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Rhythm lessons

Not to be a total downer, but the lofty dreams Lakers fans have conjured over the highly successful first 37 games of the season- I'm talking about winning the Pacific, maybe even the Western Conference- are officially out the window with the injury to Andrew Bynum.  The growth in his play and his influence on games is the single greatest factor in L.A.'s improvement this season, and without that production in the lineup, they're simply not going to win as many games.  Hopefully he comes back with enough time left in the season to regain the sort of form he was showing up until Sunday.  If he does, the Lakers have a chance to make some noise in the postseason.  If he doesn't?  They're a whole lot more like the teams of the last couple seasons... and we know how that turned out.

Where they finish, though, when mid-April comes will be determined by how they fare over the next eight (hopefully not more) weeks.  Sunday night, Kobe talked a lot about rhythm, how they'd established one with Bynum, and how they need to find a new one with him out of the lineup.   

I hope they don't settle on the one they used last night. 

There's no question last night's game was exciting, nor is there any question Kobe was incredibly clutch down the stretch.  But there's also no question that over the next 30 or so games, if they rely on Kobe to be the beginning, middle, and end of the offense, they won't be very successful.  It was one game, and there's no reason to freak out and assume this is how things are going to be going forward.  Given that they were playing the wrong end of a back-to-back the night after a crushing injury, it's not all that surprising that Kobe put the weight of Sunday's game on his back.  But remember, this was the Sonics, who absolutely suck.  So squeaking out a win in OT against them, however admirable, doesn't mean the strategy is a long term solution.  At least not against teams that are any good. 

But going forward, with a couple days to practice and a chance to start reasonably fresh, the Lakers have to try and find a way to simulate as best they can, the diverse attack they've been able to sustain this season.  When Kobe is forced into/forces (depending on your perspective) the sort of attack they had last night, in long run, it hurts.  First, it puts an enormous amount of pressure on Kobe to sustain excellence night in and night out on a level that even he can't always meet. Last night, in 44 shots he was nearly 50% from the floor.  Take away two or three of those makes, and it gets ugly.  Yeah, you can say the same about other players- that if they miss a shot here or there, the game ends differently- but when one guy has such a disproportionate portion of the total product, the bad stuff hurts more.  Everything we've ever read, every scout we've ever spoken to all points to the idea that the other team likes it better when Kobe takes the team on his shoulders, rather than trying to keep everyone involved.   

Second, Kobe spent most of his time attacking from the perimeter.  He only shot seven free throws.  Chalk some of that up to the refs missing a few calls if you want, but generally Kobe wasn't penetrating.  Too many jumpshots mean too many long rebounds, too many run out opportunities, and too many easy buckets for the other team.  And the alternative, attacking the hole over and over again night after night after night opens him up to an incredible amount of physical pounding- even more if the other team is keying on him.  Not a great alternative, either.

What the Lakers need to do, and it won't be easy, is find that rhythm they had at the beginning of last season.  There's no reason not to continue working to create as much balance as possible.  Obviously, Kobe is and should have the biggest impact on the game offensively for L.A.  But for the first 40 games last year, they managed to get to a place where everyone was working as a pretty cohesive unit.  The circumstances aren't the same right now, as last year the Lakers had Drew backing up Kwame, and currently they're frightfully thin up front. On the other hand, the backcourt is stronger with Fish and an improved Farmar, and Ariza provides an athletic, slashing finisher they didn't have a year ago.

As always, the onus to make this happen is shared.  Kobe has to keep faith in his teammates, and they have to respond by staying active, playing aggressive basketball, and not becoming dependent on him to do everything.  They must keep the offense moving towards the rim, either by posting guys like Odom, Walton, Kobe, and (yes) Kwame, then staying extremely active without the ball.  In theory, they should be able to make it happen.  It worked a year ago.  In practice, I think they'll struggle mightily for the next few games trying to make it happen, but the payoff could come on the long February road trip. 

Realistically, the Lakers aren't going to finish near the top of the conference anymore.  They no longer have that x-factor pushing them up with the big boys in Bynum, who provided a true inside-out attack that helped create cleaner looks for everyone and a growing presence on the defensive end.  What they can do is not completely abandon those things that have made them successful this season, even if their ability to execute at a high level is diminished.  And remember, guys like Sasha and Vlad should give a little more depth to the rotation once they're healthy. 

In short, don't panic.  Don't freak out.  The good news is that if they can maintain the same sort of team-centric approach, when Bynum comes back they could be stronger for it. 

BK   

 
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As bad and slow as Webber is on defense, his offense (shooting and passing) will make things a lot easier on Kobe and the whole team. Bring him in!

jeez bk, way to be a downer haha. i actually dont think itll be that bad. i think the team was just a little down last game. these few days of practice should help out a lot. i'll be pretty stoked with a 5 seed or above. with bynum i think we can match up well and beat anyone in the playoffs.

also, no one really looks that dominant. i mean the suns are down 11 in the 4th to the freaking clippers right now. they dont look good at all.

all in all i think we need some players like farmar to really step up and i dont think the next two months will be all that bad.

GO LAKERS

Sounds too dark BK.

On a Bynum 10 scale, how bad is it?
8 out of 10 bad?
Meaning we'll lose 8 of the 10 games we would have won with Andrew?

4 out of 10 seems reasonable. With a Kobe that isn't gasping for air every minute of the game, Vlad and Sasha back, we'll lose 4 of 10 games we would have won with Andrew... and the wins will be closer.

If the vets don't wear down, the prime time minutes the "other" guys get, could be a plus in the playoffs.

GO Lakers

The Lakers will get going again. This is basically the same starting lineup that started 26-13 last season with an upgrade of Fisher over Smush at the point, a better and more mature backup guard in Farmar, a healthy Vlad Rad (who's coming back soon), and a great new addition in Ariza. They're going to be fine once they find their rhythm, as Fish suggested recently.

Elton Brand a Laker?

Is it true he can opt out this year?

If so, I can see him taking LESS money and let's just say we sign him using Kwame's $8 million a year.

The only problem with that is Bynum is going to get max money too...

Wow, way to focus on the positive, BK. ;)

The truth is, this isn't nearly as bad as it looks. Yes, the Sonics suck, but they are also capable of playing well in bursts. We had that game in hand for about two quarters - they just got hot, we got cold, but we pulled it out in the end.

I think our guys are going to surprise the hell out of everyone in this stretch without Bynum, and Kobe is going to put an end to the MVP debate once and for all. Look at it this way - our guys go into this game with absolutely nothing to lose: if they lose, it's without Bynum. No one expects them to win, so all the pressure is on Phoenix. Our guys are free to go out and play loose and see what happens - perfect stage for an upset. We're up two games to nothing on them this year, so even if we lose two more we don't lose the tiebreak.

first place is all ours!!!!!! lets keep it that way on thursday.


GO LAKERS

Go Clippers! They just beat the Suns.

I think it's possible that we could find the same type of rhythm we had last season with Bynum out. It'll take at least 4-5 games which unfortunately is probably the toughest 5 game stretch of the season.

The second unit seems to have maintained a level of cohesion despite the Bynum injury. I enjoyed the moments when the second unit was in the game because they were disruptive and moved the ball offensively.

AK/BK, assuming the Lakers are able to sign C-Webb, do you think it'd be a good idea to play him with the first unit. I know it wouldn't be fair to whomever had to be removed from the lineup but I just can't see him playing with that uptempo second unit effectively. Obviously with our offense he can't be plugged into the lineup the day he gets to LA, but I think he'd be able to excel with the first unit guys.

Suns gon' lose tonight... So even if we lose tomorrow night, we are still in 1st place in Pacific...

And if we win, then BAAAM we put Phoenix on their heels with a 2 game losing streak!

We really need Vlad's shooting back and hopefully Odom can do something positive in the scoring dept. tomorrow nite. I would like to know has there ever been a player as talented as Odom who has fulfilled less of his potential?

I mean wow!

Get a pull up jumper already!
Get a left to right cross already!
Develop a post game OTHER than a jump hook already! (up & under maybe!)

Maybe Lamar can work with Kareem these next weeks while Bynum is down.

Vman-

C'mon! I ended on a positive (haha). I don't think it's necessarily catastrophic, in that they should (metaphorically, of course) pack up the circus and leave town. It's just that they're no longer a team that can be considered among the best, if not the best, in the West. They're more like last year's bunch, which was competitive, but not elite. And I, for one, was beginning to buy into the notion that they could finish this year as they started it, and certainly make the top four, if not higher.

This ends that, since Bynum's influence was the big x-factor in their rise. They're back to the bottom four, I believe. The margin of error is so thin up there. A few extra losses is all it will take to knock them back. But if he's healthy come playoff time, who knows?

BK

BK, that was an interesting piece. Glum but interesting lol.

Actually I agree with you, I don't think we will win as much games as we would have with Bynum healthy (Kobe's own words were, "we're a championship caliber team" with Drew, without? not so much---implied).

That said I don't think there's any reason to throw the towel. There is still a chance that we can maintain or stay above water...without Drew. So long as we play defense, players step up and we cut down our growing pains.

