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Round-the-Clock Purple and Gold

Category: Lakers Roundtable

Things to watch in Lakers-Nuggets matchup

Among the highlights of my interview with the Denver Post's Nuggets beat writer Benjamin Hochman on the Lakers-Nuggets game: 

  • Why Hochman believes the Nuggets have enough depth to compete in the Western Conference
  • The challenges Denver faces with Lakers center Andrew Bynum back in the lineup
  • Why Hochman believes Nuggets center Nene is inconsistent
  • How the Nuggets adjust defensively after losing power forward Kenyon Martin in the off-season
  • How Hochman personally knows Lakers assistant coach Quin Snyder
  • How the Nuggets will fare in their set of three games in consecutive nights, including a back-to-back against the Lakers. 
  • Whether Danilo Gallinari's music video can ever become the anthem at Denver's Pepsi Center
  • Hochman's optimism or lack thereof that the term "Hochmaning" could become a trend the same way Denver quarterback Tim Tebow did with "Tebowing"
  • You can follow more Hochman's work on the Denver Post's website and  on Twitter.

RELATED:

Andrew Bynum has potential to make All-Star team

Josh McRoberts plans to bring same approach as reserve

Mike Brown expects to play Andrew Bynum 34 minutes against Denver

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Why Lakers won't make 2012 NBA Finals

The Times' Lakers beat writers Mike Bresnahan and Ben Bolch, as well as myself, all agree on one thing: The Lakers won't win the NBA championship. They also won't even make it to the NBA Finals.

Before you pelt us all with tomatoes, don't get mad at us. Get mad at the Lakers for fielding a veteran-laden roster and trading away Lamar Odom. After reading our explanations below, you'll also understand we have pretty good reason to feel pretty pessimistic about the purple and gold.

What will be Lakers' regular season record?

Bresnahan: We all know the Lakers are an old team. We all know it's a compressed schedule. I think I know what this means. 42-24 sounds about right.

Bolch: 46-20. They still have one of the top cores in the NBA with Kobe, Bynum, and Gasol. But they're not an unbeatable team as they appeared to be in the past three seasons. Kobe's getting older. Gasol was halfway out the door. And the depth isn't there anymore. 

Medina: 44-22. Forget the Lakers' motivation from the poor showing in last season's playoffs and apparent willingess to buy into Mike Brown. The Lakers have too many issues, and not enough time to correct them.

Continue reading »

Chicago Bulls have more depth than the Lakers

Among the highlights of my interview with WGN Radio's Jordan Bernfield on the Lakers-Bulls Christmas Day game: 

  • Why Bernfield and I both believe the Bulls have more depth than the Lakers.
  • Bernfield predicts the Miami Heat will beat Chicago in the Eastern Conference finals.
  • How Richard Hamilton's arrival in Chicago makes Derrick Rose even more dangerous.
  • How the Bulls can take advantage of the Lakers with an injured Kobe Bryant and without Andrew Bynum.
  • You can follow Bernfield on Twitter.

RELATED:

Kobe Bryant takes full part in practice Saturday

Devin Ebanks, Matt Barnes maintain professionalism for starting spot

Andrew Bynum will be there for one more game, Lakers: Merry Christmas

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

NBA Hall of Fame: Roland Lazenby discusses Tex Winter's Hall of Fame induction

For far too long, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame each year has announced an induction list that left out one important name: Tex Winter.

It left plenty of people confused and frustrated about why Winter's role as a key architect of the triangle offense didn't warrant a spot in the Hall of Fame beyond his "contributor" tag. Former Chicago Bulls General Manager Jerry Krause resigned from the committee in protest. Former Lakers Coach Phil Jackson campaigned for Winter's inclusion through letter-writing and comments in the media, but said he believed Winter wouldn't get in because he "outlived his contemporaries." Lakers guard Kobe Bryant argued testily that "they should fire the whole panel" because of the snub. And Winter's son, Chris, once told reporters that his father had received seven nominations to be inducted, though the limit is supposed to be five, efforts that hardly worked out.

Until now. 

Winter will be among those inducted Friday at Springfield, Mass., and Jackson will be his presenter. Winter didn't sound entirely thrilled about the news when he initially learned about it, telling reporters he was irritated because the stroke he suffered two years ago will prevent him giving his own speech. Longtime Lakers author Roland Lazenby, who's known Winter since his days as a Chicago Bulls assistant coach, argues that the new inductee has been wrongfully overlooked in the past because he mostly has been an assistant coach in the NBA, but that at least the snub didn't last forever.

