It is now safe to say that the majority of Laker fans have thrown in the towel on Andrew Bynum and his "tremendous upside potential" as well as his knack for picking up two fouls in two minutes.
Lamar Odom and his errant outside shooting has turned off a lot of people recently as well, despite his pre-injury dominance early in the year.
So the answer to Kobe's pleas and the man who will bring the Lakers back to a championship contender is Jermaine O'Neal.
Here's what you should know about JO before we anoint him the savior to the Lakers woes.
For a man who stands 6-11 and weighs 260 pounds, he doesn't exactly get easy baskets. His shooting percentage last season was a horrible 43.6 percent. By contrast Odom shot 46.8 percent.
Even in 2003-04 when JO averaged 20 and 10, he shot under 44 percent, making JO very AI like. As for my preconceived notion of JO being a complete black hole when he gets the ball, the assist numbers back it up. Among elite power forwards JO’s assists per 40 minutes (2.7) are frankly terrible (see Tim Duncan 4.0, Kevin Garnett 4.2, Dirk 3.7, Carmelo 4.0, Elton Brand 3.1, Pau Gaso 3.8, Boozer 3.4). Aside from averaging 3.0 in that category two seasons ago, his assist numbers are even worse (2.1, 2.4, and 2.2 in the 3 previous years).
In addition JO’s PER (Player efficiency rating according to ESPN’s John Hollinger) was 18.86 was 45th in the NBA.
Just so you don’t completely dismiss Hollinger’s ratings, the top 5 in PER were Dwayne Wade, Dirk, Yao, Tim Duncan, and Kobe.
Odom by contrast was 89th at 16.20 but had a PER of over 20 in the playoffs.
So what the Lakers would be getting is an inefficient power forward who hogs the ball and can’t shoot straight, but he’d be taking shots away from Kobe.
And all we have to give up is the guy who defers to Kobe (maybe too much at times) but is a good passer, plays defense, hustles, and hasn’t complained about anything except being traded out of LA.
Plus a 19 year old 7-footer who’s only played 2 years in the NBA and maybe a first round pick.
Let’s hope Mitch Kupchak looks at the fine print before making a rash decision on getting Kobe a sidekick.
I’m all for making a deal and helping Kobe, but the last time the Lakers rushed to make a trade for a power forward, they got Kwame Brown, and we’ve all seen how that’s turned out.