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 (1:30 PM)
Hey everyone! Let's rock and roll!
Mike (San Diego)
Jordan Famar was on Entourage on Sunday and he didn't even have a line. I guess being a Net has even less advantages then I thought.
Andy Kamenetzky (1:31 PM)
And right out of the gate, we have a zing!!!
Brian Kamenetzky (1:31 PM)
Hey folks. Thanks for coming by. We're here for the next... oh, a while at least, to answer all of your Lakers and NBA questions. Or anything else you have on your minds. Let's get going!
Allan K. (Calabasas)
Given Kobe being healthy it seems to me two players hold a key to a dominant season. Blake at PG is being counted on for 25 minutes per game and I suspect one of the back up big men Caracter or Ratliff are going to get more minutes than anyone of us would hope for. Can they pull it off? Other wise I think we're doomed to having a great or very good season rather than dominant.
Brian Kamenetzky (1:34 PM)
Allan- If Ratliff and Caracter are playing extended minutes, the Lakers are probably in big trouble anyway. It likely means Gasol and/or Bynum (particularly Gasol) are gone for a while. If Pau is out for something like that, I don't really know how much it matters if Caracter plays well. But short of doomsday, I think those guys will be fine in their roles, and there's no reason to think the Lakers can't be dominant. As for Blake, I think he'll be fine in a 25 minute a night role, and that his presence will be a major boost to the Lakers backcourt. They've been looking for someone to take a higher profile at the guard spot behind Fish for a while.
Adam (Los Angeles)
What did you guys think of the Timberwolves letter?
Andy Kamenetzky (1:36 PM)
Adam: I found Kahn's letter kinda refreshing, if kinda odd. On one hand, he was honest about the Wolves' non-existent chances of challenging for a title, and we rarely see front office types out of spin mode. And he certainly gets points for originality. Having said that, I don't know if listing the zillions of moves made, then conceding none are a go-to guy will boost the spirits of Wolves fans. And I'd have skipped the Rubio joke. Too soon, David. Too soon.
With Bynum seemingly getting injured every season wouldn't it make sense to have Odom start and have Bynum come off the bench for 20-25 minutes. The lakers seem to play better with Odom on the floor anyway. Also I've watched steve blake a lot and i personally think he should get the bulk of the minutes at PG not Fisher.
Brian Kamenetzky (1:37 PM)
Hey Turner-I don't really think it matters in terms of injury if Bynum comes off the bench or starts. They monitor his workload, and don't press him beyond his limits. They mix and match the lineups and the rotations in enough ways that all of these guys play in different combinations, anyway. But I don't think it's worth changing the rotation to try adn keep Bynum healthy, because I don't really think it'll make a difference. Bynum's minutes can be controlled either way. As for playing better with Odom on the floor (whether with Gasol or Bynum), it was very true two years ago, less so last season, but they're also very effective when Bynum is playing well. I think the minutes at PG will probably balance out relatively evenly. Blake could earn a little more PT if the Lakers use him some at the two, but that leaves them smaller than PJ would likely want.
I read an article somewhere that said Kobe Bryant is one of the most hated athletes in all pro sports. Is it mostly because of the alleged rape because if not I'm confused why people would hate him so much.
Andy Kamenetzky (1:40 PM)
John: I'll actually be writing something about Kobe's Q score later today. I talked with a Q rep and learned a little more about the polling. Without giving too much away, separate numbers are tracked for the general public and sports fans specifically, and I'll get into the differences. But to answer your original Q, Colorado lingers, but it's also a reflection of Kobe's general personality, which many don't find inherently likable.