"There was a little bit of loosening in attitude," said Lazenby, who's written about Winter extensively in books such as "Mind Games: Phil Jackson's Long Strange Journey" and "Mad Game: The NBA Education of Kobe Bryant." "But you couldn't be sure. He had been turned down so much." 

Lazenby hit on a number of topics in the audio clip above. Click below the jump for the highlights

Continue reading »

NBA Draft: Discussing Darius Morris with AnnArbor.com's Michael Rothstein [Video]

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The buzz surrounding the Lakers' draft night proved pretty low key.

Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak indicated uncertainty on whether any of the team's second-round draft picks at 41, 46, 56 and 58 would actually make the roster. There was more talk about the Lakers' reported attempts to trade Lamar Odom than who they'd actually select in the draft. And team officials and the media alike seemed more interested in musing about Ron Artest's attempt to legally change his name to "Metta World Peace" than any of the draft developments.

Still, the Lakers made solid pickups, particularly in their first two picks -- the University of Michigan's Darius Morris and College of Charleston's Andrew Goudelock -- two players that have the potential to help solve the Lakers' backcourt issues.

Morris spent a few minutes of draft night speaking on a conference call with a contingent of L.A. media, but to follow more in depth on what Morris' presence might mean for the Lakers, I brought in AnnArbor.com's Michael Rothstein, who covered Morris during his two seasons with the Wolverines and has plenty of insight on him.

Among the highlights on our conversation:

--Even though Rothstein believes playing another year in college would improve Morris' development, he said Morris made the right decision to declare for the draft because of a relatively week draft field this year.

--Rothstein believes Morris' passing skills (a Big Ten-leading 4.2 assists per game) should land him a roster spot on the Lakers.

--Rothstein predicts Morris won't suddenly become a great three-point shooter after going only 25% from the field his sophomore season, but said it shouldn't hinder his value to the Lakers.

--Rothstein also shares a must-read story he wrote a few months ago detailing Morris' high-school friendship at Windward with Dan Tan, who was legally blind.

You can follow more of Rothstein's work at AnnArbor.com's website and on his Twitter account.

RELATED:

NBA Draft: Looking at Lakers draft candidates

Darius Morris brings strong passing skills to the Lakers

Lakers going after point guards in second-round draft picks

-- Mark Medina

Email the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: Michigan guard Darius Morris goes for a layup against Illinois in the Big Ten Conference tournament game. Credit: Michael Conroy / Associated Press

Lakers Roundtable: L.A. Times' Mark Medina, Mike Bresnahan and Brad Turner preview Lakers-Hornets series

In a secret location somewhere in the city of Los Angeles, I stumbled upon a conference room with my colleagues Mike Bresnahan and Brad Turner. Like in Office Space, we were supposed to go over our TPS reports, talk about the company's policies on putting cover sheets over them and figure out who keeps stealing our office supplies. But then we got bored.

So we talked hoops, previewed the Lakers-Hornets first-round playoff series, explained why BT is excited about visiting his hometown of New Orleans and why all three of us believe the Lakers won't have a problem advancing to the Western Conference semifinals.

Among the highlights of our roundtable discussion

--BT explains why he's unsure of the Lakers' identity entering the postseason.

--Bresnahan isn't concerned one bit about how the Lakers match up with the Hornets

--We each offer our prediction and wagers

--And, of course, Brez talks about his playing days as a tight end on Buckley High's eight-man football team. You can ask him more about it when he hosts a live chat Friday at 11 a.m.

You can also follow Brez and BT on Twitter.

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Lakers Roundtable: L.A. Times' Mark Medina and the Oklahoman's Darnell Mayberry break down Lakers-Thunder matchup

If the Lakers had it their way, the playoffs would begin already.

There'd be no anxieties over homecourt advantage implications, with the Lakers currently in second place in the West with a two-game lead over Dallas, a one-game edge over Oklahoma City and in a tie with the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics. There'd be no more wondering whether their four-game losing streak comes at exactly the wrong time. And there'd be few charges from Coach Phil Jackson questioning the team's professionalism.

