Talking Lakers With ESPN

Kurt —  March 25, 2009

Check out today’s ESPN daily NBA Podcast, where I say things like the Lakers would rather face the Mavericks than the Suns, and that Phil Jackson has done a lot to boost Trevor Ariza’s confidence.



51 responses to Talking Lakers With ESPN

  1. Does ESPN post transcripts of their podcasts?

    Congrats on the opportunity!

  2. is there a direct link? all i see is hollinger’s podcast

  3. Kurt is on Hollinger’s podcast. Go to the 11:15 minute mark and he’s right there!

  4. In case anyone’s having trouble finding it, there’s a podcast tab under the “Media” box on the left lower site of the site. Kurt comes in at 11:15.

    Great interview, I liked the recognition of Powell and Phil’s success at defining specific player roles. Way to represent the intelligent, non-rabid subset of Laker fans.

  5. I listened to it this morning.


    You did a good job. You kind of sound like David Aldridge on it. Voice and content. I had to rewind and make sure it was you. Good stuff.

  6. I agree, great interview. While I didn’t agree with the premise that Bynum is the “key” player (any team with Kobe and Gasol as featured players mean they are the “keys” to winning) I do think that both the interviewer and Kurt represented the current state of the Lakers well. I also agree with the notion that Phoenix is the team at the bottom that the Lakers don’t want to face just because of the Shaq/Gasol matchup. Both can score on each other, but Shaq is still a guy that gets players in foul trouble, deters shots in the paint, and can make an impact by making the game easier for players by being a real presence. In the meeting where we lost to the Suns, Shaq manhandled Gasol on a couple of occasions and controlled the paint. I’d rather not see if he can do that 2-3 times in a series.

  7. 6. The other thing a matchup with Shaq does is force Bynum to play a lot more minutes in the first round. That is how you match up against Shaq, and it makes it hard for Bynum to ease back in at all. Dampier does not present the same issues. (Does he present any issues?)

  8. 7 – He does make it quite hard not to crack Erica jokes.

  9. Thanks for the kind words. And for the record, I am way better looking than David Aldridge.

  10. I heard it this morning, great interview Kurt. I was hoping you might drop a KOBE RULEZ. I think Jason Smith would have gotten the joke.

    I listen to the NBA Daily Podcast almost every day, its not bad.

  11. Great point about easing Bynum back in and I thought that you also made that same great point about the first round potentially serving as the adjustment period for Bynum’s return in the interview. As for Dampier, he does do a good job of getting position on the offensive glass and he has hurt us there in the past. Considering that defensive rebounding is one of the few flaws that the Lakers have, I think it’s worth a mention. However, Dampier’s limitations on offense and his slow footed defense against Pau’s mid-range game make him a liability almost everywhere else. That means that players like Bass and Singleton get more minutes and ultimately slide Dirk to Center and those lineups mean that Bynum (or even Powell) could get signicant minutes against those players (with Pau or LO on Dirk) and would not pose a serious threat.

  12. Enjoyed the blog Kurt.

    Over on the earlier thread I talked about Kobe and his long-standing finger injury. The comment was made that scar tissue probably makes the injury a nonissue at this time. I disagree; or else why would Kobe have it repaired at the end of this season? I suspect Kobe has a bit less control with his right hand. Where this would probably come into play most would be where he tries to cross over from right to left and where he finishes with his right hand at the rim. This is where he needs the most control and where his smaller hands (smaller than MJ, Magic, or Lebron) make that final, small control so essential. For general jump shooting or straight ahead driving I suspect he wouldn’t need his pinky so much.

    Anyway, that is my thought on his decreased effectiveness in getting blocked more at the rim.

  13. Great job representing on the podcast!
    I’m glad you put out some ariza love. I dont think the media in general realizes how good he has been for us.
    Do you all think Bynum is really that important a peice for us? The podcast guy made it sound like we wouldnt get out of the first round without him.

  14. We always hear about Kobe’s polarizing stature in the league and with the media. Well I was just watching PTI where they had a part on Kobe and a new survey amongst NBA players that was really interesting:

    Kobe got the second most votes amongst players for “who you would want to play with most”. Lebron was first.

