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Jordan Clarkson 2.0, Russell the Leader, and KD’s Bum Knee

Posted by on Mar 4, 2017 in Kamenetzky Brothers Land O'Lakers Podcast, Lakers Analysis, Lakers Audio, Opinion, Podcast |

So about five minutes after we finished recording today, the news broke about the newest kerfuffle between Jim and Jeanie Buss, meaning we didn’t cover it in this show. Fortunately, there’s plenty of reason to believe this won’t be the only opportunity. (And if it is, all the better for the Lakers.)

So what was on the agenda? Glad you asked!

  • Lou Williams is gone, meaning Jordan Clarkson has an opportunity to be more the guy he was as a rookie. Earlier this week, Luke Walton broke down where he thinks Clarkson’s game is going, and how he can get there. We opine.
  • The Lakers are looking for leadership, specifically in the fourth quarter. Who’s gonna deliver? Well, it probably has to be D’Angelo Russell, given the construction of the roster. So is he up for it? What will it take to make Russell the leader L.A. is searching for? We opine.
  • Kevin Durant is down, and likely out for the regular season. What does that mean for the Western Conference playoff race? We (wait for it…) opine. Plus, Cleveland has added some talent, and the Knicks are back to relying on “proven shot-maker” Sasha Vujacic.
  • Finally, we look back at the career of Bill Paxton, who died unexpectedly last week at 61.
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Early Season Surprises, and “The Walking Dead”

Posted by on Nov 3, 2016 in Kamenetzky Brothers Land O'Lakers Podcast, Lakers Audio, Opinion, Podcast | 1 comment

So in this episode, we talk about early season surprises for the Lakers. We also talk about “The Walking Dead.”

And the best news for Lakers fans? The two conversations are totally unrelated! What a nice change from the last couple seasons!

We kick things off with a Warriors-themed news segment, talking about LeBron’s Halloween troll, K.D.’s continuing need to explain his relationship with Russ, and Damian Lillard’s assessment of Golden State’s defense sans Andrew Bogut. From there, it’s into the early part of the Lakers season. All in all, very encouraging… and keep in mind we recorded before Wednesday’s win in Atlanta. Is Julius Randle’s hot start sustainable? Does Nick Young stay in the starting lineup? What looks different about the team at large? Can Luol Deng gain some consistency?

Finally, we bring back AAK! Ask a Kamenetzky. This week’s theme? “The Walking Dead.”

As always, thanks for listening.

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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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Free Agency: Durant and Mozgov and Deng (oh my!)

Posted by on Jul 6, 2016 in Kamenetzky Brothers Land O'Lakers Podcast, Lakers Analysis, Lakers Audio, Opinion, Podcast | 3 comments

Sometimes, the first few days of free agency are a tease. A big ball of underwhelming.

Not this year!

With the salary cap set to explode, money was flying faster and larger than the NBA has ever seen. People you may never have heard of have cashed in on eight figure deals. The Lakers were in the mix, throwing $64 million at center Timofey Mozgov and another $70 mil to forward Luol Deng. (Plus, they wrapped up Jordan Clarkson and Tarik Black.)

Was it money well spent? What do the signings say about the state of the franchise?

And what about Kevin Durant? Why is he going to Oakland, and does that move make Russell Westbrook a #FutureLaker?

All that and more on the new installment of the podcast…

 

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Lakers land Roy Hibbert

Posted by on Jul 5, 2015 in free agency, Kevin Durant, Lakers Analysis, Opinion | 7 comments

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The good news? The Lakers have landed a viable starting center, acquiring Roy Hibbert from the Pacers in exchange for a future second round pick. It’s a straight salary dump for Indiana, and in a vacuum the price for L.A. is great. Hibbert slides into the vast expanse of their available cap space, and the Lakers (I suspect) give up little impacting them anytime soon. Hibbert has his flaws. Since making a second All-Star team in 2014, his play has been wildly inconsistent. He’s not as prolific a rebounder as a man his size should be. Broadly, Hibbert has been a wreck offensively for the last few seasons — his 44.8 percent mark from the floor in ’12-’13 is his best over the last three.

Were none of these things true, the Pacers would happily have paid him this year.

Importantly, though, Hibbert is still¬†elite level rim protector who will be a big help to Julius Randle on the frontline and erase many of the mistakes made by the puppy/old dog backcourt of D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, and Kobe Bryant.¬†The Lakers completely lacked defensive structure last year, so plopping Hibbert in the middle is a significant improvement. His fit offensively is a different story, but truly is the least of Byron Scott’s problems.

The Lakers are better today than they were yesterday, and have enough space (about $5 million, according to the eggheads) to troll whatever’s left on the free agent rolls, or see if anyone else wants to offload another player.

The bad news?

In an offseason where, once again, it has been made abundantly clear free agents want to join products that are, if not finished, well on the way. Greg Monroe chose the Bucks because they’re playoff ready, and should improve over the next few years. Milwaukee doesn’t have the cachet of Los Angeles, but the guy wants to see the postseason for the first time in his career. That’ll happen far faster in Wisconsin than here. Hibbert, while a decent enough consolation prize for the Lakers after losing out on basically all of free agent humanity, does absolutely nothing to answer the same, critical question free agents are going to ask next summer:

Who am I going to play with?

Hopefully Russell, Randle, and Clarkson develop, and make the franchise more appealing. But it’s insane to believe Kevin Durant is going to sign in L.A. next summer based on the promise of those guys. They can be traded, but giving up too many in any one deal leaves the Lakers with gaping holes hurting their viability as a destination for stars. If Hibbert plays well, are the Lakers going to pay to keep him? Doing good work finding players on one year deals does little good if those players simply use the Lakers to get better money down the road. He could be trade bait, but the Lakers have done a horrible job over the last few seasons extracting value from future free agents. Hard to trust they’ll reverse the trend.

I’d rather have three years of Ed Davis at about $7 million and another $15 million or so to do I please than one year of Hibbert. At some point, the Lakers have to start building a squad going beyond the three rookies and a pristine payroll sheet. Say what you’d like about the quality of their analytics – the Lakers would need statistical Svengalis to convince someone like LaMarcus Aldridge he’d be better here than San Antonio. The reason L.A.’s basketball pitch was weak is simple: There is no answer to those questions. They’re a restaurant selling ambiance, beautiful waitresses, and a nice wine list. Nice features, except ultimately when people go out to eat they want good food. The Lakers barely have a kitchen, let alone a well-conceived menu. They’ve leaned on cap money — “payroll flexibility,” in their terminology — but over the next two offseasons those dollars become less valuable as the cap rises and nearly every other team has money to spend.

Instead, Lakers have spent another summer making long-odds casts for big fish while the smaller, more attainable ones — those potentially providing the infrastructure and assets needed to build a team — swim away. The ’15-’16 product is a little better now, but the ’16-’17 squad, the one the Lakers should be more concerned with, isn’t.

That’s the part they don’t seem to understand.

 

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