But there are still three games to play and the Lakers at least have to be in attendance. The Lakers' game Sunday at Staples Center against Oklahoma City should have plenty of intrigue, however. Besides the standings implications, the Lakers have never matched up with the Thunder since it acquired Kendrick Perkins. The Lakers believe the Thunder gave them enough of a test in the 2010 playoffs. But the veteran, tested and physical presence that Perkins provided for Boston only elevates OKC's play. Plus there's the whole controversy surrounding Perkins' comments about Pau Gasol being soft, so don't expect another Lakers mail-it-in effort. Or at least we think.

There's plenty to discuss regarding this game, and the Oklahoman's Darnell Mayberry shared his time to break it down.

Among the highlights:

--Mayberry says Perkins hasn't spoken about Gasol since making his initial comments to ESPN The Magazine. But Mayberry made it clear Perkins has stood behind his statement.

--Mayberry says the Thunder's two recent victories against Denver should help it when the two teams presumably square off in the first-round.

--Mayberry breaks down a possible Lakers-Thunder playoff series.

--Mayberry believes Kevin Durant will be the team's X factor considering he hasn't shot well at Staples Center against either the Lakers or Clippers.

--You can follow more of Mayberry's work at the Oklahoman's website and on Twitter.

-- Mark Medina

Email the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Lakers Roundtable: L.A. Times' Mark Medina and the Columbian's Matt Calkins discuss Lakers-Portland game and possible playoff matchup

With the Lakers entering Friday's game against Portland on a three-game losing streak that's mostly pointed to a disinterest in the regular season, both the defending champions and their fans are surely hoping they can just fast forward to the playoffs.

There's another reason why they should be hoping time accelerates to April 17, the first day of the postseason. Should the Lakers and Blazers meet up in the first round of the playoffs, the Columbian's Matt Calkins and I will treat fans at The Times' Lakers blog to plenty of preview analysis, including segments that consist of us of rapping about the teams. But that will have to hold off for now.

Among the highlights of my interview with Calkins:

-- He reacts to Magic Johnson's suggestion that Portland would be the Lakers' toughest possible first-round opponent because of the "hate factor."

-- Calkins, a native Angeleno and former writer at the Riverside Press-Enterprise, shares what the Blazers and their fans dislike most about the Lakers.

-- Calkins extrapolates on why Portland has little chance of upsetting the Lakers in a first-round matchup and why playing Dallas would be a better draw.

-- Calkins provides a medical update on Marcus Camby (strained neck) and explains Brandon Roy's inconsistency.

-- Calkins doesn't believe Kobe Bryant when he says regular-season matchups against possible playoff opponents are measuring-stick games.

You can follow more of Calkins' work at the Columbian's website and on Twitter.

--Mark Medina

mgmedin@gmail.com

Lakers Roundtable: L.A. Times' Mark Medina and Denver Post's Benjamin Hochman preview Lakers-Nuggets game

Much has changed since our last chat with The Denver Post's Benjamin Hochman. He no longer has to run 40-yard sprints in 6.71 seconds to track down Carmelo Anthony in the latest saga of Melodrama. He's actually seen the Nuggets play defense, playing good enough to set up a first-round matchup as a fifth seed against Oklahoma City. And, of course, the Lakers are playing much better as well, going 17-1 since the All-Star break and entering Sunday's matchup with the Nuggets with a season-best nine-game winning streak.

Among the highlights with my conversation with Hochman:

--How the Nuggets have changed since they traded Anthony to the Knicks and how Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari

--Why Hochman believes the Nuggets could beat the Thunder in the first-round

--How the Nuggets are in a balancing act in resting Aaron Affalo's strained left hamstring for the playoffs, but ensuring they keep a lead over Portland in the standings.

--Why the Nuggets playing tough against the Lakers would be needed for an upset

--How Hochman fared against NBA.com's Aaron Lopez in a race.

--You can follow more of Hochman's work at the Denver Post's website and on Twitter.

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Lakers Roundtable: L.A. Times' Mark Medina and Columbian's Matt Calkins preview Lakers-Blazers game

Among the highlights of my conversation with the Columbian's Matt Calkins:

-- How Andrew Bynum's two-game suspension and Kobe Bryant's nagging injuries affect the game from the Blazers' standpoint

-- What the addition of Gerald Wallace does for Portland

-- Why Portland would be better suited facing Dallas in the first round of the NBA playoffs over the Lakers and Oklahoma City

-- Why Blazers Coach Nate McMillan isn't a fan of "3 Goggles."

You can follow more of Calkins' work at the Columbian's website and on Twitter.

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

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