Hey folks. Just me today. But I'll be here to answer all of your purple and gold questions. And as a reminder, you can hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org and via Twitter at ESPNLandOLakers...
Who are we beating in the finals this year for the Champship??? ?
I like how you frame that question. I picked Cleveland before the season started, then waffled a little when they started poorly, but am back on the bandwagon. But honestly, Orlando is absolutely good enough to make it back to the Finals, and a healthy Celtics team is obviously a huge threat. It's the healthy part I didn't buy before the season started, and current events aren't exactly alleviating any concerns.
Will the Lakers win a championship with a lack of bench production?
Well, it depends on what roster they have. If it's the one with a healthy Gasol and Bynum, with Odom coming off the bench, the answer is quite obviously yes (they did it last year). If one of those guys is missing, it's tougher. They will need to get steady production from another guard off the bench (can be Farmar, can be Brown, doesn't have to be both every night) and I think a healthy Walton can stabilize things, too. Given the quality of the top end talent, the Lakers don't need a spectacular bench, they just need one that keeps them competitive.
what's going on with Artest? He really doesn't remember what happend to him? That doesn't sound right.
James-Well, we are talking about Ron Artest, here. As I wrote when it happened, even if he knew exactly what was going on, I don't think the story would sound the same every time he told it. That's just him. The good news, so to speak, is that if anything really untoward was going on that night, in this day and age it'll come out. There's no evidence of that as of yet, and outside that I don't really care how he hit his head, just that he did.
Who is the Lakers toughest competition in the West?
Leo, that's an interesting question. Right now, the Spurs are really struggling and showing their age, Denver has injury issues and has lost six of ten, despite the early win at Staples I don't see Dallas as a real contender. I loved Portland at the start of the season, but they've obviously been decimated by injuries.Can I just choose the Lakers?
What can the Clippers do tonight to stop the 10-game losing streak against the Lakers?
Michael-I think they have to aggressively attack LA's size with Kaman, and make sure Camby is very active underneath with weakside support against the other guys the Lakers put in the post besides Bynum. And they have to shoot well. The Lakers have done great work defending close to their rim, something that only really changes if teams force them out.I was impressed with how the LAC played down the stretch against Portland the other night.
Who would win in a fight between super man and a jedi wielding a lightsaber made of kryptonite?!
Kobe is clutch. Is he the most clutch player in the league?
Certainly this season he's been awfully nails, don't you think? Overall, he's as good as anyone in the league, probably as good as anyone for a long time. I'm not so concerned about percentages, because context is a big thing, both in how "clutch" is defined within a game and the context of the situations in which guys are shooting. My personal take on clutch vs. choke-- to me, clutch is the absence of choke. Someone who doesn't shy away from a moment, and performs exactly as he might in the second quarter even if its deep in the fourth. Kobe does that. He'll take any shot with the same confidence. That, to me, is clutch.
The Lakers have a tough January schedule playing Blazers, Spurs, Mavs, Magic, Cavs and ending it in Boston. WIll they come out with a winning record?
Paul-I wrote about that the other day-- Gasol's injury certainly adds a wrinkle, but I think the answer is yes. They're off to a good start, beating Dallas and Houston, and despite not having won in Portland in about six billion years, the Blazers are so undermanned and undersized right now, LA has a great chance to break that spell. If they can win that game, I think they'll be fine. The key to a winning month will be taking the lighter games on the schedule. Tonight vs. a decent Clippers team, Sunday vs. Milwaukee, the easier games of the road trip, and so on.But that roadie is a beast, for sure.
How can I become a Laker girl? I look much better than the ones you already have!
You might have to call Lakers HQ in El Segundo for that one. I'm not sure we're allowed to help with that process, be it through picture solicitation or anything else (I'm sure my wife doesn't want me in that business, that's for sure).
How serious is Pau Gasol's injury? Is this going to keep him out a while?
The thing about hamstrings is nobody really knows. It could be a few days (though I doubt that) it could be a few weeks. Listening to the Lakers postgame show last night on the radio, they had a doc from Cedars Sinai (pretty reputable hospital, I'd say) who estimated three weeks or so. It's not the team doc, which is important to point out, but that it can be measured in weeks not days shouldn't surprise. The important thing is the Lakers not push it- they can go without for a month or so, but they need a healthy Gasol to win a title.
When the Celtics/Magic/Cavs beat LA for the title, will be sad or angry?
Josh, I think you're missing a pronoun there. If you're talking about Lakers fans, they'll be both sad and angry, I would think.
With the squad the Lakers have, why do they seem to always be in tight games. Relying on Kobe to save the day?
Wes-"Always" is an overstatement, I think. "Lately" is certainly fair, though. One thing is continuity- the Artest injury put a bunch of new lineups on the floor, and robbed the Lakers of the guy who, at least based on on/off floor stats and plus/minus, was their best player. Some of it is lack of focus, though, no question. They went through a stretch where on both sides of the ball, they seemed to be taking shortcuts, not making the extra pass or taking the time to make good decisions. The last pair of games, particularly defensively, have been much better.
Should the Lakers go get some one to help are bench?
