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Kyle Goon | Lakers Reporter, Southern California News Group

Amy Lawrence Show / Amy Lawrence
The Truth Network Radio
January 25, 2023 6:08 am

Kyle Goon | Lakers Reporter, Southern California News Group

Amy Lawrence Show / Amy Lawrence

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January 25, 2023 6:08 am

Southern California News Group Lakers insider Kyle Goon joins the show to talk the Battle of LA, LeBron's strong season, and the expected return of Anthony Davis.

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So get started and download the free Odyssey app today. We're pleased to welcome Kyle Goon, who covers the Lakers, was there at Staples for Southern California News Group. Kyle, were you part of either the Rob Palinka press mess or the post-game with Salty Lebron?

Yeah, I was there for both. Look, Amy, Lebron knows that people look at the Russell Westbrook trade and see his fingerprints on it. And one thing Lebron hates more than a bad shooting night is being held accountable for his team failures. So I think the lesson that Lebron has learned from last year is distance between himself and the front office.

I don't think he's tried to create the impression that he is telling anyone what to do. He's certainly made some strong statements about his team early in the year. It's not like we have a bunch of lasers on our team. We don't have shooting.

The other day said we don't have size. But I think Lebron in that answer is trying to avoid the specter that he is the team's GM because a lot of times that comes back to bite him. So we are not quite at the trade deadline, but certainly to get reinforcements for the Lakers, the biggest piece they could possibly add is Anthony Davis. What's the latest that we know about his status after 20 games out of the lineup? I'm somewhat going off of some of the reports that you guys have seen from ESPN and TNT that he's going through a morning workout and will be evaluated. We've heard recently that on Saturday before the Portland game that he had done some work with some teammates who don't play as heavy minutes. Darvin said today was another good day for him in his development and said once he goes through morning evaluations, the possibilities are limitless.

So Amy, I think that's a wink and a nod from Darvin Ham that you could see A.D. tomorrow, which would be huge. He was having an MVP type year. We got hurt back on December 16th and now he's missed 20 games. And also the Lakers could have their new trade addition Rui Hachimura. Actually, it's more sure that Rui is going to play tomorrow. And with a 6-8 frame, he gives the Lakers some size that they've really been missing with ADO. There's a lot of anticipation around him and his getting on the court.

What are you expecting when you see him after what you've heard or just in general having a chance to watch him? I honestly think Rui's value more so than what is he going to do, what isn't he going to do, is the Lakers just need a 6-8 guy. The Lakers have been doing a lot of rotations with a lot of guards who are 6'3 or shorter. They make a 6'2 guard in Kendrick Nunn who, when the team was healthy, he wasn't playing much, into a 6'8 forward in Rui Hachimura. We saw the other night they did manage to win against Memphis, one of the best teams in the West. But the whole night, they're playing just ball ball against a Grizzlies team that has a ton of length, rebounding over them. The Grizzlies actually scored 39 second chance points on them, which is just absurd. Over 20 offensive rebounds. When you get to that level where you're playing that much smaller than everyone else, especially some of the biggest teams in the West, then you really just need size.

So I think Rui, at his core, just helps balance the roster to lineups where they can just get more size on the floor when they need it. Kyle Goon is with us from Los Angeles after covering Clippers-Lakers. Clippers have had the Lakers' number now for an extended stretch. He's with Southern California News Group.

It's after hours on CBS Sports Radio. The LeBron-led Lakers have gone.500 without Anthony Davis, and they've had a nice surge after the way they started. What's behind the way they're playing over these last 20 games? Well, one, it's LeBron. He's kind of reached a new level since he turned 38. He's averaging 35, 36 points per game. And Amy, I don't know how familiar you are with NBA history and how much tinkering around you do, checking on people in year 20 who have had that kind of season.

It's never happened before. It's never happened in NBA history. Obviously, subtext here, he's less than 200 points away from the all-time NBA scoring record. He's arguably still one of the 10 best players in the NBA. So he's been playing really well.

