25 January 2011
Q and A with The Purple and Gold Blog (TPGBlog) and With-Malice, (WM) two of the Bloguin Laker Blogs.
TPGBlog-Other than Boston, I don't think Laker fans, in general, have any particular dismay about Utah as a state or even the Jazz. But most Laker faithfuls have a dislike on how Jazz fans treated Derek Fisher after he returned to L.A. to treat his daughter. To put it in perspective, I remember seeing a photo of Fisher at the free-throw line at the EnergySolutions Arena, and there's a fan at the stand behind the basket holding his hand over his left eye as his way of trying to distract Fisher.WM-Ouch... tough question. I'll cover it in two parts...
1). In Utah we have the little brother mentality with the Lakers, as in we have not been able to get past them in the playoffs since 99' when Shaq and Kobe started dominating. How do the Lakers faithful feel about Utah the state, the Utah Jazz, and the Utah Jazz fans.
Firstly, there's no questioning Jazz-fans' passion. Definitely passionate. And most Jazz fans I've had the pleasure to meet (either live or via the 'net), have been articulate and pleasant.
That said... the fans at ESA are amongst the most rabid in the NBA. Quite often unfairly so.
2). Our realistic fear is that the Lakers will go after Chris Paul or Deron Williams after their contracts expire. Is this something that is talked about amongst Lakers fans and who would you guys want out of the two.
TPGBlog-I actually just saw a story somewhere asking if Deron Williams could be the next Carmelo Anthony. But for a team that offer a lot of perks to any player as being one of the most successful organization in all of sports and being in the league's biggest market, there's always a chance the Lakers can steal a Chris Paul or a Deron Williams via trade or free-agency. There are no series of rumors connecting either guy to the Lakers yet, but that never stop Laker fans from talking about other superstars in the league as the next big acquisition for the Lakers. But Jeannie Buss has been mentioned just recently saying that the Lakers are starting to look into ways of trying to bring in some younger talent or talents perhaps to become the next cornerstone or two. Considering this is most likely Phil Jackson's final season in L.A., the Lakers are gonna need a true point guard to run the new offense. Whether that's someone in the level of either Williams or Paul that the Lakers feel the need that they should have is another issue entirely.Most Laker fans seem to like Chris Paul more, but I personally don't mind either one.
Firstly, important to note that the triangle doesn't need an elite point to function, and function well - thus no elite points in LA for quite a while. However... Phil Jackson's definitely nearing the end of his shelf-life, and it's no secret that Jerry Buss longs for a return to the days of Showtime... if that's the case, the days post-Phi-Jax might indeed necessitate a truly elite point.
And if it came down to a choice between CP3 and D-Will? Gimme #8 7 days a week and twice when LA wear the Sunday whites!
3) How do you guys feel about Jerry West's comments in the lakers are to old to defend?
TPGBlog-He's right to some degree because what can anyone say about the Celtics? They're older yet they play defense like their life depended on it. Defense is all about heart and attitude. Right now, the Lakers don't seem to be willing to fully commit themselves to that end of the floor. Once they do, which will probably be sometime in March, I think the age talk will simmer down. But that is something I'm hoping the Lakers will address this upcoming summer and not the next. WM-
Whoa! Step back a bit! What the Logo said was that the Lakers are having difficulty sustaining defense because of age!
I think he's right... to a point. I also think the response from an assortment of Lakers was right too, the gist being that LA have the length, ability, and basketball IQ that they shouldn't need to have the mad scramble you see from those... less "age challenged".
4) With Bynum back in the lineup, who will win the battle in the paint... Jazz or Lakers ( may be obvious)?
TPGBlog-No disrespect to the Jazz, but 9 out of 10 times the Lakers are a lock to win the battle of the bigs. But that doesn't mean the Lakers won't give up a lot of points in the paint, especially against Deron Williams.
WM-Sorry man, LA have that battle won. I think they're going to be VERY up for this game. Both as a team, and on individual levels. Bynum/Odom will be out to prove All Star credentials, and Pau's due for a burner.
5) What is it that you guys think the Jazz are missing to be a top 2 team in the west?
TPGBlog- Outside Miami, 3 of the top 4 teams in the league have a post game. And not just having bigs that can score down low. These bigs can also do other things like pass, rebound and block shots plus have a solid playoff-level experience. Al Jefferson can score, rebound and reject shots but he's not known to be a passer and doesn't have a heavy experience when it comes to post-season play. Plus, is he the type of player that can carry a team in the post for the Jazz to become a legit championship contender?
Well... firstly, they're missing some elite talls. Al Jefferson's good, and so's Paul Millsap - but I don't think either are at the truly elite level. To be top 2, you need an elite guard (check), and an elite big (ummm...). And you need depth around them both.
And I think Utah have gained about all they can get from Jerry Sloan. It's time to move on.
6) Do you see the Lakers resting players and slowing down towards the end of the season due to age?
TPGBlog-Phil is already resting Kobe by not having him participate in practices. I think Fisher also takes some practices off. But Phil is saving Kobe because of his sore knees and not because of his age. If Bryant doesn't have the aches and pains, who can really tell him to rest even in practice? As far as the Lakers slowing down later, it's always a possibility but I think they know they haven't even gone fast enough to deserve to slow down. So, they still feel that they're a team outside looking in.
