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Halfway Home

Put yourself in the way back machine, and set it to October.  You know, back before the season had started.  Before we saw that Kobe would average around 9,000 points a game, McKie would be hurt, and Kwame doesn't really know how to catch.  Back when we were all scrambling to figure out Smush Parker's given name.

It's William, by the way.   

If I had told you then that the Lakers would hit the halfway point of their season at 22-19, holding down the 7th spot in the conference, would you have taken that?  I know I would have.  And short of the super die hards with the optimism to construct a 57 win season out of ifs- "If Kwame can _______*, if George can ________*, plus if Bynum can _________*, and Cook does ________*, the Lakers can easily win the Pacific." (* = insert totally unrealistic scenario here)- I think most of you would have, too.  Yeah, they could be better, no question.  But while I figured they'd win around 46-47 games (feel free to look it up and correct me), it wasn't hard to imagine scenarios in which the team would have, if not buried themselves by now, at least hit the Home Depot to buy shovels and picks.   For the most part, they've been exactly what most of us expected.  A marginally talented team with enough superstar power to hang in the playoff battle.  Honestly, we should be thankful this group has managed to make the season as interesting as they have.  There are very few just-above-.500 teams that can be as intriguing as this bunch.  Of course, most teams don't have Kobe around, and no team is quite like the Lakers. 

Here are some first half observations.

The Good: The team is trending up.  Since December 1, the Lakers are 17-11, and and an even more robust 17-9 in games where Kobe wasn't suspended.  Better still, after the seven game road swing that starts next week, the Lakers' schedule opens up considerably.  Over their last 30 games, they play around  2/3 at Staples.  Add to that the belief that guys like Parker, Odom and Kwame will become more comfortable in the offense, McKie and Turiaf should give them a little extra depth, and a general faith in the power of Phil Jackson it's not hard to see the Lakers actually improving on their first half record.  Health permitting, of course.  And the way the bottom of the west is looking, 48-49 wins could be enough for that coveted 6th "Yay, we get Denver/Utah, not Phoenix" spot. 

But as the Sacramento game showed, things could swing the other way as well.  A lot can happen over 41 games. 

Kobe has been dominating.  He's played MVP quality basketball, and the Lakers have needed every ounce of it.  Plus, there have been the eye poppers. 62.  81.  And on a personal level, I owe him a debt of gratitude for the endless supply of blog conversation his mere presence provides.  I probably should send him a percentage of my check every two weeks (Note: there's no way in hell I'm doing that...). 

You have to love the development of Smush Parker.  Is he the answer at the point?   That depends on the question.  But the Lakers have found a very solid player who can help them now and down the road.  As often happens in the NBA, his red hot start was tempered when the rest of the league realized they had to put a body on him (see Penberthy, Mike for another illustration of this principle), but he's responded well in the last 15 or so games.  Those 10-13 point games with the occasional 18-22 are enough to keep teams honest.  I'd love to see him assert himself more as games develop.  But Parker has provided a number of first quarter boosts for the Lakers, and those points count, too.

Odom?  All that bothers me is the consistency issue.  As I've mentioned, he's not a true second option, so expecting 18 a night isn't realistic.  But those 6 point efforts really hurt.  As he continues to develop his post game in the triangle, hopefully he'll get better.  I can't stand watching him hang out by the three point line.  Yeah, he can hit those shots, and should take a couple a game to keep defenses honest, but he's unstoppable (except by the occasional set defender) driving to or posting up by the hoop.

Chris Mihm is probably one of the 10 best bargains in basketball.  He's been a solid contributor.  No complaints there (Well, one.  See below.)

The team has shown improvement, which is all you can ask for.  Yeah, they're going to struggle from time to time, as all young, marginally talented teams will, but if they had started hot and wilted in December and January, I'd be more concerned.  And you have to be impressed with the overall improvement in the defense from last year to now. 

Andrew Bynum looks like a keeper.

Von Wafer.  Instant excitement anytime he enters a game.  (Note I said "excitement," not "consistent quality minutes")

The Bad:  Kobe has been dominating.  Yes, he's a legit MVP candidate, but over the long haul, the team can't succeed when they're so dependent on one guy.  As the playoffs (hopefully) approach, it gets harder and harder for one person to carry the load.  Yes, he's got a weak supporting cast (more below) but he still has to make sure they stay involved.  To carry an entire team to real success in this league is too much... even for Kobe.  It's a question of patience.  There are nights when he has it, and others when he doesn't.  I don't think Kobe is a ball hog in the traditional sense of the word (always wants to shoot for himself, for personal glory, no matter what), but I believe he too quickly loses confidence in guys around him.   It's the nights when he launches too many of those multiple head fake, fall away three pointers that really bother me.  That said, if Kobe doesn't play at the level he has over the first 41, we wouldn't be talking playoffs at all.  Ultimately, this team isn't talented enough to go anywhere big no matter what Kobe does. 

Watching Kwame Brown is like swinging by The MGM Grand to play roulette.  Hit a few numbers and everything is amazing.  Miss, and you wonder why you didn't just scope for good looking women at the Hard Rock.  At least he's been better since returning to the starting lineup, but it's still hard to tell if he'll ever be a top level, or even near-top level, player in the league.  I'm leaning towards no.  His basketball instincts are... not strong, and he's got hands like feet.  To get a better perspective on Kwame, try to think of him as just a big guy with a moderately sized contract, and not a former #1 pick.  Remove those expectations and the contributions he does make- good post defense and decent per 48 rebounding numbers (11.3, .1 behind L.O.) don't seem so bad.  But lord, is he a train wreck right now on offense.

Luke Walton has disappointed me a great deal.  When he came into the league, he showed those flashes of brilliant passing play and court awareness that made us overlook his inadequate points.  After all, players improve, right?  Well, not really.  In his third year, he's the same guy he was as a newbie, more or less.  Except now, we care about the mistakes.  For a guy who is supposed to excel in the intangible basketball IQ areas, he makes some really bad choices.  And until he can consistently knock down open shots, he's too much of a defensive liability to keep on the floor.  Not that I expected him to develop into an All Star, but the level of play he's displayed this year has been distressing. 

Remember when I mentioned the Lakers will spend a lot of time at Staples over the 2nd half?  If they don't play better there, that might not be a good thing.   11-8 won't get it done.  The good news is the purple and gold have ripped off a five game home winning streak.  And their weak home record means they've been surprisingly good on the road for a middling team. 

The Ugly: As much as the defense has improved, they still show a shocking tendency to break down at the wrong time, and against weak teams.  Part of this is the roster itself.  Not a lot of prime NBA athletes, especially on the bench.  But this is not a team that can afford to let Toronto score 63 points in a half, as they did Sunday night.  Most nights, that'll kill 'em. 

Chris Mihm.  Foul trouble. 

Aaron McKie, health trouble.  Not that he was helping much before the injury.

This team shows a remarkable ability to make questionable decisions, and it's cost them a couple of games.  Mentally, I'm not sure they're always there.  Take their 3rd quarter problems, for example.  That's simply a question of not having focus.  There's no reason the team should be as bad as they've been coming out of halftime. 

