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!
Brian Kamenetzky (1:32 PM)
Hey everyone! We're here for the next hour or so. Let's get started!
Jimmy (Sherman Oaks, CA)
Hey fellas. Do you guys know (or have ever asked) why Kobe almost never gets a screen on his defender? He takes so many difficult shots with good defenders draping over him, that if there's a screen for him, he can get by his defender and face a big man who he can drive by or stop & pop for a much easier shot... Is it an ego thing?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:33 PM)
Hey Jimmy-Actually, I don't think what you're saying is true. They run a lot of off ball action designed to spring Kobe, and also a lot of pick and roll. Yes, there's isolation, too, but some of that is by design. Putting him one on one against a defender at the elbow, or along the baseline. That sort of thing.
Do you think in two years we have a chance to see a repeat of Shaq/Kobe fueding but this time Kobe is the old man on the way out making to much money to justify his skill level and Bynum is the young superstar wanting all the limelight/touches for himself?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:34 PM)
Hey, Adam. I don't think the dynamic is the same. Bynum and Kobe seem more well aligned than KObe and Shaq.
Why is Bynum suddenly showing so many signs of immaturity? Do you think the team should consider trading him after the season ends if it continues?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:37 PM)
Corey-What you're getting at is why this is such a huge issue for the Lakers. They have a huge decision to make on him. Basically, if the Lakers would like to keep him, they have to decide to sign him up long term, for what will almost surely be a max deal. There are already health considerations to think about, and now if they have to wonder about his long term attitude and locker room leadership, it really clouds the issue.In the new CBA era especially, having a guy in the locker room who makes max money but is a bad presence would be a killer.
skoolpsyk (Juniper Hills, CA)
If Bynum does resign here for the max, what would his annual salary be? And when combined with Kobe's how are we going to afford anyone any better than we have now?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:38 PM)
I don't know off the top of my head (it's based in part on what cap figures are in the year following next), but I believe it would be in the 18-19 million range.
do you stand by your pick of the Clippers on the podcast, despite the win against the Nets?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:40 PM)
Yeah, though if you go to the NBA 411 that was up either yesterday or today, I pick the Lakers. How's that for consistency? Basically, upon further review, the Clippers are simply playing better than the Lakers. Wouldn't surprise me in the least to see the Lakers win, but they haven't played a complete game in a while. The LAC, though, have done better work.
What does the Lakers have to do as a team to compete with the likes of OKC and SA?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:42 PM)
Hi Jim-It starts with balance. Particularly against OKC, the Lakers can't rely on Kobe to be the focal point of the offense. They have to use him off ball, keep him moving, and help create shots for him where the defense isn't pre-loaded to stop him. They need balance against both of those teams, controlling tempo with shot selection. They can't afford any foul trouble, either. Obviously we don't know quite yet how the Lakers and Spurs match up -- we'll find out soon -- but right now, it looks like they'd need a series worth of near mistake free ball.
It seems like Sessions and Pau have really become comfortable running the pick and roll with each other. Man it is great seeing a Laker team be able to run a real pick and roll with a PG. Do you think Gasol and Pau will be able to keep it up when Bynum is back?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:45 PM)
I think they have. Gasol is really one of the most adaptable players in the NBA, because of his team-oriented outlook and incredible skill set. When he walked into the triangle, it took about two games for him to look like he'd been there forever. Working now with a ball dominant P and R guard, he fits right in there, too. As for keeping it up when Bynum comes back, the guy only missed one game, and Pau and Sessions had found some rhythm before that. I don't think it'll make much of a difference, though it does impact the sort of sets they run.
I appreciate exciting finishes as much as anyone but what is with all these blown leads? Is it fatigue, lack of depth, or just an attitude thing? Its frustrating to see the lack of killer instinct to put teams away including not so good teams.
Brian Kamenetzky (1:47 PM)
Yes. I kid, but aspects of all the stuff you mention play into it. I do think fatigue is a factor. The top three in this lineup have played a ton of minutes. Lack of depth is a problem, because the Lakers don't have much by way of alternatives beyond their top (now) four players. And for whatever reason, they still relax. So it's all an issue, and yeah, it's hurting them.
Hey BK, you and AK are in Rucker Park, who wins in a game of 1-on-1? First to 21 wins.
Brian Kamenetzky (1:48 PM)
I do, and it's probably a blowout. But that's not because I'm good, it's because Andy can barely dribble. In fairness, he never played growing up, and I did (at least a little).
tee La [via mobile]
Is jordan hill still on the lakers
Brian Kamenetzky (1:48 PM)
Yep, but he's hurt. Should be available again in about a week or so.
