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Podcast: Byron Scott Out, Luke Walton In…

Posted by on May 3, 2016 in Lakers Analysis, Lakers Audio, Opinion, Podcast | 0 comments

 

The king is dead, long live the king.

Barely a week ago, the Lakers let Byron Scott go. Technically, they chose not to pick up his option, as opposed to firing him. Technically. But before we could get around to talking about it, BAM! The Lakers went out and landed Luke Walton, the beloved former Laker and hottest name remaining on the coaching market this offseason. So … good move? We discuss.

(Spoiler alert, we’re not booing, we’re saying “Luuuuuuuuuuuke.”)

All that, plus all of your NBA headlines, including Carmelo Anthony making it abundantly clear he doesn’t want to Kurt Rambis coaching him next year, the Clippers again facing questions, and the Space Jam reboot lands its director. (Which is really just an excuse for AK to talk about The Fast and the Furious franchise.)

Plus, another peek at the Secret LaMarcus Aldridge Audio Recordings, a statue for Byron Scott, and a big week in Magic Johnson tweets!

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Luke Walton is a win for the Lakers

Posted by on Apr 30, 2016 in Lakers Analysis, Luke Walton, Opinion | 6 comments

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Luke Walton is the type of coach I wish the Lakers had at least considered before hiring Byron Scott. Young, smart, talented, curious, up-and-coming. A coach with upside who could gain experience and grow with a rebuilding franchise.

Obviously that’s not the direction they went.

We don’t know yet exactly what allowed L.A.’s front office to look past a long held belief that coach of the Lakers isn’t a “starter job.” Some combination surely of Walton’s background in purple and gold, his extremely successful dress rehearsal as the interim coach of the Warriors, the buzz around him — for the first time in a while, the Lakers can say they got the guy everyone wanted — and his basketball intelligence. Clearly they believe Walton will do well in meetings with prospective free agents. And his familiarity to Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak clearly expedited the process.

But whether Walton represents a great leap forward in the open-mindedness of Lakers management or just a perfectly packaged Trojan Horse unwittingly unleashing into El Segundo basketball modernity (and an understanding of current circumstances) doesn’t really matter. Walton can simultaneously be a soothing reminder of past success and a fresh jolt forward. Even if the Lakers only hired him because he Knows What It Means To Wear The Purple And Gold, or because they believe he’ll be popular with the fan base, or that snagging him blunts the argument the franchise can’t recruit anyone wanted by anyone else — otherwise known as “all the wrong reasons” — Walton is still a very strong hire. He still fits where the Lakers are right now.

That it reportedly only required one interview will make some fans squeamish, but again, management knew Walton going in, and knew as well he’d be a prime candidate for other coaching vacancies this offseason. If you want a guy, don’t let him talk to the competition. You never know what can happen.

(If a lack of due diligence still bothers you, try applying three of the 17 interviews they did with Byron to Luke, and you’ll feel better.)

I don’t know if Walton will be a great NBA head coach. Nobody does. But he’s as good a bet as you’ll find among the guys without a long track record. High end basketball minds, from Steve Kerr to Phil Jackson, believe in his talent. Kobe Bryant pegged him as a coach a long time ago. The good news is Walton doesn’t really need to be great right away. For the next couple of seasons, he can develop his skills on a roster unlikely to be playing for major stakes (save the future of Jim Buss, I suppose, but that’s more a Jim/Jeanie problem). Meanwhile, he still provides a sense of optimism and a fresh start. Of the possibility the Lakers could build a new culture, led by someone who could, if all goes well, be around for a long time.

I’m obviously projecting, because there’s a lot of distance between Friday’s news and such a rosy outcome. The roster is still very thin, potential notwithstanding. The front office is still a massive question mark, though hiring a coach that however talented needs development speaks well of Buss and Kupchak. (At exit interviews, Kupchak said despite uncertainty created by the Jim Buss Timeline, which by definition clouds his future as well, he wouldn’t recommend short term fixes potentially compromising the team’s long term health. Bringing in Walton backs that up. So credit to both of them.) That Walton is popular enough with the fan base to blunt early growing pains can’t hurt, buying him and his players a little time.

There are still plenty of other questions to answer, including how Walton will approach things philosophically, how advanced he is with X’s and O’s, who he’ll surround himself with on the bench, and if/how this impacts all the Phil-to-L.A. chatter (a longer discussion for another day, but just as a reminder … it’s a bad idea). It could be a while before even the most basic of those are answered, since we won’t see much of him until the Warriors are done.