Better Odds Lakers 3 peating or Clippers making the playoffs?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:42 PM)
Great question. It's obviously much tougher to win a title than make the playoffs, but in the Clippers case, there is room to make the top 8. LAL, OKC, Portland, Dallas, Houston (w/ good health), and Denver (should Melo hang around) seem like locks, and I'd be very surprised if Utah wasn't there, and you're going to have a tough time convincing me the Spurs aren't a playoff team. That's eight right there, and I'm not convinced an Amare-less Phoenix team will fall off the end of the earth. They won't make huge noise, but they could easily have a winning record. The Clips have the talent, in theory, to make a jump, but can they win 50 games? That's what it took last year to get into the playoffs, and it could again this season. They'll have to prove me wrong.I'll say the threepeat is more likely.
Tom (Las Vegas)
Hi- Do you expect any good minutes to go to either rookie forward?? Especially aginst inferior teams and let Gasol & Odom play less minutes early on.
Andy Kamenetzky (1:42 PM)
Tom: I think Caracter has a better shot at minutes, given Andrew Bynum's propensity for injury. But all in all, I don't expect either guy to play much. The Lakers are a stacked team, and there are only so many crumbs to go around.
blu3m3ani3 (Boulder CO)
When's the next podcast?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:42 PM)
Working on one for this week. Thanks!
Morrison is working out with the Celts. Any other news on other ex-Lakers from last year (Mbenga, Powell)?
Andy Kamenetzky (1:43 PM)
jq: Morrison is indeed working out with Boston, although no camp invite (much less a contract offer) has been extended, to the best of my knowledge. Powell signed a deal with the Hawks over the summer and unless I missed something, Mbenga remains a free agent.
lone star laker fan (austin, tx)
AK/BK--When was the last time a season was so eagerly anticipated? With Miami, Boston, Orlando and Chicago in the East, and LA, OKC, Huston and Portland in the West, there should be a great story almost every night of the season. Agree?Also, Durant reminds me of the Logo--if West was 6 inches taller. Both with sweet jumpers, long freakish arms, and a "I'm going over here and scoring over you" mentality.
Brian Kamenetzky (1:45 PM)
Lone Star-I think the Miami thing basically set the stage for a very compelling season. There are four very, very good teams in the east, one dominant team in the west but a bunch of intriguing challengers, including the Thunder. The return of Yao, the Melo trade drama, and so on. You're right, it should be great. And if anticipation can be measured by a total lack of meaningful "offseason," than yeah, this one is off the charts. Most anticipated ever? Don't know. But people are excited, for sure. I'm a huge fan of Durant. I didn't see enough of West to make the comparison, but he's an incredible talent. My MVP prediction this year.
Ruel (Inland Empire, CA)
First, GREAT piece on the passing of your friend, BK. Poignant and touching. I've followed you guys since the LA Times blog and while your Lakers info and reporting has always been top-notch, sometimes the quality of your writing goes unsung. Kudos to you, sir (and Andy, of course)Second, as long as the Lakers stay healthy, I'm confident they'll three-peat. Kupchak has been amazing since taking over for The Logo. After losing to the Celtics in 08, he's made each subsequent team better -- not an easy task as a defending champion. Aside from the obvious (Celtics, Magic, Heat, Thunder, Blazers), what sleeper team could give the Lakers a run for their money?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:48 PM)
Hi Ruel-Thanks for the nice words. I appreciate it a great deal. Regarding your question, the team I think is most dangerous that would qualify for sleeper status would be Houston. If Yao can manage to stay healthy, they'll have a great core to work with. The inside outside combo of Yao and Kevin Martin, with Aaron Brooks at the point, Scola up front to do a lot of damage in Yao's wake, and all the tenacity the Rockets always bring. They'll be the team NOBODY will want in the playoffs.......if they stay healthy, and that's a big if.
Aaron (Granada Hills, CA)
Why oh why are the Celtics having Adam Morrison work out for them?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:48 PM)
Why not? No harm, no foul. They're under no obligation, obviously. I don't think he'll be on their roster in the fall, though.
Last year we all thought Ron-Ron was going to be a distraction. This year its Matt Barnes and he's already gotten into some kind of trouble. How much does that concern you?
