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Podcast: Schedules, Expectations, Political Athletes, and VH1

Posted by on Aug 18, 2017 in Kamenetzky Brothers Land O'Lakers Podcast, Lakers Analysis, Lakers Audio, Opinion, Podcast |

This week…

The Lakers schedule is out. What’s interesting? Start with the national TV schedule, for one. So how does all that air time impact Lonzo Ball’s ROY hopes, and how do Lonzo Ball’s ROY hopes impact the Lakers 2018 plan? From there, we look at D’Angelo Russell’s recent comments about the trade, and a big week for basketball players getting political with Kevin Durant and LeBron James both weighing in on the President.

And from there, we go deep into great teen movies, and celebrate the 20th anniversary of VH1′s “Behind the Music.”

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Podcast! The Lakers land at #2… so it’s Lonzo Ball, right?

Posted by on May 19, 2017 in Opinion, Podcast |

The basketball gods have smiled on the Lakers.

Or, perhaps more likely (if you think like we do), the NBA finally finished making good on “basketball reasons,” keeping the Lakers in the 2017 Draft and finally closing the book on a sordid chapter in league history.

So what do the Lakers do? Take Lonzo Ball? Trade the pick? Keep Lonzo, and trade other stuff? No matter what, the Lakers have options, and averted a disaster that would have lengthened the rebuild by at least a couple seasons, likely more.

So much to discuss…

 

 

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Land O’Lakers Podcast: Does D’Angelo lead? Is Phil a good idea? NBA players and bear fights!

Posted by on Mar 2, 2016 in Lakers Audio, Podcast, Uncategorized | 1 comment

We’re back!

We vowed not to podcast again until the Lakers earned their 12th victory of the 2015-16 season, and Tuesday, it happened! And we were so confident, we recorded before the purple and gold took the floor against the Nets.

On the agenda…

NBA News. Does Kyrie Irving really want out of Cleveland? Who loves Chuck the Condor? Is the Dirk Burger an appropriate culinary honor for Nowitzki? And how much has Phil Jackson actually helped the Knicks?

Lakers. Before D’Angelo Russell blew up for 39 Tuesday against Brooklyn, the big conversation of the week centered around his leadership skills. How good are they now? How good can they become?

We introduce the Lakers Statue Game. Everyone gets one, but where? And how big? This week, Nick Van Exel!

Finally, general contractor
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AAK! You ask a Kamenetzky, and we answer. Oscar talk — Did Spotlight deserve best picture? Which NBA player takes down the bear from The Revenant? And finally, choosing between Iron Maiden and Rush, in concert.

 

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What the Lakers can learn from the Knicks (seriously)

Posted by on Mar 13, 2015 in Lakers Analysis, Opinion | 1 comment

There’s a narrative that states the Lakers “can’t afford” to rebuild as another, less glamorous team might. They’re the Lakers, after all. Fans wouldn’t tolerate it. Season ticket holders would abandon ship. The stars would stop showing. Sponsors would revolt. Media partners would freak out. Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria

L.A., a city famous for its entertainment options, would move on to other things.

It’s compelling stuff, playing well into the championship image the team and fans are so rightly proud of.

It’s also completely untrue.

Sure, if the Lakers suffered through another couple seasons like this one, it would be embarrassing. Fans would be angry. Stars wouldn’t line the courtside seats. The rest of the NBA would point its collective finger towards El Segundo and laugh. But do you know what would really happen? Absolutely nothing of long term consequence. And all the evidence you need for visits Staples tonight. The New York Knicks have been an acrid, smoldering tire fire for most of the new millennium. And yet going back to 2001, they’ve never had a year where the Garden was filled to less than 96 percent capacity. Forbes values them at $2.5 billion, which is far less than they’d sell for on the open market.

The Knicks are, and will remain, a money printing machine, despite a tradition and track record that doesn’t approach what the Lakers have.

Last week, I was talking to a season ticket holder I’ve grown to know over the years. Big money, ungodly expensive seats. He’s had them for years, and he’s not giving them up, even knowing the Lakers could suck for a couple more years. Nor does he know anyone who will, because they’ll get snatched up in a heartbeat and can never be had back. In a world where live broadcast rights have never been more valuable, media partners aren’t going anywhere, either. If other sponsors ducked out for a couple years, they’d be back (perhaps paying higher rates) as soon as the team is good again. People who stop watching now, entertainment glitterati and salt of the earth alike, come right back when there’s something to see. That’s how this works.

The moral of the story? Don’t confuse a hit to the collective purple and gold ego with actual damage. That kind of thinking is what gets teams to do stupid things. The best way for the Lakers to make themselves relevant again (assuming you buy the supposition that they’re not, which I don’t) is to build something sustainable, by which the team can contend — legitimately contend — on a year-to-year basis. When that happens, or even appears to be really, all the heat returns.

