Brian and I spend the majority of PodKasts breaking down the Lakers, it being our beat and all. But every once in a while, it's nice to dig into the entire Association. With that in mind, we enjoyed a conversation with Ryen "Eyebrows" Russillo, host of the ESPN: NBA Today podcast. Obviously, there is talk about So Cal's two-time defending champs, but the net is cast wide enough to touch regions in the southwest, southeast and northeast.
The talking points:
Rusillo's take on the Lakers, from the outside looking in. Despite an inconsistent December and legitimate complaints about a soft early schedule, he doesn't get the hand-wringing. The Lake Show's track record earns a benefit of the doubt and there are "no question marks" about their roster, beyond the health issues threatening any team. Assuming Kobe, Pau, LO and Drew are ready to roll come playoff time, Ryen will pencil them in as Western Conference champs using a Sharpie. "There's not a lot to dislike with this team and I think it'd be a shock if they weren't in the NBA Finals again."
Would he make this same prediction if the Lakers don't have home-court advantage throughout the conference playoffs, as could be the case? Yep. Brian and I have often debated the importance of this variable. He thinks it's fairly important. I don't. Ryen is with me.
Which NBA team has surprised Ryen the most, good and bad?
LeBron, Wade, and Bosh will be in town on Christmas, and who better to discuss the team than three guys on an ESPN email chain stuffed with every bit of Miami Heat statistical data imaginable? (Seriously, our eggheads are good!) Ryen is looking forward to next Saturday's extravaganza, but even if the Heat win, he still can't imagine them emerging victorious in a seven-game series.
A discussion about the Jon Favreau-Vince Vaughn film "Made," and the careers of Sam Rockwell and Russell Crowe. This is what happens when guests call from the Soho Grand in New York.