Andy Kamenetzky (1:49 PM)
John: I actually wasn't worried about Artest going off the reservation when the Lakers signed him, for what that's worth. He'd been on reasonably good behavior the last few years and worships Kobe like a fan boy, which made me think the line would be walked. Barnes, however, concerned me a little more. From everything I've gathered, he can be a very mercurial personality and I wasn't sure he'd get a big enough role to be happy. He's been saying the right things, and for now, I'm giving the benefit of the doubt. I don't think he can truly become a "distraction," because he's too easily cut if need be. But between his general temperament and the legal development (which could very well get settled quickly, then moved on), Barnes provides a bit more pause. Having said that, I'm not losing sleep over it, and were I a betting man, my money would be on everything working out fine.
in a ppr league is it worth the trade i have McCoy and Breaston for Lee Evens and Tony Romo
Brian Kamenetzky (1:49 PM)
Chris, it depends. Are you hard up for a QB? If not, I wouldn't give up Breaston and McCoy in a PPR league. That's a lot to lose. I think Evans is awful (from a fantasy standpoint. I'm sure he's a nice person)
Ted (Hawaii )
What's up? Is there a legit chance that Dampier will be on the Heat this year?
Andy Kamenetzky (1:51 PM)
Ted: I'd imagine Miami is an option for Dampier. Were I him, that set up would be appealing. Championship potential. Not much competition at center. Nobody else is gonna throw huge money at me anyway, nor should I need it. Why not?
mikey (east los angeles)
Do you guys believe a healthy Andrew Bynum could be the next superstar of the Lakers once Kobe's reign in L.A. is finished?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:52 PM)
Hey mikey-Bynum is one of the most intriguing questions for this team generally, going into the future. Not only am I not sure if he's the next great superstar in LA-- he's got the talent, but obviously health is a big factor-- I'm not convinced the Lakers will commit to him beyond his current deal. It's an incredibly difficult decision. I have no doubt Bynum will show continued promise over the next couple seasons, but unless his bill of health is a little cleaner, would you want to go all in with him? He's going to be a very expensive player. It's a very hard call. And keep in mind, Kobe's time in LA is still not over, and won't be for a while (certainly won't be when the Lakers have to make a choice on Bynum's future here).
World Series Picks?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:53 PM)
Rays vs. Phillies, with the Twins and Reds as darker horses.
Short (San Francisco)
Wassup K-Bros, hope you're both enjoying the last few weeks of your summer vacay! Pretty simple question to start off...what are you guys most looking forward to in the upcoming season from the Lakers? There's so much right? I mean, we're going for a three peat, it might be Phil's last season, etc. I think one of the things I'm most looking forward to is the further development of the Pau/Drew tandem. If Drew can stay healthy, for the love of humanity let's hope he does, the path the two of them are in is so intriguing. People think they don't co-exist well but I think they do. In the limited time they've played together there have been glimpses of absolute domination. I hope that glimpse become fruition for the season. That's just one of the things I'm most looking forward to, what about you?
Andy Kamenetzky (1:54 PM)
Short: Hmmm, good Q. Certainly, a full season (knock on wood) of Pau and Drew is certainly a compelling curiosity. Other aspects that intrigue me are Artest's play after a full year in the system and Steve Blake's effect on the second unit. Can he help guide them to a more consistent showing?
kristine (va beach va)
why is that know one outside of laker nation will give kobe his props on winning the way that he is doin it.. first he is not a leader.. ludacris people were saying this when he played with smush parker kwame brown but was good enough to make it to the playoffs etc in a tough west conf..