Sam (United Kingdom)
Hey guys, firstly, great blog, easiest way for me to stay up to date with Lakers stuff from across the pond. Secondly, I was happy to see Kobe's shot total being below 20 against the nets, with the addition of Sessions and hopefully Kobe playing off ball more, do you guys think this will be a trend? Or do you see games like last night as a one off, with his shot totals rising to the mid 20's again?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:52 PM)
Hi Sam. Thanks for checking in from the UK! I do think over the course of the remaining games, we could see a small drop in Kobe's FGA average. I don't know if it'll get down below 20 all the time, but he was at 22.6 in March, and is at 22 through a couple games this month. This compared to over 25 in January. He's still Kobe, he's still going to shoot, but there could be a little more balance for sure.
Abu (Ohio) [via mobile]
Hey guys, huge fan of your work. What would be an ideal first round matchup for the lakers. Also, what's the status on Kobe's numerous minor injuries?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:53 PM)
I'm in the anything but Memphis camp, Abu. I think the Nuggets would be scary if healthy, but that doesn't seem like it's going to happen this year. Dallas doesn't scare me. The Clips would be a really fun series to watch, but I think the Lakers could win that one. Memphis, though, is easily the scariest potential matchup. They have size in the post, a good point guard, play good defense, and have a defender in Tony Allen that can be put on Kobe effectively.
Who gets fired for missing on Gerald Green TWICE! Wasn't he on our summer league team the past 2 years? Mitch's "small forward" argument holds little weight.
Brian Kamenetzky (1:55 PM)
I had a conversation about this with Mitch around the deadline. I would have taken a flier on the guy, positional redundancy notwithstanding. Especially given his ability to fill in at the two. MB is already using Barnes there a lot. It's not like he's a classic SG, so it's very possible they could have got some mileage out of Green backing up Kobe. It was, in my estimation, a mistake.
What are the chances that Sessions is back with the Lakers next year? I believe he can opt out correct?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:55 PM)
Yes, he can opt out, and the way he's playing, I think he will. But I don't think the Lakers will let him get away.
Who do you see being a darkhorse in this year's draft being an all-star?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:56 PM)
Jim, I'll be honest... I'm so thin in CBB knowledge, I can't credibly answer that question.
mkam (Oceano, CA)
Hey kbros,What did Phil say or do with Drew last year after the all star break to get him going on the defensive tear (and more importantly team first demeanor) that led to that 17 of 18 streak? Any lessons for Mike Brown there? Thanks.
Brian Kamenetzky (1:57 PM)
mkam-Maybe he'll come around to say it again? The important thing to remember with Drew is that the on court product has been very good over the course of the season. It's tough to complain. It's just the attitude questions that are now coming up (though frankly they've been building up for a while). Having something other than injuries to worry about with him is disconcerting.
Short (San Francisco)
Ah nothing like a hour long lakers chat to distract me from work (shhh, it's a secret). Honest take on the lack of killer instinct by this squad? Yes, a lot of new pieces to the puzzle since the championship days, new coach, new era, etc. Is that really the explanation though? I'm not buying it for some reason....
Brian Kamenetzky (1:59 PM)
Part of it is talent. They don't have many alternate sources of good play outside their top three (four now with Sessions), so they can still be shut down particularly when the reserves are on the floor. That can change the flow of a game, and give teams life where they didn't have any. But perhaps this is part of their DNA. It's been an issue for a while. Kobe gets a little less selective with his shots, other guys become a little more willing to take threes, they stand around watching, they don't cut, they get a little lazy...
gerg (over here)
How about some props for that "softy" Gasol for setting a monster two-man screen that enabled the Kobe clutch shot?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:01 PM)
Stop it, Gerg. You know better than to imply Gasol, with his two titles and 10+ rebounds a night is anything but soft! C'mon, now! That's just the sort of thing he does. People don't understand how many things Gasol accomplishes on the floor, and the way he opens things up for teammates. We associate guards with the concept of "making teammates better," but Gasol absolutely fits that mold as well.
BK, where do you think this arrogance (swag?) from Drew come from? Is it because he knows how dependent the team is on him or something else?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:03 PM)
Hey Bozz--I think he's a guy who has been going in this direction for a little while, but now has truly arrived. With that, he's sowing some oats, you know? He's very, very good, he knows it, and he knows the team can't win without him. And I don't think he's a huge fan of the coach, either.
Mike ((Newport Beach))
Any word on if Bynum will be available for tonight's game?? Also, on a side note.. It was great to see Pau get feisty last night! He's has to have more dunks this yr than past seasons. Aggresssive Pau=Better Laker team imo
Brian Kamenetzky (2:04 PM)
No news yet on Bynum, but I think he's hopeful he'll be able to play.
