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. Let's get 'er jumpin'!!!
Am I only the one who thinks Andrew Bynum can and will be better than Dwight Howard? As long as he can stay healthy?
Andy Kamenetzky (1:35 PM)
Matt (Riverside): It's certainly not out of the question Bynum could end up better than Howard. Defensively, I don't think he's quite at Dwight's level yet, although he's certainly more than a poor man's version. But offensively, he's more polished and dangerous (although, to be fair, Dwight is closing that respective gap). Other than Howard, I don't think there's a center in the league better than Drew other than Howard... assuming he's healthy. And there lies the rub. With Drew, heath is always a question. And thus far for Howard, health is never an issue. This has kept Drew behind Dwight's 8-Ball, so to speak.
Why did Phil wait so long to put the starters back in? He was watching the bench blowing the lead, but still kept them in for a long time, I know he does this all the time but i still fault this loss to this strategical move.
Andy Kamenetzky (1:38 PM)
David (L.A.): I can't speak for exactly "why" Phil decided to get the bench on the floor so long, but I agree it was a mistake. I'm generally a fan of PJ's method of letting players work through their messes, because I think the dividends typically pay off in the long run. However, the bench had also played pretty lousy in the first half, and I think the time for action had set in. When you factor in how Phil actually DID put the starters back on the floor in Game 6 against the Hornets with a 19 point lead and just 5:22 remaining (which I thought was an unnecessary injury risk), the decision seems even more odd.
Stephen A. just tweeted that the he's staying in L.A. to watch the Lakers lose the series. Tell him to pack some extra underwear and socks for the Parade instead. Is Artest going to be guarding Dirk at all?
Andy Kamenetzky (1:41 PM)
Randy: I may run into Stephen A at some point this week, so I'll be sure to pass along the message. As for the actual question, PJ has mentioned Artest as a possibility to guard Dirk, and I hope he makes good on it. I think Ron's physicality can go a long way towards getting Dirk out of rhythm and sometimes lankier guys have trouble with shorter defenders of size. Ron's done well guarding Dirk in previous games.
Yilmort Los Angeles [via mobile]
In your opinion, can & will the Lakers win this series? If so, in how many games?
Andy Kamenetzky (1:44 PM)
Yilmort: My original prediction was 6, and for now, I'm sticking with it. I expected a split series heading back to Dallas, and that possibility remains. Still, a 7 game series is certainly realistic (as I thought might be the case, too). People should expect difficult series and I think sometimes overreact to the notion that it won't be a cake walk.
MoPETE (N Hollywood)
K-bros! I'm dismayed for many reasons that Laker fans seem to be rooting for the Celtics to beat the Heats (that's right, I call them the Heats). First of all, it's Boston, and it's not OK to root for them under any scenario. I understand, although I disagree, that people don't like the way the Heats were constructed, but they're not nearly as unlikable as these Celtics. I understand that the Cs beat a Laker team that was down two front court starters in 6 games in 2008, good for them, but this fake tough guy persona is ridiculous. There's nothing legitimately tough about those guys at all. I can understand why a Laker fan would root for a great team like Miami to get knocked out early, but we have our hands full right now with Dallas and it's not the time to be looking ahead to an NBA Finals opponent. So this Laker fan says "Go Heats!"
Andy Kamenetzky (1:44 PM)
Justin (Los Angeles)
Is Kobe's pinky still bothering him? He seems to be fumbling the ball a lot.
Andy Kamenetzky (1:48 PM)
Justin (Los Angeles): I wonder all the time if Kobe's hand (whether pinky or other gnarly fingers) is causing him problems. Kobe's handle has turned suspect in recent months, particularly down the stretches of games. Maybe it's the hand. Maybe it's his ankle growing tired late in games, which prevents a certain amount of burst and makes weaving through traffic tougher. Maybe it's because in late game situations, he generally has the kitchen sink thrown at him, which makes handling the ball more difficult. But in any event, it's certainly caught my attention, too.
Anie (Los Angeles)
I feel like lately the Lakers have been less of a 1-2 punch between Kobe and Pau and more of a 1-2 punch between Kobe and the rest of his team. At times, Pau has stood out as the 2nd all star and at times Lamar, Bynum or even Artest has looked like that second star. Which model works for the Lakers best? More even distribution or Pau domination?
