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Thoughts on (hopefully only) eight Drew-less weeks

On the plus side, I learned what "subluxation" means.  On the minus side, everything else. 

I'm not gonna lie.  Nor am I gonna beat around the bush.  Andrew Bynum missing at least eight weeks with, in layman's terms, a dislocated kneecap puts the Lakers, to use "Ocean's Eleven" speak, in "Barney Rubble."  For those of you who only saw "Ocean's Twelve," that's the Don Cheadle character's phrase for "trouble."  And if there's such a thing as "deep Barney Rubble," the Lakers are currently standing waist-high in it.  They've just gone from one of the top-5 teams in the west (arguably in the NBA) to a squad that becomes markedly less dynamic and effective.  Yes, there were several factors to this season's forward leap.  The leadership and skills upgrade Derek Fisher represents over Smush Parker.  Jordan Farmar's offseason improvement, which has allowed him to lead a more prolific (for the most part) second unit.  Trevor Ariza replacing two spare parts and immediately clicking.  The natural growth that comes with a core unit racking another season together.  But that was all icing on the cake.  Bynum is the cake.  There's no single element shifting the Lakers into a legit playoff team than Andrew Bynum balling like a top-tier center.   

Period.  End of discussion.  There is no debate to be had.
 

Having a big man that impacts the game on both ends of the floor is a luxury most teams don't have, one the Lakers have missed since a certain someone packed his bags for Miami.  Obviously, Bynum isn't prime-of-his-career Diesel quite yet, but the difference between him and either Kwame Brown or Chris Mihm is night and day.  Beyond just his scoring and being a board machine, the attention Bynum commands creates easy opportunities for his teammates, alters a zillion shots, and makes life less taxing for Kobe, who's now part of one of the NBA's best inside-outside duos.  Aside from Parker-Duncan and maybe Williams-Boozer, Kobe-Bynum might be the league's most balanced I-O attack.  Nash-Amare and Yao-McGrady (when healthy, which is never) have the scoring part covered, but the bigs don't bring the D. KG anchors a paint fortress with solid perimeter coverage for Boston, but doesn't fill up buckets like a traditional center.  Camby and Chandler protect the rim, but aren't reliable scoring options.  Dwight Howard plays on both sides of the ball, but Rashard/Hedo, while good, ain't Kobe by a long shot.  Thus, there's a reason Kobe and Drew playing at this level creates a brand new equation.  And if you remove this weapon from said equation, the results following the "equals" sign turns considerably different.  And by "different," I mean "worse."

How do the Lakers weather the storm from here?  For those thinking "trade," my immediate reaction is "good luck."  Who you gonna move?  Kwame and LO have the contracts needed for a blockbuster, but with size on short supply, you likely can't swap them.  Ditto smaller-salaried Ronny Turiaf and maybe even Mihm.  Javaris Crittenton or Jordan Farmar make too little money to bring back somebody of impact (unless it's a rookie-scale big, but there ain't none of worth getting moved for a backup PG or that dude's replacement).  Derek Fisher isn't going anywhere.  Even if they wanted to move Luke Walton, he has a base-level contract, which makes a trade very complicated.  I'm pretty sure Trevor Ariza can't be flipped for a while unless straight up (and I'm definitely sure wouldn't land an impact player even if he made enough money to match salaries).  And while you can never say never with Isiah Thomas still employed, I don't see the phone lighting up with takers for Vlad Rad.  Thus, barring some  wacky five team trade, the Lakers are kind of stuck when it comes to making moves to counter Bynum's absence.

Instead, I'm guessing a free agent big man will take that 15th roster spent.  Maybe even two (and if that's the case, I imagine they'll eat Coby Karl's contract).  Maybe a 10-day contract guy via the D-League or Europe.  Maybe they coax PJ Brown or C-Webb out of retirement.  Maybe training camp resident Jabari Smith will return to back up Kwame as the NBA's only "Cousins Tandem."   But whatever the means, the Lakers need size in a desperate way.  Chris Mihm won't be back for at least another couple weeks (and wasn't playing well when, relatively speaking, "healthy").  Vlad Radmanovic is a few games from returning, but might otherwise be out of the rotation and brings little to the table in terms of bulk.  Ronny Turiaf plays his guts out, but isn't a true center and being forced to play him exclusively as a 5 robs depth from the power forward rotation.  And even if you think the drop off from Andrew to Kwame won't be sizable- I don't see how, but I'm too depressed to argue- it doesn't change the fact that Brown still isn't 100% and is a 50/50 shot to get injured boarding the plane to Seattle.  Plus, it's not entirely about the drop off from Andrew to Kwame.  It's about the drop off from Kwame to an out of position Turiaf and what that does to the overall rotation.  And bottom line, a front line rotation of Kwame, undersized Turiaf and Odom and even more undersized Walton isn't realistic, even for just a few games.