This team is much stronger than that game has showed. For starters, LO needs to regain his pre-injury form. That means aggressive, attacking, rebounding machine. You know the one that absolutely killed Marion? For another, the addition of Trevor Ariza has added another dynamic defender for the perimeter...it's just a matter of playing him (HELLO PHIL!). Kwame, I agree with your previous points...we don't need him to be what he's not, just what he can be. I can hope and dream about that 15/10, but the fact of the matter is, we would so much more games if he could just maintain the activity. If he could just play smart. Use his speed and physicality like we once saw in a "Kwame! Kwame!" chanted game.

Above all though...we need to get healthy. We desperately need Vlad's offense with Bynum gone. He's someone that can spread the floor for Kobe. Sasha also needs to get back. He's someone that has shown some aggressiveness with Kobe on the floor. Plus he's shown (somewhat lol) that he can knock down his shots.

There's gonna be more double teams than ever before on the Bean. It's up to us to recognize, move, and for Kobe to find the open man...well that and play defense (what? You didn't think I was gonna write a long post without talking about D? lol)

Go Lakers!

AK / BK

Can we bring ROD BENSON to LA?!!!

http://www.toomuchrodbenson.com/index.html

If it's 8 weeks, with a 3 week period to learn the 3-angle, it won't hurt to give this 6'10" high flyer a try.

If anything, at least we'll get a laugh with Boom Tho shirts.

So, I've never heard of this Rod Benson guy before. But the coverage on him is hilarious.

I'm anxious to see who the Lakers will bring in as a stop gap till Bynum gets back.

More Rod Benson here:
http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/blog/nba_experts?keyword=Too+much+Rod+Benson

BK,

Not sure if you saw but I asked a question about where you think C-Webb could fit into this team.

BK,

Did you notice your initials also stand for buzz-kill

Looks like the Lakers will hold onto first place for more than 1 day. Thank you Clippers

Hey, Look! No reason to panic. We've seen what a healthy team can do. They put the fear in almost every team they play. With Andrew out we aren't as good, but all we need to do is maintain a playoff position until he comes back. It really doesn't matter where we finish! If the team is healthy, I'll take them against anyone in 7 games. I don't think we need to jump out and sign a broken vet for the rest of the season at this point. Let's keep our options open with that roster spot for possible trades, or acquisitions toward the end of the year.

BK

there hasn't been any news on Vlad's injured wrists. that injury basically cooled off his hot start... and then the ankle. just wondering if it's still bothering him because even if he is able to run around, if he can't shoot then he's basically useless.

Korey,

>>>Suns gon' lose tonight... So even if we lose tomorrow night, we are still
>>>in 1st place in Pacific...

Nope. Suns loss puts them 1/2 a game behind the Lakers. In the imaginary
world where they beat the Lakers, they would be 1/2 a game ahead.

But of course, the Lakers are going to win that game, after which they will
have a 1 1/2 game lead in the Pacific Division, though their lead in the Western
Conference might be smaller than it is now, as San Antonio and Dallas have
some cupcake games coming up, so they could make up some ground.

Of the big four games (Phoenix - Denver - San Antonio - Dallas), I think
Phoenix and Dallas are the two most winnable in the Lakers' current state.
Without Bynum on the floor to keep him honest, Camby could have a block
party. And with only Kwame to guard Duncan, the Lakers will have their
work cut out for them.

If the Lakers can go 2 out of 4 against those teams, I think they'll do fine on
the big road trip against the Least.

For those seeking bright sides, I do think a positive that hasn't been discussed much remains a possibility.

Should the team weather Bynum's absence in respectable form (like I said in my post yesterday, .500-ish ball would be more than commendable), the cushion they've created with this great start should keep them in the playoff race. From there, if Drew returns on schedule and doesn't take too long to round back into shape, this team returns to more or less the form they were running at, which was very good. Because of that, I'm not positive their seed will matter as much (home court advantage aside and even then, they've been winning on the road).

For example, Phoenix might win the Pacific, but unless they crank it up another notch (and deepen their rotation), they remain a team I'm predicting the Lakers would beat in a 7-game series (pre-Drew's injury, obviously). Unless the Lakers happen to go against SA (who can never be counted out) in the first round, I wouldn't be too worried about them ending up a 7 seed. Assuming the best case scenario I described above regarding Drew comes into play.

AK

C Web can do it. But will Buss pay the price?

I don't understand why it's so pessimistic! Seriously, I'll I'm saying is that they won't win enough games without Drew to stay at the top of the conference! It's not that bad! (haha)

Anyway, Xodus-

I'm not a huge fan of Webber, but obviously he doesn't hurt. He's just not my first choice because he's so immobile these days that I don't think he'd help defensively at all (and they don't have enough guys to cover for him adaquately), and offensively, he could hinder their efforts to push the pace. On the other hand, he still has skill on that end, for sure, and would be a good player in the triangle. He certainly played some good minutes for the Pistons last season.

I'd love to see them pick up a better defensive presence, though on the other hand, they're not likely to find someone who can fit in as well offensively. So pick your poison, I guess. In the end, it'll be hard to find any street free agent (perhaps not named Brown or Webber) who will make much of an impact.

BK

BK,

Clippers defeated the Suns tonight 97-90. Lakers stand alone now at the top of the Pacifici division and the WC. Nice piece BK and I completely agree. The Lakers can remain upright as long as they don't get away from the things that got them to where they are right now. While it will be more difficult and challenging without Drew, the Lakers can still run their offense and play buckle down defensively. I firmly believe that Turiaf, if he stays out of foul trouble will step up and his numbers will go up because he'll play with more passion for his fallen mate.

Also, if we're fortunate to get either Webber or PJ Brown it would only help us because of their experience and savvy. There's no substitute for experience and any production from either one of them would bolster our thin front line. Right now our bench needs to continue to be the difference. Farmar, Crit and Ariza were fearless in the win against Seattle and must continue that attacking mentality. Ronny is all heart and hustle and seems to be back to his energetic, frenetic self before he got injured earlier this year. IMO, Turiaf and Ariza will be the key to staying right there until Drew returns because I think they will step up the most and contribute big offensively and defensively. Crit will also surprise if he continues to get time. Turiaf has a mid range jumper and finishes at the rim well and Ariza is turning into Bruce Bowen that slashes and finishes and like Bowen is beginning to get comfortable with the corner three. Crit is a rook that's not afraid to shoot and unlike Farmar prefers to attack the rim. These three will make the biggest difference and contributions while Drew is down. Get used to seeing these guys in the GOOD portion of BK's breakdown. Go Lakers!!!

REPOST OF EARLIER POST IN CASE IT WAS TOO DOWN THE LIST OF PREVIOUS BLOG 377 SO FAR

Wow, read a lot of comments and I will respond to a few. Mainly to the ones I disagree with but I will apply constructive critcism and respectfully disagree with a few.

First I disaree with the blogger who said Odom should stay away from the 3 point line. Odom needs to practice those shots more and become more consistant in the game. If his 3 pt shot is taken away then D can play off him so his dribble penetration would be less effective. As for his dribble penetration he needs to finish with more authority (dunk) than finesing his shots. Yes he needs to to use both hands left and right and dribble and muscle up players in the arc instead of out of it so he does not pick up a charge foul. Things Lamar can work on to improve his game.

I think Kwames problems are more mental than physical. I saw why he blew that 2 handed dunk. He grabbed the rim hard and when he let go the rim snapped back and knocked the ball away. In the next game he made the dunk but he held on to the rim briefly (not as hard as last time) so the ball went in. I think he is still afraid to come down hard on his ankle for fear or reinjury as it might not be fully healed. So he is hanging on the rim. The problem with that is that he can be called for hanging on the rim and have points taken back. He needs to give up that mental crutch before it hurts the team. He also needs to practice, practice practice free throws then practice some more.

I will comment on his D later so that this is not too long winded.

As for 2nd option Lamar is not suited for that, not his game so instead I think every one else has to add a few more points output to spread the burden out. Takes team ball to do that.

The safe choice is to bring in an experienced big with set mindset as someone aluded to. That does not make sense to discount a vet since getting Fish back disputes that. Vet came in with set mindset.

If the guy works out he can deepen our bench and allow our bigs to play far more aggresively on D. We are deep enough to spread the load and not burn anyone out. Plus we can play our guys to match up better against other teams to create mismatches in our favor.

If there is not one available then maybe the Warriors guy or D leaguer. C Webb said he was reviewing proposals with his agent to see where he wants to play. So if he is not available or PJ brown oe others mentioned then D leaguer would be way to go.

Just my opinion and I stick by it.

Posted by: JustaLakerFan | January 15, 2008 at 09:36 PM

BK,
If we go for an old vet, it almost has to be Webber! I'm positive we couldn't handle "2" Browns on this team. OMG

BK,

Yeah I'm not in love with Webber but with limited options he may be the best we can get. P.J. Brown is interesting because of his defense and ability to hit the midrange jumper, but I don't see him coming out of retirement.

We're number 1 (in the West)
We're number 1 (in the West)
We're number 1 (in the West)
We're number 1 (in the West)

Sorry, but it's like my fantasy team, I don't think we'll be on top the whole
season, so I'm doing some gloating while I can. :-)

Bynum's absence exposes several weaknesses on our part.

1) Odom's inability to be a true, consistent #2 guy. With Bynum's emergence, Odom was able to slide comfortably into the #3 spot on the team, where he had greatly reduced pressure to score and create his own offense. Now he's going to be expected to score consistently and be agressive in doing so, which has never been his nature.