Brian Kamenetzky (1:56 PM)
kristine, who says that? He's a two time Finals MVP, and people call him the best player/closer in the game all the time. He gets enormous amounts of credit, as he should.
laker fan (Castaic Lake)
Bynum enjoys his summer, delaying his knee surgery. Now we hear he may have limitations during training camp and even into the reg season. No body denies his talent when healthy. But the words lazy, entitled, stupid and selfish seem more accurate in describing Drew, than hungry, driven and motivated. Shouldn't you act like a professional and get the knee done as soon as possible ?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:59 PM)
Laker Fan-Bynum didn't really delay his surgery-- he was pushed back because his doctor (an important ingredient here) didn't have space for him in his calendar. As far as his readiness, the Lakers have said he should be limited at the start of camp, but good to go by the regular season. I don't think he did anything wrong, here. And remember, the guy played through incredible pain last season during the playoffs. Give him a little credit.
Aaron (Granada Hills, CA)
Everyone keeps saying that Lebron is now hated because of "the Decision" but I think that his playoff meltdown performance should have just as much to do with it.
any chance of a lakers big lineup featuring kobe barnes odom gasol and bynum?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:02 PM)
Darren: My guess is that alignment won't take the floor particularly often. It's basically the same thing as the Kobe-Ron-LO-Gasol-Bynum lineup Phil said intrigued him last season, but nonetheless didn't use. It's a lineup very vulnerable to speed, and provides very little outside shooting. Maybe scattered possessions, or at the end of a game while maintaining a lead. But over long stretches, my guess is no.
Brian Kamenetzky (2:02 PM)
Aaron-I think that was the seminal moment for a lot of people, but yeah, whether you're talking about Game 5 vs. Boston, not shaking hands vs. Orlando, some of the sideline/pregame antics with his teammates, and so on, there's no question LBJ has grown less appealing over the years. But the Decision was a huge, huge turn off.
Sup B.A. Baracus! So where you think Dampier will end up? Would he be of any interest for the Lakers?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:05 PM)
Younger: I have no inside info on Dampier's landing spot, but I'm guessing the Lakers aren't an option. He'd get very little PT behind Bynum and Pau (the second string center), and they already have Ratliff as the emergency big. Never say never, I guess, but the odds strike me as low.
What has to happen for Derrick Caracter to play a lot this season?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:10 PM)
Brad: Outside of Caracter playing like an NBA ready veteran as a rookie, someone has to get hurt for him to get a lot of PT. In all likelihood, Caracter getting big minutes isn't a good thing. Don't root for it.
Tommy P. (San Diego)
Beyond Sasha, who else on the roster could be moved? What weaknesses could the Lakers try to shore up?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:13 PM)
Tommy: Outside of Sasha, nobody strikes me as particularly "movable." The core players aren't going anywhere, an injured Walton is basically untradeable unless the Lakers want to take back an equally undesirable contract, and guys like Caracter and Ebanks don't make enough money to net a player of likely impact (Remember, salaries have to match).
Gregg K. (San Francisco)
Is Kobe going to retire as a one-time MVP?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:16 PM)
Hey Gregg-I think so. It'll look like a statistical oddity when people look back on his career years from now, but I don't see how he gets there again. The Lakers are too stacked, and quite frankly, I don't think he or the franchise want him to have to do the sort of heavy lifting required to win another MVP. It's just not that important. If he retires with a few more Finals MVPs, he'll take it. That's the one he wants, anyway.
Andy Kamenetzky (2:16 PM)
Gregg: Two-time MVP. I think Kobe will win this year.
Dave O. (Orlando)
LO played some center with Team USA--- any chance the Lakers go small sometimes this year and play him there?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:17 PM)
Hey Dave-I don't think so. It's possible against very specific teams that play very small (Golden State, for example), but to go that way with any kind of regularity plays against the team's strengths. There's just not much incentive to do it. Plus, they're neither overly athletic nor high quality shooters as a group, so to go small doesn't suit the skill set, either.
