Los Angeles Lakers: Seinfeld

Practice report: Kobe endorses Gilbert Arenas, roster uncertainty

February, 13, 2012
2/13/12
10:31
PM PT
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
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As I reported earlier today, should Gilbert Arenas transition from working out for the Lakers to working for them, that's just fine with Kobe Bryant. The Mamba didn't say much on the matter, but made it clear he'd be fine sharing a locker room with Agent Zero. "It certainly wouldn't hurt, that's for sure," responded Kobe when asked if the former-three time All-Star was needed. I liked Kobe's answer when asked what the pride of Van Nuys could bring to the table.

"Hibachi."


Of course, we're a few years -- and a few guns -- removed from Gilbert Arenas' days as a premiere scorer. The injury-prone, famously flaky guard hasn't resembled the dude making him one of the NBA's best for quite some time. A good workout is promising, but it's quite another thing for that showing to translate into NBA usefulness on a game-in, game-out basis. Until demonstrated otherwise, Arenas is a big name in name-only.

Brian has expressed apprehension about Arenas, and among the reasons he cited was the time spent trying to integrate the guard. The most recent evidence suggests Arenas isn't very good anymore, and there's no guarantee he'll be a good fit. Thus, he could end up an exercise in square pegs and round holes. That time spent getting Gilbert up to speed might not just be a waste, but could also potentially disrupt whatever progress the Lakers might make moving forward. A few weeks ago, I actually agreed with my brother, largely because I was willing to believe more practice and rest could yield signs of improvement.

But with the Grammy Trip in the books and signs of genuine forward progress few and far between, I'm reminded of a classic 'Seinfeld' scene. The gang's at a cock fight to watch Kramer's rooster "Little Jerry Seinfeld" do battle. In the meantime, Elaine informs Jerry she's mulling over a marriage proposal from her latest boyfriend, and the following exchange takes place:

Jerry: Marriage is a big step, Elaine. Your life will totally change.

Elaine: Jerry, it's three-thirty in the morning. I'm at a cock fight. What am I clinging to?

That's kind of how I feel about Arenas at this point. As presently constructed, the Lakers roster doesn't have the weapons to run an efficient offense, or Mike Brown simply can't figure out how to use what's in front of them. Either way, I anticipate a lot of limbo. Some games the Lakers will catch fire. Others, they'll crash and burn. But you get a sense things are largely what they are. Arenas theoretically provides a few skills this team could use. If he's 60-70 percent of what he once was, that's probably enough to offer at least some utility. If not, the Lakers really are no worse off, because staying the course leaves no margin for error to begin with. Another two months spent walking a razor's edge and this team will undoubtedly slip.

Again, what are they clinging to?

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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