2) Kwame's lack of effectiveness in most facets of the game. PJ was starting to play Drew 30+ minutes a game, and Drew was responding with very positive play. Kwame's role was reduced to a more appropriate back-up position with limited minutes. Now playing starter's minutes, his inabilities to score in the post, dominate the boards, or control the paint are revealed. When Kwame gets the ball in the post, the other team simply denies everyone else the ball, forcing Kwame to make a play--something he just can't do.

3) Chris Mihm's (so far) failed comeback. If we had a healthy Mihm, our situation would be much better. But as has been mentioned here before, even before Mihm had his most recent setback, he just wasn't effective.

4) Our lack of team defense. With Bynum in the middle, blocking multipe shots a game (and altering many more), our oftentimes poor rotations and lapses in communication were covered up. Now without a shotblocker in the middle, we could be seeing more fouls and/or more layups.

So the main questions for the next 8 weeks are: 1) Can LO step up and be a #2? 2) Can Kwame be at least a decent NBA center? 3) Is Mihm going to play good ball this year? 4) Can we become a good defensive team?

I think LO can step up; whether he will or not is another question. I don't think Kwame has the skill set necessary to do much more than he ever has. I think Mihm is finished. And I definitely think we can get better team-defense wise. But keep in mind when comparing this team now to last year's start; the start of last year was a very home-heavy schedule, whereas our upcoming schedule is the exact opposite.

Bynum's injury was like a punch to the gut. I was soooooo into this team and really, really enjoyed watching Bynum get better with every game....and then, poof, it's all gone in an instant.

So as much as I love the Lakers, I'm pessimistic. I think we're going to be much more inconsistent than we have been. One thing about Bynum is that he was very consistent and gave us a double-double just about every night. I now expect Odom to have his good nights and his bad nights, thrown in with some very bad nights and some very good nights. Kwame will put up a few of those 2 point, 3 rebound games and maybe...MAYBE a handful of decent games.

Sorry guys....I'm venting a bit, 'cause I'm still very, very down about the whole thing.

>>>Let's keep our options open with that roster spot for
>>>possible trades, or acquisitions toward the end of the year.

That's kinda why I've been hyping calling up a D-Leaguer instead of hiring
an old-timer. The Lakers could do it on a ten-day contract, so they'd get a
cheap trial run, unlike Webber or Brown who they'd have to pay until the
end of the season. And also, if the player actually catches on in the next
8 weeks, maybe it's someone the Lakers could sign as a role player moving
forward - Kelenna Azubuike was a D-Leaguer last season and got called
up by Golden State - this year he averages 10 points a game for them.

My four best choices for a fill-in front court player are Lance Allred, Rod
Benson, Elton Brand, and Jelani McCoy.


LTLF

>>>Suns gon' lose tonight... So even if we lose tomorrow night, we are still
>>>in 1st place in Pacific...

Nope. Suns loss puts them 1/2 a game behind the Lakers. In the imaginary
world where they beat the Lakers, they would be 1/2 a game ahead.

But of course, the Lakers are going to win that game, after which they will
have a 1 1/2 game lead in the Pacific Division, though their lead in the Western
Conference might be smaller than it is now, as San Antonio and Dallas have
some cupcake games coming up, so they could make up some ground.

Sorry but I have to disagree with the half game thing. The game would be a half game if played against other teams. But since this is a head to head competition it equals a full game difference 1/2 game for win and 1/2 game for loss equals full game.

JustALakerFan,

That's right. Phoenix is currently 1/2 game behind the Lakers.

If Phoenix wins, they gain a full game on the Lakers.

That puts them 1/2 game ahead of the Lakers.

Mike T.,
I used some of that Zen stuff too. I thought to myself, " Larry, how can I prove that Mike T. is so full of BS it's spilling out of his ears? And, then it came to me, "let him babble on, and on, and on about his basketball philosophy, his theories on how good Kwame is, how bad Phil Jackson is, how mediocre Andrew Bynum is, etc., etc.. Sooner or later, everyone will notice that brownish stuff oozing from his ears and dripping off his earlobes. It's BS! You've finally reach the maximum level any human body can sustain and it had to come out somewhere. It reached your mouth a couple years ago, but now it's up to the ears.

Why not stop now with the Kwame\Bynum thing. It's over. That old dog won't hunt anymore. There is no argument. Bynum is, and always will be, the far superior player in every facet of the game. Kwame will never be more than a journeyman backup center at best. The only heavy lifting Kwame will be doing after this year is carrying the water bucket on and off the court. Why waste all your time fighting a losing argument on this issue? Why not move on to something more debatable like the value of Luke Walton?

Congratulations to the Lakers for being in the No. 1 by staying at home and pray that Suns will lose today.

BK, the title of your thread are rhythm lessons. Well, we may have lost the rhythm when Bynum fell and could not come back but we still have the lead and the base as well as the drummer, therefore the band can play and continue produce songs. Now sombody has to pick up the rhythm left void by Andrew. As I kept on saying again and again, a team should not be composed of few players or else it is not a team and it will not last in the playoffs, it has to be composed of strong fibers bundled together to produce a strong pull. Everyoone should help one another. That game with Sonics, well Kobe bailed us out eventhough a lot of posters here call again a ballhog. Without we lost that game. Hopefully, the coaching staff realizes this and do something on our shortcoming in personnel and in ability to band together. On Thursday, the test begins with the statement, we are the No. 1 in the West, was it because Kobe-Bynum partnership or the deep bench that we have been telling all throughout?

I looked at the problem as if the Lakers is a submarine. We lost a periscope so we can't see anything above, shall we remain submerge forever? We still have engines working and the whole ship intact with tornados in place ready to fire. Can we lodge a fight or stay below and wait for other opportunities? Can we find a way to find alternative to replace that periscope? Therefore, this is everybody's problem of what to do next.

I have absolutely no confidence in Lamar. Its been what three years now that we've been waiting for Lamar to become consistent? I hate to say this but it's just not going to happen. Whatever Lamar's problems are, he will not work them out while he is a Laker.

Sam Cassell toyed with the Suns tonight...Laker Nation will take it.

The national press is lauding Kupchak's eye for talent. Whoaaa! Let's slow down a minute lest we forget that the Lakers DO NOT HAVE A CERTAIN CARON BUTLER.

Lakers Keys to Success w/o Bynum
Odom is not allowed to shoot beyond 15-18 feet. Mandatory he takes at least 15 shots a game if not more.
Brown is not allowed to shoot period. Except if its a wide open DUNK. Not even layups. He misses those.
No more post ups for shots for Walton. He is not that good doing it. His turnaround is not going in.
Farmar has green light. Need the extra scoring and Farmar rarely forces things.

Elton Brand suggestion by one of the previous bloggers. Fantasy. But a phone call from Kobe and Mitch and Buss is worth a shot.

tim,

Completely agree with you. He's a nice guy and plays great when he is on, but more often than not, this guy is just too inconsistent. Was he like 3-10 last night?

Rod Benson quotes, (also his D-League all-star pleas)

"I am pro-Kobe and anti-Tim Donaghy. I am for higher D-League wages. I am against "hack-a-Shaq." I'm pro-Gatorade. Although I have been shaky with my voting record regarding water, I still think it can get the job done in Gatorade-free environments. I'm for a run-and-gun offense. I am anti-zone defense. I am for having a good time. I am against anything that would get me on the news with the headline that starts, "Early this morning outside a Las Vegas nightclub ... " I am for the old NBA ball, which is now formally the new NBA ball. I am against shorts so short that you can see the spandex underneath. I am pro-Dennis Johnson. I am anti-high socks. I am for Kevin Garnett and against Mark Madsen's dancing skills. Seriously, I vote no.

Kind of a strange guy, but funny and I like his attitude. His numbers look good for the D-League, but Coby Karl looks like Kobe Bryant in the D-League, so take it with a grain of salt.

lamar hasn't been the same since his injury last year. if you flip back your memories to our hot start last year, you will see that lamar shot relatively well from 3 point land, and luke was phenomenal (even lead the league for a bit) from there...

since lamar has been hurt, his range has really tailed off.. he needs to get it back to where it used to be.. i do agree with the overall sentiment that at least for now he needs to stop taking them until he can shoot 33% from there.. i think he's at 25% right now.

I think a hard working guy like lance allred in the d league would do us good, at least till andrew gets back, he is a good rebounder and a hard worker on defense, he is also not so shabby on offense so he could help us out short term.

I predict we will be torched by the Suns..the Nuggets..the Spurs...the Mavericks.....

I predict we will be torched by the Suns..the Nuggets..the Spurs...the Mavericks.....

I'll be riding this sinking ship....

On a more serious note. I'm actually more worried about Bynum getting his rhythm back. I'm sure his knee will be fine but his production may be greatly affected.

I propose we trade Sasha Vujacic for Eddie Jones. This trade can benefit both teams. Dallas gets a young streaky shooter while the Lakers get a consistent defender and someone who is capable of backing up Kobe. I love Sasha but business is business. Besides, Eddie Jones is my favorite Laker of all time! Eddie! Eddie! Eddie!

BK, I appreciate your honest attempt at prediction.

I do think there are a few things you did not take into account.

