriate. But as an observer? I absolutely felt bad for the Cavs Tuesday night, an undermanned squad getting embarrassed in a very public setting. It reminded me of a time in high school I was forced to sit across the room at a friend's house while he was completely eviscerated by his dad. I couldn't leave the room (in part because my function there was to make sure my buddy wasn't killed), and needless to say, it was uncomfortable.

It's not as if the Cavs are the Celtics, right? LeBron James, the source of most/all anti-Cavaliers sentiment in years past, has moved on in famously arrogant fashion, turning the people of Cleveland and their basketball team into very sympathetic figures in the process. None of the other players on the roster has any history rubbing L.A. the wrong way. (What Lakers booster sat at home preening because Samardo Samuels was 1-for-12?)

Plus, the Cavs have a former Lakers great on the sideline.

So I'm curious: As a fan, did you feel sympathy for the Cavs?

Lakers poll: How much do you feel K.G.'s pain?

September, 28, 2010
Kamenetzky By Brian Kamenetzky
The Celtics met the media Monday afternoon, and among the stories passed along by our friend Chris Forsberg at ESPNBoston.com: Apparently, the summer didn't treat Kevin Garnett particularly well.

"[It] was very painful, very dark," he said.

I'm sure it was. And I'm sure Lakers fans are sympathetic. Not the kind to revel in the unhappiness of another person, even a Boston Celtic. Right?

Lakers poll: Does Phil Jackson return?

June, 27, 2010
Kamenetzky By Brian Kamenetzky
You've heard what he had to say, you've (hopefully) seen the video of his press conference Wednesday.

Now, all that's left is to wait and see what Phil Jackson decides to do after mulling his future this week. (Nothing like the clear Montana air and sky to help a man make important life decisions.) In the meantime, plenty have speculated on his future, some wondering if he's genuinely considering walking away or just posturing to guarantee a sweeter financial package from the organization (I'm in the first group). But even Mitch Kupchak said he'd be surprised if Jackson retired.

What about you? After marinating in the news for a few days, do you think he'll be back?

State of the first round fan: Lakers poll

April, 25, 2010
Kamenetzky By Brian Kamenetzky
In the wake of Saturday's Game 4 at Ford Center in which the Lakers were, like 13 heads of Oklahoma cattle, rather unceremoniously slaughtered, this afternoon I looked at where things stand ahead to Tuesday's critical Game 5.

The reasons for concern are real, but it's also a little early to start hanging with this guy.

But that's just my opinion. It's time for you to express yours through the time honored ritual of voting. Don't even think about skipping these poll questions, because when you don't vote, it angers intensely the spirit of James Madison, and you don't want that guy haunting you. Trust me.

More polls below. And remember, don't make Madison's ghost have to come after you...

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Lakers poll: So are we media types just a bunch of drama queens?

March, 25, 2010
Kamenetzky By Brian Kamenetzky
One of the tough things about covering (media) and cheering for (fans) a team like the Lakers comes from everything they do- good, bad, mysterious, and beyond- being filtered through a crystal ball aimed squarely at June. In other cities, it's about jockeying for playoff position, finding growth in players, or in the case of some franchises, marking days off the calendar until the '09-'10 season is, like Leno in primetime, finally allowed to die. There's stuff to do.

Here, we've been spent every day since October divining answers to questions that still won't be resolved for weeks.

I've tried to stay balanced, noting deficiencies in individual games and throughout the season, but not forgetting the Lakers are very, very good. Still, right now I'd favor Cleveland in a seven-game series, and don't believe the team has, for reasons in and out of its control, played up to its potential.

Today, NBA.com's Fran Blinebury explores the question of whether or not the worry and drama surrounding the team is just that, or something more substantive. The players, he writes, seem to believe its the former.

Says Pau Gasol: "We have so many media around us, following us. Obviously, when there's something that is unusual they make a big deal out of it and they try to start looking for reasons just to start things up. "But we understand what goes on with our team. We understand what it takes to be successful, to win ballgames. We're gonna go through slumps and bumps here and there. But I think right now we're at a good place."

Kobe Bryant: "We've got the trophy... Until somebody takes it from us, we're still top dog... We're not gonna be where we were last year. We're a different team. The simple fact that we added Ron makes us a different team, gives us a different identity. The way that we went about winning it last year is not gonna be the same way we go about it this year. We've accepted that. We understand that we'll have a different DNA... We don't worry about the drama. I think that's more entertainment, something for people to talk about, especially in L.A. People really get up in arms about a two-game, three-game losing streak. We know who we can be."

Derek Fisher: "I was telling some guys the other day, it's easy to talk about what we haven't done and you forget what we have done," said Fisher. "So far, in the last year plus, we've won 118 games and lost 35. That's not too bad. It sure isn't anything to worry about."

Not to say there isn't room for improvement-- all three have said so repeatedly throughout the year-- but clearly their confidence in the team outstrips some folks who have paid to watch, or are paid to write and comment.

So where do you fall? Are we in the media just rabble rousing drama queens, or have the Lakers taken themselves to a place where genuine fear is warranted?

