Ask Spero - 4/19/07

Ask Spero - 03/27/07

You have a great style on the radio. Is there any chance you would ever do simulcasts with Stu like Chick used to do? - Drew

Very flattered you feel that way. Thanks so much for the compliment. I think the days of a simulcast are long gone. And besides, I’m just really into radio play-by-play right now. Enjoying it more than you can imagine. It’s so satisfying, knowing that the listener is totally dependent on your descriptions. Most importantly, the Lakers already have a TV play-by-player, Joel Meyers, who is one of the best in the business.

Every time I go to a Laker game, there is a man walking around on the court before the games start. He is short, he has long grey hair, wears a cowboy hat, cowboy boots, and usually wears a loud-colored blazer with jeans. From the back, he resembles Tom Petty. Who is he??? - Ellen

Your mystery man is Jim Goldstein. He’s been a Lakers & Clippers season-ticket holder for many years. Jim’s probably the most avid NBA fan in the country. During the playoffs, you’ll see him courtside at arenas around the league, right through the Finals.

Do you think that some of the choices Mitch Kupchak is making in regards to the roster is wasting the talent of Kobe Bryant? Do you think that this could have been done better by Jerry West? - Ian

Like most other GM’s around the NBA, Mitch takes his fair share of abuse—much more than he deserves. I understand the frustration on your part. But as the GM, you must take into account a multitude of variables. This is a high-pressure business, where one wrong move can cost you a job. At the end of the day, the GM must also be convincing. Hypothetically, a move that Mitch wants to make may not sit well with Dr. Buss.

As wonderful a run as Jerry West had here, I’m not convinced this team would be better off with him still at the helm.

As a Laker fan, I feel this team needs major upgrades at a couple positions. First at the point, someone who can lockdown on dribble penetration and can shoot a good pct from the 3-point line. Do you feel they have the resources to do this? I am talking about an Eric Snow type player that the 76ers had in their run to the finals in 2001, hard nose and a good mid range jumper. Your thoughts? - Jeffrey

I agree with you, wholeheartedly. Until the perimeter defense is corrected, this team will have major problems rejoining the league’s elite. They do have the resources to acquire the kind of player who can provide what’s missing. But we’ll just have to wait and see how this plays out.

Do you think it's necessary for the Lakers to double team on defense? It seems when they send the double team, they always get burnt. Wouldn't they be better off defending teams man to man, or zone? - Ron

The periodic zone has worked recently, and for a team that’s been so poor defensively, anything that yields even a modicum of success is something to consider. I have noticed that sometimes the Lakers will double-team opposing players who don’t deserve that kind of attention. This leaves the team vulnerable, and at the mercy of the more dangerous players. This is basic, smart, fundamental basketball.

Why doesn’t Phil play Cook more, this guys is a great scorer, I know Cook is not the best defensively, but I have seen him turn games around when we are down in Points, and struggling, and Phil turn around and takes him out the game, and back down we go…………I just don’t understand it. With all do respect, what is going on with Phil’s coaching? Do you think it’s because Phil has it for him after the towel incident? - Maurice

Phil Jackson is not a vindictive man. Never has been. Brian Cook has been a good offensive player—not great. The inconsistency in his minutes I’m sure have frustrated him. But when your defensive game is unreliable sometimes, your minutes can come and go, depending on match-ups.

Who has the most number of championships in the NBA – Lakers or Celtics? - Andy

Going back to their early days as the Detroit Gems in 1946, the Lakers franchise has won 14 championships. The Celtics, founded in ’46 as well, have captured 16 league titles.

I can’t help but notice body language. Besides Kobe, Lamar, Ronny, and Luke, Everyone else’s body language is very disappointing. I don’t know if it’s low confidence in them selves, but it kills me to see no Heart. Now this is based on observation of course so I can’t speak on behalf of any of them, but it just looks like they don’t want it as bad. Do you think it’s contagious from Smush? Or am I just seeing things? - Danny

For any team, as the losses mount, the negative energy around the group becomes palpable. Smush Parker is often the guy singled out the most, but everyone is at fault for pouting at one point or another. Saying these guys have “no heart” is a bit excessive. I think it’s been more a case of low confidence. How they fight through this, and how they perform in the First Round against either Phoenix or Dallas will tell us a lot about this team’s mental toughness.

I am a huge Andrew Bynum fan, and i know he is only 19 years old, but it just seems like he is in foul trouble every night. He doesn't seem to know how to create angles to block shots. Am i expecting too much out of the kid or is it something that he will figure out with time? - Joe

Yes, I’d say your expectations are too high. Naturally, we all want Bynum to become an overnight sensation. But it’s become clear he has much to learn – both about improving his skills and revamping his work ethic. My biggest concern with Andrew has been his lack of drive. A 19-year old should not have to be kicked in the rear by his coach to work harder. And it’s happened multiple times this season.

Hey Spero, my question is why does the attendance say 20,121 for the Clippers, Lakers Game and the Clippers were at " home "but all the Laker games say 18,997? - Garrett

Strange, I know. Basically, with small tweaks to the arena’s seating configuration for Clippers games as opposed to Lakers games, there’s a small difference in attendance compacity.

Is Phil coming back next year? I hope so personally I don't see another replacement. - Herbert

At this point, I haven’t seen nor heard anything that would lead me to think Phil would not honor the last year of his contract. The real question will be whether he’ll stay beyond 2007-2008. Seems like he’s leaning toward having his other hip replaced, which would help him even more, physically.

Give me your all 1st All-NBA Team and all-defensive 1st All-NBA Team? - Allan

All-NBA First Team: Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan.
All-Defensive First Team: Chauncey Billups, Bruce Bowen, Tayshaun Prince, Ron Artest, Marcus Camby.

I am a big fan of yours since you began broadcasting Laker games on the radio. I wanted to know if you plan to pursue television commentary. - Mary

Before I was hired by the Lakers, I was working in TV sports. And currently, NFL Network has given me an opportunity to work as a host/play-by-player, Lakers schedule-permitting. But there’s something about radio that’s extremely satisfying right now. Thanks so much for your support and kind words.

Why is the zone defense so hard for the Lakers to counter? - Michael

A very good question. An even better question would be why opposing teams don’t show the Lakers a zone defense almost exclusively.

All kidding aside, there have been times when the Lakers have had moderate success against the zone. Interestingly enough, many coaches shy away from the zone based on pride. Phil Jackson recently described the zone defense as a “bail out.” And at the end of the day, NBA teams are too good not to figure out a scheme to counter a zone after a certain point.

Why isn't Lamar as interested in scoring as somebody as physically gifted as him should be? - Mel

A lot of it has to do with Lamar’s personality. He’s never been a guy who’s been comfortable calling his own number. Despite that, he’s twice averaged 17 PPG in his career. Before his knee injury in December, Lamar finally seemed to have found the perfect balance in his game: when to create for teammates, and when to score. Playing with a teammate as gifted and dominant as Kobe Bryant can make life for an Odom-type player easy, and difficult at the same time. At some point, Odom will have to figure it out.