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Lakers post-deadline, LaVar’s big threat, and Groundhog Day

Posted by on Feb 16, 2018 in Lakers Analysis, Lakers Audio, Opinion, Podcast | 0 comments

So the Lakers have made it through the deadline, and have a new-look roster… how’s it looking? Well, the defense has suffered. Is it all on Isaiah Thomas? Did the Lakers expect this much defensive slippage after the deal? Should it bother them?

Meanwhile in Lithuania, LaVar Ball is making big threats about the future of Lonzo and the Lakers, vis-a-vis the other brothers. According to dad, all three boys need to be Lakers, or Lonzo won’t be there very long. Setting aside the idea that LaVar clearly doesn’t understand the CBA, how much should the Lakers care about this latest headline? The notion he could demand it come true seems remote, but is stuff like this more important than, say, criticisms of Luke Walton?

From there, we look at the state of the NBA, post-deadline. The Cavs are happy again, which makes the East seem a lot less competitive. And the Rockets, not the Warriors, lead the West. Is GSW vulnerable, bored, or both, and what does that say about how the Lakers ought to think about roster construction? Would they be wise to time the peak of their rebuild a little further down the road?

Finally, this week marked the 25th anniversary of “Groundhog Day,” one of the most enduring comedies of any generation. Why has it slowly moved into true canon status? We look at why it is about as perfect as a movie can get, and the way it changed the arc of Bill Murray’s career.

 

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Lonzo Ball’s Knee, the Challenge of LeBron, and Griffin Goes North

Posted by on Feb 1, 2018 in Blake Griffin, Julius Randle, Lakers Analysis, Lakers Audio, Opinion, Podcast |

A week or so away from the trade deadline, things are getting interesting around the NBA. For the Lakers, though, the top-of-mind question isn’t about who is coming and who is going, but who isn’t around at all. Namely, Lonzo Ball. Still out with an MCL sprain, he seems unlikely to play on the road trip. So when is he coming back, and should fans be worried it’s taking this long?

From there, we dive into what appears to be a growing dumpster fire in Cleveland. The Cavs can’t play defense. Kevin Love is out. The owner is apparently running the front office. They’ve still got LeBron and most people think they’ll win the East, but warning signs abound. Meanwhile, LeBron is issuing yet more passive aggressive social media missives, another reminder that having James on your team isn’t easy. It’s a serious challenge for any front office. Is L.A.’s experienced and skilled enough?

Finally, we look at the Blake Griffin-to-Detroit deal. What does it mean for the Clippers going forward, and how might that impact the Lakers?

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Missing Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma’s Wall, and … Anthony Davis?

Posted by on Jan 18, 2018 in Lakers Analysis, Lakers Audio, Opinion, Podcast |

This week in Lakerland, we learned once again what we knew last week, namely that the Lakers just aren’t as interesting, nor competitive, without Lonzo Ball. And it’s not even close. And as Lonzo starts to put together more solid games, the statistical contributions he’s making as a rookie are becoming more clear. We discuss, with data!

As Lonzo rises, Kyle Kuzma could be hitting the proverbial wall. His efficiency has declined month to month this season, and since Christmas has bottomed out. So what’s going on there, and how fast might it change? What does the bump in Kuzma’s road say about Julius Randle’s value? How will the Lakers deal with Randle at the deadline?

It’s one of a few trade related questions we ask, including this one: Would you trade the farm — Lonzo, Brandon Ingram, Kuzma, Randle — for Anthony Davis? We break it down both the micro (Does Davis get hurt too much? Do you know free agents would follow) and macro (Do you do whatever it takes to acquire a player you know is transcendent, even if it means taking on serious risk?

And finally… THE STATUE GAME IS BACK! In honor of the Lakers signing Gary Payton II, we give out a Lakers statue to the original.

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Kevin Arnovitz on Lonzo Ball and “Tootsie”

Posted by on Dec 21, 2017 in Los Angeles Lakers, Opinion, Podcast |

Why is ESPN NBA writer Kevin Arnovitz one of our favorite people? Because there aren’t too many on the planet with whom you can split a 70-ish minute podcast between conversations ¬†about Lonzo Ball, his potential, and his singularity of style and skill set… and the 35th anniversary of the landmark film, “Tootsie.”

But that’s what we did earlier this week. It started by breaking down Arnovitz’s insightful feature on Lonzo in the newest issue of ESPN The Magazine. He relays what scouts say about Ball, how he might shift the paradigm when it comes to defining what “star” players do, and what kind of roster the Lakers need to build around him. And those Jason Kidd comps? Arnovitz has a more intriguing suggestion.

From there, we break down the comedy classic, “Tootsie.” Few movies are as well written (a screenplay by the legendary Larry Gelbart), acted (great performances from Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lange, Dabney Coleman, Bill Murray, Teri Garr, and more), or have the sort of staying power and currency of Sidney Pollack’s gem. If you haven’t seen it recently, it’s worth a view before you listen.

 

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Lonzo Ball, LeBron James, and Star Wars

Posted by on Dec 16, 2017 in Lakers Analysis, Lakers Audio, Podcast |

The Lakers finished their road trip with a 2-2 record and four competitive games, a strong showing by any fair standard. Of course, the last of the group — a trip to Cleveland for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and the rest of L.A.’s traveling tribute to potential and hope — was the most significant. Lonzo and LeBron James on the same court, all eyes on them.

Everyone performed well. Lonzo was strong, Ingram balled out, and LBJ seemed to appreciate the talent. So he’s coming, right? We discuss.

(And don’t look now, but Lonzo’s FG% was about 40 on the roadie. Not brilliant, but a significant improvement. We talk about the impact that type of output would have were he to sustain it going forward.)

Finally, Star Wars. You heard? A new one is out! We deconstruct 40 years of Star Wars characters, then ask an important question: How good really is this franchise, from a movie making standpoint?

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