Finally, I'm a little distressed by their tendency to play to the level of competition.  When the Lakers had a championship roster, that wasn't a big deal, because you knew they'd win in the end.  Needless to say, that's no longer the case.  They can't afford to waste games against weak teams. 

The Prediction:  I'm going to add a win or two to my earlier Lakers forecast.  Assuming the purple and gold can go Dorothy ("There's no place like home...") on the rest of the league, their cushy Staplescentric schedule should help.  And since I figured on improvement as the season went along, I'm going to say they'll win 48.  50/50 if that'll be good enough to get them into the 6th spot.  That really depends on if the Clippers can overcome the Maggette injury (there's worry he won't be back at all this year) and get back into the form they showed early in the year. 

BK

 
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Amen!!!

TO me, one of the most encouraging signs is the Laker's record against top teams in the league.

According to the Sagarin ratings (http://www.usatoday.com/sports/sagarin/nba0506.htm , one of those statistcal model type rankings), the Lakers are 8-7 versus, top 10 teams. To compare, the Suns are 7-8 and the Grizzlies 6-9 against top 10 opponents.

I even went back to other seasons and saw that the top 10 record was a GREAT indicator of how good a team was in that season.

As we all know, the Lakers have consistency issues, especially against non-elite teams. But against the top teams, they seem to be able to focus better and execute better. This is a completely fixable thing, and Coach Jackson will more than likely take care of it.

I'm really excited about this second half of the season. Pray that everyone stays healthy, and all should be well.

"Hate Me Now" - Nas

AK / BK

just wanted to thank you guys. i dunno what i would do at work if i hadn't discovered this blog to vent my frustrations. ILOOOOOVEIT!

i agree that kobe is dominating the ball too much. but i also think he "has" to dominate the ball. thats just how hes always played. granted, a player with good enough handle can bring the ball up the court so kobe doesnt waste any energy battling fullcourt presses, but thats about it. once the ball crosses halfcourt, the ball always seems to find kobe. thats why i dont think kobe can play with pure pointmen like kidd, baron, nash, or even chris paul. that guy's good! the best players which complement kobe would be spotup shooters. smush has played very well and overexceeded any expectations anyone had of him. but his shooting is still suspect at times, and he quickly loses confidence in himself. a pointguard like damon stoudamire would have been perfect. derek fisher was perfect to the tune of 3 championships. its a shame he went for more money in golden state, but anyone else would have done the same.

with that being said, with kobe dominating the ball and everything, he "should" be averaging more assists than he currently is. it shouldnt be too hard to imagine kobe averaging 7-8 assists a game. the problem is not kobes unwillingness to pass the ball, but the guys around him not knocking down open jumpshots, passing up open jumpshots, not converting layups, or even being able to catch the ball for those layups. to say that kobe is an offguard and his role is to shoot would be wrong. because he dominates the ball so much, he should be looked as a combo guard playing both the 1 and the 2 because he relishes the ability to not only score the bucket, but to distribute and create for everyone else. with the amount of time he has the ball in his hands, he should be getting lebron james assist numbers.

but the onus is and will always be on his teammates, because no matter how great the pass is, th eball has to go through the hoop for kobe to get his assists. these are professionals

anyways.....

does anyone know when we will get to see turiaf get some playing time?

AK/BK,
on the sidenote...thanks for the blog and if it hasn't been said alrady...if you get paid by the comments...let us know...we'll definitely visit and comment more
:-)
I think you made several good points...I think that Kobe does have a short leash when it comes to trusting his teammates...but then I would too
I also agree that the Lakers are definitely exceeding expectations...and really that's all we can hope for. Like Kobe said this is a process...just jump in and ride the rollercoaster...eventually it'll lead to a championship. I have no doubt (not just because I'm a laker fan...but because of who we have---Kobe and Phil)
Thanks again for the opportunity to express...even after losses this blog SOMEHOW makes me feel better

AK,BK just a thank you note for how much you guys have done. Will Mitch make a move near the trade deadline?I wonder how much turiaf will play?
DOES ANYONE KNOW WHEN THEY ARE DOING RERUNS FOR KOBE'S 81 POINT GAME? IF YOU KNOW PLEASE TELL ME!!!!!

i wonder where steven is?
i would like to see him after kobe's 81 point game.
too bad his "king james" can't score 81 like my man

AMEN!!!!

What Lakers need are role players that are consistent.
1. Luke Walton is been off (He need to get back his shooting)
2. Kwame needs to learn in catching the ball. (Good Defense though)
3. Ref thinks Mihm is a foul machine (I like this guy ever since..he's a solid player..BIG HEART)
4. Odom is good facilitator (As long he keeps flirting triple double)

Team defence is getting better but still need consistency. One game they're good, next game they're like high school players. =)

Honestly...I always give Phil Jackson a huge credit to the team. If you just look at the lakers' rosters...you can see that Kobe Bryant is the only superstar or players who's been in the game for quite some time.. Unlike the Spurs, (Duncan, Parker, Ginobili, Van Exel, Finley) Suns (Marion, Nash)..and so on.

Lakers, they're just a bunch of young guys who has heart and willing to listen/learn Phil's System. And the result...they're doing well, defense is improving.. Huge progress.

GOOD JOB PHIL!!!

MO LOVE LAKERS'

ITS SHOWTIME.

I'm saying 28-13 in the 2nd half, which would give us a 50-32 record. I have to read BK'S report card fully to see if I haven't to say about his laker breakdown.

mike

Your blog is great finally something to read and informative about the Lakers on the LA Times. I have been turned off by the crap that Simers, Adande and Plashke slop out about the Lakers finally somebody who can write and give Kobe some props.

I agree with the Walton observation. Mihm and Kwame, I don't know, Mihm is playing decent ball but he's topped out in his talent potential. Kwame, the 2nd half of the season will tell us a lot more about what can expect from Kwame. Kobe, I like his semi fast starts, like 18-22 points in the first half and leading the lakers to like a 10 point lead but then when he starts shooting when we have a 5-7 point lead and lets the other team back in the game. He needs to recognize that the game is played in spurts not pure dominance. When we're up by 5-7 points he needs to rely on the triangle for the sake of the team and then when the time is right to go off on another little spurt to increase that 5-7 point lead to 10-12. I love his 4 quarter game. I agree, LO is best as a 3rd option, and like you I love the rebounds and assists. With that said, the only thing I have to say now is, play Bynum and Turiaf. And Kwame...read my comments in the Wilt blog section.

mike

I agree with Michael Teniente. I think they can go 50 and 32 if they don't play down to there competition. They're a young team so they're going to do that some nights, but it depends how often, and how they recover from doing so.

