For tonight’s trip to L.A. we traded questions with Friend of the Blog, ESPN’s Brian Kamenetzky. Find our set of Blazer-related answers check out Land O’ Lakers. Try not to get lost in the comments.
PRS: We’re basically at the season’s halfway point. How would you grade the Lakers’ performance?
BRIAN KAMENETZKY: B-C+. They’re not playing poorly overall, and have a lot to overcome, from a new coach bringing a new system in a year where they were totally robbed of any real preparation time, to some serious roster turnover, the loss of Lamar Odom following the scuttled CP3 deal, and so on. They have a roster suited to last year’s offense, no reliable shot creators beyond Kobe Bryant, no bench punch, and could use more ball handling, too. The outside shooting isn’t coming around with consistency, either.
Simply put, they’re a very, very top heavy team. Kobe, Pau, and Bynum are excellent. Everyone else is average, or worse. Hard to thrive in that reality.
Is playoff positioning something the Lakers are concerned with? Or is it more important for them to simply make the playoffs in good health?
The health thing is key, because if any of their top end players are hurt, they’re done. But that said, given the road record (5-11), it’s more important for them to earn at least a round of home court by finishing fourth in the conference. It’s hard to see them making it through multiple rounds anyway, but without home court in the first, they might just get bounced from the jump.
A few weeks back rookie point guard Andrew Goudelock had cracked the rotation to become talk of the town. How has he faired since?
He’s still the only guy on the bench who can put the ball on the floor and score. Initially, Mike Brown cut his minutes a little when Steve Blake returned, but before playing only eight minutes Sunday night, Goudelock had at least hit double digits. He’s a rookie and it’s a shame the Lakers need his punch, but they do. He has the mentality of a scorer, and they don’t have many of those.
Which has better odds: Gilbert Arenas becoming a Laker or Dwight Howard? Any other trades or deals brewing that could keep L.A. neck and neck with the surging Clippers?
I don’t think either happens, but I’d say Gilbert only because it doesn’t require a trade to make it happen. They can just sign him, because it doesn’t appear the market is exactly red hot for him. Regarding other deals, guys like Ramon Sessions or Jose Calderon are bandied about, but I’m not sure if the Lakers pull the trigger. They’d need to give up some of their limited resources (draft picks, for example), and if they do, bigger fish like Howard or Deron Williams become tougher to acquire.