Chat with the Kamenetzky Brothers
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, we'll be celebrating this week's launch of ESPNLosAngeles.com with style befitting the City of Angels when Los Angeles Lakers bloggers Andy and Brian Kamenetzky stop by to chat.
Before joining ESPNLosAngeles.com, Brian and Andy hosted Lakers Blog for the Los Angeles Times from 2005-09. They host the ESPN Kamenetzky Brothers Lakers PodKast and frequently appear on ESPN Radio 710. As contributors for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com, they have written about virtually every sport known to mankind.
Send your questions now and join the Brothers Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. PT/1:30 p.m. ET!
Moderator... (1:32 PM)
Hold on folks, we're about to begin today's chat with the Kamenetzky Brothers of the Land O'Lakers Blog...
who would you least rather face in the fnals, boston, orlando or cleveland
Brian Kamenetzky (1:39 PM)
Wow. Getting right to the point, shady. From a matchups standpoint, Orlando and Cleveland are probably the easier series to win (particularly in the Orlando case, we know how that book ends), but personally, as a basketball fan, I'd like to see the Lakers face the Celtics. My preseason prediction was Cleveland, but I'm willing to be wrong. I think that would be the best series, and also the most "loseable" for the Lakers. From a personal standpoint, I'd least like to see them play Cleveland, b/c it's the worst of the three travel destinations.
Andy Kamenetzky (1:39 PM)
Hey Dave L.I don't think the Lakers' bench is truly a "problem" yet. In part because, for all intents and purposes, it's really three guys (Lamar Odom, Shannon Brown, and Jordan Farmar) playing with two starters, and by and large, I think they've played as a group pretty well. Yes, the third string hasn't played great, but they also aren't going to play often, so I'm not sure how much it matters. As long as the main three continue playing well (and I do think they'll improve, too), it's fine to me.
Dave L. (Sacramento, CA)
Is the Lakers bench a problem yet, or do you think they'll get better during the season?
Did you think Mike Brown will counter the Laker's height by going small with Lebron at the 4
Andy Kamenetzky (1:40 PM)
Sorry, Dave. I needed to put your Q through first. First day at the "office," you know?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:43 PM)
Sam-It's certainly possible. It depends, I think, on how effective Shaq is down low. If he is playing well, I think they'll work with that as much as they can, because LA's bigs are pretty mobile. Even if they go small, so to speak, the Lakers are still longer. But teams have given the Lakers trouble in the past by spreading the floor and trying to make themselves quicker. What's interesting about Cleveland going small is how much LeBron still does with the ball. It adds a wrinkle to the operation, for sure, but it's a very different look than, say, Houston with Aaron Brooks running the point.
How comical is it that David Thorpe just wrote that Lebron is a better perimeter shooter than kobe....
Ron A (Los Angeles)
How do you think I'm fitting in so far?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:46 PM)
Paul-Well, David Thorpe is a smarter man than I am, but I know if I needed one guy to knock down a jumper, it would be Kobe. On the other hand, Kobe's percentage from downtown this year is terrible, so right now James is shooting better. Overall, it's a different question.
Letty (Los Angles)
How pumped up are you to be working for ESPN LOs ANgeles
Andy Kamenetzky (1:46 PM)
Ron A, Don't sweat it. I think you've been a pretty good fit so far, and actually adapting faster than I expected. You've adjusted well to being a fourth option and actually seem more interested in passing (which you're doing well) than scoring. And the D has been great. Just work on your shot at the free throw line.
Brian Kamenetzky (1:46 PM)
Letty, are you one of my editors? I'm very pumped! :)
Any thoughts as to why negotiate so early with Pau for a contract extension and for that process to be made public?
What is your favorite Christmas movie?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:49 PM)
Marcus-First of all, there's no reason to wait on Pau- get him in and get it done. His value is pretty clear. From a financial standpoint, I'm sure Pau wanted to get it done before the new CBA is finalized, so he's in under the old rules. But in terms of making it public, why not? It's good news, will make Lakers fans happy, and add cost certainty going forward in terms of payroll. I don't see a down side.
Andy Kamenetzky (1:49 PM)
Brad, "It's a Wonderful Life." It may sound pat or sentimental, but I love that movie. But my second fave may be "Bad Santa," so I'm not entirely a wimp.
With the type of fracture Kobe is currently playing with, would almost every other player, besides Kobe, choose to not play and let the injury heal?