    But then Kobe also was third highest in “players whom you’d least want to play with”.

    Also, he received 76% of votes for “player you’d want taking the last shot”

    I’d like to see who 1st and 2nd were for least want to play with. Anybody have guesses? Maybe Starbury? Corey Maggette? Tough to figure out…

  15. 14:

    Also, I will say right now there will be a very short leash on comments about the new Kobe lawsuit here. This is a perfect case of what this site is not about.

  16. 13. I actually have yet to listen to the podcast (long day, long story) but If it came off as him being needed to get out of the first round that is not what I wanted to come across.

    Now, can we beat Cleveland in a seven game series without him….. That would concern me greatly.

  17. 14

    Starbury would have to be #1 just based on year-to-year consistency. Maybe Zach Randolph is #2. I remember reading something about how Brandon Roy was so fed up with Randolph that he basically gave him the Kobe/Bynum treatment (Ship his a** out!) to Kevin Pritchard.

    Did I mention that the Knicks traded for both of those guys? I miss Isiah Thomas…

  18. Sorry I meant the host of the podcast near the end of it. You did great no worries.

  19. Thanks, Kurt. Ron Artest was my next guess…

  20. 15

    OK, so Artest is second. Not a huge shock either. I’m a little surprised about Jackson though.

    As someone in the comments below that article noted, Kobe got 5% of the vote, which is 9 or 10 players. My guesses would include Shaq, Raja Bell, and Ray Allen… 🙂

  21. We have discussed the Kobe love/hate to play with thing in the last few threads. For my money the players with the most desire for a ring would like to play with him and the players who want to collect money and stats don’t want to play with him. Not too complex there.

  22. The double-standard in this league is amazing. Kobe goes for a scoring spree, you’ll hear comments from players like Dirk and Lebron saying something about playing team basketball. Yet, you see Lebron making sure he gets a rebound so he can have his triple double. Dirk chokes and can’t pass to save his life. You don’t hear Kobe saying some smug comments after one of his peers earns an achievement.

    Craig W. – Kobe also has his right ring finger heavily tape, too. That injury was a severe dislocation, I think. It probably affects his shooting and grip of the basketball.

  23. The Bynum question,Lakers can win without him but with him is much easier.

  24. Without Bynum we can win the West, but not the title. A healthy Bynum will be needed.

  25. I think we can beat the Cs or the Cavs with or without Bynum. With Bynum it would certainly be easier, but we’re better than both of those teams whether he plays or not.

  26. Listened to it–good job, Kurt.

    I noticed the Suns’ offensive uptick after reading Hollinger talking about it. Shaq is sort of going supernova and that makes the Suns dangerous, although the Lakers would still be favorites, obviously. I want Dallas in Round 1, and I don”t want to see Utah until the WCF if at all.

    I agree with Joe in 24. I don’t think that they can win it without Bynum.

  27. Sorry guys, but this is way off-topic.. The Celtics are being punished by Superman.. Back to back steal –> and-1 plays..

  28. Don’t know if anyone’s brought it up in any previous threads, but this is hilarious:

    Anyway, to sum it up, some Dallas scrub called Ryan Hollins has decided that he’d like to wake Kobe up before the series even begins.

    And what’s funny is that even before the L.A. fans started flooding that board, the Mavs fans were already starting to bash him about not keeping his mouth shut.

  29. Not Laker related but i found a touching basketball article about a blind kid shooting free throws.

  30. Well done Kurt.

    Just watched the 2nd half of Boston – Orlando. In the 3rd quarter, I was loving Howard. He dominated on both ends. At the end of the 3rd, he had an alley-oop over Perkins followed by a block on pierce. But the Magic were dreadful in the 4th. The difference between this team and the “elites” is that they don’t have a go-to guy in crunch time…
    Lakers – Kobe
    Cavs – Bron
    Celtics – Pierce
    Magic – let’s run around, set screens for whoever has the ball, and maybe Hedo will get a foul call on one of his frantic drives

    Everyone asks, why don’t they go inside to Superman? Well they did twice in the final few minutes, and both times he caught the ball and immediately did an off-balance turn-around hook shot, missing badly.