Hey have you bloggers heard that the Boston Celtics and Minnesota Timberwolves have agreed to a trade that will send Ricky Davis, Mark Blount, Marcus Banks, Justin Reed and two future second-round draft picks to Minnesota for Wally Szczerbiak, Michael Olowokandi and rookie Dwayne Jones, ESPN.com has just confirmed it. Looks like Mr. Mitch missed out on another trade we coulda got Olowokandi and Wally come on Mitch U sleepin on the Job


Lance.P

I agree that the lakers can win 50 games, only if they stop GIVING game away. I handful or more of these league leading close games the lakers plain gave away. The could easily be 6 or 7 games over 500 right now

Well i just wanted to let everyone know about the trade so dont be surprised. But on us being at the half way point im happy with what i see. The trangle is coming together more and more. But with the Artest trade and the T-wolves trade going on it seems like a lot of teams are getting better players while were just getting better chemistry. Chemistry is good but we still need some better players by the deadline. I see that we are improving but to stay at or raise the level that we are playing at we still are a small foward scoring option away

Lance.P

You want Olownkandi? Mitch wasn't sleeping, you are.

After interviewing Donnie Walsh of the Pacers, Chad Forde of ESPN has written a blow by blow account of the Artest affair. Here's Forde on the Lakers' pursuit of Ron Artest:

"The Lakers were also in hot pursuit of Artest. Walsh declined to discuss the specifics of those talks either, making it unclear whether it was the Lakers who refused to part with Lamar Odom or whether it was the Pacers who were uncomfortable taking on his huge contract."

I didn't know Mitch Cupcake was capable of hotly pursuing anything, but I'm glad to learn he made the effort.

Here's the link to espn (insider; subscription required):

http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/insider/columns/story?columnist=ford_chad&id=2307632

WOW, KENNY AND CHARLES CONGRATULATE KOBE! THEY WANT TO HAVE A COPY OF THE GAME.....WOW


*KOBE FOR MVP!

*GO LAKERS!

I think the Addition of Wally Z and Kandi for L.O. and some picks woulda made us a way better team then what we are today so im wide awake buddy. Wally is puttin up like 20 ppg the center piece of the trade is not Micheal so why dont you wake up and realize that, that woulda been a good trade for L.A. a second scoring option and depth up front. Plus kandi's in a contract year so at the end of the season we could let him go and use some space to pick up some one better. I mean i respect your oppinion, but The Lakers woulda been better if they woulda been on the recieving end of this trade. U would have to be sleepin not to see that... well not sleep but in a freakin !!!COMA!!!

Lance.P

Lakers need a trade in order to build on their semi-decent first half. With Artest in Sacramento, the Lakers might end up in the cellar of the Pacific with one or two bad run of games, especially with the Clips and Warriors playing well.

Obviously, the Mamba will sink is fangs into opponents on a nightly basis. The question is who else will on a CONSISTENT basis? Noone. The closest player to consistency is probably Smush. (Yea thats right Lamar, I said Smush, cuz we all know Lamar can have a big game and score 3 ponts the nxt).

Showtime needs one more piece.. a consistent player of above average calibur. Mitch, get someone, please, cuz the last thing I want is a blase second half, and a first round exit in the playoffs.

Barkley thinks 81 is a nice number but Nash is the MVP. Ya gotta hate him. That said, I remember a long time ago just before the run of Bulls championships, someone said that Micheal Jordan was the NBA's most valuable commodity but Magic Johnson was it's most valuable player. It was true that year and it might be deja vue all over again. Kobe is news, he's ratings, he's the incredible high wire act of the league but Nash may get MVP again and it would be hard to argue. Second half will tell, but Bean's gonna have to somehow breath an air of confidence and competance into this collection of bargains we got on the bench. He can, just do it.

Anyone think its interesting that all these trades have involved ex Celtics Teammates? Bird, Ainge, McHale Hmmmm Sounds like trouble for Mitch. Damn Clovers. Maybe Mitch should look Memphis's way. Miller can score and is a good defender. Not a whole lot left out there really. I just dont think we have the guns get us deep in the Playoffs. Hope Im wrong.

Well, well, well.......... I simply asked a question on the earlier post about my double trade possibility, and got a lot of hate. I wasn't saying it was going to happen, simply asking people if they thought it could possibly work. Your couple whack replies and attempts at sarcasm were lame. Though I was just throwing out a question earlier, I got a couple responses saying neither scenario would ever happen, the responders didn't think the Celtics would dare bite at Sczerbiack. Well, a couple hours after my question, poof it happens. Now, of course getting Garnett in any way or form is nearly impossible, but damn just a question. Salaries can be reworked. We can backload one if we have to. Too late now. All I know is no matter who all of us Laker fans thinks is good to keep on our team, and no matter who people think we should get, one thing must be agreed upon, we can't stand pat and get nothing or next to nothing. Even a small piece to the puzzle that can help set us up for when we can sign another piece at a later date would be ok. No team no matter what the situation should ever be content to just play out a season and hope for next year, without at least trying to pre plan for the year to come and add what you can when you can. Also, some of us are on the "win now" scenario, some of us are on the "build for future" scenario, some a combination of both, but if you would like to at least give it a small shot this year we HAVE to add a second scorer. I don't mean a Flip Murray or Vashon Leonard either. I mean a real, solid, consistent, second scorer. Flip could help, but not in that sort of way. So, I ask, barring the "just play like we are now, and get the young guys some experience" route for the rest of the season, who might be available realisticly that can be this solid #2 option.?????

GMac

I agree, Mike Miller would be a great fit for this team. Unfortunately, the fact that Kobe recently got suspended for intentionally elbowing him in the throat makes that a dicey scenario, one would think.

Although if Kuchak did play with fire like that, he should go whole hog, not tell Kobe ahead of time, and just let him be surprised when Miller shows up at the practice facility for the first time. That, my friend, is entertainment just waiting to happen.

AK

Hey, Phil Jackson. Kwame is a MILLSTONE.

The stat-geek website 82games.com has a feature on the subject of five-man lineups for each of the league's teams.

In the case of our Lakers the feature reveals that . . .

Kwame Brown really hurts the team when he's on the court.

The team performs much better when Brown is replaced by either D. George or B. Cook.

Lots of interesting info about all of the league's teams and each team's different lineups.

Here's the link:

http://www.82games.com/teamunits.htm

If you guys really want a good trade scenario why not L.O. a few draft picks and Kwame for Joe Johnson and Al Harrington???
Sounds good to me but would the Hawks do it and A.K. since the trade market is heating up more and more as we get closer and closer to the deadline who do you think we have a legit opportunity to Land in a trade this season???