Aside from adding a player or two, what else am I expecting from the Lakers?  Well, I don't know about "expect," but here's what I'm hoping.  That they can play .500 or slightly better ball until around mid-March, when Bynum theoretically returns.  That might be a downer goal for a team that's currently fourteen games above that mark, but I now consider this team dramatically closer to last season's, which was more or less a .500 club.  But if they can tread water for a while and Bynum doesn't take too long to recover or get back in the swing of things, they could be solid again come playoff time (which I still don't expect them to miss, by the way).  And certainly, that 25-11 cushion comes in handy right about now.  I'm also thinking that for the time being Bynum's injury will prompt Phil to substitute Ariza into the starting lineup for Walton, with Luke becoming Odom's "small but who else are you gonna play" sub for Odom.  When Vlad returns, so might the starting lineup, but for now, I'm predicting that's The Zen Master's reaction.

And speaking of reactions, here's another one I'm keeping a close eye on.  Aside from the general question of how/if Kwame answers the bell, I'm quite curious as to how Kobe deals with this bump in the road.  He's obviously been fantastic this season, surprising many (including myself) by providing terrific leadership for a team he appeared to want no part of.  However, things have also been surprisingly good and it's much easier to be a leader when the sailing is smooth.  Will a rough patch, perhaps coupled with teammates not able to pick up the slack, mean a repeat of the sourness we saw last offseason and in the past?  I'm not trying to be a pessimist, but you also can't ignore history.  As unparalleled as Kobe remains when it comes to hitting an opponent with punches, the same can't be said about his ability to roll with them.  I'd like to think Kobe will see the bigger picture, recognize this development as a hiccup (even if it costs the Lakers what was shaping into a terrific season) and keep sight of what appears to be a very good thing going in L.A.  But seeing the bigger picture has never been Kobe's strong suit, so while I'm optimistic he will, "confident " would be a stretch. 

Time will tell.  The same can be said about what lies ahead for the Los Angeles Lakers.

-AK            



       

 
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Best wishes to Mr. Bynum.

Lakers need to hold the fort while Andrew recovers.

Im really concerned about all of this talk that Kobe has to pick up his game. I REALLY hope people just mean he has to shoot a good percentage, not jack up more shots. His percentage is one of the lowest hes had in the past few years, and more shots from him at this rate would simply hurt the team much more than help.

The KEY to the Lakers success this year is the distribution of points, the sharing of the ball, and the sensation the team feels in the locker room after everyone got involved and had a good night. Bynum was the centerpoint of that by creating a presence in the middle which defenses couldn't ignore. Distribution of the ball became easier, and I honestly believe the Lakers would have been better off losing Kobe for eight weeks rather than Bynum.

If Kobe wants these Lakers to continue to win like they have been, he needs to be sure to continue to get everyone involved and start shooting a decent percentage from the field. Everyones needs to get another 1-2 shots a game to pick up the slack as opposed to Kobe shooting another 10-15 shots on his own.

very well written, although you depressed me even more.

Couldn't you have said the lakers will be alright? at least, to make us feel better even if its not true.

I guess its time to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

Go Lakers...

Adir,

Kobe-ball scares the bejesus out of me. Good point.

Eitherway, the future looks very good for this Laker team.

AK, I don't disagree that the team is worse without Bynum, but I don't think they're in Barney Rubble Trubble yet.

Kwame's undoubtedly amped about getting his starting job back and he'll try his darndest to keep it.

I obviously prefer Bynum but the ship ain't sinking because Kobe and crew have too much pride in this season's work to let it go south.

Besides, the Lakers will weather this because the Machine will be back to pick up the scoring slack. :)

they will be fine.. lakers peaked two years ago when socks hardly played.. dont forget that.

On the bright side we still have that Kobe dude.

I hear he's pretty good.

Long time reader here,

Great article, great insight and way to put things into perspective.
Like everyone else (Except Mike T.) when I saw Baby Bynum go down my heart dropped. Just as you pointed out there are several reasons the Lakers are tearing it up this season but Baby B has had the biggest impact of all, no doubt.

On a positive this could be a huge character building couple of months for our boys in purple in gold. Who knows maybe Kobe will see how hard it is to win without a legit big man and appreciate what a talent Bynum is.