Depending on whether they're capable of catching San Antonio or not (who are - by the way - MUCH older than LA).
It's really bit of a misnomer: LA aren't that old. Most bigs are still well in their prime at 30, and I DARE you to call Kobe Bryant O-L-D. I double dare you!
And my response is kinda continued in the next response...
7) Do you see the Lakers making any moves before the trade deadline?
TPGBlog-Not all. But if all of a sudden they have the chance to snag Carmelo Anthony without sacrificing much of their core, who knows?
WM-It's a tough one. Maybe? With the return of Theo Ratliff imminent, I think they have the pieces to really be a tough play. They're set and have enough depth to make sure that players are well-rested and ready for the playoff push.
8) Similar to one from a Jazz fans point of view we hate the Lakers and consider them our worst enemy and nemisis, do Lakers fans consider the Jazz as a rivals or a threat to their three-peat?
TPGBlog-The Lakers have eliminated the Jazz in 3 playoff meetings this decade, so I don't think Laker fans consider the Jazz a serious threat at all. But if the Jazz start winning at Staples Center, that could very well change.
I kid... but... ummm... not really.
A good team, and one that can beat anyone in the league if they're on.
9) If you were an opposing team what would you do to attack or cause problems for the Lakers, in turn beating them?
TPGBlog-Play them with physicality and make Kobe a volume shooter. Those have been the most proven methods of beating the Lakers for a game but not a 7-game series. The Lakers are too versatile of a team not to adapt to their opponents. That's why they've been in the Finals for the past 3 seasons. WM-
Fast transitions. LOTS of pick and rolls (tho' LA are better at defending that now).
LA's not a particularly fast team... and teams with water-bug-quick points cause LA conniptions too.
10) How much does losing Matt Barnes for two months affect this team in the long run, (rotation, Chemistry, wins and so forth)?
TPGBlog-Chemistry is never a problem for the Lakers, but Barnes is missed greatly. I always hold my breath each time Luke Walton steps onto the floor in his place. The flip side in Matt's absence is it kind of pushed Ron Artest to become a much better player this season. That helped a lot in the Lakers racking up much more wins that losses.WM-Another good question. It'll impact LA, no doubt about it... still, I think that LA have the ability to cover that - Ron Artest plays a large part in that, and he has the opportunity to continue to improve (he has improved!). Ron's pretty key for LA over the next few weeks/months. I bet that's causing some sleepless nights.
11) Do you guys think that Kobe should be playing more than 33 or so a game his career average is 37-38 or so?
TPGBlog-In a perfect world, I wouldn't want Kobe to play longer than 25 minutes a game at this stage of his career. But as long as the Lakers can't establish any consistency on both ends of the floor, that's just wishful thinking.WM-
Minutes? His career average is 36. Nah, I'm fine with Kobe playing 33 per.
It's interesting. Relatively recently, I did a piece on the necessity for Kobe to continue to change his game up to stay at the very top of the NBA. And of late, he's done that. The load's definitely being spread around more.
12) What are your feelings on Fisher and do you want to get a young point guard asap?
TPGBlog-I wanted the Lakers to get someone to replace him 3 years ago. Fish is a great motivator, even better than Kobe. But even in his prime, he's never been known to be a great facilitator or even a defender that can put those worries away when it comes to the Lakers facing a younger or quicker team. Frankly, the only reason why he stayed with the Lakers this long is because of Phil's trust in him to run the Triangle.WM-
I don't really regard Fish as being the pre-eminent PG at LA any more. He, Blake and Brown largely share the role (Fish sees 27 min, Blake 19 and Brown 18 - but largely SG/PG). But one thing I guarantee: during the playoffs, Derek Fisher will calmly place a veritable dagger in the collective hearts of LA's opponent, making everyone nod their heads sagely and state "that's why he's still at the Lakers".
Sooner rather than later tho'... they need to get younger at the point.
13) How does the Average Laker fan view the Jazz.
TPGBlog-A playoff team that isn't talented enough to go all the way. Personally, I've been enjoying the Lakers take on the Jazz since Karl Malone and John Stockton were the deadly up-and-coming duo. Today, Deron Williams is one of my favorite young guards in the league. I just like his attitude about hating to lose. That's very important for a young point guard to have.WM-Tough opponent. Hard-nosed, pushing physicality to it's legal limits.
14) Assuming that you guys are life long Lakers fans, how do you feel about the bandwagon fans that Jump on and off depending on how the team is doing?
TPGBlog-It's flattering, but it isn't something to lose sleep over. They don't affect the way real fans support one another or the Lakers.WM-
Most definitely a life-long fan.
I despise bandwagon fans. I'll barely tolerate those that jump on LA's wagon, but - for example - those that rushed to ride the coattails of the Heat? Ugh. I hate it. With one exception (and this is one that I only recently came to recognize): I know a guy who's purely a LeBron fan. So where-ever LBJ was headed, that was going to be his team.
I don't agree with it, but I understand that ... and I don't think it's being "a bandwagon fan".
Just wanted to thank the guys from the Purple and Gold Blog and With-Malice, go check out their write ups for tonight's game. With Malice had me put a Jazz Haiku together and PNGB always has a good read.