But I think more than that, it's just tempo. The Lakers have kind of found their answer for playing small with playing fast and using their speed. They're one of the best transition offenses in the NBA. And that's really when LeBron and Russ can actually play together well. That was this unsolvable problem last year for Frank Vogel. How do I get Russ and LeBron to play well together? Darvin Ham has kind of figured out the answer. Hey, if we bust our butts and run down the court, these are two of the best transition players in the NBA, two really fast guys, two guys who can finish and transition. And that's kind of been the secret sauce for the run.

I like the Darvin Ham element to this. And there was nothing wrong with Frank Vogel. He was an experienced coach. They did do some winning with him. But it feels like Darvin is the yin to LeBron's yang and just kind of the right fit with the way he handles everything, his perspective. Obviously, the fact that he played, he doesn't seem to get too high or low in terms of looking at maybe a couple of games in which they've lost or even a run that they put together where they've played well. He just seems to take everything in stride. And I like that kind of even keel.

It seems to work really well with this group. Yeah. And it's interesting because it should be said that Darvin definitely had some rookie head coach moments. I mean, you know, there was a game that they played against Dallas where Luka Doncic hit a tying three pointer for the Mavericks that, in retrospect, Darvin Ham said, Oh, man, I should have blitzed him.

And a lot of people were kind of watching at home being like, Well, yeah, yeah, you should have. But I think to what you're saying, Amy, you know, Darvin, one, was a player on a championship team. So as both the guy who played in the league and as a guy who won a championship in the league, he has some gravitas.

And then, too, he just has this overwhelming sense of optimism and sort of hardline accountability on effort. You're not going to see the team kind of hoping it all night long. I mean, even tonight when they lost by a lot, I mean, they cut it to 10 and the Clippers were having a ridiculously good shooting night. And they're always going to be a little competitive. I mean, on Sunday, they they erased a 25 point lead against Portland. Now, they shouldn't be getting that far down the first place, but they're going to try. They're going to compete.

And that's one thing that, you know, LeBron and Darvin are definitely on the same page. LeBron said the other night, We're not a lay down team. We don't give up. We don't die. We compete every night.

That's not our problem. They may have some other problems that the roster has, but they're going to compete every night. And Darvin Ham is inevitably a part of that DNA. Well, there are a lot of ways in which LeBron and Tom Brady's careers kind of mirror each other in terms of titles, sure, but also the fact that they set the intensity level for the team and the rest of the locker room. The guys on the court, the guys on the bench, they have no choice but to follow. You don't want to run afoul of these guys who are late in their careers trying to win titles and, of course, climbing scoring charts and setting records. And I was mentioning this earlier, such an obscure record that likely you're not going to see another player match, which is 40 plus points against every team in the NBA.

Well, Brady's got similar ones, right, Kyle? He's got, hey, a touchdown pass against every single team in the NBA. I mean, just it's the kind of thing that you only get if you've played 20 years.

So it's pretty incredible to watch. I'm wondering, I'm sure it comes up all the time, the scoring record. How much do you think it means to him and how much do you think it means to the Lakers fans?

Yeah, it's interesting. I mean, I think the way LeBron is scoring right now, you have to infer that it does mean something to him. If you talk to him directly about it, he'll tell you, oh, it's not something I shot for. And to some extent, I mean, LeBron didn't come into the league known as a scorer. He was able to score points, but then as his career developed and he was trying to win, he kind of realized, hey, I've got to do things that help my team. And I've got to be able to score and I've got to be able to shoot.

I've got to be able to create my own shot from where I want it. So I think it does matter to him, even though he's going to be low to admit it. I think after he passes the record, he might open up a little bit more about that. And then, Amy, one huge thing about LeBron, even though he says he's not thinking about his legacy, that's something for when he hangs it up. I mean, I think you're going to see a lot of people view LeBron perhaps with new eyes or be kind of pushed into a corner about looking at LeBron's legacy. You know, Dirk Nowitzki said this best last month. If LeBron really passes Kareem on the all-time scoring record, I'm running out of reasons to call Michael Jordan the GOAT. And I think that's kind of something we're talking about that's going to be really massive for LeBron's legacy. I mean, not only is he going to be the leading scorer in NBA history, he's going to pass the record while being still at 38 at year 20 of his career. One of the best players in the NBA.

