Chat with the Kamenetzky Brothers
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, we'll have ESPNLosAngeles.com Los Angeles Lakers bloggers Andy and Brian Kamenetzky stopping by for their weekly chat.
Before joining ESPNLosAngeles.com, Brian and Andy hosted Lakers Blog for the Los Angeles Times from 2005-09. They host the ESPN Kamenetzky Brothers Lakers PodKast and frequently appear on ESPN Radio 710. As contributors for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com, they have written about virtually every sport known to mankind.
Send your questions now and join the Brothers Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. PT/1:30 p.m. ET!
Andy Kamenetzky (1:31 PM)
Hey everyone. How's it going? Just me today, as Brian is taking a day off. Let's get 'er started.
Larry, Toronto [via mobile]
With a pending lockout, do you see Kobe playing international ball?
Andy Kamenetzky (1:33 PM)
Larry: The only way I can see that happening would be if it were clearly evident from the jump that whatever stoppage was going to wipe out an entire season. Under those circumstances, maybe Kobe would prefer to play a season overseas rather than sit one out. But otherwise, I think he'd wait out the NBA's return and use that period to get some extended rest. He ain't getting any younger.
Chris (Studio City)
What's up, K-Bros! Assuming that Phil does indeed retire at the end of the season, what are the odds that the job goes to B. Shaw? Is there an external candidate the Lakers have their eye on (excluding Nate McMillian, who got his Blazers extension)?
Andy Kamenetzky (1:36 PM)
Chris: Without having done a ton of formal poking around (since there are more immediately pressing issues to cover on a daily basis), I consider Shaw to be the front runner. This would make sense, because it's a veteran team with a specific window of opportunity concerning age and peak effectiveness. Completely revamping the system and approach could mean burning a year, which I don't think is a very economic use of the time. Plus, it helps that Shaw is close with Kobe, whose vote will be counted.
Jay (Burbank, CA)
Hello K-BrosDo you think Kobe will rest for Friday's game against the Wolves. The Lakers should be able to handle the Wolves without him and it will give his ankle more time to heal.
Andy Kamenetzky (1:39 PM)
Jay: No, I'm guessing Kobe will play. Three days between the Magic and the Wolves is plenty of time to get healthy, and the Lakers didn't practice on Tuesday at all. Unless there are unforeseen setbacks or swelling, if Kobe got through Monday's game (with increasing effectiveness), it stands to reason he'll play on Friday.
Kyle St. (Riverside, ca)
what do you guys think of the Rose for MVP talk? and your opinion on how the criteria for MVP candidates seems to have changed over the years. i mean how can Kobe not be a front runner for MVP several years ago when he averaged 35 ppg?
Andy Kamenetzky (1:45 PM)
Kyle: I don't get terribly wrapped up in the MVP race. As you mentioned, the criteria is very fuzzy. I don't think it's "changed," so much as people have never really agreed on the "MVP" definition in the first place. Save the rare years when the choice has appeared pretty clear cut (Shaq in 2000, for example), my philosophy has always been that as long as a reasonable case can be made for whoever you vote for, it's a good vote. For what it's worth, Kobe actually got more first place votes in the season you referenced (2006) than any player other than Steve Nash, who eventually won. Thus, it stands to reason his fourth place finish overall reflected voters penalizing the Lakers' season rather than Kobe himself. And that's actually pretty consistent with voting. Generally speaking, MVP's are on elite teams, fair or not.
You guys haven't talked about it much, but do you see the Bulls getting out of the East? Plus i think they match up pretty well against the Lakers, Fish will get destroyed by Rose, and they have quality bigs in Boozer and Noah...
Andy Kamenetzky (1:51 PM)
Danny: I've been increasingly wondering if the Bulls could come out of the East. They're playing quite well on both sides of the ball, the roster is balanced and they have depth. They match up reasonably well against the Lakers, and as you mention, Rose is a handful. They also have Deng, and Brewer as quality options to throw at Kobe. But I like the Lakers' chances a lot. For starters, they don't have a ton of playoff experience as a collective, which I think matters. And Boozer has been horrible against the Lakers in the postseason over the last few seasons. Gasol and Odom have absolutely owned him. And assuming Bynum maintains his current level, he's at minimum a wash against Noah, if not advantage Drew. If the Bulls didn't have home court, I don't think they have a real chance, even though it would still be a good series.
Younger (Redondo Beach, CA)
I had to do a double take when I saw JaVale McGee's stat line. Dude had a triple double with 12 blocks. Will this guy be a top 5 center soon? Bynum's continued improvement would be best served with better competition.