If they can, great. But it's easier said than done. Adam Morrison's contract has appeal for other teams (five plus mil, expiring) but the Lakers aren't likely to bring back anything that costs them much down the road, unless it's a piece they're absolutely sure will be part of the team's future. There's no wiggle room now for wasted salary. The Jordan Farmar trade rumors are always there, but if the Lakers move him, they need a guard in return, otherwise they're just too thin in the backcourt behind Fish. Who's available that's better than JF, and wouldn't have to be trained in the offense? Hinrich comes up a lot, but he's a very expensive option, and I don't see that happening.
How many Lakers will make the All-Star team?
With the Gasol injury, I think they're down to one, unless Bynum makes a huge push. His December hurt him, and guys like Kaman and Marc Gasol have been more consistent. That one, by the way, is Kobe.
Cuban is at it again. Do you agree with him calling out the NFL about Saturday's PHI-DAL being played at the same time as the DAL-UTAH game?
Mark Cuban making something all about him? That NEVER happens. It's just a way for him to drum up a little attention for a game that would otherwise be forgotten in his local market. It's one game, the tickets are sold out, he'll get most of his revenue. But did he really expect the NFL not to put Cowboys/Eagles on in prime time? Would he make some sort of concession for a Mavs playoff game if the Rangers were playing that night?
Who has the better basketball IQ - Kobe, CP3, Wade or LB23?
I'd put Wade just slightly behind the other three, and from there it's a toss up. Kobe has more in the tool box than James, but both have IQ and vision off the charts, and my mancrush on CP3 is well documented.
What do you think about the Gilbert Arenas situation? Should he be suspended?
Yes. You cannot, under any circumstances, bring a gun into an NBA locker room. Just can't do it. Especially in DC, which has probably the most restrictive gun laws in the country. Nobody disputes the guns were there, Arenas should be suspended.
do you see the lakers making any trades in-season, or do you think they'll stay with the roster they have? Maybe pick up a guy like Rafer Alston?
I've thought for a while now the Lakers will stick with what they have, or at least that the percentages favor it. There's always a chance for a Vlad Rad type deal, where the Lakers seemingly make a move that helps them around the margins (though Brown has turned into much more than that), but overall I don't see how they make a deal that fits into their finances and also strengthens them.A street FA is a possibility, but at the same time, he'd have to be someone better than what they've got (I don't think Alston necessarily qualifies) or really, really cheap depth. Injuries, of course, could change the equation, but assuming good health through February, my guess is what you see now is what you'll see in the spring.
Sorry, that was supposed to be a "you" in there. Do you think the Celtic's would have any chance to beat the Lakers if even 1 of their big 3 was injured for the playoffs?
Hey Josh. I think it depends on which of the three. If Pierce or KG are out, it's awfully tough. Allen, maybe, since he seems to have the most limited role of the three, at least as it comes to matching up with what the Lakers do. They've got some quality players on that team, though. Still, I'm not sure if they even make the Finals without the Big Three intact.
How has Bynums knee been since treatment? He seems OK. Tho he seemed OK before. ALSO. I like Bynum in the post better than Gasol. I like Gasol High post. Why does he post down low with Bynum clogging it up?
He seemed ok last night and against Dallas. I think the two of them can move back and forth between the high and low posts. Obviously Gasol is a more skilled passer in the high post than Bynum, but at the same time Drew is developing a nice face up game and when that's fully functional, it's a huge weapon. As for Gasol in the low block, the reason he gets touches down there is because he converts them at an incredibly efficient rate. Seems a good enough reason to me, at least.
Hey folks. A few more minutes, then it'll be time to wrap up.
At some point, doesn't Kobe's body just fall apart? Dude's playing through all sorts of stuff.
He seemed to ding up that finger again last night, but at this point I think it's fair to say he won't be missing time for that unless it just gets to the point where he literally can't move the thing, or another (worse) break develops. As for the other stuff, the numb elbow vs. Sacto, and so on, I've just decided he's bionic.
How much does Walton coming back matter? Will he even play much given how much Artest likes to eat minutes?
Drew-I think once Walton's available, he'll have 10-15 minutes a night, at least while Pau is sidelined. Against smaller teams, RA will play more four, opening up time at the three currently taken by Kobe. He's not a world beater, but Walton has a specific skill set that can help, particularly when the offense breaks down, and defensively against more physical threes.
Do you see the lakers signing Jerry Stackhouse? I know he has expressed interest and he has a history with Kobe.
Max-earlier in the season, I kicked this one around. He's the type of guy they might bring in, assuming the money is good (read cheap). No harm, no foul, good guy in the locker room, great interview (that's me being selfish), won't cause a stir if he doesn't play.Integrating guys like him is always tough, though. There's a learning curve. And then there's the question of just how much a guy like Stack has left in the tank. If it was a lot, you'd think he'd be on another squad now. But for ten to twelve minutes a night? I'd do it, but it's not my money.
Okay, that's it for today. Thanks for stopping by. We're here every Wednesday, 10:30 am PT. Check out the Land O'Lakers blog, and feel free to follow us via twitter (ESPNLandOLakers).Thanks!