Lance.P

casius baker,
it also says that the combination of Vujacic-Profit-George-Walton-Cook has a 100% winning percentage.
:-)

it's interesting though

i can't say i disagree w/ charles chuckwagon barkley . . . while i'm a huge kobe fan, love watching him play, nonetheless i think stevie nash is a more valuable player . . . just like i believe magic johnson was a more valuable player than michael jordan . . . still i'd love to see kobe win the mvp award although he prob won't win it, too many number eight haters out there . . . oh, well

well, if ya can't beat 'em... send 'em to boston.
for some strange reason, a dude named szczerbiak scared the mess outta me ...
wally was a mini-laker killer, i'm glad we won't have to face him four times a year (as long as he's out east)
now at the midway point, i know it's wrong but i can't stop thinking about the 'ones that got away.' washington, portland, memphis, sacramento, so frustrating to know that YES, we could have and should have beat them but we did not. ...just shows you the signs of an overachieving team that really isn't all that great... apparently, this team can play with ANYone ...it's weird

at the midway point, my concern starts with our bench.
w/o sounding like a broken record, i'm most disappointed in luke. i'm not sure if his decline is due to basically missing his sophomore season and not getting enough clock this year, but it's scary how much he's digressed. ... when you think about things,it was LUKE who really brought us back in game 2 against detroit. was it that long ago? were we just happy to shower praise on a pass-first, non-athletic 'team' guy? i dunno, but now i think dude's deadweight.

and why is it that devean and cook can't play solidly the same game? they've been canceling each other out. one goes for 6 points in 12 minutes, the other flat out sucks and waits for his turn the next night. sasha, i'm starting to fall in love with him (the team's new cool white boy...NBA rules, all must have one)

endquote...and prophet, the LA times can't be that bad, they've allowed this blog to be. this is LakersValhalla!

go lake show! (btw, KB8Fan, that's my theme song for kobe)

Boy,I just love people who have no no term vision. Olowakandi,and Wally. Those people will really help in the long run!!!! Have no patience and the Lakers will be like the Celtics,change for the sake of changing without really doing anything and change whenever the fans outcry becomes too much to bear,with no real plan and consistency. When was the last time Boston won a championship,or even remotely contended for one?? IF you all want us to be like the Celtics just replace every player who doesn't perform well after half a season.STAY PATIENT!!!!

Don't take Barkley too seriously. He looks like he got into TNT's green room refreshments again this week, talking at about 33RPM, eyes glassy and doesn't know which teams anyone plays for. Maybe tonight's refrshments were Vodka and H8terade.

I do not think that Nash should be the MVP, mainly because Shawn Marion is on his team.

If you take away Shawn Marion, Nash will not have a good season. On the other hand, if you take away Nash, Marion will not be too good either.

So that leaves Kobe as the MVP!

That USA Today rating is interesting, but I'm not too surprised.

A lot of teams, especially the elite teams, look at the Laker roster and assume that it's going to be a walk in the park. They believe that all they need to do is look out for Kobe and that's it.

This was the same reason that the championship Laker squad almost always lost to Golden State.


Teams like Indiana, Dallas, Miami, Memphis, Cleveland, and others have no good reason to be losing to a team like the Lakers. Especially a team like Dallas who lost both games at home and our court.

I'm proud of what this team has done against these opponents, but I'm not so sure it's going to be easy in the second half of the season.

KOBE THE TRULY MVP
****************************

I'M GONNA PULL JUST ONE QUESTION.

IF SEAN MARION WOULDN'T BE PLAYING FOR THE PHOENIX, DOES NASH WOULD HAVE BEEN A MVP CANDIDATE???

I THINK THAT HAVING DOMINANT PLAYERS LIKE AMARE AND MARION, EVEN IF AMARE IS INJURED FOR NOW; IT WOULD HAVE BEEN VERRY EASY TO KEEP A TEAM GOING.

PUT AMARE, STOUDIMIRE AND KOBE ON ONE TEAM.....

YOU WILL HAVE A CHAMPION.

LAST YEAR NOTHING OF THAT HAPPENED FOR PHOENIX.

NASH IS BLESS FOR THE PEOPLE HE HAS AROUND HIM. PUT NASH ALONE TO SEE WHAT WOULD HAPPENED. PUT NASH ALONE WITH 4 NON-TALENTED GUYS TO SEE IF HE COULD MAKE THINGS HAPPENED.

KOBE ARE DOING THINGS ALONE.

KOBE FOR MVP!!!


AMARE + MARION + KOBE = CHAMPION

AMARE + MARION + NASH = HAVENT DONE ANYTHING

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT: so the wolves trade away two of their starters
the wolves have acquired guards Ricky Davis and Marcus Banks, center Mark Blount and forward Justin Reed from the Boston Celtics for forward Wally Szczerbiak, centers Michael Olowokandi and Dwayne Jones and a future protected first-round NBA draft pick.

so theyre rebuilding again? what do you guys think... does this hurt or help the chances of the lakers getting garnett????
KG please come to LA!

I have been reading AK's posts on this LA Times blog for some time now and I still cannot quite understand where he is coming from.

Is he, as admin of this site, just baiting us Laker fans to post more comments?

He is fond of emphasizing that he is not a Kobe hater, yet always manage to swipe something derogatory about the guy.

First, on one of his earlier topics, he wanted us to try trading Kobe for Dwayne Wade (the 6'4" guard) or for Dwight Howard or for Jermaine Oneal, Duncan, KG or LeBron.

In today's blog (this after Kobe already had 81), he reminded us of Kobe's suspension which we already forgot, then suggested that Kupchac can make it entertaining by acquiring Miller from Memphis without informing Kobe ahead of time.

I thought at first he was only joking to stir up controversy, but then I also read one of his lenghty piece (this was an earlier blog after Kobe beat the Cavs and Lebron), seriously and elaborately explaining why he still wants to trade for LeBron and mildly suggesting that Kobe did not really prove anything over LeBron in that game.

I begin to believe that although he accepts Bryant's skills, he most definitely cannot be a Kobe fan.

I am not saying that he is a hater. In fact, I think he is accomodating the Laker fans with this blog topics.

But, if you dislike a guy even after he recorded an 81, then you plainly hate his guts, period.

No wonder it's difficult for Kobe to rebuild his image. Even in his own city, his local newspaper... you see different ways seeds of hate are sowed, either unintentionally or thinly veiled.

I tried checking out the Miami Herald blog area and that one, as expected, has nothing but serious hatred for number 8.

I mean, where else can you hope to find a no-Kobe-bashing site, if you cannot even find it in the LA Times!

With the second half of the season on its way, teams generally tend to play tougher and whether or not the Laker's will be able to contend is obviously unknown.

Even though it's trade season and teams (Wolves, Celtics, Suns, Kings, Pacers) have made impact trades, doesn't necessary mean L.A. has to jump on the bandwagon in hopes of a quick fix.

Phil Jackson said in the beginning of the season that this team is a work in progress. It may be necessary to just keep this Laker team intact for the rest of the season so players can get used to each other so therefore, will eventually find themselves in a more confort zone by playoff time.

We shouldn't be to worried about teams such as Sacramento or Golden State. One, there is no guarantee that Ron Artest is going to last in Sacramento or for that point, get along with teamates such as Bonzi Wells or even Mike Bibby. Two, the Golden State Warriors are playing better, but they go in streaks but on top of that, Davis and Dunleavy aren't the best of friends either.

I truly think the Lakers will make the playoff's this year because of the great and consistent play of Luke Walton....I mean, Kobe Bryant. The only teams I would fear in the Western Conference are the Suns and Spurs. However, the Spurs haven't been too impressive lately, so that is on hold.

The Nuggets are looking better these days but the Lakers match up with them pretty well. No need to fear the Jazz, of course, Kobe was suspended for those two games. Thanks Mike Miller.

Mike Miller?

A Laker?

I'm sure Kobe Bryant would be delighted to have him join the team. Kobe could always use a sparring partner in practice.

With Minnesota making that trade with Boston a day ago, they are obviously going to become a more athletic team. I think KG approves of the trade and adding Ricky Davis to the mix will turn that franchise around. Unfortunately, it won't turn around this year. Or, maybe it will.