Faith

I'm with you. I hear that Bean kid is ok. I'm not sure he's a legit starter for a Bobcats type team... but he's good enough for us.

Just remember that the Lakers are 15-20 games above 500 when Kwame is the starting center in the regular season.

If you think the Lakers are going to fall apart...I don't think so.

But the tough part of the schedule is here after tonights game.

The easy part of the schedule is gone.

mike

Well written. Anybody who has watched most-to-all games knows that Bynum's meteoric rise coincided with the Lakers'. It's not to discredit Fish, Farmar, Ariza etc, but as you say 'they are the icing on the cake...Bynum is the cake". While his strong finishes (HUGE improvement vs LY) are what most people point to, it's the daily-improving footwork in creating his shot, the clear focus on rebounding, and confidence that feared NOBODY that created the Lakers' inside/outside superiority to most teams. While it's the 'in' thing to bash Kwame, let's call it like it is; he has incredible foot speed for his size and is obviously blessed with athletic talent, but he has no idea of how to use any of it (which is a shame). I still blame Jordan for his total lack of confidence.

At best, I can see the Lakers with a legitimate shot at 16-11 on paper. Now, of course, if Kwame surprises, Odom awakens, and Luke is benched, the Lakers could continue to surprise. However, there is no reason to legitimately expect this team to not miss a beat.

Adir,

I don't know you but you must be stupid as F!!!! Kobe is the triangle offense. Explain how Kobe has the highest +/- during the six game winning streak. How do you even wish a player gets injured. Nobody on the laker has brought the kind of defensive intensity that Kobe has brought all year. Are you really this stupid my man?

Explain how no matter what unit Kobe plays in, that unit seem to flow really well. Notice how Kobe and the starters were not in sync earlier with the triangle, now compare that with what has happened. Think how his turnover has decreased since the beginning of the season. Kobe is the master of adjustments, and he has done it again once this season. He went from a scorer to a facilltator, which was what phil wanted from him this year.

Im pretty sure with Andrew out, Phil will has Kobe to switch up a lil, and you will see in time he will get the job done again.

Yes Adir, you are stupid

Just finding out about Bynum's length of time being out of the game, it hurts even more than watching him fall lastnight. There shouldn't be any doubt that the Lakers are a different team with Bynum sitting out. Just look how much the Lakers had changed after Bynum was hurt.

But what is more important to point out is last year. Yes, it's true we have a better team experience wise, however Andrew has provided that spark and deserves most of the credit for the Lakers success up to this point.

I am beginning to think that the Lakers had caught a new "OMEN" somewhere in between the time Shaq left L.A. and now. Lets see tonight how L.A. handles a mediocre team like Seattle. Just remember that we lost a scorer, a rebounder and an offensive spark.

And any thoughts of Kwame Brown getting his starting position back for the rest of the year, you can simply throw that crap out the window. Bynum is simply a better center than Kwame has ever been and ever will be. Kwame should maybe hire a personal trainer as well...and buy a new set of hands.

This news is just too freakin' disturbing.

I think we're better with coby karl playing the 5 than kwame....

Brewnz

Michael Jordan did permanent damage to Kwame's already fragile psyche. Doug Collins only helped to stoke that fire.

Adir

in a perfect world that works.... Teammates needs to hit shots before you can actually count an assist to kobe. If they can maintain the effectiveness before bynum's demise, then good. but I can already see farmar struggling, radman struggling, kwame - well, let just say "out of sync"...ok ok... he's useless... odom, well weve seen what he's capable of yea? nothing much more to his play.

I agree with AK that bynum is a big part of teh success. No other way to handle this. We have to take the bitter with the sweet.

the only inside offensive threat we have in bynum is now gone. Now teams will put their efforts in perimeter defense. that will surely frustrate the shooters.

We will see how we go tonight with seattle. if we cant put them down easily then were in deeeep sh*t...


Eight weeks of pain filled memories of how the Lakers have been the last three years. Let’s not mince words Laker Nation, Kobe not withstanding, AB is the franchise for the next 10 years. Laker prosperity rests on the shoulders and knees of a 20 year old kid learning how to lead a storied franchise. Rest well young center and reassume your throne when ready

With AB going down so will Laker seeding. There are 28 games between now and March 14. The Lakers will be fortunate to go 10-18, especially with Roberto Duran in the middle. Two handed missed stuff indeed Roberto.

AK, I disagree that Kobe will say anything detrimental to the team the next few weeks. If he does he will be ostracized in this city and likely by other GMs, he’s too smart for that. And if he’s not, a dramatic shift has taken place in the past few months. Kobe and the Lakers can feel it. Laker Nation has embraced AB as the heir apparent. Come hell or high water, AB stays all else, including 24 is up in the air!