1. The Sonics are a lot healthier than they have been. They lost Wilcox for a few games and Ridnour is finally back.

2. The Sonics really stepped up this game. And it wasn't just lax defense (which certainly contributed). Collison has always been a very mobile effort player with efficient (though meager) stats. I believe if the Sonics played as they had even with Bynum, Collison would have caused problems. They needed to use Turiaf to try to cancel him out.

3. The Lakers did just get crushing news and were on the second end of a back-to-back. If there's a time when the team is likely to take a game off a bit, this was it.

4. The Lakers are better than last year with Trevor Ariza and D-fish. Not having a Bynum (from last year) and Brown (from last year) does hurt a bit, but I think overall we're close to as good, if not a little better than last year, especially if Kwame gets less "smooth" as the announcers on NBA League Pass kept calling him (I think they were the FSN NW announcers, not sure).

5. We're not likely to play so Kobe-centric in the next few games. Kobe's gotten out of the habit of doing so and has met success with doing so. The coaching staff will fix that some, though I do predict close games at the end with people not sinking shots and Kobe shooting us out of the game at the end, but less than last year.

6. There's no way Lamar could play any worse. From the bottom, the only direction you can go is up!


Other than that, I felt your blog took all factors into account perfectly to make a fair and accurate prediction.

Oh yeah, and we're bringing in another big man to limit the pain. It will be like Bynum was last year added to this year's lineup. That's not too bad.

Chris Webber, you are welcome here buddy!

BK

I think you're being overly pessimistic. This is now basically the team that started last season 26-13 before Lamar, Luke, Kwame, and Vlad went down with injuries. Sure the schedule was a bit soft, but the team had some quality wins and six losses to truly terrible teams. I think the addition of Fisher, Ariza, and a vastly improved Farmar (and the loss of Smush, Cook, and Shammond) actually makes this a better team than the one that started the season last year. I know they also had Drew last year, but he wasn't that much of a factor. The Lakers are in shock now. They need to shake it off. If they take on the attitude that you're projecting, they are doomed. If they focus and stay positive, they'll be fine.

why all th negative talk?
damn what a downer article

you are talking like we just lost an all star for the rest of the season
bynum is ONE of the reasons why the team is playing this good, not the sole reason
what about the bench, everyone seems better this year. except lamar
i think hes the key, if we want to keep winning

kobe needs 30ppg 5-6as 5-6 rbs
lamar needs 15p 4as 10rbs
kwame 10/10
and we should be OK

Ose,

We will get nothing fromt the D-League. Absolutely nothing. Kwame would be a star in the D-league. pslakerlover said it best," Coby Karl looks like Kobe Bryant in the D-League, so take it with a grain of salt."

AK,

I saw your response. We have different interpretations of events or maybe see things from different
viewpoints. Take the event " Kobe not spending time with his teammates. " Before the internet became
common, introverts spent most of their time alone or with a few close friends vs. posting on blogs. :)
So ... do you use the phrase "shutting out his teammates" with someone who's quiet? I wouldn't ...

In terms of what Kobe would or wouldn't do with the Shaq trade. The words of Jerry Buss seemed
to have summed up that situation differently than you see it. How do you maintain your stance in light
of what Jerry Buss said publicly? i.e." I traded Shaq. Kobe had nothing to do with it. If he'd come into
camp in shape I probably would've paid him." *I* maintain that it was the best business decision possible.
Furthermore, I feel vindicated by having watched Shaq the last 3 years. Imagine what kind of game the
Lakers would have TODAY with Shaq & Kobe's contracts and Shaq taking up space on the roster while
taking time off and not getting into shape? Do you really want that fat, non-hustling, cripple trying to run
with Phoenix or would you prefer Bynum? Is he averaging over 10 pts a game?

re: you comment about Kobe and supporting Kwame/Mihm. Yes, he *IS* supposed to do that. Are you
saying that he only gets debits and doesn't get credits when he does the right thing? i.e. If he sees the
big picture & does the right thing, you ignore that because it doesn't fit your thesis?

re: the rebuilding period. That's the crux of the point right there. You obviously see this past time as a
rebuilding period and therefore expect a certain behavior from him. You are aware that Kobe clearly
stated:* Management assured me that they would not go thru a "rebuilding period". They said they would
build a contender around me. *, right? Do you "really" believe that Smush Parker is a legitimate attempt to
build a contender?

re: the Kobe video. Is it really part of the "Big Picture" to expect people to deceive you? Do you think Kobe
would have made spoken to those fans if he knew they were recording? *I* think you're looking at the
video in hindsight. Given what Bynum had done previous to the Kobe video and based upon *actual*
experience Bynum was a marshmallow and there was no reason to believe he would change. Kinda
like Kwame Brown. A kid who won't work hard vs. J-Kidd, the triple double machine, when we had SMUSH as starting pg. I don't think he called Buss and idiot. [ I could be wrong about that. ] re: Mitch. With all of the
missed opportunities Mitch is STILL suspect. Please. Baron Davis vs. Smush Parker. Boozer vs. LO/Luke.Brian Grant, Aaron McKie,
Shammond Williams .... You get my point?

For 3 seasons Kobe kept his mouth shut. How much time does he need before he can express himself?Or does he have to be like KG
before you give him the nod. i.e. KG kept his mouth shut for a decade and
what did he win?

ps. sorry about the format. the cut/paste didn't work too well.

AK/BK

I think "Rhythm and Blues" also might have been a good title for this post. Considering the negativity and somber feelings surrounding the Laker fan base these days.

Everyone else,

Being in Phoenix I get to listen to the Suns homers talking trash about the Lakers every morning on the way to work. It drives me crazy, like when you were a kid and there was the one guy in class that always talked trash to you because just that once he beat you in one on one. I hated that kid . . . wait . . . maybe I was that kid? At any rate, it's great to see the Clips beat the Suns two nights before they play the Lakers, because the Suns will be fired up for the game. That might give us a good gauge of how we can expect the Lakers to stand up to the competition over the next few games. The timing of Drew's injury may be very opportune. With only two games in the next 6 days, the Lakers will have a lot of practice time to get that rhythm down, which is especially important if they add a big man to the rotation. I can see wins against the Suns and Nuggets, because both teams are poor defensively, but the games against SA, Cle, Det, and Dallas are going to be very tough. My vote is for C Webb, by the way. Although most of you already know that. Keep beating up on the Suns! I hate the Suns. . .

LkrFan

BK,

you wrote: Realistically, the Lakers aren't going to finish near the top of the conference anymore.

My response:

Hoping my boys prove you wrong. I think that as long as Kwame doesn't get hurt they have a legitimate chance not to BUDGE AN INCH. As I understand it,the main reason why the Lakers have been winning is NOT Bynum. It's the bench who has been out scoring everyone. The bench unit is mostly intact.

We have Fish. We have Farmar. J-Crit will get much more playing time.
Ariza will become more comfortable. AND .... I'm hoping the 20 yr. old
heals like a 20 yr. old! I think he's back in 6 - 7 weeks. Maybe 5.

And pulling this train is the best player in the NBA with the best coach
in the NBA. We are not down. We are not out. Show some sack and
let's watch our boys surprise the world.

Go Lakers!
Go Kobe!

BK,

You're being a wet blanket again.

I share your concerns, but I think you're being overly pessimistic. Remember, despite all the natural criticism heaped upon Kwame the Swami, he is 25-10 as a starter.

Could we go 2-3 over our next five? Maybe. But we'll soon establish a new "rhythm" and find a way to win. It's important to remember who our coach is and the value of Derek Fisher as a leader this year. Derek Fisher is able to communicate the coaching staff's direction to the younguns' far better than Lamar Odom was last year.

Would it be better if Bynum was still healthy? Of course. Are things are dire as you predict? No.

And I'll be sure to remind you as such in a couple weeks.

GO LAKERS!

By the way, nice job by the Clips last night!

Go Clippers!

GO LAKERS!

the idiot who wrote this blog isn't even from los angeles! what makes you think you know anything about being a true laker fan?

LTLF,

If we are going to go for a guy from the D-League, I'd like to see a bizzaro Kwame Brown, someone who is quick on weak side help, actually gets off the floor and contests/blocks shots, and just goes nuts trying to clean up everything off the glass. Basically another Ronny Turiaf. We need someone to give us 12-15 minutes at the PF/C position and just run with a non-stop motor. I have absolutely no knowledge whatsoever of the D-League guys you mentioned, but if any of them fit that description, sign me up.

BK,

I couldn't agree more with your piece, well said.

I had very low expectations for both Bynum and the team coming into this season, but I could honestly say with a straight face that they were a title contender until Drew went down. Not only was he not hitting a wall with increased playing time, he was getting noticeably better. At first people said he got all his points off lobs and put backs (absolutely nothing wrong with that, see D.Howard) so he goes and starts hitting jump hooks with both hands. They said he couldn't move his feet quick enough and play position defense, gathering way too many fouls, and all of a sudden he learned how to be a really good defender and stay on the court. I pray to god the kid works his tail off rehabbing (sounds like an injury that can be healed with hard work) and comes back with enough time to find a rhythm before the playoffs.