Here are my final standings prediction for the end of the season as follows:

San Antonio
Phoenix
Denver
Dallas
Lakers
Memphis
Clippers
Minnesota

If the following holds true, Lakers will face Dallas in the first round.

Lakers 4-Life

With the move of two top notched 3point shooters out of the west (Peja; a laker killer of the past, and Wally; a laker killer this season), it can only help the lakers.

http://www.wwe.com/content/media/touts/splash/images/2032318

Just thought I throw this one out there. I call this pic: Bad Cop!

First BK,

Thanks for the BLOG and thank you for the most level headed and accurate assesment of the team that I have seen to date.

Second,

In response to a few of the posts above.

A. Charles Barkley is a comedian and is not to be taken seriously. Think of hm on TNT the way you would take Dennis Miller on MNF.

B. I am a gianormous Kobe fan and feel that he is without question the best best player in the league right now. I further think than his name should be mentioned in the greatest players ever. However I will hold that spot for Majic Johnson until I see Kobe use his supernatural powers towards making Kwame Brown and Lamar Odom consistant All Stars, which he can and will do.

C. If you are a student of the game you will aknowledge the fact that Steve Nash is an incrdible talent. He deserves to be mentioned as an MVP and if old Chuck Barkley is doing it then he is doing at least one thing right.

Anybody else feel that this year's version of the NBA ain't all that? Too many teams maybe. Maybe it's that nothing compares to the 80's Lakers/Celtics/76ers/Houston NBA where teams had 4 and 5 go to guys that boarded and played D. Lookin' around, it's like Detroit is the only team that suits 5 Playas and has a few on the bench. San Antonio is starting to look their age, I just never bought the Dallas philosophy, Phoenix does well till playoff Dfense kicks in and the rest are part of a collection of one man teams, two at most like the Lakers. This all adds up to anything could happen till Detroit wins it. OR give Kobe somebody that will contribute EVERY night and this could heat up.

Wow, John P. laid into you guys! Apparently the sarcastic joke about Miller showing up at practice when whizzing over his head, and they weren’t hating on Kobe with the post about who we would hypothetically trade Kobe for, they were taking an objective look playing a hypothetical GM. Relax, The K Brothers are Laker fans and provide a great place for us to chat about our team.

As for the Lakers thus far, I think they’ve overachieved. Going into the season I mentioned that our starting point guard is named Smush and our first big off the bench is Slava. Yikes! I have been amazed at how competitive we are in every game and I think with time our young guys will learn to close out some of the close ones we’ve lost. I predicted 44 wins before the season started solely on the fact we have the best player on the planet. Well, at the halfway point we have 22 wins so I’m right on. I do believe however we’ll win about 25-26 in the second half baring injuries. The favorable schedule and growth as a team should account for something. I do worry about Kobe dominating the ball a little too much and LO’s propensity to completely disappear offensively at times. By the way, everyone talks about LO being a triple-double threat or averaging near a triple-double, but has he had a triple-double all year? Just food for thought.

As for some trade ideas or posts I read:

Lance P: Wally and the Kandi man are probably two players that never crossed the mind of the Lakers. I think Wally has been nothing but overrated, and the only positive about Kandi is his contract is up at the end of the year. Trading LO for those two would be quite bad. I also don’t think the trade helps the Wolves all that much, Ricky Davis isn’t the savior (he’s a poor man’s Spreewell).

Also, the Johnson, Harrington from Atlanta deal…not gonna happen. They pretty much traded everything for Johnson and are a point guard short of being a pretty promising young team. Harrington could probably be had for Devean, Slava, and a No.1 since he’s a free agent and they have 97 young small forwards on the club. Problem is the guy is going to get close to the max in the summer and we can’t do that. We would be renting the guy for the rest of the year, and I don’t think we’re at that point. That’s something a team on the cusp of contending for a title does, to push them over the edge, and we’re a young team looking for cohesiveness. Bad move for us.

Spokane Laker: I dig your posts man, and I absolutely share your hopes of landing a KG or someone like that. But really, the only way KG leaves Minnesota is if he pulls a Shaq and starts demanding a trade. That organization would never trade him proactively. There have been grumblings lately and that probably is just there to tease us, but really KG has much more class than Shaq and wants to stay there. As for getting a #2 guy, and not someone like Lenard or Flip Murray, it probably wouldn’t happen unless we gave up LO, Bynum, or both. Did you have any players in mind when you think of a good #2? I’m always curious if there’s someone I didn’t think of who makes sense.

Anyway, I’m glad we finally have a game tonight, GO LAKERS!!

AK,

Though I don't necessarily agree with JohnP, I understand where he's coming from. So, let's try to resolve this once and for all.

Keeping Kobe's recent exploits in perspective, would you still Kobe for Dwade, Howard, JO, KG or TD?

How about Lebron?

On the Wolves trade, I think this is eventually going to piss off KG even more.

On the prediction, I think we have to keep in mind that to get to 48 wins, we can only lose 15 more games. Now, keep in mind that of the remaining games we have atleast 3 apiece against the likes of San Antonio, Houston and Sacramento. Not to mention 2 against Detroit. So, our margin of error is very small. Doable? Yes, but it's going to be tough.

The only way Kobe gets MVP this year is if LA gets a 5th seed in the playoffs, and that too while averaging 36 pts per game. A couple of 60-70 game detonations won't hurt either :)

Jon Kavulic's Insane Unrealistic Dreams of Who He'd Like Playing With Kobe on the Lakers:

1) Kevin Garnett: You know its true. The Wolf King and the 8th Wonder together would be an unstoppable force, satisfying and terrfiying to behold.

2) LeBron James: I am continually intrigued by the fact that LeBron is a lifetime Lakers fan AND speaks humblely and supportively of Kobe. I wonder. I wonder. Can you imagine Kobe and LeBron on one team? My God. It would be spectacular basketball.

3) Elton Brand, Corey Magette, Sam Cassell, Chris Kaman, Quinton Ross, Chris Wilcox, and Shaun Livingston: No one likes to say it, but can you imagine how absolutely out of control the Clippers would be if Kobe would have become a Clipper? The Clippers are looking pretty damn good this year. Imagine adding old 81 to the mix! They'd be better than Detroit. Wow.

4) Steve Nash: A machine. I have rarely seen someone make passes like Nash. He's a true spark plug. Imagine his frenetic action opening up Kobe's game. Lakers would be averaging 125 points a game.

5) Baron Davis: He's a Bruin. He's a competitor. He can't shoot, but he has a great all-around game and he'd be a great compliment to Kobe.

It could happen. It could happen.

AK/BK,

Your last two subjects ("Halfway Home" and "Report Cards") have been just fantastic.

And, as always, your interviews are great.

You guys are doing a wonderful job with this Blog.