    But they won. And Doc might be getting ready to blast the refs again…

  31. Someone mentioned Isaiah earlier in the thread…but did anyone else see this?

    If Isaiah were to go work for the Clippers, I think Los Angeles might collapse in on itself from the sheer magnitude of bad decision-making potential. Then again, it’s the logical next step for that franchise I suppose…

  32. Ryan O. – Isaiah Thomas’s problem lies with his trades. He seems to trade for the players as the GM. However, no one can deny his ability draft players. He’s a good scout.

  33. Congratulations for being the chosen one to talk about Lakers on the NBA Daily podcast this morning and in the future. I heard FB&G and Kurt and thought great I will get some accurate Laker analysis before I even log onto the blog later. Bynum, we are all thinking about him, huh.

  34. 31. E-ROC is right, I would hire Thomas as a draft consultant. Nothing more. But he drafted well.

  35. kurt…i have heard nothing of said lawsuit…can you send me a link to an article or something?

  36. nevermind…found it

  37. Really, Thomas is considered a good draft consultant? Aside from David Lee, I don’t see another draft pick that can be considered half-decent. That he drafted Renaldo Balkman and Mardy Collins in the 2006 Draft using both his first round picks that year speaks volumes I think.

    Oh, and great job on the podcast Kurt. Totally agree that Dallas would be a preferred matchup over anyone else, especially a motivated Phoenix that would have to be hot as a result of making the playoffs.

    As for having Bynum back or not, I still think we give Boston and Cleveland significant matchup problems, Cleveland much moreso than Boston. Wallace, Varajeo and Smith can’t guard a motivated Odom, and especially not Gasol. Granted, LeBron for ~48 minutes in playoff mode is a completely different animal (not to say that he wasn’t motivated during our regular season matchups, but he’ll be playing at his best during the playoffs), but with Bynum (and to some extent without), we can deny him the lane and force him to hoist jumpers. He can definitely get hot, but he’s not consistent enough to score that well with Kobe taking his defensive job seriously. As for Boston, Bynum is more necessary, just to restore the frontcourt matchups to the more natural Bynum-Perkins, Gasol-Garnett assignments. Having Odom come off the bench to play against Davis, Powe, and Moore (and especially being able to have Pau or Andrew on the floor all the time) will be a huge edge.

  38. It’s difficult for me to understand why some teams hire certain guys as GM’s when its clear that they are failures at it (Isaiah and Jordan come to mind, and McHale is another). Sure, each has had one or two good moves, but overall I dont understand how a team can justify (1) paying these guys millions to do a poor job and (2) banking their hope for the future on guys with a less-than-stellar GM track record in the NBA. I guess this begs the quetion whether the good-will of being a good player never go away?


    Not too basketball related, but here’s a great article in the NYTimes about how people tend to trust expert opinion, presenting data that expert opinions over time are just as accurate as random choice. Interesting metaphor about hedgehogs and foxes as well.

    Funny how I don’t think this occurs in basketball. At least in this Forum (haha, pun), most people tend to take expert’s word with a measure of doubt and form their own opinions based on those facts. That and most people realize that some basketball analysts are woefully underqualified (Jon Barry, this one’s at you).

  40. First draft in the 2003 bombed as Michael Sweetney sucked and the international player didn’t pan out. 2004, he drafted Trevor Ariza. I think he traded his first round pick to the Bulls for Eddy Curry that year. 2005, he drafted Channing Frye, David Lee, and Dijon Thompson. 2006, he draft Renaldo Balkman and Mardy Collins. 2007, Wilson Chandler and traded for Demetrius Nichols were drafted. That’s pretty darn good.

  41. BCR,
    While with the Raptors, Thomas also drafted Damon Stoudamire (who won ROY), Marcus Camby, and Tracy McGrady. He knows talent. I would even argue that in most of his trades he won the deals on the talent side. His downfall as a GM had more to do with the contracts he gave out (and acquired) and in the fact that he was compiling talent and not really building a team.