Until he does, we're a .500 ball club and first round exit in the playoffs.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
GET WELL SOON BYNUM BANDWAGON
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(1) ALL LAKEWR BLOGGERS - OWNER
(2) MAMBA24- DRIVER
(3) KEIFO- RIDING SHOTGUN
(4) tha Show – SECURITY
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55 WIN BANDWAGON MEMBERS:
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1) LAKERTOM___________________(21) TALIQ___________________________.(41) PURPLE & GOLD
(2) MAMBA24____________________(22) SLO GAL_________________________(42) THIRTY2
(3) LONG_TIME_LAKER_FAN_______(23) DEREK__________________________(43) BLACKMAMBA24
(4) JUNO________________________(24) NIK KANAN_______________________(44) JUSTIN
(5) GENERIC_ONE________________(25) BOB…………………………………………(45) OutsiderGua
(6) HOBBITMAGE_________________(26) FAITH……………………………………….(46) Violater
(7) MARTY……………………………….(27) LAKERLOVER……………………………..(47) SHAQFAN
((8) DAVID WHANG…………………….(28) COMPLEX_BROTHA……………………..(48) Houston Laker
(9) ROKY…..……………………….……(29) ISSANG……………………………………..(49) JEFF
(10) KEIFO………………………………(30) WHITE MAMBA24………………………….(50) JOE DUBB
(11) VIOLATER…………………...…….(31) LAKALOVA
(12) DICE8UP…………………………..(32) EASTCOASTJESSIE
(13) HUBBIT…………………………….(33) Q WUOR
(14) BD…………………………………..(34) LAKERAHOLIC –> GUNNING FOR 60
(15) JONNIN IN JAPAN………………..(35) TSIRY
(16) ALEXINHO17……………………..(36) DREW
(17) TWOODY………………………….(37) Nestro’s Bistro
(18) KIWI………………………………..(38) BLAZE1BX
(19) FEARLESS WHACK JOB……….(39) BZAR
(20) DAN DAN THE LAKER FAN…....(40) CHRIS H.
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Members at heart
(51) Bob……………… (52) Faith…………. (53) LakerLover… (54) ComplexBrother
56) Issang
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READY TO JUMP ON THE BANDWAGON BUT:
(57) RICK FRIEDMAN - NEEDS APOLOGIES FROM KOBE, FO AND ALL CONCERNED
(58) utzworld THE BANNER HOLDER - WAITING FOR JIM BUSS TO RESIGN
(55) CBUCK - When we reach 55 cbuck will be number 55 so climb aboard folks
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* 60 WIN BANDWAGON
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(1) LAKERAHOLIC – OWNER AND DRIVER
(2) BOB
(3) MAMBA24
(4) WHITE MAMBA24
(5) JOE
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THERES A NEW SHERIFF IN THE WEST AND ITS
THE FREAKIN LA. LAKERS BANDWAGON
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(1) MARK JACKSON – OWNER AND DRIVER
(2) JEFF VAN GUNDY
(3) BILL WALTON
(4) MAMBA24
(5) JANAYA - RIDING SHOTGUN
(6) JON K.
(7) IVI8KRS
(8) JOE DUBB
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MITCH KUPCHAK EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR BANDWAGON
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(1) MAMBA24 – OWNER AND DRIVER
(2) JANAYA
(3) JON K. - RIDING SHOTGUN
(4) JOE DUBB
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MITCH KUPCHAK I OWE YOU AN APOLOGY BANDWAGON
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(1) MAMBA24 – OWNER AND DRIVER
(2) Tha SHOW – RIDING SHOTGUN
(3) JANAYA
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DAVID STERN IF KOBE BRYANT DOES NOT WIN THE
MVP THIS YEAR SOMEBODY IS GOING TO JAIL BANDWAGON
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(1) NIK KANNAN - OWNER AND DRIVER……….(14) TSPHERE
(2) MAMBA24………………………………………..(15) LARRY
(3) VIOLATER……………………………………….(16) CBUCK
(4) OUTSIDERGUA………………………………...(17) EAST COAST JESSIE
(5) LAKERTRUTH - RIDING SHOTGUN………...(18) WHITEMAMBA24
(6) ALEXINH017…………………………………....(19) BLACKMAMBA24
(7) DREREK
(8) SHAQFAN
(9) JANAYA
(10) JON K.
(11) IVI8KRS
(12) JOE DUBB
(13) FEARLESS WHACK JOB - SECURITY
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ANDREW BYNUM MOST IMPROVED PLAYER IN THE NBA
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(1) LAKER FAZE OWNER AND DRIVER……….………(8) DEREK
(2) RDLEE - DING SHOTGUN………………..….……....(9) BENNY BLANCO
(3) VIOLATER…………………………………….………..(10) BD
(4) RICO TICO………………………………………….….(11) JANAYA
(5) MAMBA24………………………………………………(12) IVI8KRS
(6) LAKER TOM……………………………………………(13) JOE DUBB
(7) JON KAVULIC………………………………………….(14) FEARLESS WHACK JOB
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*VLAD RAD BREAKOUT BANDWAGON/ I REMEMBER WHY WE CREATED IT!
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(1) VIOLATER – OWNER AND DRIVER...(4) RICO TICO…………..(7) DREW
(2) MAMBA24……………………………….(5) KEIFO
(3) SIXONEZERO…………………………..(6) JANAYA
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BENCHMOB BANDWAGON CLUB
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(1) NESTRO’S BISTRO – OWNER AND DRIVER
(2) XODUS – RIDING SHOTGUN

BK,

I'm shocked that you would buy in to the doom and gloom prophesy of the squirrelly Mark Heisler. Basketball is played one game at a time. All is not lost until the games have been played.

Lamar's career average is a double-double. He's failed to perform up to that standard in two of the past three games. If Phil demands him to shoot more, if the team gets him involved early, if he finds his confidence, he can achieve some of the missing offense that is needed. In Mike Bresnahan's article today, he points out that Phil is demanding just that. Phil and his team mates can not let Lamar retreat into his shell. Nor can Lamar give himself the skate that he has been.

Bresnahan points out that both Lamar and Walton were standing around like spectators on Monday night. That's what they did too much of last season, which made them and it such a disappointment. Walton always talks a good game. Now, he must play one for at least the next eight weeks.

The Lakers now need to fill that 15th roster slot with someone like C-Webb. As I previously stated, there's no way that Kwame and Ronny can successfully play all 48 minutes. The drum beats all point to C-Webb or someone like him suiting up in Purple & Gold very quickly.

I never signed up for the 55 win band wagon, but those who did shouldn't drop out now. Bynum will be missed every day and every minute he is not on the floor. But if his team mates truly appreciate him, they are capable of filling the void until he returns.

If the Clippers can defeat the Suns, so can the Lakers, even without Bynum. They must arrive at Staples tonight with the mindset to win this one for Andrew. They must win. They must bring the same mindset to every game. Sure, it is very frightening to see Kwame, Lamar, and Walton in the starting line-up and on the floor at the same time. But in totality, this is a different team than the folding chair roster of '06-'07.

As fans, we can not allow the Universe to embrace defeatism in the Lakers' moment of darkness. As Lakers, those healthy enough to suit-up must do the same. They must not fold. If they tell themselves and each other that they must win for Andrew, they can.

Go Lakers!

I don't think there are ANY dominant teams in the West this year. There is parity pretty much from 1 to at least 6 if not all the way to 8. In fact, there are teams other than the Spurs, Sun, or Mavs that would give the Lakers more problems (like the Warriors). So the previous years' urgency to get to at least a 4 or 5 seeding just isn't there, in my opinion.

What I think the Lakers need to do most while Bynum is out is to really work on their D. Not just tactics, but a real warrior mentality (like UCLA), with totally stifling coverage. That also includes serious work on defeating the high screen and roll, which returned in Seattle to almost kill them. If they don't solve that problem, they are going to be sliced and diced by all the top teams.

I also think Phil has to give the Bench Mob even more minutes per game. First because it's developing our great young guys (Farmar, Crit, Ariza, Turiaf) very rapidly while wearing down our opponents, and second because it gives Kobe the rest he needs to stay fresh and not break down physically as the season wears on.

Would you guys think I was crazy for predicting the Lakers win tomorrow night by 5???

Long Time Laker Fan,

Elton Brand is out for the season with a torn achilles tendon AND he is contracted to the Clippers.

He would look good in Purple and Gold, though.

GO LAKERS!

KEIFO,
"Would you guys think I was crazy for predicting the Lakers win tomorrow night by 5???"

KEIFOOOO! Come on now, with all the money you won for me, if
you said they would win by 30 I'd believe you! LOL!

BTW - Lebron scored 51 points last night with 8 rebounds and 9 assists, on 28 shots, thats 16 less shots than Kobe including 25 points in OT and the 4th quarter. Kobe and Lebron are both great but Id take Lebron.

BK is basically echoing the same thing I said, Kobe-ball is not a good long term solution for the Lakers team. PJ doesnt believe it, only Kobe lovers and Kobes ego do.

CornerJ
"I don't think there are ANY dominant teams in the West this year. "

Man you are hiting on all cylinders today. I agree with everything you said
good post!

LTLF- from the prior post. I acknowledge my preference of Lebron over Kobe but I never said Kobe wasnt great or clutch, except in last years playoffs.

That doesnt mean i cant be objective, watching the games, if Lebron or Kobe makes a bad play I call them both out. Thats the difference between me and Kobe loversl; kobe lovers think he can do no wrong and make excuses for his poor play or weaknesses.

If that makes me a Kobe hater so be it, but I call it like I see it, I dont just kiss Kobes butt like Stu Lantz.