Thank you.

some guy mentioned that mitch was sleeping by not getting into the mix for kandiman and wally? 2 words--shut up! do you really want the kandiman in LA?

the trade for al harrington and joe johnson. not happening and it shouldnt. joe johnson left phoenix to be the man. he would be pushed back to 3rd option with kobe AND harrington ahead of him. besides, youd be giving up too many bigs for a 2 and a 3.

as for jon's list of players coming to LA?

i would definitely love to see KG in a laker uni. hes unselfish, doesnt dominate the ball and the combo of kb and kg would be a scary.

lebron? i dont think so. i dont know if theyd be able to play with each other because they would both dominate the ball. they both have the ball in their hands 80% of the time. same with nash and baron davis. while i would love for LA to get a pure pointman to set kobe up, i just dont see how that would be possible with the way kobe plays.

elton brand would be nice because hes one of those guys that could fit in with any squad.

kobe should take it upon himself to reach out and call possible free agents. try to convince some of the guys to come play for the lakers. it happens and i think that sort of gesture really is th edeciding incluencing factor in a player choosing one team from another.

Be bigger than the rest of the myopic country. You can think Kobe is great and that others are great too. Steve Nash is an awsome player. Who cares if he plays with Marion. That is silly, Is John Stockton somehow less of a player because he played with Malone? Is Magic less of a player because he played with Cap? Hell NO!!!! Cap was better because of Magic and Magic was better because of Cap. The fact that Marion is the player that he is should elevate your opinion of Nash not diminish it.

Kobe is the MVP without question but dont become what you hate. I support Kobe Bean Bryant for MVP but I recognize that Nash is one hell of a point guard. Dont hate.

I think the K bros just play devil's advocate. An attempt at fairness, in light of so much bias in the league. I doubt that he meant that he WANTED to trade Bryant, but at the time, taking a gamble, if such an opportunity presented itself is just a speculative strategy. It's not hating Kobe to say that you might bank on trading him for a rising star. Saying that you won't trade him no matter who you get is short sighted bias. Even I admitted that I might have to consider if it's Nash or Kidd in question. Of course this was before 62 and 81. Now..well..now I have to say. No chance in hell.

Steve Nash is amazing. Take away Marion and Amare..well you saw how they ran their offense when we played them. He still makes the plays with any of the other players on his team. Marion doesn't make Nash better. Nash runs the offense and makes himself and his teammates look better. Todd is right..anyone who would deny Nash's MVP consideration is just hating.

Jon K. I think Lebron is a great player and as much as he respects Kobe, I just don't see how they'd be especially compatible playing together. They'd set each other up for plays once in a while, and they'd play an exciting running game, but ultimately, I don't think it'd be as successful a mix as Bryant and other stars. Mostly, KG.

So who's going to Staples tonight!?! Check!

John P,

Bro, relax a bit. I was responding to a comment a guy left earlier that the team should trade for Mike Miller. I brought up in an obviously joking manner that the scenario presents a conflict of interests. Hell, Miller could just as easily haul off and sock him. I was kidding around. If that's your definition of "hating," then the bigger problem is you spending your free time sculpting Kobe statues. Again, I'm KIDDING, but do you see my point? There's no need to be so sensitive over the well-being of Kobe. He's doing just fine.

As for the post I wrote a MONTH AND A HALF AGO (about time to let it go, doncha think?) that I would make said trades involving Kobe, I stand by them. In my opinion, a team that likely won't win it all for a few years anyway would benefit from having Wade, LeBron, Howard, or Amare, who may not be as good as Kobe, but are elite players and much younger. As for TD or KG, I think it's easier to build around an elite big than an elite wing. And my opinion stays the same after Kobe scored 81, because unless he's gonna score 81 every game from now on (and if he does, I WILL retract my opinion), it's irrelevant to the actual future of the franchise. Kobe's absolutely more accomplished than LeBron. But that's got nothing to do with any of this.

If you don't agree, fine. Whatever. You get your opinion, too. But that's not "hating" on Kobe. I gave Kobe plenty of props in the "trade" article. I said he's a sick player, easily one of the best in the NBA on his worst day. I gave the guy a straight A on his "report card." I also wrote a post about how Shaq's cameo at the Charlotte game made Kobe the more mature one in the then-feud. If that's not enough, start a blog devoted entirely to Kobe worship. Create your own outlet.

I'm not trying to be a jerk, but the point of this blog isn't to create a safe haven for Kobe to curl up in when he's feeling low. BK and I were hired to do this from the perspective of journalists, not fans. The fan angle comes from you guys. BK and I are journalists, and hopefully fair ones. I've never taken a shot at Kobe's character on this blog. I've never brought up Colorado. I said nothing but good things about the 81. But I don't believe the cat's bulletproof and walks on water. Sorry. If that's "hating," then I guess I'm a "hater." So be it. It's not worth the energy trying to fight the label. I think I pulled a hammy just writing this post.

All that being said, I do appreciate the comments, John. Keep 'em coming.

AK

Here are my strangely (un)realistic final standings prediction for the end of the season as follows (As inspired by Ron):

1) Phoenix - Remember that guy Amare Stoudemire? He's coming back, you know.
2) San Antonio - I am concerned about Duncan's health.
3) Utah - Insane. I know, but I think Utah will step up in the second half of the year.
4) Dallas - Dallas will lose in the first round of the playoffs. The team has no heart.
5) Clippers - Corey Maggette will come back and the team is stepping up again.
6) Lakers - The Pacific Division is again the top of competition.
7) Memphis - Memphis looks good now, but one can never put too much faith in Memphis.
8) Denver - It just seems like George Karl's magic has worn off.

More than a player like KG, someone like 'Sheed would be super for the Lakers. That guy can play.

LAKERS' FANS FEELING YOU.....(RICK THE BRICK),WE SHOULD NOT WANT TO HAVE TRADES JUST FOR THE HECK OF SHORT-TERM IMPROVEMENTS AND NOT ESTABLISH A SOLID FOUNDATION TEAM TO WIN BIG MANY YEARS.......PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE AND MUST LOOK AT THE BIG PICTURE. IN 2 YEARS WITH SALARY CAP, WE CAN SIGN 2 SOLID YOUNG STAR PLAYERS TO GO ALONG WITH MR. 81 AND LO AND IF BYNUM BECOME THE NEXT GREAT BIG LAKERS PLAYER....THERE WE HAVE OURSELVES A TEAM TO WIN CHAMPIONSHIPS....AVOID TO BECOME LIKE THE KNICKS RIGHT NOW...UNLESS WE GET A BIG MAN LIKE KG. THEN JUST JUST STICK TO THE CURRENT PLAN OF 2007. LOOK AT PHOENIX LAST YEAR, WITH SALARY CAP, THEY SIGNED NASH AND TURNED THE FRANCHISE AROUND.

JJ'S PREDICTIONS

EAST

1) DETROIT
2) MIAMI
3) NEW JERSEY
4) CLEVELAND
5) PHILADELPHIA
6) MILWAUKEE
7) INDIANA
8) WASHINGTON


WEST

1) DALLAS
2) PHOENIX
3) DENVER
4) SAN ANTONIO
5) LA CLIPPERS
6) LA LAKERS
7) MEMPHIS
8) SACRAMENTO

FYI - I AM REALLY HOPING THAT I AM RIGHT BOUT THESE PREDICTIONS BECAUSE IT WILL MAKE THE POST SEASON THAT MUCH MORE INTERESTING BECAUSE OF THE POSSIBLE MATCHUPS.

