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Nick Young the Hero, Randle’s Upside, R&R HOF, and Kwame!

Posted by on Oct 21, 2016 in Julius Randle, Kamenetzky Brothers Land O'Lakers Podcast, Lakers Analysis, Lakers Audio, Lou Williams, Luke Walton | 2 comments

The Lakers (and every other NBA team) are just about ready to kick off the 2016-17 season. Sweet! So what to watch for?

After the big headlines of the day, including stories of Melo-as-activist and an admission from Kevin Durant about what motivated his move to Golden State — we break down this year’s NBA.com GM Survey. What are the surprises? What do GM’s say about the Lakers, and Luke Walton?

From there… it’s Nick Young. Because he’s the most surprising story of training camp, and it’s really not close. After, we take a look at Julius Randle, probably the most “controversial” Lakers young ‘un, insofar as future projections are concerned. How good to opposing scouts think he is?

Finally, we cap this week’s episode with our yearly look at the newest nominees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame… and hand out a statue to Kwame Brown!

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Training Camp Opens, “The Luke Walton Effect,” and gefilte fish

Posted by on Sep 30, 2016 in Byron Scott, Jeanie Buss, Jim Buss, Kamenetzky Brothers Land O'Lakers Podcast, Lakers Analysis, Lakers Audio, Luke Walton, Opinion, Podcast |

The NBA is officially underway! The Lakers, while enjoying all camp has to offer — canoeing, archery, arts and crafts, orienteering, and trying to make out with the counselors at the girls camp across the lake — are also very clearly enjoying the first days of the Luke Walton era. Like, a lot. Which isn’t to say they didn’t enjoy last season’s circus in the same way… except it kinda is.

Hopefully it lasts a while, but for the time being the players who were here last season, particularly the young ‘uns, and particularly D’Angelo Russell, have clearly taken a shine to the new regime.

We break down all the big stories from the early days of training camp, including (but not limited to)…

  • Evidence a genuine culture has the chance to take root this year.
  • How feeling empowered by his coaching staff could help Russell on the floor.
  • Why Kobe needed to retire for Walton’s approach to work.
  • The Jim Buss Timeline: Mitch Kupchak says he’s really not aware of it. Land O’Lakers Factcheckers rate that a full four Paul Pierce Wheelchairs on the lie scale. Still, while it seems reasonable to believe the Lakers won’t make the Western Conference Finals (don’t shoot the messenger), what happens to Jim Buss if the Lakers show legitimate improvement, over the course of the year? Any shot he stays? And if Jim goes, does Mitch go, too?
  • Gefilte fish.
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Lakers Draft Brandon Ingram, Introduce Luke Walton

Posted by on Jun 24, 2016 in Kamenetzky Brothers Land O'Lakers Podcast, Luke Walton, Opinion, Podcast | 1 comment

It was a busy week in El Segundo!

Thursday, the Lakers did the expected, drafting Croatian center Ivica Zubac with the 32nd pick … and also Duke’s Brandon Ingram at #2. No big blockbusters for the purple and gold, who for the time being at least seem willing to let the young fellas grow. We break it down, along with the big deal of the day which sent Serge Ibaka to Orlando. What does that mean for Kevin Durant (and by extension, the Thunder, and by extension, the Lakers)?

From there, we talk Luke Walton, who was introduced earlier this week following Golden State’s Game 7 loss in the Finals. What were the standout moments in his first press conference as the coach of the Lakers?

All that and … well, mostly just that. But isn’t that enough?

 

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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.)

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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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