And that is something powerful to think about. I mean, the career scoring record, when you score your last point, you're out of gas. You're right at the end.

And LeBron is nowhere close to the end right now, as far as I can see. Now, I know this was last year and it was kind of weird, the wrinkle that was thrown out there about him wanting to play with his son when his son gets to the NBA, which would, of course, mean he's not going to retire anytime soon. I'm sure his son comes up. He's a McDonald's All-American. He's picking his school. But has all of that future talk been squashed for now? No.

I think it's actually heating up. I mean, his son is named McDonald's All-American today. And I think his team is rising for Bronny, even though he's just 6'2". He's not as great a shooter, a ball handler, a distributor, his dad.

Obviously, that's a super high calling for anyone. But he's a really competent player. And I think he's going to be a really competent college player. I don't know if he's going to be an out of the box star, but he's going to help a team win. So his recruiting is a little shadowy because the family wants it that way.

They want it kind of under wraps. And I'm sure there's some high level negotiating going on on what Bronny coming to your school would mean. But I actually think Bronny's rise this year as a high school senior has only spurred on more talk. And certainly LeBron, with his level of play remaining high, is encouraging the idea that he's not going to retire for a while. So as long as his head's in it, LeBron has said, as long as my mind's in it, as long as I can kind of mentally embrace the challenge and mentally keep my discipline, I'm going to be in it.

And I really think his goal is I'm going to be on the court with Bronny. And that's his last big thing beyond trying to win another championship. It's really interesting to think about the Lakers with all their star power already. They're a major attraction whether they are home or away. But can you imagine the spectacle of, A, him getting closer to that scoring record and the number of celebrities and superstars, people who only show up when it's a big thing, who want to be on hand and be around.

And then the circus, and I don't mean because of the two of them, but the circus around him playing with his son. Yeah, well certainly I'm looking at the schedule next week and it's going to be a madhouse. And I don't think he's going, like he has to score 178 points to pass Kareem. I don't think he's going to do it in four games. But in Madison Square Garden on January 31st, I don't know, I can't rule it out. I'm never going to rule out anything with this man. Is he going to do it in New Orleans? I don't think he wants to do it in Indiana. Being in Indianapolis, I'm not sure if that has the same significance for LeBron as MSG.

But you can't rule anything out. This road trip could be the time. But I think it would be pretty neat if he did it February 7th against the Thunder or February 9th in a big matchup against the Bucks. Oh my gosh. Obviously a former Kareem team. Wait, do they play on Super Bowl Sunday?

They do not. Oh my gosh, could you imagine? Holy crap, it cannot be on Super Bowl Sunday. It cannot be.

No worries, your TV airwaves will be clear. Exactly, everybody get out of the way. Even you LeBron for just that one night. It's building up to that obviously and he is going to get it with the way he's been playing. The Lakers are back in the equation in terms of playoffs and all that jazz even though we're just now in late January. So we're going to have to keep Kyle on our speed dial here.

So find him on Twitter at Kyle Goon and he covers the Lakers for the Southern California News Group. It's been a while since we've had you so it's good to talk to you again Kyle. Thanks so much for your insight and also the humor. Thank you Amy. Hopefully we're in good spirits the deeper this season goes out in Laker Land.

We will see. Thanks so much. Bye bye. Download the free Odyssey app today.

Download the free Odyssey app today. I'm Larry Mullins, host of the podcast Your Weirdest Fears, the show that explores the odd things that make your heart stop. I am so scared of the Grinch. He is bad vibes. We talk to everyone from therapists to exterminators to lizard man. I was 25 when I actually got my tongue split.

I have one tattoo that covers my entire body. Listen and subscribe on the Odyssey app or wherever you get your podcasts from.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-25 08:46:29 / 2023-01-25 08:53:05 / 7

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