But regardless, the Lakers did a good thing on Friday, and are significantly better off now than they were at the end of the year.

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Howard Beck on Kobe Bryant, Remembering Prince

Posted by on Apr 22, 2016 in Kamenetzky Brothers Land O'Lakers Podcast, Lakers Analysis, Lakers Audio, Opinion, Podcast |

Thursday was a tough one for music fans across the globe, with the death of Prince. He was 57, and leaves behind a legacy in music and performance matched by few artists, if any.

It was in the shadow of that news we went into the studio, and while the agenda changed pretty considerably, there was still plenty of good conversation on what became a day of remembrances, albeit very different ones. We started by welcoming the great Howard Beck of Bleacher Report, who covered Kobe Bryant for the L.A. Daily News from the time he was drafted through the end of the Shaq/Kobe era. With Howard’s help, we look at the guy all of us have spent so much of our professional lives talking and writing about. Then, what’s next for the Lakers, and how does Kobe’s legend impact the answer?

From there, Andy and I talk about the influence Prince had on us, why we loved the music, and why it’s so difficult to digest the news that he’s gone.

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D’Angelo Russell steps in it, Hassan Whiteside’s future

Posted by on Apr 1, 2016 in Kamenetzky Brothers Land O'Lakers Podcast, Lakers Analysis, Lakers Audio, Nick Young, Opinion | 1 comment

The Lakers have had an interesting week, to say the least. To the point that Kobe Bryant’s final game, now less than two weeks away, was pushed off the front burner.

In this installment of the show, we break down D’Angelo Russell’s big mistake. What happened, and more importantly, what happens next?

Plus, all the headlines around the NBA, including rumors linking Hassan Whiteside to the Lakers, and his reaction to them. Is he a good fit for the purple and gold this summer? In other news, Yao Ming is heading to the Hall of Fame, the Pelicans ask for — then receive — input from genuine practitioners of voodoo, and Vlade Divac has an extension with the Kings.

We dive back into the secret audio of that first LaMarcus Aldridge pitch meeting, give Karl Malone a statue, and answer your pressing questions in a fresh installment of AAK! All in all, it’s enough to vault you happily into the weekend.

 

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“Boys Among Men” — Jonathan Abrams on Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, and the prep-to-pro generation

Posted by on Mar 22, 2016 in Kamenetzky Brothers Land O'Lakers Podcast, Kobe Bryant, Lakers Analysis, Lakers Audio, Lakers interview |

This week, we take a break from the hustle and bustle of a rollicking Lakers season to hop in the NBA time machine.

Many of you know Jonathan Abrams from his newspaper work, whether the Los Angeles or New York Times, or more likely though his consistently excellent contributions to Grantland. Now, he’s the author of “Boys Among Men: How the Prep-to-Pro Generation Redefined the NBA and Sparked a Basketball Revolution,” a fantastic look at the crop of young players entering the league straight from high school, starting with Kevin Garnett in 1995.

We talk a lot about KG, and even more about Kobe Bryant, and how he ended up with the Lakers in 1996. Why did those guys succeed? What are the common characteristics of the successful preps who made the leap? What about the guys who failed? Why did the rules change, and should they have changed?

It’s a great book, and Abrams provides some fantastic perspective on iconic players from a fascinating chapter in NBA history. Listen to the podcast, then buy the book.

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Development vs. Winning, Drafting Kobe, Vlade’s Statue, and Kanye’s Condor

Posted by on Mar 15, 2016 in Kamenetzky Brothers Land O'Lakers Podcast, Kobe Bryant, Lakers Analysis, Lakers Audio |

The Lakers nearly picked up a win Sunday against New York … but would it have been worth it? Once again, Byron Scott’s priorities are a topic of conversation. Is he chasing wins at the expense of development? After L.A.’s kiddie corps watched the fourth quarter against the Knicks in favor of Lou Williams, Marcelo Huertas, and Brandon Bass, many were asking the question.

So we did, too. What’s the balance between one game and season long progress?

From there, we have an excerpt from our interview with Jonathan Abrams, formerly of Grantland, and the Times NY and LA about his new book, Boys to Men: How the Prep-to-Pro Generation Redefined the NBA and Sparked a Basketball Revolution. The full conversation comes next week, but here he talks about 1996, and how Kobe got to Los Angeles.

All that, plus the news of the day (including Kanye’s offer to re-design Chuck the Condor, ostensibly in some sort of neutral colored post-apocalyptic theme), our Lakers Statue segment (featuring Vlade Divac!) and secret audio from the first LaMarcus Aldridge pitch meeting.

It’s a doozy!

 

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