  42. MannyP13 – Michael Jordan isn’t that bad. Kwame Brown and Adam Morrison didn’t meet expectations that come with being drafted at their respective positions. That ain’t the be-all and end-all. He has traded for Raja Bell, Boris Diaw, Jason Richardson signed Cartier Martin and Dontell Jefferson from the D-League, drafted Jared Dudley, DJ Augustin, Jermareo Davidson, Alexis Ajinca, and Kyle Weaver. I think he’s fairing pretty well with the Bobcats.

  43. Interesting piece in truehoop talking about our defense.

    Coach Cleamons talks about the lack of defensive intensity night in and night out and how that is characteristic in champion teams.

  44. The Lake Show are sitting pretty. My only concern is sustainability. Where will we be in two years? I don’t trust Bynum’s health. In the current economic state drafting well is as important as ever.

    You can bet that there will be a lot of eyeballs on this year’s Nike Hoop Summit. Top US high school seniors vs the Top high school seniors from the rest of the world. Guys like Dirk, Tony Parker and Derek Rose played in it before they got drafted.

    Yahoo Sports is doing a live webcast of the game on April 11th. Hopefully I will be watching the next great Laker.

  45. RE the TrueHoop post on our defense:

    I mentioned this a while back, but after reading Jim Cleamons’ comments it popped back in my head- the Lakers play a defensive scheme that is equivalent to paint by numbers. The coaches are telling players exactly where they need to be in help situations rather than letting them figure those things out for themselves. It’s the reason why we double the post against players who may not be strong scoring threats. It’s why we shift into our SSZ when the ball handler is in a position to be a penetrator. It’s why we extend into traps on the wing when the player with the ball is in a position to hurt us with the ball. These are all situations where the coaches think we are vulnerable and want us to be in better positions as helpers. Ultimately we’re trying to compensate for the fact that our players are not instinctive enough to play the defensive scenario well enough for the result to be something successful. So, like paint by numbers, the staff has laid out what they (the players) should do on any given possession beforehand so all they do is fill in the part of the picture with the proper color. Understand though, that while this scheme is meant to limit our weaknesses, it’s also meant to play to our strengths- length and quickness. We have players that *should* be able to show help on the strong side while still recovering to the weakside to contest shooters. We have players that can trap on the strong side while still recovering to the paint to rebound when the players are rotating to the opposite side of the court. I agree with Coach Cleamons though, we need to bring that effort to rotate on defense in the manner that the scheme requires. Because if we don’t we will be in trouble.

  46. Our D has been praised by experts? Really? They must not actually watch games. It’s funny, I found Forum Blue through truehoop a couple years ago, but have long since stopped reading it, because I grew so tired of Abbott’s foolishness. Throw him and Hollinger in a boat and sail them away…

    So I’m not crazy, Cleamons’ quote has certified my assessment of this season’s D. The only question is how many bad losses or playoff exits will it take before we quit mimicking the Suns and stop making excuses for playing bad defense? This reg season’s d has actually been worse than last year. I could’ve sworn the mission for this season was to be better on D.

  47. I personally have no issues with the way the Lakers were presented in that article; God knows everyone who’s watched them over the course of the season would agree that the D has hardly been consistent.

    I do find it somewhat odd, however, that Henry (or whoever it was that wrote it) took that bit of insight from Jim Cleamons from an article that actually had nothing to do with the Lakers at all (Friedman was writing about the Knicks), then made a piece about the Lakers out of it.

  48. 48

    Friedman was using the quote from Cleamons to attack a statement made by Kevin Pelton several months ago. In fact, if you actually read the piece on the Knicks you can see that he first posted that quote in December of last year.

    That’s not to say that Cleamons’ comments on the Laker defense don’t still hold some validity today, but the fact is that Friedman was not posting about that subject at all. Yet for some reason Abbott digs through the whole piece and decides to quote that part only. Interesting.

  49. Deeeetroit Bas-ket-ball post up.

  50. ARIIIZA!!! I got a link to work.