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One-on-One: Eddie Jones, L.A. Lakers

Q: Do you think the Lakers are ready to claim an NBA title or will the team have to experience growing pains first?

A: I think we've gone through growing pains. I don't think you have to grow up to win one. You just have to play your best.

Q: Will the Lakers be active prior to the February 19 trading deadline?

A: I really don't know. I know what I went through earlier in the season with trade rumors, and that's what they are - rumors. It's a business and you can't control what happens. Hopefully, no one gets traded but if they do then we'll deal with it at that time.

Q: At Temple, you played a matchup zone. How hard is it to enter the NBA and play strictly man-to-man defense? Did it help or hurt you to play zone in college?

A: Actually, I think that it helped me. In that zone, when the man has the ball in your spot, you are playing him man-to-man. If you get beat, your whole team is going to be in your face. I think it helped me with man-to-man.

Q: Your personal goal last season was to be selected to the All-Star team. What is your personal goal now?

A: I think everybody wants to be an All-Star and I've achieved that. My main purpose is to be a world champion. You can keep the All-Star (recognition) and all that, but if I became a world champion, that's something that I can never forget and will have forever.

Q: Have you improved your game since being selected by the Lakers?

A: I've continued to gain knowledge about the game, and when you do that, you're going to become a better player if it's good knowledge.

Q: What are your expectations for the postseason?

A: We're thinking that we have a chance to win. We have all the components and just want to start playing our type of basketball. We're one of those teams that doesn't show how we can play every night. You see a few games where we run up and down the court and blow teams out. That's how we play basketball. Then, some nights we have a half-court game and may lose some games. If we can just find our chemistry, we'll be better.

Q: Which teams in the Western Conference are the teams to beat?

A: Seattle, Utah and if the [Damon Stoudamire] trade goes down, Houston.

Q: What is attributed to Kobe Bryant's improved play this season?

A: I would say patience. His decision making has improved. He still had his own growing pains.

Q: Rookie Shea Seals has not played because he's been hurt. Have you seen enough of his game to see what he can contribute?

A: Definitely. I think he has the talent. He can take the ball to the basket and create his own shot and shoot the jump shot. He is a really talented player and hopefully he'll get healthy.

Q: Does he remind you of anybody in the league right now?

A: Maybe [Joe] Dumars. He's really good defensively.