Lou (Boston, MA)
Do you think Pau Gasol's extension might prompt Kobe to get his done before the season is over?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:52 PM)
Marcus-It's called an avulsion fracture, where basically a tendon tears off a small piece of bone. It's treated, so far as I know, as a soft tissue sort of injury. There's no surgery or anything. Time is what it takes to heal, and there's not much risk of making it worse assuming its protected. As for the rest of the guys around the league, I don't know what they'd do. Some would play through it, some maybe not... but there's no question Kobe works through injuries better than almost every player in the league.
Andy Kamenetzky (1:53 PM)
Hey Lou,That's a hard question to answer, because Kobe/"Team Kobe" has played this issue pretty close to the vest. Kobe won't talk about it at all, and over the summer, everyone kind of assumed it would be done by now. Clearly, not the case. But either way, I'm not worried, because it'll happen eventually. Kobe's not going anywhere.
Shane (Los Angeles, CA)
I am a Suns' fan (originally from Phx, but stationed here in L.A.), but without a doubt I can see that the Lakers are by far the best team in the NBA, let alone the conference or division. Do you think this team will (assuming they do win the championship this year) go down as one of the all time great teams?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:55 PM)
Shane-They could be considered all time great relative to the era, but it's hard to go back and look at teams from decades ago, because the league itself was so different. Fewer teams, less dilution of talent, and so on. But the Lakers are, by today's standards, an outstanding team, no question. Congratulations on a competitive Suns team, though. It's good to see.
Pat (Los Angeles)
Hey guys. I'm a HUGE Lakers fan and psyched that ESPN Los Angeles has a local Lakers blog. What kind of coverage will you provide?
Andy Kamenetzky (1:57 PM)
Hey Pat,We're really excited to have joined ESPN Los Angeles, too. We'll be providing game and practice reports, podcasts about the team, video, audio, opinion pieces, humorous takes on the Lakers, etc. Basically, trying to keep fans in the loop and have a lot of fun at the same time.
Jack T. (Santa Monica, CA)
Is outside shooting going to be a serious problem for the Lakers?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:58 PM)
Jack-Yes and no. If the Lakers don't improve- meaning Kobe and Fish stay down around 30% from downtown, neither Brown nor Farmar boost their shooting, LO doesn't get back over the 30% mark, and so on, yes. Absolutely. Teams will collapse on them in the post, and it'll be harder to score. They need to be a good-enough perimeter shooting team, something they were last season but haven't been yet. History says Kobe and Fish will improve, so I think they'll be fine.
Are you guys going to be doing video recaps after home games?
Andy Kamenetzky (1:59 PM)
Simon,Yes, we plan to do video recaps after games. We have a lot of fun with those. There was a technical issue preventing one during last night's win over the Thunder. But all things being equal, that's the game plan.
David R (Los Angeles)
Do you guys think that Kobe should be deferring a little more right now, maybe playing less minutes with the injured finger? As we saw last night injuries can lead to more injuries.
Brian Kamenetzky (2:00 PM)
David-I think he's doing okay. I'm always up for the Lakers spreading the ball, and shots, around more, but I don't think (other than maybe some moments in the Utah game where he was clearly testing the splint) he's been gunning unapologetically. It's a question of balance in the offense, and keeping guys like Gasol and Bynum, who shoot at a high percentage, involved.As for the finger, I don't think medically it makes much of a difference if he sits or plays. The healing time is about the same, assuming no re-injury (about six weeks).
I've always been curious if you guys get a chance to spent time with the Lakers outside the court and what they are like on their off-time?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:01 PM)
Marcus-I'm chatting right now from Kobe's living room :)
do you think celtics will win the championship and why
Andy Kamenetzky (2:04 PM)
JohnFirst of all, I hope life in Downsville is happier than it sounds on the surface (haha). As for your actual question, I think the Celts COULD win the title, and they're certainly in the mix, assuming everyone (and by "everyone," I mostly mean "KG") stays healthy. I actually have them in the Finals against the Lakers. Having said that, I think the 2008 rematch will go the Lakers' way. Between the frontcourt and Artest being able to stay on Pierce, I think they've got Boston a little more outgunned than two seasons ago.