Thus far, Kobe as the #1 has led to 0 playoff series wins. With Bynums improvement that might change this year, but it depends who the lakers get in the 1st round.

PJ Brown is not interested, here is what his agent said: "I don't think it's something that he is looking to do," Mark Bartelstein said by phone. "There are a bunch of people inquiring about him, but there is nothing (in terms of his interest) right now."

While Webber is considering three teams nobody knows whether Laker is one of the three and he'll decide in two weeks time.

Hey, at the end of the day, why do we put all our marbles on these two aging cagers? If they are not ready then go with youth. I'm sure there is a big body out there who can defend, rebound and run for the next two months, let the other four teammates do the scoring. The other two former stars are engaged in bidding and taking all their sweet time while Lakers will be engaged in stiff competitions against premier teams. I say give them an ultimatum and if not feasible, move on to the next insurance player.

Look folks, the point isn't that over the next 30 games, they'll go 10-20. I don't think that'll happen. I'm not predicting doom and gloom. I just don't think they can maintain the .700 pace that's put them at the top of the conference playing without Andrew for the next eight weeks. I'd say the same if his play slowed down. There are a lot of reasons the Lakers have improved, some of which don't go away. But the one undeniable factor that has impacted the game more than anything is the production they were getting at center. Take that away, and it hurts.

They're still a playoff team, but it only takes losing three or four games they might have otherwise won over the next 30 to drop out of the top four.

The point of the post wasn't even a prediction on how they'll finish, but a hope that they don't try and get away from those things that have worked for them both this year and early last. They still have to move the ball, they still have to cut and play with confidence. Seattle was one game (I don't buy the explanation someone gave that they're some sort of sleeping giant- they've won nine games, they're bad) and I hope/expect that how the Lakers played Monday isn't indicative of how they will going forward. I hope it isn't at least.

They can still do those things that have helped them get where they are. They won't work quite as smoothly and the results won't be as good, but if they want to maximize their potential, they can't collectively turn to Kobe and say "Carry us!"

BK

Jon-

Kwame has started around 60 games at C, so you may need to redo your math (haha).

BK

keifo..."Would you guys think I was crazy for predicting the Lakers win tomorrow night by 5???"

Yeah...because we're going to win by at least 12!!!

Seeing C.Webb in a Laker's uniform sure would be weird after all those years of LA kicking the Kings out of the playoffs.

If you’re a Lakers fan, you might enjoy might blog:

http://lalakerslove.blogspot.com/

Laker Lover,

"Kobe-ball is not a good long term solution for the Lakers team. PJ doesnt believe it, only Kobe lovers and Kobes ego do."

Nobody wanted to see Kobe doing all the shooting. However, in the game against Sonics which I'm sure you watched, there was no alternative except him trying to match the intensity put up by Sonics. Only him and Fisher were willing to compete. Walton kept on passing the ball to Kobe when he has a chance to go for a drive. Kwame's move are all predicated on big body shielding himself from his guard but he could not finish. Lamar forgot to go for the inside and settled on the outside and also deferred the ball for Kobe. In absence of offense, Kobe took the responsibility, now it was his fault for saving the Lakers and they should have won 10 if he passed the ball???

In the case of Lebron, he is anointed by Cleveland to be sole ballhog and the team depended on him like MJ. In the case of Kobe because of his rants, his past and reputation, dam if he does and dam if he doesn't. He is in a no-win situation even with the so called Laker fans. For bynum to excel, somebody has to feed him the ball, who has been feeding bynum? Again, tell me the recipe for victory under the present line up. All I ask is be fair to Kobe and watch the game and ask yourself what's the alternative out there?

As I said before, Bynum's absense is significant, not because of his lost production, but because of the impact it has on the way the Lakers play on both ends of the court.

They can know longer be totally "comfortable" playing inside out because every time the ball goes into Kwame in the post, there is a fear that he'll bobble it, turn the ball over, miss a shot or get fouled and miss his free-throws. The one way he is really effective is with his passing. If I were coaching, I'd set a mandate for him to set up his teammates 9 times out of 10 (with the 10th being if he has no other options and has to shoot).

Kwame is also not a threat on the pick-n-roll. Lobs to him are just turnovers waiting to happen. So, take them out. Why try to force Kwame into situations he can't handle and hurt the team?

If the Lakers adjust the offense in this manner, I'd be a lot more comfortable. Minimize the chance for error. It'll take some getting used to and it's a shame it's having to occur during a rough patch of games. But, a new rhythm needs to be established, rather than the controlled chaos of players (Kobe included) feeling like they have to do too much.

I just don't think C-Webb will play for the Lakers. If he wants a championship, his agent should advise him to go to the Celtics.

But, I will always welcome his help.

I shot an email to Hollinger about his dismissal of Kobe for MVP, saying he's not having that great a year, he needs to play like he did two years ago, and that Duncan, LBJ, KG and CP3 are more deserving- here's my response=

John, I enjoy your columns and chats, and I think your daily rankings are a great tool. That being said, your comment in the most recent chat about Kobe's push for MVP this year is complete bull. You said Kobe's best chance to win MVP this year was to play as well as he did two years ago- remember what happened two years ago? Oh yeah, he got FOURTH. In total voting, because his team was a .500 team. That was what every sportswriter gave (except, oddley enough, Simmons, who thought Kobe WAS the MVP) as the reason- you can't be MVP without 50 wins.

Duncan's stat line isn't THAT much more impressive then Kobe's, and you think Duncan's more deserving?

LBJ's stat line is more impressive, yet he plays on a team that's doing FAR worse then the Lakers are, and yet you think he's more deserving? What about playing on a winning team? Not thinking the Cavs are so hot right now, if I see the standings correctly.

KG plays on a team with TWO OTHER FREAKING All Stars, and you think he's more deserving?

CP3 is having a fantastic year, and him and KG are the only ones that deserve to be in consideration at this moment besides Kobe.

This shows that PER, while valuable, is also flawed. I'm sorry that Kobe's sorry stat line this year (27, 5.8, 5, not exactly what we'd call pathetic) doesn't wow you on the PER meter or in flashiness. But look at the fracking results! his points are down cause he don't need to score as much! If Bynum goes down, Kobe can carry them. If Kobe goes down, the team is screwed.
throw the man a bone- His leadership on and off the court is VASTLY improved from last year, even with all the trade hullabaloo. He's encouraging his teammates, Thinks they are championship caliber with Bynum, and played out of his mind to save a game the Lakers should have and would have lost 345 days out of the year- Kobe didn't let them.

If the Lakers play above 500. ball while Bynum is out, then I don't know how you can't choose Kobe. pure and simple. I've long been distasteful of the notion that sportswriters have a bias against Kobe.

Now, I'm not so sure.

Respectfully,
Jeff

I dont think anyone answered this question. How can the Lakers sign anyone else when they are over the cap?

Rick Friedman,
"Sure, it is very frightening to see Kwame, Lamar, and Walton in the starting line-up and on the floor at the same time. "

LOL! LMAOF!!! Rick, as usual you know how to sum things up better
than anyone I know. Good Post.

Good morning fellow Laker fans. I predict that the Lakers will go 4-0 or 3-1 over this next stretch of games against the Suns, Nuggets, Spurs and Mavs. Go Lakers!!!

I think everyone just needs to calm down. I really don't think it will be THAT bad over the next 8 weeks. Remember when Kwame went down earlier this season? We lost 3 in a row, and it was only then that things started to get better. They had just established chemistry and rhythm with Drew in the starting line up and now they need to adjust to having Kwame there instead just like they adjusted to having Bynum in the starting lineup after Kwame went down. It may take a few games (and it sucks that the next few are all against good teams) but they will get it right and hold the fort down for the next eight weeks.

They found a way to win games with this lineup and Smush as a starter, so they should certainly be able to find a way to do it with Fish.

I don't think barely scraping by Seattle is a sign of things to come over the next 8 weeks. This lineup WILL eventually gain confidence and chemistry and rhythm and should be all right til Drew gets back. So don't panic if they lose these next couple of games. They just need some time to figure things out.

And I still believe we can win the Pacific. Stranger things have happened. Mike T, work some of that voodoo on Steve Nash........

pslakerlover & wondahbap

>>>Coby Karl looks like Kobe Bryant in the D-League,

Not particularly. In the D-League, Coby Karl averaged 18.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, and
4.5 assists in 38.5 minutes. If those were Kobe's numbers, would the Lakers be leading
the west? Would we be hyping him for MVP?

And Coby hasn't been bad when the Lakers have played him in the big league, they
just haven't played him much. I don't think he'd average 18.3, but he'd do fine if they
needed him to fill in for 10 minutes a game. He actually seems to keep his head on the
court better than Crittenton, though he's clearly not as talented.

That's all I'm talking about. Not a starter. Not someone with a big ego like Webber who's
probably going to get mopey when Ronny and Kwame and Lamar all get more minutes
than him. Just someone with as big a body as C-Webb, but with knees still good enough
that he can make it up and down the floor on offense and defense. And with an attitude
that it's awesome that he gets to play 10 minutes a game in the NBA. That would be
enough minutes to keep Ronny & Kwame & Lamar a bit more fresh.

And if the D-Leaguer plays poorly, then at the end of his 10-day contract, drop him and
pick up Webber or PJ Brown or a different D-Leaguer.

