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Podcast: The Lakers preseason, Kobe's rehab, Pau's money, Miley's next gig, food aversions

Posted by on Oct 15, 2013 in Dwight Howard, Kamenetzky Brothers Land O'Lakers Podcast, Kobe Bryant, Lakers Audio, Mike D'Antoni, Mitch Kupchak, Opinion, Pau Gasol, Podcast, Steve Nash |

That faint sound you just heard? A grown man in China sobbing upon hearing Kobe Bryant was walking within a 25-mile radius.

The show can be heard by clicking on the module above, and a rundown of talking points follows below…

Click above to play, or just download the show here. Hope you enjoy it. To subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, click here. You can also find us on TuneIn.com by heading here.

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A word on Xavier Henry…

Posted by on Oct 8, 2013 in Lakers Analysis, Mike D'Antoni, Opinion, Uncategorized | 8 comments

Xavier Henry has not been a good NBA player over the course of his three seasons in the league. His high water mark as a shooter is 41 percent. He”s hit only 62 percent of his free throws, has never cracked 10.0 in PER, and the lumps him in with luminaries like Corey Gaines, Milt Williams, Russ Lee, Randy Woods, and others who have drifted briefly though the NBA universe.

In his scouting report for ESPN.com (Insider subscription required),:

“Through three seasons, Henry simply hasn”t shown any improvement. The outside shooting that figured to be his calling card hasn”t materialized and Henry has made just 13 3-pointers in his NBA career. That”s left him relying primarily on inefficient long 2-pointers. Henry has been effective at getting to the free throw line, yet has struggled to convert those opportunities, shooting 62.4 percent career at the foul line. A decent rebounder, Henry struggles to defend smaller, quicker wings because he doesn”t move well laterally. According to Synergy Sports Technology, opponents lit him up for 1.265 points per isolation play, putting him in the third percentile among NBA players.”

So when the Lakers, already crowded at guard with the additions of Nick Young and Jordan Farmar, signed Henry to a make-good deal late in the summer, I expected he wouldn”t make the team. Because, you know, he hasn”t been effective as a pro.

Well, now Henry has 44 points through two preseason games, and people are mocking me on the Kambrothers Twitter feed. It”s a little early to declare him a difference maker, but he”s on the right track for a roster spot. But even if he does earn a spot, there”s still a lot of work to be done before Henry establishes himself as a legitimate member of an NBA rotation.

That said, Henry is only 22 and as Pelton also noted in his report, his WARP projections for Henry outstripped Paul George”s ahead of the 2010 Draft. Henry still has time to improve, and a vast leap in skills is not always required for players to find a niche.

“To me, it”s small things,” Mike D”Antoni said Tuesday. “There”s a lot of old adages. That you”re only as good as the coach thinks you are. The scouts got him, and the coach says “I didn”t love him,” so that goes. Or maybe the bright lights hit you. Sometimes you have to fail, sometimes you have to re-examine yourself, and work on your game. He”s probably kept working on his game. Everybody”s got a different reason. At one point, though, all these guys have kicked somebody”s rear somewhere. They didn”t get to the pros because they”ve been bad their whole life. Somewhere, they”ve been really good, and you try to find that spot and why they were (successful).”

It could be a matter of opportunity, or a particular team”s system, or embracing a role he”s asked to play. It could be a matter of boosting one or two parts of a skill set, even incrementally. A bad mid-range game becomes adequate, opening up driving lanes, better exploited by an uptick in ball skills with the off-hand. That type of thing. As Lakers assistant Mark Madsen told me, the gap separating the 10th or 11th guy on a roster from someone ending up in Europe or the D-League isn”t always large. Little improvements matter. In Henry”s case, it could start with hitting free throws. 16 of 20 over the weekend (games that, as a reminder, were preseason contests), a big leap over his career average and a major boon for a guy who has, despite myriad other struggles, always done well drawing contact.

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asked Henry Tuesday what parts of his game weren”t where they needed to be over his first three seasons, and where he is now. “I was able to get better at everything. Everything wasn”t completely there,” he said. “When I first came in, I wasn”t really a driver at all. I mainly shot spot-up shots. Then I got an injury early on, early in my career. I had little nicks and bangs everywhere through. Now when you start to put everything together, and you put a healthy body with it in somebody that”s young, I can basically just pick and choose what I do.”

Where Henry goes from here is among the more intriguing storylines for the rest of camp. Mitch Kupchak indicated before camp that the Lakers might just carry 15 guys, at least starting the year. It makes sense, given how many players they have who are old, recovering from injury, or old and recovering from injury. It”s not just a matter of who contributes in games — they need bodies to practice. And just as importantly, it makes sense for a minimal investment for the Lakers to carry the Henry-types they have in camp, because they represent cheap access to talent for a team thin on draft choices going forward.

Henry”s play to this point — did I mention they were preseason games? — could well be a mirage. The odds, based on his NBA body of work, favor it. Most guys who perform as Henry has don”t turn it around. Most, but not all. Maybe improvements in his game combined with a good fit in L.A. will prove him useful, and me wrong. It would certainly be good to see.

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Podcast: Lamar Odom, Michael Beasley, new faces(?), Kobe’s rehab, hangover cures and tacos

Posted by on Sep 9, 2013 in Kamenetzky Brothers Land O'Lakers Podcast, Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol, Podcast |

Before we know it, training camp will be upon us and a new season will be underway. Until then, a handful of recent developments, one of which pains us to talk about, unavoidable as the topic may be.

The podcast can be heard by clicking on the module above, and a list of talking points is below:

  • We discuss Lamar Odom’s sad situation, the tragedies he’s endured amidst professional triumphs, and wish him the best moving forward.
  • Many Laker fans have expressed interest in signing the recently released Michael Beasley on the cheap. Is this really a good idea?
  • What are the odds that the partially guaranteed contracts of Shawne Williams and Xavier Henry get paid in full? How well would either player fit in with the Lakers?
  • How does a man as accomplished (and philanthropic) as Pau Gasol fail in his bid to secure Madrid as the site for the 2020 Olympics? We explain.
  • Does Kobe Bryant have an ulterior motive for keeping the public so in the loop about his Achilles tendon rehab?
  • It’s time for “AAK!!!” Just like we asked Flea in a recent podcast, who would be our ultimate All-Lakers pickup squad? What’s the ultimate hangover cure? Which NFL squad that finished last in their division during the 2012 season has the best chance of making the 2013 playoffs?
  • Tragedy in Portland. How pissed would Staples Center patrons be if the Lakers and Jack in the Box ended the in-game “two free tacos” promotion?

Click above to play, or just download the show here. Hope you enjoy it. To subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, click here. You can also find us on TuneIn.com by heading here.

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