First off, congrats on espn LA! But I'm a huge Celtics fan, so from an LA prospective, what is it you feel the Lakers do best?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:05 PM)
Thanks, Will. We're excited to get going, and think it'll be a great site (plus, lots of action in a Lakers/Celtics final, right?)As for strengths, there's obviously length, and Kobe, and a strong direction provided by Phil Jackson. But if I had to pick a couple, it's versatility- lots of guys who play lots of positions, making the Lakers very difficult to matchup with. It also is hard to get them on awkward switches, because guys like Artest, Kobe, Odom, and Gasol are all big and mobile, and can handle a variety of players. The other big plus is passing skill. Almost everyone they put on the floor, including Ron Artest, is a great passer, which facilitates excellent ball movement and makes it tough to overplay any one player.
Brian Kamenetzky (2:06 PM)
By the way, thanks to everyone for their patience. It's our first time using this chat tool.
paul yoffe (los angeles)
if you had to start a fantasy basketball team....lebron or kobe?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:07 PM)
Paul, Well, from a PR standpoint, I'd take LeBron. Nobody will question it, because he'll get you more stats across the board than Kobe will.
Any concerns during regular season if the bench mob has trouble sustaining leads, forcing the starters to play more minutes, scoring more, regarding going into the playoffs?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:08 PM)
Marcus,Not really, because as I talked about earlier, there's a difference between "the bench" and "the guys who don't start and actually play, but with two other starters." The latter group (Shannon Brown, Lamar Odom, Jordan Farmar) is the one that really matters and by and large, I think they've played fine. And once Luke Walton is healthy, I think he'll go back to getting about 10 or so mpg, which will help both Kobe and (especially) Artest get a little more rest.
Brian Kamenetzky (2:10 PM)
James-Academically? Wash U. Football? USC. D-III Volleyball (I think), Wash U. Proximity to the West End? Wash U. :)
James (Wilton, CT)
Better school: Wash U or USC?
Marc T (Chicago)
How much does X-Mas day matter to the Lakers?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:12 PM)
Marc-A lot less than it does for the Cavs, that's for sure. It reminds me of where the Lakers were last year before the Boston game, where everyone had questions about their toughness, how "elite" they really were, whether they could beat a big, physical E.C. team, and so on. Now the Cavs are answering questions about their roster moves, Shaq's fit, and so on.
After seeing how Kobe is scoring while having a broken finger do you think there is even a debate anymore on who the greatest scorer in NBA history is?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:13 PM)
Kareem might argue with you :)Seriously, though, I think Kobe is right up there. Better pure scorer than Jordan? Not sure. But he'll certainly be recognized as one of the GOATs.
John B. ((Downsville, NY))
Is the offensive line solid enough to get the Giants to the Super Bowl?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:13 PM)
I don't think so. Don't they have to get into the playoffs first?
How impressed are you with the Lakers defense this year?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:14 PM)
Anthony,Very impressed. They lead the league in FG% and 3PT% defense, and typically, every game features one quarter where they make scoring an absolute nightmare for the opponent. Often, that's been the third Q, where they storm out the halftime gate in strong fashion.
Andy Kamenetzky (2:14 PM)
Last questions, everyone!
Brian Kamenetzky (2:16 PM)
Kelly-I thought it was an upgrade when they signed him, and still do. Artest isn't the finisher Ariza is on the wing, but he does do more overall. He can post up, he's a better passer, a more physical and versatile defender, shoots the ball as well from the perimeter. No knock on Trevor, but Artest is just a better player, and is accepting of his role on the Lakers.
In five words or less, what went through your mind when Kobe went down last night after tweaking his knee?!
Brian Kamenetzky (2:16 PM)
Is uh-oh one word or two? :)
I dunno if you guys are on the technical side of this stuff, but now that you guys are officially with ESPN does that mean I can get your podcast off iTunes? Had trouble finding it before.
Brian Kamenetzky (2:16 PM)
I'll try to find out. Thanks.
How come the timestamps in a Lakers centric chat on ESPN LA are EST?
Kelly K. (Hollywood, CA)
How do you think the Lakers are better/worse with Artest instead of Ariza?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:19 PM)
Ha! Maybe Bristol hasn't caught up yet?And Kelly's Q goes with my Ariza answer. Sorry about that. Thanks to everyone for stopping by. We'll be doing plenty of these. Weekly, for sure. See you soon.Also, if you haven't already, follow us at Twitter: http://twitter.com/ESPNLandOLakersFor updates and stuff!