Any chance the lakers revisit the Bynum for Howard trade next offseason/trade deadline?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:04 PM)
I'm sure calls will be made, though from which direction I don't know.
Brian Kamenetzky (2:05 PM)
Hey folks. Andy is here now. He'll take you the rest of the way. Thanks of the great Q's.
Is there a reason why Gasol cant play this great and aggressive when Bynum is available? I know Pau feels more comfortable down on the post, but he has played so much tougher the last few games without Bynum in the lineup? Can you guys imagine if we have Pau and Bynum playing at a 100% of their talent?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:09 PM)
Lex: To some degree, it's about the onus on Gasol to maintain his aggressiveness when Drew is back, but a lot of it comes down to opportunities not as prevalent. Pau ends up working from the mid and high post more often with Drew in the lineup, so that versatility isn't as utilized. And he touches the ball less, gets fewer attempts, etc. Remember, with Drew out, Pau's not just picking up his slack, but the slack of McRoberts, who plays hard but isn't a scorer. So more is needed from him, numbers-wise.
Nick R (Chicago, IL)
K Bros,Am I crazy or was a big problem in our poor play in the 2nd half last night due to too much ball movement? It looked like there were extra passes where players should have just stepped up and taken a shot.
Andy Kamenetzky (2:11 PM)
Nick R: I think you do raise a valid point. Guys were at times making higher risk passes or going for quick scores, rather than work the offense efficiently. Pau talked about that after the game. This team has an inclination towards impatience, rather than methodically beating an opponent down.
Love the blog guy! It seems like the Lakers play better when bynum is out..what do you think the reason for that is?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:12 PM)
Eddie: I don't think they play any better with Drew out at all. With him in the lineup, they lost focus against lesser teams. Last night, same story. But at the top of their game, they're definitely better with Drew in the middle.
Will the crazy guy formerly known as world peace be amnestied next season?(Please!!!!!!!)
Andy Kamenetzky (2:15 PM)
Daniel: I think MWP would be a candidate for amnesty, but I wouldn't rule out Steve Blake. MWP may be more expensive, but he's playing better, and the Lakers have Morris to groom behind Sessions. MWP provides more utility, even if overpaid. Of course, his is also a longer, far more expensive deal, and Blake could perhaps be moved.
Are there any concerns about Sessions D (or lack of it)? I really like the offense but to me he seems a little lost on connecting to his man, fighting over screens and in general playing solid D. Anyone else noticed that?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:16 PM)
Korey: Sessions' defense definitely isn't his strength. I think he works hard, but does get lost at times, and doesn't always make the right decisions. Particularly for a defensive-minded coach like Brown, that doesn't go unnoticed.
Jonathon SLUGLIFE (Santa Cruz)
38 minutes for Sessions!! woo! PLEASE tell me this will last...at least 35 min a game...i can hope right :/
Andy Kamenetzky (2:22 PM)
Jonathon: 35 is also my magic number as far as Sessions' minutes go. I think that's an excellent baseline. He's a young guy and needs as many possessions as possible with Kobe, Pau and Bynum to develop rhythm.
A.B. (Playboy Mansion Handicapped Spot)
Just wanted to let you all know I should be fine for tonight. Got a playmate on my shoulders and the ankle feels fine. I feel like I could play big minutes tonight as long as I continue to get rest during huddles.
With Bynum out, Pau Gasol has flourished in the post where I say he naturall belongs. I know Pau and Drew haven't played whole seasons together during those championship runs but they did play a considerable amount of games nonetheless. How come Lakers can't get back to that style of play?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:24 PM)
Never: Truth be told, the championship-level of play came with Pau and Lamar as the primary frontcourt, not Pau and Bynum. That's not to say Pau and Drew don't play well together. They often play brilliantly in unison. But when this team was at its peak, Bynum wasn't a primary focus down low. So to some degree, Bynum and Pau don't have nearly as much to draw upon, you know what I mean?
So how much better would our bench look if we had Green/Beasley (or Barnes) coming off it as our 2/3 (instead of this silly Sessions/Blake backcourt Brown seems happy to trot out)
Andy Kamenetzky (2:27 PM)
Nate: The bench couldn't have looked worse, that's for sure.
At various points this season the team has looked so pedestrian. Last season they looked pretty good and then failed to meet expectations come April and May. Is it fair to wonder whether the regular season, especially this crazy lockout one, can tell us much about playoff hopes?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:34 PM)
Anie: It's unfortunately quite fair to wonder.
Andy Kamenetzky (2:34 PM)
And on that cheery note, thanks to everyone for stopping by. Much appreciated, and we'll see everyone on the blog after Lakers-Clippers for Lakers Late Night.