"If you think the Lakers are going to fall apart...I don't think so." - mikeT

I hope youre right... but coming from a person who keeps shoving "how good kwame is" down our throats Im not sure if thats something believable...

wake up...

"I honestly believe the Lakers would have been better off losing Kobe for eight weeks rather than Bynum."

I honestly believe Adir is a retard.

Bobcats? No way. I heard he got passed on for D-League all-star. Seems like a dude named the Vonnator took his spot.

Michael Teniente,

You're a real jerk.

GO LAKERS!

Faith,

I realize we're all upset right now, but there's no reason to take it out on Lakers Blog icon Von Wafer. haha

AK

"I don't know you but you must be stupid as F!!!!"

"I honestly believe Adir is a retard."

Is this really necessary? AK/BK, what the "F"?

Im glad I could help a bit....and sorry for those other guys on this blog who also have said they had the same injury. It sucks...but its possible to rehab it and be fine. Plus we're not NBA players so we probably dont have the mental fortitude that (hopefully) these guys have.

Which brings me to the point that the real big thing here is that the team will have to work harder and lift their level of game while Bynum is out, which will be a bulk of the season.

Now the good news is that the veterans of the team (Kobe, Lamar, Luke, Kwame, Vlad, Sasha) know how to play without Bynum from last year's experience. The guys id worry about are Farmar and Ariza who have really gotten a boost by having Bynum out there with them. But I think they will be guided by one guy we didnt have last year: Derek Fisher.

YOu think Derek's been huge thus far??? Well now this becomes Derek's show, because while Kobe is dropping 40 points and trying to carry them offensively, Derek will be leading the way by example to making the smart plays, but more importantly, not making the DUMB plays that you cannot make if you want to win. I think that Phil has to really let Derek become a leader at this point...even moreso if thats possible.

The Lakers will need to sign a big just to have backups, but I think Turiaf will be very good with more minutes. He will probably have to take care of the bench mob that we had the beginning of the season. Farmar, Ariza, Ronny will still be okay. We forget that Sasha was giving good minutes before he went down with the injury, and Vlad was doing well until he hurt his wrists (before the ankle injury).

Luke has quietly earned his starting job back after improving his defense, which had been a weak point. so give Luke and Phil props for Luke improving his game, after it seemed that it faltered. Kobe is still Kobe, fisher is still Fisher. Those two wont get rattled now that Bynum is out. It sets a great example.

The Lakers are one of the best scoring teams, so consider the scoring not the issue, but the defense. Kwame is not a bad defender, and overall the Lakers D is better. Luke is now an average NBA defender, and we still have Ariza.

The Lakers will struggle in this next stretch of games, which is why I stated that this current back to back were the most important games of the month. But that probabyl would have happened even if Bynum played. But we'll be okay. The Lakers will still be on a 50-win pace by the All-Star break even if they go .500 until then. Something like 33-19 is still much better than what anybody thought.

Mike T, apparently you missed the point of what AK wrote.

The problem is not Kwame replacing Bynum in the starting line-up (although I really, really, really don't like Butterfingers Big Calves Boy).

The biggest concern is that, in the past, when Brown was the starter and we got the record that you mentioned, he always had Mihm or a younger Bynum as backup.

Now the Lakers will have undersized out-of-position Turiaf as backup center and NO BACKUP power foward.

So basicly, we are worried about the second unit performance, not the first.

Kobe will go on a rampage and win the MVP. Just watch. Remember the last time you underestimated him? He proved you wrong.

Wow. John Ireland has a blog? That's it AK/BK, I'm bringing my reading business over there...he puts a more positive spin on things you pessimists.

Har har. Pretty good article though, he obviously feels 50 wins is reachable even with Bynum's absence.

Mike is which side of the Kwame fence you riding ??? The "Lakers are a + 15 to 20 games with Kwame starting" or the "schedule gets tougher after tonight"
Factor all this in and tell what our record will be Bynum-less please ! HA HA GO BOLTS..Shock the World AGAIN !

Mike T - you have already built in your excuse for if the lakers sink with kwame "but the easy part of the schedule is gone"....this is the chance for kwame to step up and if he doesnt, there are no excuses.

Having said that, we are all lakers fans, and I hope I speak for the majority when I say I sincerely hope Kwame can step up his game for the good of the Lakers cause. This really isnt about proving who is right about Kwame or who is wrong about Bynum - its about winning games whatever the circumstances may be, like a true elite team does. We managed to be 26-13 last year with Kwame and Smush, so going .500 with Andrew out isnt out of the question at all. Its times like these that we need a scoring machine like Kobe...we need those 5 in a row 50 point games if the rest of the team cant deliver.