JJ,

Dallas first?

Sacramento in?

I don't know, bro.

Lance P... wow are you crazy to take on Joe Johnson's huge contract for odom? he's not going to have a impact on this team. anyone here thinks kobe and joe can get go anywhere together?

Do I even need to say anything about Wally for Odom? that's a joke right? Wally for Odom? haha pretty funny. oh I forgot how good a player candiman is.. MY BAD. but seriously... wally is worth maybe george and a draft pick if not less.

funniest post all year.

WELL WHAT MORE CAN WE SAY ABOUT KOBE? NOT MUCH. I HOPE THAT KOBE CAN REACH THE 100+ POINTS IN A GAME.
AND I REALLY WISH THE LAKERS CAN WIN THE NBA TITLE.
HERE IN GUATEMALA, WE ARE WAITING FOR THE 81 POINT GAME RECAP.. OR THE VIDEO..... IF KOBE READS THIS PLEASE COME VISIT GUATEMALA.... WELL ALL THE LAKERS PLAYERS....
THANKS LAKERS FANS YOU ARE THE BEST............

Just for the record, Amare Stoudemire had a very serious injury and contrary to the reports, I believe he won't be ready for this season. If he is he won't be the same player he was last year. I like Amare and I wish Kwame would check out his game but we may never see Amare like he used to be.

mike

GUATEMALA? Cool! Laker fans, yeah! I like the way you think, "AND I REALLY WISH THE LAKERS CAN WIN THE NBA TITLE." So do I, J. Cesar Rivas, so do I.

mike

Hey Guys. give the team a chance. Poor Kobe he's dammed if he does and dammed.......you get the message

i think u and i have the exact same hopes for the lakers.
KG as a number one choice,
then nash,
then my third was baron davis as well (but to make the team complete we would need bynum to develope fast or to get a strong front man... this kwame kid is most effective off the bench)
weve got the same ambitions, are any of them reasonable?
do u think the recent trade involving wolves and celts improves the chances of us getting KG? or worstens the odds?

(that last post was intended for Jon K.)

standings at end of season predictions:

1. Phoenix - (only if amare comes back soon, if not, they'll get second)
2. san antonio - (first place if amare doesnt come back... they aren't playing to their potential (i believe, because of what ive seen them do) and i think they will soon get a sense of urgency and step it up)
3. Dallas - (wont go far in the playoffs... Dirk is a flop, not a champion)
4. Denver (favored)/memphis. (well one of them will be 4 or 5 obvioulsy... i cant realy decide, they both can get it done, but lets face it, they aren't as good as the teams above)
6. lakers - I LOVE MY TEAM!
7. clips - they'll start losing a few, lakers should pass them (well, hopefuly)
8. Utah - theyve been somewhat impressive (and i dont think the trade is going to improve the wolves team)

its funy, at the begining of the season, i would have totaly put the rockets in the top three teams... whats going on in houston??? their roster is amazing! im blaming the coach. never really liked him, hes too paranoid. and his hairs falling out! take a chill pill man.

This is to NBA.com's vote
How can Kobe's extraordinary 81 point performance be compared to Wilt's fake 100 point game. Players in that era were too incompetent to defend the basketball; therefore there should definitely be no comparison between the two. Kobe's dominant performance once again proves that not only is he the best player in the league, but also that at this point of his career he just can't be stopped. Kobe's a guard and Wilt's a Center, how the hell can you compare the long shot versus the bank shot. That's just stupid. And to all those fool's who claims that Wilt's 100 point performance was greater than Kobe's 81, I just have one question. Were you even there to witness this so called miraculous non-defensive performance? Such idiots, I bet all the people who voted against Kobe are from cities that the Laker's continue to dominant on the court.

Halfway Home by BK was just pure brilliance by a true critic that over analyzes the Lakers correctly. I really appreciated reading your blog about the Lakers and hope you continue to speak the truth. Im also shooting for that 5th or 6th spot as well (hoping somehow memphis falters), or else we'll get smashed in the 7th or 8th (by san antonio or phoenix) like JV was playing Varsity. Damn I just can't tell you how good I felt reading your article, not just because everything was true, but because I had to quickly grab my wife (to read your aricle of course) to show her I wasn't the only one this crazy about the Lakers. I love you man! lol...

when will you peaple learn? San antonio is a second half team and defense wins championships.when was the last time that a team that plays the style that phoenix does really gone anywhere??One thing is certain,history repeats itself,and if you think that San antonio won't be there in the end,barring injuries,you are badly mistaken!!!

Also,why do you guys think is the one constant the last twenty five NBA champs have?? DEFENSE,if you think that it is a lost that we are not involved in getting players like Joe Johnson,Wally,and Al Harrington,perhaps you should not complaint later on that the Lakers never become serious contender again。When getting a player think about whether he can play D first and then you go from there. Please people wise up a little bit,endless years of history in front of you,DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIP!!!!!!

This is my response to AK and it will probably be my last piece, so thanks in advance.

To tell you the truth, most of what you say are true. And even if I disagree with some of your analysis, I respect your opinion.

But, my point is that many other newspapers are already focusing and emphasizing on Kobe's negative side.

In the LA Times, however, Kobe's hometown newspaper, you would think that at least Kobe will get more than a fair share from the admin of this blog. By fair, I mean you can mention the negative sides, but do not be quiet about the positive sides. By more than a fair share, I mean, you can mention the negative and the positive sides, but the emphasis should be on the positive.

You started this blog topic by putting Kobe under the sub-heading "The Bad". But that's not even the issue.

The issue is this:

Anyone who follows the thread of this blog from the beginning, will notice that there are many intriguing questions posted to AK/BK.

Yet, the first and only one you jumped on to comment (in a snide remark kind of way) is one that gives you a chance to swipe at the suspension for which Kobe was critized a lot.

Isn't that the same kind of smart-ass joke you would expect from the Jim Romes, the Barkleys, the Jay Lenos, the pro-Shaqs, the non-Lakers, and the H8ters?

You may be taking all of this light-heartedly and you probably genuinely care for the Lakers team when you want to trade Kobe. But by lowering Kobe's maximum trade value, you are not helping your own goal or the Lakers organization.

That brings me back to why I said you are evidently not a Kobe fan and you simply hate his guts.

There is really nothing wrong with that, so there is no need to be defensive.

But, blogger contibutors who are fans of Kobe deserve to know if the admin has a bias, so they can decide if they want to continue to participate or not.

John P,

I don't know if you even read the blog anymore, as you sounded like you were bailing in that post. But I'll respond either way, and you can do with it what you will.

For starters, the article that has the heading "The Bad" with Kobe's name under it was actually written by BK, not me. So direct complaints about the content his way. You should double check this stuff first.

Regarding the Mike Miller-Kobe Bryant joke, you seem to be the only person on the blog who doesn't recognize that it's just humor, not a cheap shot or trying to stir up anything. You're way overblowing this.