Dee (Fayetteville, GA)
And who impressed you the most on a non american team at fiba?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:19 PM)
Scola was absolutely unbelievable during the tournament. I didn't see every game, but man alive, when I tuned in he was practically superhuman. That seemed to be the consensus, as well, from the folks on the ground in Turkey, too.
what will be the lakers best defensive lineup?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:19 PM)
Kevin: I think it depends on who is being defended. The opponent's personnel often dictates who is best suited to counter. But generally speaking, I'd say the lineup would likely include:KobeGasolArtestOdomAnd quite possibly include:BynumBarnesFisherBlakeSorry to hedge a bit, but like I said, it's a tough Q to answer in a vacuum.
Dee (Fayetteville, GA)
Whats good K-bros! So what's your take on AI going to china to play ball and do you think he would of made it to a nba roster for the season had he waited?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:21 PM)
Dee-Has he officially gone? I hadn't read that he had. But I don't think he'll land on an NBA roster this year. I don't see what he'd offer. A good team doesn't really have space for him to play minutes/likely won't trust him to be the proverbial good soldier, and what's the point for a bad team to sign him? He doesn't sell tickets anymore, and all he'd do is take away PT from players who could help down the road. I'm a huge AI fan, but it looks like his NBA career is done.
Shane (Los Angeles, CA)
K-Bros: Suns fan here, but in lieu of the Suns winning it, I am big time rooting for the Lakers because of the Miami Yankees, er I mean Heat. No one likes a stacked team and I bet the Heat converted a lot of fans to the Lakers...for this year anyway!
Brian Kamenetzky (2:23 PM)
Shane-I know the Lakers are often a black hat squad for other fans around the country (they win a lot, which breeds resentment-- that's one reason, at least), but this year, I have no doubt should they meet Miami, most of America will be pulling for the purple and gold. Totally agree with you.
Brian Kamenetzky (2:24 PM)
Hey folks. Time for a couple more.
Jordan (South County (OC))
Hey AK/BK! Like you guys I am very excited about the addition of Steve Blake but I really haven't seen him play just heard good things. I know hes a good play maker and a great 3 point shooter but my question is about his defense. Ive heard mixed reviews.. From what youve seen can he guard the great point guards reallly well??
Andy Kamenetzky (2:24 PM)
Hey Jordan: I would describe Blake as a very scrappy and willing defender, if not necessarily a lockdown guy. He's not the strongest guy in the world, which can affect fighting screens and playing physical opponents. But he's no patsy, and doesn't back down. I'm expecting him to be much more mindful and devoted to D than Farmar.
Short (San Francisco)
Putting aside health, what's the biggest concern for the Lakers this season? Obviously the second unit wasn't up to par last season, but we still won. PG position is always up for debate but we have a good starter and back up now. Is it chemistry? Motivation? It seems like all the bases are covered. Positional needs we're addressed, motivation should not even be discussed as an issue we're going for a three peat here and it's Phil's "Last Stand," chemistry should be fine with the leadership we have on the team. Other teams have gotten better but hopefully so have we.My point is, what's going to derail this train from destination three peat?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:26 PM)
Short-Beyond things like injuries, which are a threat to every team, and complacency, which will rear its head this year but, between PJ (as you note) and the Miami thing, won't be an overwhelming factor, there are a couple weaknesses to the team. First, they're not overly athletic. Hardly guys you'd scoff at playing at the rec, but not athletic like OKC. But the biggest issue to me is still the question of outside shooting. Blake will help, but unless Kobe and Fish recover, the backcourt won't have much by way of perimeter shooting. Artest won't be as bad as he was at the end of last year, but it's not ideal to have him launching treys all the time.Obviously they can win without being a great perimeter team (two straight titles attests to that), but it's a weakness.
Brian Kamenetzky (2:28 PM)
Okay everyone. That's all the time we have. Thanks for stopping by. Be sure to hit us up at @espnlandolakers on Twitter, and also at our mailbag: http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/mailbag/_/id/30043/
Brian Kamenetzky (2:28 PM)
Thanks! See you next week!
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