And if the D-Leaguer plays well, then sign him to another 10-day contract. (you can sign
them to 3 10-day contracts, then after that you either have to sign them for the rest of the
season or not resign them at all).

And if the D-Leaguer plays REALLY well, then give him a minimum contract that's
guaranteed for the rest of this season and non-guaranteed for next season. The Lakers
could pull in a decent backup PF on the cheap, and if they find somebody better, they
could waive his non-guaranteed contract.

The injury does worry me, not because i don't think our team can't win, but because injuries can be contagious. Guy start to step up and do things out of their comfort zone. (Knocking on Wood).

I do however know the Lakers are going to stay relativley healthy and weather the storm. The NBA season is long, we haven't even reached the break. When AB17 gets back in game shape, we will be better from the worst.

That which does not kill, only makes stronger. We are magnanimious, grandious, and have anthropodic skills to grow new appendages. With the Midas touch, the Lakers nation continues to pave the way in illuminatious light. Follow the road and Lakers will show how the story goes.

LA Lakers NBA World Champions 2007-2008

Hobbit Image,

Again, I think you're missing a lot of points.

"So ... do you use the phrase "shutting out his teammates" with someone who's quiet? I wouldn't ..."

Probably, because you can still look to be a part of the comraderie without talking a whole lot. And truth be told, at least from my experience, Kobe isn't actually all that quiet to begin with. He was just isolating himself, by his own admission. And by his own admission, it was a mistake.

"In terms of what Kobe would or wouldn't do with the Shaq trade. The words of Jerry Buss seemed to have summed up that situation differently than you see it. How do you maintain your stance in light of what Jerry Buss said publicly? i.e." I traded Shaq. Kobe had nothing to do with it. If he'd come into camp in shape I probably would've paid him." *I* maintain that it was the best business decision possible. Furthermore, I feel vindicated by having watched Shaq the last 3 years. Imagine what kind of game the Lakers would have TODAY with Shaq & Kobe's contracts and Shaq taking up space on the roster while taking time off and not getting into shape? Do you really want that fat, non-hustling, cripple trying to run with Phoenix or would you prefer Bynum? Is he averaging over 10 pts a game?"

Please don't misunderstand me, I DEFINITELY think trading Shaq was the right call. I thought so then and think so now, in large part because of Shaq's conditioning. But it's also because the two of them had reached a point where they couldn't co-exist anymore, which Kobe played a role in making happen.

As for Buss' public comments, I believe them to a certain "read between the lines" degree. I believe him he thought Shaq's salary demands and weight made him less desirable. However, I don't believe him that Kobe had nothing to do with the situation. Bryant may not have ever formally told Buss "it's him or me," but he also didn't have to, because it was plainly obvious that's what the situation was. And for all the talk about "Kobe never forced Shaq out," it's also pretty clear he didn't exactly protest it happening, either. This is what Bryant wanted and without a doubt the biggest factor in him resigning with the Lakers, whether he made an ultimatum or not. And every other GM knowing this was the situation put Kupchak in a bad place when it came to dealing Shaq.

"re: you comment about Kobe and supporting Kwame/Mihm. Yes, he *IS* supposed to do that. Are you saying that he only gets debits and doesn't get credits when he does the right thing? i.e. If he sees the big picture & does the right thing, you ignore that because it doesn't fit your thesis?"

I'm not saying Kobe should only get debits. I'm simply saying that it's kind of a stretch to make it out like a huge virtue, because, again, it's what he's supposed to do. It's nothing really to brag about, so to speak.

"re: the rebuilding period. That's the crux of the point right there. You obviously see this past time as a rebuilding period and therefore expect a certain behavior from him. You are aware that Kobe clearly stated:* Management assured me that they would not go thru a "rebuilding period". They said they would build a contender around me. *, right? Do you "really" believe that Smush Parker is a legitimate attempt to build a contender?"

Actually, the Lakers' rebuilding period wasn't the way it's tradtionally done by most teams. Think Timberwolves. They blow everything up, struggle for a while while stockpiling young players that eventually become good. The Lakers actually remained competitive after dealing Shaq. They may not have been championship caliber, but again, that's impossible to make happen right on the heels of dismantling a championship core. And if that's what Kobe expected, he's just delusional. That's simply not a realistic plan. By definition, if they promised to build around Kobe, then Kobe should expect some "building" to happen, which takes time. But there's a big difference between starting from the bottom up and what the Lakers did.

"re: the Kobe video. Is it really part of the "Big Picture" to expect people to deceive you? Do you think Kobe would have made spoken to those fans if he knew they were recording? *I* think you're looking at the video in hindsight. Given what Bynum had done previous to the Kobe video and based upon *actual* experience Bynum was a marshmallow and there was no reason to believe he would change. Kinda like Kwame Brown. A kid who won't work hard vs. J-Kidd, the triple double machine, when we had SMUSH as starting pg. I don't think he called Buss and idiot. [ I could be wrong about that. ] re: Mitch. With all of the missed opportunities Mitch is STILL suspect. Please. Baron Davis vs. Smush Parker. Boozer vs. LO/Luke.Brian Grant, Aaron McKie, Shammond Williams .... You get my point?"

Of course, Kobe wouldn't have talked to those guys if he knew he was being filmed. But that's missing the point. He shouldn't have been talking to those guys in the first place. You don't go off on your teammates and organization to some strangers in a parking lot. it's unprofessional and disloyal, not to mention completely lacking in common sense. He had no business putting himself in that situation. And no, I'm not looking at the video in hindsight, because that was my reaction at the time. It has nothing to do with Bynum blowing up. I was against trading him for Kidd when it was proposed. And even if I thought trading for Kidd was a good idea, it wouldn't change the fact that Kobe still handled this completey wrong.

The same thing goes with Kobe saying they needed to bring back West. Its not only bad form, but it's counterproductive. By doing this, Kobe weakened Kupchak's ability to make trades to help him, because he looks like a guy who's now desperate to make Kobe happy, which could mean taking on a player he wouldn't normally to make a deal happen. The same thing applies to Kobe's radio tour. By blasting the organization to anybody who'd listen, he makes it tougher to bring in players that could theoretically make him happy. That's what I mean by missing the bigger picture. And if you look at guys Kupchak brought in that were mistakes, they often range from "no choice because salaries needed to be balanced" (Grant) to "Somewhat revisionist history on Kobe's part" (it's easy to say they should have brought in Boozer or Dvais now, but AT THE TIME when they could have, they were always hurt). And guys like Smush, Shammond, etc. weren't regarded as "championship" pieces. They were all the Lakers could afford with their cap situation. I'm not trying to say Kupchak is the perfect GM, because he's made mistakes (Caron for Kwame was HUGE), but the circumstances of his moves can't be ignored just because they didn't always make Kobe happy.

And yeah, he did call Buss an idiot, in those exact words.

"For 3 seasons Kobe kept his mouth shut. How much time does he need before he can express himself? Or does he have to be like KG before you give him the nod. i.e. KG kept his mouth shut for a decade and what did he win?"

C'mon, now. Kobe didn't even "wait" 1/3 of the time KG did. Nor did he experience multiple seasons of missing the playoffs. And KG was never a part of a championship core, surroundings that also didn't make Kobe happy. Their situations are completely different and to compare them is to compare apples and oranges. Again, if Kobe really thought this team could regain championship form in less than three seasons, he was just fooling himself. These things take some time, even if you're not "rebuilding" in a traditional sense.

All the above shows what I mean by Kobe missing the bigger picture. And again, I'm not predicting Kobe will take things poorly and we'll have another situation on our hands. But given his history, I'm sorry, the possibility is impossible for me to dismiss outright.

And no worries about not using the cut and paste format. There's certainly no penalty involved. haha

AK

Here is my 2 cents...

Bynum will not be out 8 weeks. I give him three. The reason I say this is because a knee subluxation is an injury that heals depending on the individual. Andrew's optimism, in the post game interview, suggests that the subluxation may not be as serious as it could have been. Drew is as hungry as Kobe is to get back on the court and I think he'll rehabilitate the hell out of that knee.

In the meantime...

The Lakers should sign a back center immediately (C-Webb or a D leaguer...who gives a fuck we just need 6 more fouls from someone over 6-10). Secondly, Ronny Turiaf should start over Kwame Brown. Ronny gets into a rhythm better than Kwame and Ronny can hit the open jump-shot (which stretches the defense).

Furthermore, Lamar Odom needs to find his way down to the post and they should hang Ronny up top to be a spot up shooter. Ronny being up top opens up more inside scoring for Odom and it allows Ronny to set more screen and rolls (Ronny rolls well).

In conclusion...

Kwame's inability to score is killing the rhythm of the entire team. And LO not hitting jump-shots negates his switch to the SF position. MORE LAMAR DOWN LOW AND MINUS KWAME FROM THE STARTING FIVE AND WE SHOULD BE ABLE TO HANG TOUGH.

I think the player that keeps getting overlooked is DJ MBENGA......Not sure on the spelling....
..He is Healthier than webber and probably more mobile....At the pace the Lakers are playing this season i cant see Webber going up and down at our pace....And more importantly he does not have an EGO the size of a mountain...I couldnt see him complaining about touches...and he can block shots and defend better.....The problem is his offense...He has none,just ask Dallas and the Warriors....Mike Sweetney has better skills on both ends but we would need to worry about him eating the whole team and the team bus.....