Andy Kamenetzky (1:54 PM)
Younger: McGee needs to become a better overall player to be considered top 5 overall. He blocks shots well and can throw down with the best of them. (ROBBED in the dunk contest, IMHO). But he's not terribly well-rounded as a player on either side of the ball, and tends to make bad decisions. He definitely has upside, but he's still got a way to go.
sternjacob (redlands, ca)
Kamenetzky Brothers first of all good work, i read just about everything you guys write it helps get me through some boring classes. anyways, it is a bit early i know but friends of mine and i are constantly discussing moves the Lakers should make or should have made. what do you two think some potential key moves kupchak could make this off season?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:00 PM)
SternJacob: It's always rewarding to hear from kids whose classes we're helping them ignore. All one ever hopes for in life is the chance to make a difference, and clearly, that's the case here. As for your actual question, the decisions will be dictated in part by Shannon Brown and/or Matt Barnes opting out or not. If they do, replacements are obviously needed. Beyond that, I don't see a lot of noteworthy moves, unless they decide Steve Blake will never fit as well as hoped, and thus move him and go in another direction. But depending on the new CBA, that may not even be feasible.
Avie (Los Angeles, CA)
I know Andrew Bynum has been doing great lately after the All-Star break with his new defensive commitments. When 2012 comes, who would you take as the Lakers big man, Howard or Bynum? Thanks.
Andy Kamenetzky (2:06 PM)
Avie: I'd take Howard, with health being the biggest reason. Durability is a major plus (particularly for a big man) and Howard entered this season having missed a grand total of three games over the previous six. Plus, Dwight is quite young, would complement Gasol exceptionally well and is, ya know, REALLY good. If I have the opportunity to grab a player like that, as my man in the Direct TV commercial would say, I jump in it. This is no knock on Drew, who I like a lot as a player and person. But Howard is the better option on several levels.
Nikki Fink (LA)
If Dwight Howard comes to the Lakers will we see a hollywood remake of KAZAAM?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:07 PM)
Not the real Nikki Fink, but points for a funny question.
Do you think Shannon will opt out after this year and try the open market or will he play out that final year?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:12 PM)
Chris: That's a tough question to predict right now. I was actually surprised when Shannon opted out last offseason after a hand injury derailed a very strong start. This season, he also started strong, but his production and decision making have both flagged considerably over the last couple of months or so. Plus, the CBA uncertainty makes it hard to know how opportunities and dollars will shake out for players of Shannon's ilk. I honestly have no idea what he's gonna do, and for all I know, he doesn't either at the moment.
exhelo (San Diego)
"But he's not terribly well-rounded as a player on either side of the ball, and tends to make bad decisions."Yeah - that's what kept me out of the NBA!
Andy Kamenetzky (2:13 PM)
So close to a Hall of Fame career, Exhelo. Yet so far.
who is a worse first round match up for the lakers, the grizz or the blazers?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:18 PM)
Dave: The Blazers, by far. They have considerably more playoff experience as a group. Their arena more difficult for visitors (including the Lakers). They're deeper. And with Brandon Roy starting to round into a healthier form, they're more talented. The Griz have an excellent front line with Marc Gasol and Z.Bo, and like Portland, have a few good options to throw at Kobe. They're also playing well. But between the uncertainty with Rudy Gay's return and the other reasons mentioned, I'd much rather play Memphis than Portland.
Munawar (Irvine, CA)
What do you guys think of Colin on ESPN Radio saying now is the best time to trade Bynum? Since he's playing so well, he actually has resale value. he has a point in that your durability doesn't improve, and Drew has been injury prone.
Andy Kamenetzky (2:23 PM)
Munawar: I actually think Colin is making a moot point, because the Lakers can't trade Bynum right now even if they wanted to. Between March and the offseason, a lot can happen to lower Drew's trade value. He can get hurt again. The current level of play could drop. Gasol or Odom could get hurt, which in turn makes Bynum's presence mandatory. If the trade deadline were approaching, I'd understand Colin's point better (although I still wouldn't have traded Drew, because a radical change midseason makes a title defense considerably more difficult), but for the time being, I don't quite understand why Colin would even go there, to be honest.
Jeremy Marable (Nashville)
When is Theo Ratliff coming back
Andy Kamenetzky (2:23 PM)
Jeremy: Your guess is as good as mine. And unfortunately, as good as the Lakers', it would appear. There's no ETA, to my knowledge.
Who is Andy Kamenetzky? I aint ever heard of no Andy Kamenetzky. Tell me why I should care what Andy Kamenetzky got to say?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:24 PM)
Who indeed. Why indeed.
Considering the Lakers objective this regular season should be getting the second best record in the NBA, you think they can pull it off?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:29 PM)
Marcelo: It's certainly feasible, if not necessarily easy. The Lakers are right in the mix. Their own business must be handled, and from there, perhaps a lucky break could be needed. But without taking matters into their own hands, the second seed ain't happening.
Andy Kamenetzky (2:30 PM)
All righty, folks, that's all the time we have for today. Thanks for dropping by. We'll see y'all next week.