Andy Kamenetzky (1:54 PM)
Anie: For me, it's Pau "domination," in the sense of Pau putting a stamp on games and controlling them. Is the offense being run through him at times, whether as a scorer or facilitator? Is he attacking and forcing defenders to work? Is he rebounding like he's capable. When Pau is on his game, the Lakers often look unbeatable because his versatility makes him capable of affecting the outcome in so many ways. But when he's out of sorts, as has been the case at times throughout the season and especially the playoffs, the Lakers are considerably less intimidating.
Will (Stamford, CT)
How's it going K Bros.? Do you think we see facilitator Kobe tonight, well at least early on. Drew was ineffective last time, Pau went from effective to hurtful between the halves, and Ron Ron shot "a bottom of the batting order" percentage, and not to mention Kobe had 0 assists. I think they play a full, complete, and selfless game. Thoughts?
Andy Kamenetzky (1:58 PM)
Will (Stamford): Couldn't agree more. In my opinion, the Lakers are at their deadliest, generally speaking, with Kobe in play-making mode. He sees the floor as well as most point guards, and when he's looking to facilitate, the offense tends to remain more intact (in part because nobody breaks the offense more than him, to be honest). Plus, Kobe rarely if ever doesn't look to score anyway, so defenders always have to play him honest. There's nothing "passive" about Kobe in this mindset. If anything, I think it's often where he's most impressive.
Brian (Bay Area)
Would Phil ever acknowledge making a mistake (e.g. by playing the bench too long)?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:01 PM)
Brian (Bay Area): Occasionally, Phil will acknowledge dropping the ball, but as a general rule, don't hold your breath. He's much more willing to concede the good fortune of player riches over the years (MJ, Scottie, Kobe, Shaq, Pau, etc.) than individual mistakes.
The Lakers bench has been terrible outside of Odom. Do we let Barnes and Brown walk this offseason and try and sign someone like a JR Smith. Also does Blake have any trade value?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:06 PM)
Jay (Burbank): Well, the ball is first in Shannon's and Matt's court. If they exercise the player options in their contracts, they're in, end of story. I believe Barnes already said he will, which makes sense, since he's coming off an injury and probably doesn't wanna pick up and move for the billionth time in his career. And that's not a bad thing, because Barnes was playing extremely well before the knee injury. To the best of my knowledge, Shannon is undecided. If he opts out, it wouldn't shock me if the Lakers went in a different direction, particularly if money becomes an issue. I think the staff likes him, but there has been a certain amount of regression. Then again, the Lakers may not have dough to go after anyone of note (like a J.R. Smith), particularly if the Mid-level is eliminated in the new CBA. Thus, rolling with Shannon could be their best option. Blake's contract isn't impossible to move and he hasn't fit in quite as well as predicted, but coming off this season, his value may be lowered. If I had to guess, they give him another year to grow more comfortable.
So, do you guys think the Lakers will eventually double team Nowitzki? I think it could potentially be very dangerous.
Andy Kamenetzky (2:09 PM)
Josh: I doubt it. Phil talked before Game 1 about how a perimeter player like Dirk can be tough to double. Plus, he's not really into that as a hard philosophy. There will be hedging doubles periodically, I'm sure, and I imagine Phil will vary the looks more than in Game 1. But I'm guessing mostly single coverage will persist.
Caleb W (Behind Enemy Lines (i.e., Dallas TX))
You wouldn't believe the flack I'm getting in Dallas today, on my birthday and everything. Can't wait for a win to shut up all of my Mav fan friends! Also, happy Star Wars day. May the Fourth be with you.