When Duncan and Ginoblli was down for the spurs they had no one to pick up the slack and so they slumped. Tony P was not able to make up for the loss. Kobe can and should make up for the loss of Bynum by being more aggresive and scoring more...theres no question that most of the feeds bynum scores off, kwame cant.

While im sad andrew has gone down at such a crucial time, I do not believe its the end of the world...yet.

By the way, with all that happened with Bynum, I believe few have noticed that last night the Knicks beat the Pistons pretty bad.

24-point margin and they held Detroit offense to only 65 points.

Geez, that's some "structured" ball, isn't it?

I mean, the Knicks, of course...

We need more conversation about the real problem we're facing, and that's the fact that Kwame extremely fragile and prone to catastrophic injury. With the spotlight definetly on him, and the pressure of having to perform, particularly in a contract year, I see Kwame going down very soon with an ankle twist, leaving only Roni to fulfill the center position.

We must get a backup to the Kwame. Bynum out for 2 months? When was the last time Kwame played injury free basketball for 2 whole months?

AK

"How do the Lakers weather the storm from here?"
"Instead, I'm guessing a free agent big man will take that 15th roster spent".

Get KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR a uniform.

When I'm hyperventilating because Kwame just shot another ball directly into the photographers, I settle myself down by pretending the guy is playing with a frying pan for his right hand, a screwdriver for his left and that his brain has been replaced with the Nickelodeon Gak I used to have in 2nd grade. I think to myself "Aww, poor guy. What a tragedy. He's doing his best with what he's got!" Then I snap out of it, realizing that he does, in fact, have hands and a brain and that he is, in fact, a sorry excuse for a basketball player and a human being. Thanks Kwame, for nothing.

OK fine, scratch that lol.

he got passed on by Euro-league all-star. They took some guy named Slava instead. Apparently they loved his rebounding prowress.

Slava get rebound, yes.

Lakers have never been 15-20 games above .500 with Kwame as the starting Center over the last 2 plus years, never!!! Be accurate and factual when you post, don't make things up and conjecture.

I hope our Lakers can continue to win and play well. Go Lakers!!!

May I also add that in case this is news to you all or some of you, the Lakers are #1 in the power rankings?

And to whomever said that we may have been better off losing Kobe instead of Bynum.....DEE, DEE DEE!

It's like saying I would be better off with a bicycle over a Lexus. Not to say that in comparison, just an example.

You know what would be ironic, if Mike T is right and kwame ends up becoming a force and saves our season, haha...At least thats one thing we don't have to worry about.

The West is so tough that this spells disaster. We're a half game out of 1st place and a short losing streak away from tumbling out of the playoffs. The stars have misaligned again and we're gonna see a repeat of last season's debacle. The timing is eerily uncanny.

Yeah, I'm upset. Last week I was worried by the level of exuberant enthusiasm of the blog. That which is too high usually is doomed to fall. URGH.

Well, God-willing, we'll win tonight. Hopefully Mike T. (despite being a vile jerk for wishing an injury on a Laker) will be right about Kwame and he'll step up.

Otherwise, I say we sign Jelani McCoy. He does have a ring as a Laker, knows Phil's system, and is a decent rebounder.

God, please bless Andrew Bynum and heal his knee quickly. Please also bless the rest of the Lakers and protect them from injuries. Amen.

GO LAKERS!

I know this is a little off topic, but can anyone tell me why all the Staples Center residents take 2 week road trips at the beginning of February? Not good timing this year with the loss of Bynum.

Ron-
I see what you were getting at. But if we're going to stick to the bicycle analogy, Kobe is the petals, Drew is the wheels and Phil is the handlebars. The rest are spokes and other things holding it together. Kwame is the tassles on the handlebars: you think it looks pretty, but ultimately, is useless and actually makes you look pretty stupid.

This blog must remain the pilar of optimism. We fans must NOT pressure the Laker organization as we go through this upcoming 5 game losing streak, and we see our playoff standing plummet faster than Bush's approval rating.

Lets be positive, despite what we know will ensue...

*Yes, Kwame will fumble the ball, miss 2 foot layups, each time clapping his hands in frustration as if his ineptness was just a chance occurance.

* Yes, Kobe will disrupt the flow of the offense by averaging 30 shots per-game, shooting in the low 40%

* Yes, Lamar will go into his happy place as the pressure is on him to be the #2 scorer. Expect him to average 5 shots per game for next 2 months, and expect him to lose the Lakers 3 games on stupid plays at the end of those games.

