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Times beat writer Mike Bresnahan answers readers' questions about the Lakers

The hot topics this week: Andrew Bynum, possible trades and the Lakers' lack of outside shooting.

December 19, 2009

Mike Bresnahan covers the Lakers for The Times. Readers' questions about the Lakers will be answered every Friday at latimes.com/sports

Question: Center Andrew Bynum is at best a journeyman and could be used as trade bait to help the Lakers rid themselves of Sasha Vujacic and Luke Walton in a package to bring in, say, Marc Gasol and Utah's great point guard, Deron Williams. Marc is big and plugs the center on defense as well as rebounds, and what needs to be said about Williams, he is without question in the top three [for point guards] in the NBA.

--Marty S.

Answer: Whoa, Marty. Down, boy, down.

Bynum's numbers have declined since Pau Gasol came back, but his career has huge upside at this point. He's not going anywhere. He's 22 years old.

Vujacic has another year on his contract for $5.5 million and Walton has three more years for a total of $16.7 million. They're probably not going anywhere either, at least not in an economy with few NBA owners willing to take on unproductive players.

In other words . . . Ladies and gentlemen, these are your 2009-10 Lakers!

(And please, no more trade questions until February. The deadline's still two months away and this team is 20-4. Everybody calm down.)

Q: Can we win the title this year, without a good pure shooter? Will GM Mitch Kupchak try and address this before the trade deadline? I see this as a glaring weakness which hurts the Lakers' inside game, as we have no one to stretch the floor.

--Jeff D., Union City

A: Sigh. How come nobody ever pays attention to anything? No more trade questions. This means you, Jeff D.

On the other hand, Jeff's right. The Lakers' outside shooting is pretty pathetic right now.

Quick show of hands: who knew that their top three-point shooter was . . . Luke Walton? Granted, he's taken only eight shots from behind the arc, which won't put him near the league leaders, but by shooting a cool 62.5% he's well ahead of the Lakers' next-best everyday outside shooter, Ron Artest, at 35.8%. (Vujacic is shooting 42.9% but he's averaging barely four minutes a game this month. Hardly an everyday player, even if he is dating Maria Sharapova.)

Here are some other three-point percentages: Kobe Bryant (29.5%), Lamar Odom (28.6%), Derek Fisher (29.8%), Adam Morrison (28.6%), Jordan Farmar (33.3%) and Shannon Brown (33.3%). Only Artest is close to respectable, and he's still 66th in the league in three-point percentage.

Yep, the Lakers might need a shooter down the road. Let's talk about it again in eight weeks.

Q: With two talented 7-footers, I would think the Lakers would have a mismatch inside and could shoot chip shots the entire game. Instead, on this road trip, they are jacking up long jumpers the entire game. I'm not a professional basketball coach but is there something I am missing here?

--Brent Trafton, Long Beach

A: Funny e-mail, Pau. Did Bynum help you with this? Don't even try to disguise yourselves as some dude from Long Beach. Ha ha ha. See you at the game tomorrow.

Q: What was the last Lakers team not to lose a game in Utah? A: The 1985-86 Lakers. (I know you usually provide the answer portion, but I thought it was a not-so-fun fact you might like to know).

--Daniel Tenenblatt, Los Angeles

A: Hey, thanks, Daniel. I wish more readers would do all my work for me. On that note . . .

Readers can send their questions about the Lakers and the NBA to our beat reporters, but please put "Q&A" in the subject line. E-mail:

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

broderick.turner@latimes.com

twitter.com/Mike_Bresnahan

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