As far as your suggestion of slanting Kobe coverage towards the postitive, that's not gonna happen. Why? Because it's bad journalism. I'm gonna write about what's actually happening, not what I think the local fans want to read. And that's what I should be doing, because it's fair. If you think it's inappropriate for writers not to put aside an automatic anti-Kobe bias (and it is), it's also equally inappropriate for them to write with a pro-Kobe bias, too. It has to work both ways. Plus, as I said before, journalists don't write from the perspective of fans. It's a huge difference that you apparently don't understand or accept.

Again, if you don't agree with my thoughts behind "Kobe for LeBron" (or whoever else), I understand. No worries. But me saying Kobe is tradeable isn't "hating his guts." Shaq, Kareem, Wilt, Oscar and countless other all-time greats have been traded. If they can be moved, so can Kobe. It's just part of the game.

The actual idea that I "hate Kobe's guts" is so beyond stupid that I'm not even gonna bother debating it. But I will play devil's advocate. Say for a second that I do "hate Kobe's guts". I despise every moment that Kobe Bryant is alive and breathing. What difference does it make? BK and I still provide a forum for Kobe worshippers like yourself to hail him the greatest thing since the invention of the wheel. We don't delete comments for being "too Kobe." We allow you to lavish him with props 24/7. If this is the result of me "hating his guts," you should root hard for other news outlets to employ such "haters."

I hope you don't stop reading the blog, John, because we value the readership of everybody who signs on. Especially guys like you who take the time to leave comments. But if you're looking for BK or I to change our style, that simply isn't gonna happen. Sorry.

AK

AK

Nice response to John P. I respect your point of view. You're a journalist. Heck, I'm Laker biased but that doesn't stop me from telling the truth about Laker players, even Kobe when he starts shooting too much. Every player in the NBA is subject to be traded, that's the nature of the beast. I hope Kobe never gets traded. But with that said I enjoy some of your responses. It shows someone who knows how to speak the truth, even though I might not agree with your version of the truth, but it makes me question and expand my version of what I'm saying and writing about. Keep up the good work.

mike


Thanks, Mike. I appreciate it.

AK

AK,

Thanks for your reponses to my post and for giving us the chance to post.

You are entitled to "hate" Kobe and it is absolutely ok if you choose to think that he should be traded.

But sadly, you are still missing my point. I am not telling you to change your style. I have no right to do that. I am just pointing it out for the readers of this blog.

The admin of this blog, yourself included, is no different than if you go to other competing city's newpapers. It over-emphasizes on all the negatives and avoiding to mention most of the positives on Jerry's team.

The very first commment you find in response to the admin introductory remark on this LA Times blog is from a person named "Fakers" whose comment was "Amen!"

But, if you admit to the readers beforehand that you you are routing against a certain player, then at least the fans will put that into perspective and weigh what is written, before it affects their decision to watch any more games.

The other newspapers do not need that disclaimer, because we already know who they are routing against when we read their items.

John P,

Actually, the truth is, you're missing my point. I don't hate Kobe. I don't have an active "problem" or "agenda" with him. I don't root against him. I don't actually think the Lakers should working 24/7 to trade him (Reread the original post. That isn't what I said). If I had a problem with Kobe, I would devote much more time to criticizing him. And that's hardly the focus of my postings. True, I don't end posts with "Kobe for MVP!!! All hail Ocho!!!", but aside from the fact that it's not my style, it would be absolutely unprofessional. But I also don't "overemphasize the negative," even if I am willing to occasionally be critical. I don't know why this is so hard to understand. Nobody else seems to be calling me a Kobe-basher, so maybe it's like I said. You're being a little oversensitive.

Let me ask you a question. Is your definition of "hating" simply being willing to question the guy at all, on any level? Being willing to say anything other than "Kobe is God!" If that's how you define it, then yeah, I'm a "hater," I guess. And Phil Jackson must be a hater. And Stu Lantz. And Magic. Because they've said he needs to share the ball more from time to time. Thus they're all haters, according to you. But that's cool. We'll never agree, and we don't really have to. In the end, I just want you to enjoy the blog, even if you don't like what I write.

Glad to see you're back,

AK

AK AND JOHN P

If this blog was all about praising Laker players, it would be boring. I love basketball and in following the Lakers it is with the hope that the team would win the championship. This team, with all the mental mistakes they make, will not win the championship, that much is obviously true. To me with all the mistakes they make, it makes me wonder; are the coaches not speaking to the players? If they continue to make these mental errors, which are obvious if you watch the games, then the coaches and the players alike are subject to criticism from an outside source. If the criticism were coming from a hostile source, Laker haters, why should they say anything at all? Seeing they, the haters, wouldn't want the Lakers to improve. This blog allows Laker fans to question the Lakers' players, coaches, GM, and even the owners in regards to what is happening from day to day, i.e. game strategy, trades, rumors and what not, which is all part of following the NBA. Truth be said, Kobe Bryant does, at times, shoot to much. That is the obvious truth and to say anything different is just plain crazy. There have been games, this year, when Kobe shot us out of the game. What are we suppose to say? It's Kobe so, so what! No! Kobe, although he is the man, needs to recognize his teammates. If nothing else, this blog allows us fans to say so. Being in Los Angeles, with all the media outlets, you have to believe that the players, Kobe included, have to be checking out what the fans are saying. And since this is part of the Los Angeles Times, the biggest newpaper in the city, I think it's safe to assume they, Laker players, might be reading this blog. They're smart guys and I'm sure they get tired of the worship, they're human with flaws and this blog allows the fans to point out those flaws in their game, if for nothing else to release frustration with what they see as to what is wrong with the Lakers. I would hope this would all be in the context of being Laker fans, and why not? We are in Los Angeles and this is part of the Los Angeles Times. Any true Laker fan, heck, for that matter, a basketball fan knows Kobe, as great as he is, is only 27 and is still growing into his role as leader of this team, which means he has things to learn himself. What are those things? It's obvious to the rest of the basketball world, which is to say, that he can, at times, shoot us out of games. To say so doesn't make one a Kobe hater. Love ya Kobe!

mike

LETS CALL IT EVEN

I do understan AK position, he got to be proffesional, he's not suppose to let us know if he's Kobe hater or not, he just got to write from a realistic and objective point of view.
He journalist, he just got to put things the way they are.
AK I THINK YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB.


John has a point, and i feel you John, its verry sad to be entering the other sites and to be reading only the negative stuff about Kobe, and then coming to our HOME NEWS PAPER and have to take the same thing.

I luv this blog, i'm from Costa Rica, next to Panama, keep up the good job and please do not be to sensitive.

Gio

Kobe is neither the devil nor is he a saint. I am a big fan of his when it comes to basketball,but his handling of the situation,much like the rest of us,can be questionable at time. For example,him ratting out shaq was dead wrong. Yet,I see no problem with criticising him. valid criticism does not equal to hate. What is wrong is when the supporters of Kobe sees every valid criticism as "hating." Or the Haters who have their mind made up on hating the guy,ignoring his many accomplishment and progress.

Kobe is only 27. I see people who are unforgiving toward his past transgression as been too unrealistic,and people who are reluctant to criticize because of his blinding talent is also foolhardy. Let us all be ojective and all enjoy his growth both as a player and a person,criticizing when we see fit,but not be so unforgiving at the same time!!!

Well said tomwu, well said.


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