* Yes, Luke will excessively turn the ball over, shoot 22% from the field, and finally twist his ankle as he consistently gets burnt on the defensive end

These things will happen. We know this. But we must not allow our collective exasperation to sour the Laker locker-room, otherwise Kobe will again start hinting at departing the Lakers, garnering a backlash from the local media and unleashing the horror that was Gunner24 last summer. Already the closet racists of AM 570; Matt "I must act stupid to keep up with P" Money Smith and Steve "I hate Kobe because he raped a white woman" Hartman are starting their assault on Kobe's character, demeaning him, and instigating trouble in Lakerland.

We are in for a trying 2 months...

Puddle,

That is just too funny! But so true!

Troy,

Wasn't Gunner24 the one that got banned?

Mickey,

The Grammy's come in February so they have to do their setups...although they should just move it to the Nokia Center.

Troy,

Also, don't forget that Phil is coming out with another book criticizing Kobe's past time decisions. Kwame will get into another cake fighting incident and Vlad-Rad is going on another snowboarding expedition....during allstar break 2008.

You know, there is something I would like to address regarding our Laker faithful annoucer Stu Lance.

But that is the question...I have been listening to Stu on NBA league pass the past couple of weeks and I need to know is if its just me or does Stu Lance very negative towards the Los Angeles Lakers. I could have swore from last nights game, Stu Lance was working for the Memphis Grizzlies. Chick must be turning in his grave today.

Nuggets lost tonight.

If other teams struggles as we will, maybe we can hang in there until AB is back.

"Troy,

Wasn't Gunner24 the one that got banned?"

If he did, then I fear his return. I spent the whole summer defending Kobe against that guy.

Okay... okay...

Everyone chant with me...

"MELLOW!!!!! MELLOW!!!! MELLOW!!!!" Now take a deep breath... "MELLOW!!!!! MELLOW!!!! MELLOW!!!!"

{Deep inhale. Long slow exhale.}

There. Better. (Sort of.)

Okay, if we lose to Seattle by 38 tonight, maybe we should start to freak out.

But if we beat Seattle, the bench steps up, Kwame plays well, and Lamar's foot doesn't cripple anyone else... things are okay.

We are not one player. We are a team.

Go Team!

GO LAKERS!

Jon Ireland's post makes me feel better. If we can go 14-13 or 13-14 over these 27 games we'll be a respectable 39-24 or 38-25. We just need to stay .500 somehow.

We can do that can't we?

Larry

"..is that really necessary?"

well...yeah. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

This blog wouldn't be much fun if everybody was so agreeable.

Xodus,

I'm with you. Like I wrote, considering all the injuries, guys not 100%, a 9-game roadie and the absence of what Bynum brings, .500-ish ball would be pretty solid. Anything more would be gravy.

AK

Never posted here before, but I had to say something. I just heard Kwame Brown talking about Andrew in an an interview. He complimented Byum, then wrapped it up by saying: "He did a pretty good job for us while I was gone."

"...while I was gone." As if the job were still Kwame's and Bynum was just helping the team out while they waited for Kwame to return with his 4.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 38% from the line.

AK-

Hate to correct you, but the Lakers have a 25-11 cushion, not a 25-14 cusion- Give the boys a LITTLE more credit then that. :)

AK,

I'm just having flashbacks to last year that aren't helping me. My best friend called me about an hour ago and said "Man, the Lakers get screwed by injuries every year." Comments like that don't help, haha.

And I know that we're going to be playing on the road a lot in Feb. but if you look at the schedule after next week's rough patch against the top teams in the West, we'll be on the road but outside of Detroit, I wouldn't say any of those teams scare me.

Time to cheer on the team it's almost game time. Go Lakers!!!

Jeff,

Oh, no. Don't apologize. Thanks for catching that. I was thinking about them being 14 over .500, and I guess the "14" crept into the record.

AK

Celtics really choking in crunch time.
May even lose the game after givin up a huge lead late in the fourth.

The structured ball teams never stop to amaze me.

Ron,

You're right, and Dr. Buss will get caught drunk driving with 2 of his exotic prize ho's. I say we all pray to our Laker guardian angel Chick Hearn, who hasn't been doing his job in protecting the Lakers from injury as of late.