If it takes an extra year or so to get the rebuild right, so be it. Panicky moves designed to win summer TV broadcasts and brochures for season ticket holders don’t do much good when the games actually start. There have been signs the Lakers understand this better now than they did before. Mitch Kupchak speaks openly about not mortgaging the future to try and send Kobe out a winner, for example. They’ve used language, at least periodically, talking about how it could take a couple years to get this thing back on track. But if the Lakers can’t shake the star-(bleep)er mentality as the primary means of roster construction, they’ll run into real problems.

Which is a shame, because assuming you believe the organization is still committed to winning — there is zero evidence to the contrary — the reality is they have all the time they need to do it right.

Just look at New York.

 

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Reinvention will be the key skill for Lakers next hire

Posted by on May 3, 2014 in Jim Buss, Mitch Kupchak, Opinion | 8 comments

(NOTE: Below is my column on the Lakers and their just-beginning search for a new coach, written for SheridanHoops.com…)

A fairly inclusive list of potential replacements for Mike D’Antoni, following his resignation as head coach of the Lakers earlier this week: John Calipari, Kevin Ollie, Byron Scott, Jeff Van Gundy, Stan Van Gundy, Derek Fisher, George Karl, Mike Dunleavy, Kurt Rambis, Lionel Hollins, Tom Thibodeau, Mark Jackson, Steve Kerr, Ettore Messina…

Plenty of impressive names, but hardly reflective of some grand organizational philosophy on playing style or priorities beyond, as has been reported, to “make a splash.” 

It’s an expression that ought to make Lakers fans nervous, because it implies one big mission is to cleanse the fanbase’s collective palate after two failed coaching hires since Phil Jackson’s departure, and the bitter taste of the previous two seasons. As opposed to, you know, finding the best candidate for doing the job. Not that the two are mutually exclusive, but the emphasis ought to be entirely on the latter, with the former as a byproduct.

Which gets to the big challenge facing Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak entering what will likely be a long process: It’s very difficult to match a coach to a team when there’s really no team to match him with. The Lakers have three guys under contract next season, one of whom may not actually be able to play (Steve Nash), another coming off two major injuries at age 36 and a six-game 2013-14 season (Kobe Bryant) and the third who is Robert Sacre (Robert Sacre).

While it would obviously be less surprising to see the Lakers reconstruct a high-end roster this summer than say, Milwaukee, odds favor next season’s team looking a lot like this year’s talent-thin polyglot of short term contracts designed to maintain maximum cap space going forward. So the squad Future Coach gets in his first year is likely to be vastly different than the one he has in 2015-16, and probably again in 2016-17.

And each of those teams will could have a vastly different mix of superstar ego and skill set. It’s perfectly reasonable to believe the first three seasons for L.A.’s next coach could play out something like this:

-Year 1, bad team orbiting around Kobe, cultivating a critically important #1 pick.

-Year 2, a better team orbiting around Kobe and The Team’s Next Star Acquisition, someone who may or may not mesh well with Bryant.

-Year 3, a still growing team, now without Bryant but folding in still more new players, and perhaps a second new superstar, who may or may not mesh perfectly with the one imported the year before.

I’ve long maintained the star L.A.’s next coach has to best mesh with isn’t currently on the roster. That doesn’t mean Kobe Bryant won’t present a massive challenge to D’Antoni’s successor. (After all, why should he get off easier?) There will be pressure, not just because of anything Kobe might say or do but the enormous capital he has among fans and his place in local basketball culture, to, if not conform to Kobe’s preferences on the floor, at the very least look like it. To some degree, you gotta kiss the ring.

(One line of thinking: You don’t give a player $48 million for two years and not tailor things to him. The other: You give a guy $48 million precisely so you don’t have to.)

Whoever coaches the Lakers next will obviously need the strength to work effectively with Kobe, handle the L.A. media and a very edgy legion of fans, and navigate what is likely to be a tough first season (this time without the lure of a guaranteed lottery pick at the end of the rainbow). From there, he’ll have to fold in new stars with new egos and skill sets, but with no way to effectively anticipate who those stars might be, because the NBA doesn’t work that way.

The team’s system could easily have to change three times in three years.

Everyone has an wish list for the next coach of the Lakers. Better defense, a system more tailored to Bryant’s skill set, savvier communication with the media and better communication in the locker room, cache potentially drawing free agents, and so on. But while all those things matter, the timing of D’Antoni’s resignation combined with the current state of the franchise mean the most important quality for the Lakers’ new sideline guru will be flexibility and a gift for reinvention.

There is no shortage of quality options, to be sure. But after botching their last two hires, even if they prioritize the right things, there’s no guarantee they’ll come up with the right fit, in part because anticipating what he’ll fit into is so difficult.

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