As always, we want your vote, then your comments below.
Sunday's loss to Orlando was the team's third straight, marking the first time the Lakers dropped three in a row since acquiring Pau Gasol in February of 2008.

It was bound to happen at some point, right?

But has the streak (modest as it is) altered your perceptions about their chances to repeat? Maybe you're concerned about deeper issues? Kobe Bryant seemed pleased Sunday afternoon despite the loss, saying the quality of effort L.A. delivered against the Magic would be tough for any team to beat four times in seven games.

Perhaps you agree. Maybe you don't. As always, your vote and your comments are welcome below.

What to do with Kobe Bryant? The ULTIMATE poll

February, 9, 2010
By Management
It's been a topsy-turvy week or two for the Laker fans. So much piled on their plates. So many emotions. Kobe Bryant gets hurt. Kobe Bryant displays the heart of a champion playing through the pain. Kobe Bryant shoots too much. Kobe Bryant has his priorities (or at least his sanity) questioned, as people debate whether he should sit.

Then he does, and fans are left to worry about the team he leaves behind. Then that team wins. Then they win again.

Now, with 24 still questionable for both Wednesday's tilt in Utah and Sunday's All-Star Game, some (not us) wonder if the Lakers are better without Kobe. Others believe they'd better get him back on the court before the glass slipper shatters for his teammates. Frankly, people are all over the damn place. So given the importance of the issues and variety of opinion, Land O' Lakers is pleased to provide the Ultimate Kobe Poll. We really feel all the bases are covered. As always, exercise your democratic rights with pride.

Vote on the best between L.A. and Boston

January, 30, 2010
Kamenetzky By Brian Kamenetzky
Should Alex Trebeck ever need to fill out a "Rich Things" category on Jeopardy!, he could start with "What is triple chocolate fudge?" then move perhaps to "Who is Bill Gates?" or "Who are people who bet the farm on Mine That Bird?"

Somewhere in there, maybe for a Daily Double, would be "What is the history between the Lakers and Celtics?"

ESPN Los Angeles has put together a very cool photo gallery laying out the 10 greatest games between these two teams, many of which could make a 10-best list in NBA history. There were plenty of L.A./Boston gems not making it off the cutting room floor, too.

So which is the ultimate expression of the rivalry? Vote below on the 10 games included the gallery, or feel free to suggest your own candidate by selecting "other" and leaving your choice in the comments section below. Given our primary demographic, there are a few games I don't expect to poll all that well... but attempt to be objective. (I know, I'm laughing, too, but I'm obligated to at least try.)

Lakers poll: Pick your favorite buzzer beater

January, 2, 2010
Kamenetzky By Brian Kamenetzky
Like a pre-teen girl in 1990, it's possible to love each and every New Kid, but only one can be the favorite (for my wife, it was- and still is- Donny), so it is with Kobe Bryant and his trio of game winners this season, the most recent edition coming in Friday night's 109-108 win and prompting the Kings to send out texts littered with sad emoticons, just as the Heat and Bucks had before them.

Thus you must choose. Pick a favorite. Was it the amazing, athletic, though admittedly lucky banked three over D-Wade against Miami? The sweet turnaround J over Charlie Bell at Bradley Center? Or the angel-pure triple with one-tenth of a second left last night?

Personally, while the hoist over Wade was amazing and made for the best photographs, I'm going with the precision of the Milwaukee shot, because it was a true example of how Kobe works with a plan he can execute better than anyone can stop it. Having missed an almost identical shot at the end of regulation against the Bucks, Kobe took the ball in the backcourt, knowing exactly what spot he wanted to reach and how he would create space. (That the Bucks let him do it is another issue.) There was a surgical aspect to it all I found pretty interesting.

But that's just my vote. You get yours.

Lakers vs... danger? A Tuesday evening poll question

December, 22, 2009
Kamenetzky By Brian Kamenetzky
The countdown to Christmas Day has already started (and I mean that literally, looking at the ESPN Los Angeles homepage), but Lakers vs. Cavs isn't the only interesting- and potentially treacherous- matchup LA faces this week. There's tonight's date with the Thunder (read Andy's preview here). Then after the curtain comes down on Kobe vs. LeBron! the Lakers turn around and play in Sacramento Saturday evening.

All three present a challenge. OKC may be 13-13, but they pushed the Lakers to OT back on Nov. 3, and are a decent enough road team (6-6) with heaps of talent. The Cavs exactly haven't been dominant, but are still 21-8 and just blew out Phoenix on the road Monday night. Sacramento is 13-14 overall but 10-3. None are gimmies, and the psychology is interesting. Do the Lakers get caught looking past the Thunder? Do they come out flat after all the hype against Cleveland? Will there be a letdown the next night in a game that looks easier on paper than it will be on the floor? (I'll answer below, but first, you vote, because always we must preserve the democratic process...)

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Nick Young
17.9 1.5 0.7 28.3
ReboundsJ. Hill 7.4
AssistsK. Bryant 6.3
StealsK. Bryant 1.2
BlocksW. Johnson 1.0