Please, please, please Chick, hear me. You've already answered many of my requests-- such as to keep Kobe in a Laker uniform, and to strike down the traitor Shaq with shame and divorce, and to thwart the arrogant D Wade with excessive losses, and you sent Robert Horry to distrupt what should have been a certain Phoenix Suns championship run last season. So please, Chick, our Laker guardian angel, grant me these wishes:

* Please help Bynum heal remarkably and return the court in 3 weeks.
* Please allow Kwame "The Jittery One" Brown to shoot 52% from the field
* Please cause internal strife in Boston so that the big 3 will start infighting and the hated Celtics will go on a 7 game losing streak
* Please let us beat the Sonics by 13 tonight, and go 3 of 5 afterwards (including a blowout of the Suns)
* Please convince Jeanne Buss to pose for Playboy again
* Please let us bring a championship back to Los Angeles...

Lakers are 5-1 with Kwame starting?

Maybe Mike T has a point?

Caron Butler just single handedly beat the hated Celtics tonight.

Without Bynum, I think that this team is slightly worse than last season's team. I think playing .500 without him, considering the other injuries that they are already facing, would be considered a success.

If he comes back in 8 weeks, that will leave 19 games left for Bynum to get back into playing shape, for the team to re-adjust to playing with him, and for the team to hopefully regain momentum heading into the playoffs. That means 27 games without him; if they go 14-13 during that stretch, they will have a record of 39-24 at that point. Currently, that percentage (.619) would give them the 5th best record in the west. So making the playoffs is still reasonable, but certainly not a lock. Currently, Utah, Golden State and Houston are scrambling for 1 playoff spot. It's not out of the question that all three could pass the Lakers.

The most significant long-term effect, though, may be that the team is unwilling to trade Kwame mid-season. That was the most likely source to obtain that "last piece" that would make the Lakers a real contender next year.

Faith,

Kwame also had Bynum backing him up who was lighting it up with the second unit. He ignores things like that and acts as if all of our wins are because of Kwame and all of our losses is everyone else's fault.

Wiz beat the Celts again!! In Boston!! Take heart Laker fans....anything can happen in the NBA!!

Faith,

It's not simply a matter of Kwame's record as a starter vs Bynum's, or that Bynum undoubtedly brings more to the table. It's a matter of who's backing up Kwame or Bynum, and what happens with the rotation. Part of what helped Kwame's record as a starter was Bynum's presence. And vice versa, obviously. When Mike keeps harping on Kwame's record, he's missing (or ignoring) the point, because Kwame benefitted from Bynum backing him up. Not taking anything away from Kwame. That's just how it works.

AK

Refs are really trying to give the game to the Celtics. Wiz are giving them all they can handle. I really think teams are starting to figure the Celtics out after adjusting to their new personnel and how they play. Celtics will definitely fade in the second half of the season. Caron just toying with Pierce and KG by just going to the hoop at will on them. Wizards are on the verge of winning with Caron at the line for two free throws with 8 seconds left. Caron makes both. Wizards win back to back games against the fading Celtics. Pistons lose by 24 to the Knicks last night, Celtics lose two in a row to the Gilbert-less Wiz which gives us hope that the Lakers can continue rolling even with Andrew down. Go Lakers!!!

On the plus side about the Kobe factor, that has to have improved quite a bit. I can understand him being frustrated last year because there was literally no trade the Lakers could make to bring the team into contention. Now that Bynum more or less had his coming out party, he's got to think that staying isn't so bad.

The only question left is does he still feel hurt by the front office. I'm guessing he still does feel a bit lied too and that's something the FO and him need to work out behind closed doors ASAP.

I'm still really bummed out about the injury. Prior to Bynum's injury, trading Kwame was doable and represented our best hope of getting that final impact player to push up to the upper echelon of the NBA. Now the best we have to look for is a 5th or 6th seed.

Also of note is:

http://mvn.com/nba-lakers/2008/01/08/lakers-should-sign-dj-mbenga/

Which was written before Bynum got hurt.

LO is bad luck. Either he's injured or he causes another Laker to be injured. His game is weak, trade him!

Let's look at teh bright side.

Now Kwame will have the minutes needed to get back into playing shape. And by the time Bynum is recovered, he'll have a month or so to get ready for a playoff push. Perhpas they won't finish in the top four, but with Bynum they can compete with anybody in the West.

Kid Licorice

happiest moment of the night so far - celtics lose..to the wizards..again !

might i add i live in massachusetts?

go LAKERS!

Hey Ron,

I hope you remember but Chick was the Lakers' biggest fan and their biggest critic. He always told it like it was. You want homer announcers, go to Utah!!! Then again, they could always hire Rex Hudler to be the color man for the Lakers.

p.s. I agree, Lamar is Shleprock for the Lake Show!!!!!!!!

