Los Angeles Lakers: trade exception
- Who were the Lakers' most and least valuable players at the mid-point? Who has been the most pleasant surprise? Among the supporting players, who is it most crucial to see step up for this team to become legitimate title contenders?
- How would you evaluate Mike Brown's performance in his first campaign? The conditions under which he has been forced to operate haven't been ideal, but if he's looking to make lemonade from lemons, you could argue he has mishandled opportunities.
- Save an unexpected -- and unrealistic -- collective leap in performance from players 4-12, it's obvious the Lakers need to tweak the roster to make a championship run. Would the Lakers be better off adding pieces to complement the existing Big Three, which almost certainly means sacrificing the draft picks and other assets likely needed to land a superstar? Or do you hoard every asset possible until the 11th hour in an effort to land Dwight Howard and/or Deron Williams, which risks being left high and dry once the deadline passes?
- (1:30): Remember the struggles encountered by the Griswald family en route to Wally World? Well, that's basically the Lakers en route to putting the ball in the hoop, but with less intentional hilarity. Even when they were winning, the margin of victory was pretty low for a team playing often excellent defense and armed with Kobe Bryant racking 30-40+ points by himself. In fairness, they've barely had any practice time to master a brand new system. And the Lakers are hardly the only squad struggling offensively during this shortened season. But even acknowledging all those caveats, the drought is pretty drastic.
- (7:10): We discuss the holes in the roster. This team is hardly talentless beyond their top three players, but too many role players aren't self-sufficient producers. Troy Murphy, Josh McRoberts, Matt Barnes, etc. are all useful teammates, but aren't necessarily able to create easy opportunities for themselves. Unfortunately, the Lakers are short on "helpers."
- (9:40): Like I said in the Lakers-Magic Rapid Reaction, if Metta World Peace is no longer operating almost exclusively from the lane, it's hard to justify why he's still playing. His defense is no longer "stopper" quality, and when it comes to floating around arc to jack 3's, we've already seen how this movie ends. I'm very much of the opinion Mike Brown needs to either prioritize MWP's presence in the paint, or see what Devin Ebanks' athleticism and speed can bring to the table. It can't possible hurt matters, and the front office needs to figure out what they have in one of their few young assets.
- (12:56): BK insists the hole in the Laker offense is so big, any number of cars could be driven through it. I insist if said car happens to be a Hummer, whoever is driving it is an Ed Hardy-wearin' jerk. Yeah, I said it... Jerk.
- (15:40): What should the Lakers do while waiting for the Magic to deal Dwight Howard (presumably) their way? Should they risk using the trade player exception now, even if -- as Brian thinks could happen -- it adversely affects the ability to land Howard before the deadline? I vote to use the TPE ASAP. If the Lakers are going to bother remaining a team built around Kobe -- and that certainly appears the goal -- then you can't waste time straddling the fence with his prime years on the clock. Get some help now and worry about Howard, Deron Williams or the like later.
- (23:01): Just how likely is it the Magic will actually deal Howard at all, much less to the Lakers for Andrew Bynum? We also applaud Dwight for his hilariously sarcastic dismissal of Shaq after The Diesel labeled Bynum the NBA's best center (which O'Neal can't possibly believe in earnest).
- (30:00): We have some fun at the expense of A-List players who put out "wish lists," Boris Diaw, and Twitter followers with unrealistic trade scenarios. The humor is accentuated by maniacal laughter from 710 ESPN's John Ireland and Robert DeNiro's character in "Cape Fear."