Rick Friedman

effing hell. the lakers were 19-9 with those three in the starting lineup last year. this year we've added fisher to the mix, gotten rid of smush, and also added ariza.

and farmar is playing at a much higher level than last year.

people need to calm down at bit.

I dont buy the argument for one second that "He needed to score 48, just look at what everyone else was doing". Trust in teammates is NOT fickle. You dont stop trusting them after they miss 3 shots in a row. If they stopped trusting Kobe after he missed 3 in a row, then Kobe would hardly be trusted at all this year. How many 33% shooting nights has Kobe given us this year already?

The point is, even if it means you lose one more game than you would have lost if Kobe didnt go off for 48, in the long run, the trust in the teammates will win you many more. If the Lakers get used to Kobe shooting 40 shots a game, then they wont know what to do when Drew gets back. Theyll all be used to watching Kobe shoot, and wont have any rhythm as the season comes to an end. Not to mention, Kobe will get used to the 50 point games, and wont want to give those up.

The sad thing is, little teenie boppers will read this and say: OH, youre such a Kobe hater. And anyone with half a brain will know that Im not a Kobe Hater at all, Im a Laker Lover.


QUICK NOTES:

Kobe only took 4 more field goal attempts when he went for 81.

Lebron just hit 51 with 16 LESS field goal attempts. Kobe was by no means "efficient".

(Even accounting for the extra free throws in both cases, the numbers are large evidence that the 48 were not efficient by any stretch of the imagination).

"All the above shows what I mean by Kobe missing the bigger picture."
- AK

Are we supposed to take that comment seriously?

AN1,

I don't know. Up to you, I guess

AK

...Mike Sweetney has better skills on both ends but we would need to worry about him eating the whole team and the team bus.....

That's funny

I'm joining the "Calm Down, Don't Panic" Bandwagon that a few including our moderators have jumped off of.

As Rambis said last night on 570 KLAC. Seattle was just one game. The players were bummed out and really tired. Give us a few practices, and a few games, and we'll be alright.

Mamba... WELCOME BACK!!! You were missed!!!! Good vacation I hope... you missed all the great ball.

Corner J... now that's what I'm talking abut!!!

Winning half the games (14 - 13) while Bynum is out would put the Lakers at the 5-6 seed when he returns, assuming that the winning percentages of the other teams remains what they are at the moment. There isn't a lot of room for error, though, because the west has 10 playoff-quality teams trying for eight spots. If they go 9-18 (which is probably more likely), they would be in 7th place, just ahead of Golden State and just behind Denver. At this point, just making the playoffs, and getting re-acclimated to Bynum prior to the playoffs, should be the focus.

As far as signing another big man in the meantime, anyone they get is not goign to be very effective, because 1) they won't be very good, and 2) it takes good palyers a couple of years to get used to the system - a mediocre player trying to learn it "on the fly" (no training camp) is not going to learn enough about it to be effective. Look for someone who can rebound and score on put-backs, and will hustle on defense, for 10 minutes a night.

I'd like to remind everyone that Chris Webber is CURSED! He has never won a championship and never will. That's his karma for all the money he took at Michigan as a player. He lost at Michigan. He lost at Sacramento. He lost at Detroit.

He will NEVER win a championship.

So, I'd rather not see him in a Lakers uniform.


NO MVP! NO PEACE!

GO LAKERS!

Bynum will be missed. The winning record with Kwame as a starter included Bynum leading the Bench Mob.

Bynum was emerging as a 20/13 elite center (did he not average 17/11 last month?). We loose the lob attack that teams needed to defend. We loose the second defender that needed to shade toward Bynum. We loose the rebounds that meant one and done vs. second chance opportunities that will give our opponents more possessions. We loose the offensive rebound and put backs vs. Kwame’s pass the ball back out and reset (Sure points are better then a second chance opportunity). We loose the shot blocking and altering presence in the middle (sorry Mike T., that is Bynum). And finally we loose Kwame coming off the bench.

If Drewski gets back in eight weeks all is not lost. His length, touch, strength, footwork and stamina will be there in time for the playoffs. Our team as it is now constituted will play 500 or better ball until then. I just hope it is not one of the now familiar eight weeks that turn into twelve injuries.

Roky

Why do many here still respond to MT or Laker Hater? One's love for Kwame and another's hatred for Kobe have blinded them. No facts/reasons can help them.


AK or BK, don't throw that Kobe only re-signed one day after Shaq got traded. Per NBA rules, the first day any free agent could sign was Jul. 15, and Kobe re-signed with the Lakers only one day after that. No need to emphasize the timing at all.

Adir- well said, and even better written that I could do. Thats why Kobe is myopic at times, not seeing the bigger picture. Winning the game THE way they did was not good for the rest of the team. Phil said as much.

A good leader actually makes a point to get the rest of the team involved WHEN they are struggling, not systematically stop passing when they are not shooting well.

Any coach including booster boy will say the same thing, and its not like Kobe starting shooting so many shots just in the 4th and OT. He was shooting the entire game too many shots with poor shot selection.

You can argue Kobe saved the team and only "wants to win" but winning that way does not help his teamamates only Kobe.

Jon K.,

My bad, I didn't mean "Elton Brand" as a D-Leaguer the Lakers should call up, I meant
"Elton Brown". He played for the Lakers summer league team, and he's averaging 20
points, 10 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 0.8 blocks per game for the Colorado 14ers. He's
not my top pick for a call up, as he's only 6'9" and 250. There are a couple of taller
players who are doing about as well.

Gueco

I agree that most of us "Kobe-lovers" (of which I am probably one of the worst) know that Kobe-ball is not the way to win games. It's not that we think Kobe can do no wrong; we've seen the times he missed passing to an open teammate, or been lazy on D against someone he doesn't perceive to be a threat, and been frustrated just like everyone else. But I've also seen the times he HAS passed to open teammates and they've missed wide open shots and even layups, or been too scared to take them.

Anyways, I actually think they may be OK for a few games once they get their rhythm back. As has been pointed out, they basically are down to the same team that started last season 26-11, but with a much improved bench -- which will only get better when V-Rad and Sasha come back. Obviously, we're better with Bynum, but we're still a darn good team. The fact that we have someone other than Smush this year is incredibly in our favor. I'm not the biggest Kwame fan, but if he can get back into game shape, he can average a double-double in spite of himself and we can ask Odom for just something like 2-4 more shots in the paint per night...a few extra points from the bench and the offense is passable.

As for the D, in yesterday's comments I think someone made a really good point concerning the defense. Near the beginning of the season, just before Bynum transformed into Optimus Prime, the Lakers were doing well on defense by playing off the penetrators and giving them the three. Once they realized they had this force in the paint backing them up, they gradually became more and more aggressive out on the perimeter. In the Seattle game, i think they forgot a little bit that they needed to play a little more conservative on defense due to the change in personnel. As they adjust I think the D will improve.

I hope the Lakers don't pick up some old guy like Chris Webber, or even PJ Brown, and i really liked Brown as a player. Webber's got no heart and no energy, and Brown (PJ) just ddn't seem to have the athleticism or desire to play anymore when I last saw him play with the Bulls. I hadn't thought of it before seeing it in this blog, but I think getting a young hungry D-leaguer would be great.

Love the posts, keep 'em coming. And add me to the 55 win bandwagon.

Here's to Kwame working with Kareem on his post moves, and continued .700 ball. Go Lakers!

I don't know why there is so much cynicism to Kobe's game...
Why can't we just appreciate his talent and enjoy watching him play?
Even the best players in the league say he is the best player on the planet...
Lebron became a better player from his team USA experience...
The guy can do nothing right...

Who would you rather have on this team 2 time MVP ,reigning MVP Dirk Nowitski or Kobe???

If any other Laker hits the game winner the other night they are a FREAKIN HERO...
With Kobe, there is ALWAYS a but in there...i.e. He made the game winner BUT he took 41 shots...
Or he scored 81 BUT...


Kobe came out aggressive the other night b/c he had to. It was a back to back game and the morale was low after Bynum going down. Coaches talk of stepping up and that's all Kobe did. Thats what winners do. He put the team on his back and willed them to victory.

People thought he forced Shaq out...He didn't...
People thought he was GUILTY of rape...He wasn't...
People think he is the next Jordan...He isn't...
People think he is not the MVP...He is...
People think he won't win another championship...He will...


Laker Lover,

>>>BTW - Lebron scored 51 points last night with 8 rebounds and 9 assists, on 28 shots,
>>>thats 16 less shots than Kobe including 25 points in OT and the 4th quarter. Kobe
>>>and Lebron are both great but Id take Lebron.

Like I said before. That's very nice. If you want LeBron that bad, then you can have him.
It's very simple. Change your name to "Cavalier Lover" and start posting on the Cavs
blog instead.

I'll take Kobe. Hey wait, he's actually on my favorite team!!!! Yay!!!!

Seriously, wishing for LeBron is a nice thought, but a) he's not a Laker, b) there's no
chance he'll become a Laker any time soon, and c) Kobe is a Laker.

If you really have such negative thoughts about the best player on "your" team, the team
that this blog is about, then maybe you should change your loyalties. I'm not saying it
to be demeaning or anything, but just to point out, hey, if you'd rather watch LeBron and
cheer for LeBron, then go for it. I'm not here to argue with you that Kobe is better than
LeBron, because it's a subjective opinion either way.

 
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