Hey Ron,

I hope you remember but Chick was the Lakers' biggest fan and their biggest critic. He always told it like it was. You want homer announcers, go to Utah!!! Then again, they could always hire Rex Hudler to be the color man for the Lakers.

p.s. I agree, Lamar is Shleprock for the Lake Show!!!!!!!!

AK/BK

Any reason why my posts not going through?

Kwame is piece of garbage no matter how much points he has

Can not trade LO - nobody needs perenial underachiver with the pricetag 13M per year. Packaging with Kwame's expiring contract may do the trick. If we can ship out Luke for somone it'll be major coup, like we did for Cook

Looking this game flashback to the way we ended last year, loosing to the bad teams, when Kobe trying to do to much by himself. Just a look at the team now? Looks familiar? I don't belive we can not get something worth for Kwame's contract.

Lamar can forever, never make a clutch three pointer to win anything. Kobe trusts him and thrusts him into the spotlight time and time again and LO manages to screw it up every single time. Good think we have Mr. Open 24 Hours a day clutch Kobe! WHooooooooooooo This does not look good for the upcoming games though. Lakers couldn't play defense against SuperSonics. They haven't been good since GP and Shawn whatshisface.

Wow,

Adir's analysis was right on. Kobe IS shooting a low percentage and DOES need to share the ball. Calling Adir stupid is disrespectful and juvenile. If you want to find someone stupid, find a mirror.

RC

Faith on the front page of the entire LA.times when I just logged in. Woot!

And yes, that Kobe fella isn't bad at this game. Let's keep him.

Those of you say that KB should share the ball are fools

Box scores:
KB 42 mins. 21-44 fgm/fga 48 points
LO 46 mins. 3-15 fgm/fga 6 points (14 Rebs)
Luke 33 mins 1-6 fgm/fga 2 points (10 Rebs)
Fish 34 mins 5-10 fgm/fga 12 points
Kwame 39 mins 3-4 fgm/fga 10 points (10 Rebs)

and also who was KB guarding last night DURANT (Seattle best player).

KB's man: Durant 39 min 6/26 fgm/fga 19 points (18 Rebs)
LO's man: Collison 39 min 10/16 fgm/fga 24 points
Luke's man: J Green 36 mins 6-12 fgm/fga 14 points (7 Rebs)
Fish’s man: Watson 36 mins 3-7 fgm/fga 6 points (9 Rebs)
Kwa's man: J Green 36 mins 6-8 fgm/fga 16 points (9 Rebs)

Seattle role players outplayed the Lakers role players by allot. The rest of the team has a way of not showing up when they are needed, (outside Fish) so get off KB's back when the others players consistently earn his trust he has shown faith in them, however would you rather lose the game by sharing the ball with players (outside Fish) who have proved not to show up.

ow,

Must you resort to name calling? Also, the stats you cite are for 1 game. See ESPN's stats for the season and you'll see that 9 other Lakers are shooting a higher percentage than Kobe is this year. Granted, some of these players have played few minutes. Would you call Phil Jackson a fool? He said much the same thing. Read what he said. He's in the Hall of Fame. You're not.

I found an interesting website that shows the salaries of NBA players. I'm not sure about the accuracy, but here it is: www.eskimo.com/~pbender/contracts

My interest was caused by the "trade Kwame" talk in today's blogs. I wondered whether the Lakers get their money's worth, and I've come to the conclusion that Mitch Kupchak isn't a genius. We have Vlad Rad the Bad signed thru 2011 at 6 mil per season. Good move, Mitch. Luke, greatest guy in the world--but a guy who doesn't get three minutes off the bench on a contending team--- is making 5 million.

Did you know that Vlad and Luke make the same money as Udonis Haslem and Boris Diaw? I didn't spend time looking for too many other guys' salaries, but that realization was enough to make my stomach turn.

The problem with the Lakers is Kupchak, who traded Butler for Kwame and signed Vlad Rad the Bad and Luke for top dollar. Kupchak was smart for keeping Bynum but is very lucky that Fisher took a pay cut to play here.

Now for Kwame. Sorry, but I have to chime in. If you're 6-11 with that body and you've got all the time in the world to practice, how can you not catch a ball? How can you NOT develop two F'ing low post moves and a ten foot jumper. How can you not be a defensive presence with that speed?

If I was Kwame (imagine the women!!), I would be paying my own private coach to spend four hours a day with me to develop a few low post moves and learn to play better individual and team defense. I'd shoot 1000 free throws every day and pay Rick Barry to teach me if I couldn't learn the traditional technique. Kwame doesn't care. That's why he was booed.


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