Mini Mailbag

It’s been a while since we put up a Mailbag on, so until the next one (coming this weekend), here are a few submissions and their requisite answers:

Q: With Manu Ginobili being declared out for the season, who is L.A.’s biggest threat in the Western Conference?
- David, Notre Dame, Indiana

MT: First off, I’m still not sure that any other Western Conference team can beat the Lakers four times in a playoff series, particularly without homecourt advantage. Now, the Ginobili news takes the Spurs out of the running – stick a fork in ‘em. Who’s next? I say Utah. Sure, they’re currently in the seven spot, but I think they could give L.A. a tough series because, as assistant coach Jim Cleamons told me, “They think they can beat us” (and because Deron Williams is fantastic). Their win in New Orleans last week was a big one, and to an extent means their failure to win against good teams on the road (1-14 prior to N.O.) can be taken with a grain of salt since they’ve been hurt all season. So put them on “Biggest Threat” watch, and make sure to check out their ESPN game at Dallas on Wednesday. That should go a long ways towards explaining the playoff picture.

Q: I’ve always wondered, on the road do the players share hotel rooms or do they get there own? Do they all have like a certain person they always share a room with? And last but not least, GO LAKERS!!.
- Jennifer, Hesperia, CA

MT: Even the low man on the Lakers traveling crew (um … me) is fortunate to get his own room. But if that weren’t the case, here’s how I’d pair up the players: Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher; Pau Gasol and Sasha Vujacic; Lamar Odom and Trevor Ariza; Luke Walton and Jordan Farmar; Josh Powell and Shannon Brown; Adam Morrison and D.J. Mbenga. This, of course, could be varied in 1,000 ways (e.g. the universally loved Odom could room with anybody, you could swap Morrison and Powell, whatever) but I like this grouping.

Q: Do you think that there is any way that Kobe Bryant will ever get traded?
- Hamlet, Glendale, CA

MT: Here are three things that to me are more likely than Bryant getting traded:
1) I start fighting in the WWE, and pin the Undertaker after executing my signature move, “Tru Death,” by throwing the black-clad pain machine 20 feet into the air from the middle of the ring so that he lands with his face on the corner buckle.
2) They’ll stop using Shakespeare (Hamlet) in college curriculum
3) James Posey wins the NBA’s sportsmanship award.

Q: I was recently accepted to UCI and I enrolled, to be honest, the only reason I applied is because I heard rumors that Kobe works out there in the summer. I was wondering if there is any truth to that rumor or did I throw away four years of my life?
- Andrew, Anaheim, CA

MT: This is easily my favorite question of the year, and perhaps in my young sports career. I’m going to have to think about it before we get to the big Mailbag, Andrew. But thanks, that’s fantastic.

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