SMOKEY (LOS ANGELES)
GIVEN THE DEVELOPMENT OF MARC GASOL, WOULD THE LAKERS BE A BETTER TEAM WITH MARC INSTEAD OF PAU RIGHT NOW? AFTER THE LOCK OUT HOW CAN WE IMPROVE OUR TEAM?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:13 PM)
Smokey: No, because I don't know how effective Marc would be as a power forward. And Drew certainly can't play the four. I know Marc's range is increasing, so maybe it's not out of the realm of possibilities. But for the time being, he seems more like a natural center.
ashley (san diego)
isnt kobes title a shooting gaurd and not point guard..now i do understand it in the coxtent of how he scores not whether he scores....i wish people would get off his case a little and hop on pau gasol he need to wake up....if i were phil i would play odom more than i play pau because its obvious he is the only one on this team besides kobe that can create his own shot...and defend dirk
Andy Kamenetzky (2:17 PM)
Ashley (San Diego): Kobe is a shooting guard, but that doesn't mean he should take every shot available, particularly when that leads to long stretches of iso-jumpers. Plus, given how great a play-maker he can be (and by extension, how great the Lakers can be with him in that role), why waste that skill set for the sake of semantics? You're right that Pau needs to step it up as well (although I think you're selling Pau's offensive skill set a little short), but one issue really has nothing to do with the other.
Which bench player do you think can most influence this series for the lakers?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:19 PM)
Jarric: Avoiding the obvious answer (Odom), I'd probably say Steve Blake, in that he tends to keep the second unit organized and purposeful. He's also been effective this season guarding Jason Terry, which is obviously an important story line when the bench units are matched up.
Brian (Bay Area)
Can Lakers defeat the Mavs in the series without Pau playing better? 42.7% won't get it done, right??
Andy Kamenetzky (2:21 PM)
Brian (Bay Area): It's not impossible for the Lakers to beat the Mavs with Pau playing at his current level, but that would require several more players to step up their games tremendously to compensate. Those odds seem lower and the simpler, more direct route would be Pau playing like he's capable. Ultimately, he needs to.
Mike (Mission Viejo, CA)
Why is no one making a bigger deal out of hte fact that Kobe was clearly fouled by Kidd during the play at the end of the 4th where they turned the ball over. Kidd kad both arms around Kobe's waist and basically taackled him. The entire arena was watching Kobe yet all three refs missed that?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:23 PM)
Mike (Mission Viejo): Mission Viejo must be a very unique pocket of the Southland, because from my view of L.A, California and the world, that sequence has been talked about constantly.
media over analizes lakers dont you think?? Lakers lost by 2 and they were the cause of it not mavs last 3 minutes lakers had dumb mistakes
Andy Kamenetzky (2:24 PM)
JL805 (sb): The Lakers over-analyzed??? Surely you jest!!!
Which sports team has the biggest whiners for fans?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:25 PM)
Jarric: All of them.
Doug (Davenport, IA)
The Lakers are at their best when they get the offense going thru Bynum early and help out on defense. If Bynum gets going early, Dirk would have to try and double leaving Gasol open for easy baskets.
Andy Kamenetzky (2:26 PM)
Doug (Davenport): Or the reverse, if they went early through Gasol and had to double El Spaniard, leaving Bynum open. For that matter, posting Kobe and Ron could pay off. In any event, there are dividends to going inside.
I just added to my Laker legacy, first i won 3 rings for them and now I sabotaged their nemesis and got them to trade their center hoping they can rely on me. Does that get me a statue outside Staples :)
Andy Kamenetzky (2:31 PM)
Shaq: It depends. Do you have recorded conversations with Dr. Buss laying out these plans to destroy the Green? Proof is needed, my friend. Especially after all the bridges you've burned in this neck of the woods.
Do you think Boozer will step up for the bulls? If he doesn't who needs to step up more for his lack of play, Deng or Noah?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:33 PM)
Ryan (Chicago): I'm not a believer in the notion of Carlos Boozer stepping up in the playoffs. I've seen him disappear too many times against the Lakers. Fair or not, that's my take. But Chicago's biggest strength is their depth, so ultimately, its up to everyone to pick up his game if Rose is limited.
Jesse W (KS)
my question is do you think kobe needs to step up more as a leader or the rest of the team as a whole
Andy Kamenetzky (2:35 PM)
Jesse: The answer is always "both."
Andy Kamenetzky (2:36 PM)
Alrighty, folks! Gotta run. Thanks for dropping by. Be sure to check out the in-game chat at the Land O' Lakers blog, then afterward, our Lakers Late Night interactive Facebook chat. See ya!!!