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  • LakerTom (Publisher) 1:24 PM on October 17, 2013 Permalink  

    Duke In the NBA: Catching Up With the Rookies 

    Ryan Kelly – Los Angeles Lakers – PF – 2nd Round, 48th Overall

    The Lakers aren’t known for valuing draft picks very highly, so we knew immediately Kelly was going to have to fight for one of the final roster spots. Even with the Lakers’ current shortage of talent and depth, there was never a guarantee that he would make the squad.

    A foot injury held Kelly out of the Lakers’ first four preseason games, but he made his debut Tuesday night, playing 12 minutes and tallying six points and three rebounds against the Golden State Warriors.

    Kelly’s versatility as a forward makes him very appealing to a Lakers team in serious need of bench talent, and if he can put together a strong performance in the final three preseason games, he’ll have a very serious shot at making the final roster. As it currently stands, the Lakers must cut at least two more players, and Kelly is still very much considered a possible victim; he is currently on a non-guaranteed contract. That’s why he have to train harder, and find ways that help lose body fat and be leaner and faster.

    Still, Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni and Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski are great friends, and considering Kelly is a good fit for D’Antoni’s system, he may have a small leg up on the competition if he can build on Tuesday’s performance.

    via Duke In the NBA: Catching Up With the Rookies – Ball Durham – A Duke Blue Devils Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and more..

     
  • LakerTom (Publisher) 10:12 PM on October 1, 2013 Permalink  

    McMenamin: From N.Y. to L.A., still with something to prove 

    Shawne Williams was just another draft bust that had been discarded by the league when he arrived on Mike D’Antoni’s and the New York Knicks‘ doorstep in September 2010.

    “I gained my respect for Mike was when I first got to New York,” Williams told ESPNLosAngeles.com at Los Angeles Lakers training camp this week. “We had a meeting and he told me a couple things. I won’t put that out in the public, but he told me some things. He told me the truth. And I respect him for that.”

    What did D’Antoni tell him? What do you say to a former first-round draft pick who had already been charged with possession of marijuana, possession of a stolen handgun, and in a separate incident, misdemeanor drug possession for allegedly selling a codeine substance?
    What message did D’Antoni have for someone who had already worn out his welcome with both the Indiana Pacers and Dallas Mavericks and became such a persona non grata that he was out of the league completely for the 2009-10 season before arriving in New York?

    [+] EnlargeShawne Williams

    Jason Miller/USA TODAY SportsShawne Williams, above, played for Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni when both were in New York in 2010.

    “I remember,” D’Antoni said. “I told him I didn’t want him. Because that’s what happens in this league sometimes, you get labels on guys. I didn’t know him, only what I read, what I saw, what I heard. So I’m thinking, ‘Why do we need to go down that path again?’ ”

    The honesty was something Williams, a 6-foot-9 forward with deep range who had been relying more on talent than mental toughness, needed to hear.

    It humbled him.

    For the first 18 games of the 2010-11 season, Williams sat on the Knicks’ bench, racking up DNP after DNP. When he finally got a chance to play, New York went on an eight-game winning streak, with Williams making 15 of the 28 shots he put up during the tear.

    “Eighteen games in, I got a shot to play and I ended up doing alright and I was playing ever since,” Williams said. “To me, I just feel like Mike’s system is a great system. He’s a great coach. He respects players. He knows how to coach players. And that’s basically it. That’s just my guy. I like him as a coach, a person. That’s just it.”

    For D’Antoni, the feeling is mutual.

    “When you get to know the guy, he’s nothing like the perception,” D’Antoni said. “He’s one of the most stand-up, nicest, coachable and skilled players that I’ve ever coached and I’m hoping. He’s been off a couple years, so that is what it is and he still has to fight perception, but he’s one of those guys that plays a lot better than people think.”

    “Sometimes this league is a revolving door”

    Williams’ lone season in New York with D’Antoni has proved to be the glory days of his career so far. Williams averaged 7.1 points, 3.7 rebounds and 0.8 blocks in just 20.1 minutes per game that season, while shooting 40.1 percent on 3-pointers.

    He signed with the then New Jersey Nets after the lockout and never found his niche, shooting just 28.6 percent from the field in 25 games. The Nets traded him to the Portland Trail Blazers at the end of the 2011-12 season. Portland bought out his contract for 2012-13. Williams was out of the league, again. And fell back into trouble, again. This time he was arrested for possession of both marijuana and codeine cough syrup.

    It could have been over, but Williams wasn’t ready to give up. He left the rough streets of Memphis, where the arrest occurred, for the palatial confines of the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., a sports training center, to work on his game. There was a long way to go until the next NBA season after his arrest in December and he was making good money still from the buyout from the Trail Blazers, but he didn’t want his NBA dream to die just yet.

    “Sometimes this league is a revolving door,” Williams said. “You just got to keep your head up. Sometimes it don’t seem like it’s going nowhere, but you just got to keep your head up and just keep running and trucking and something is going to show.”

    Meanwhile, D’Antoni was going through his own struggles with the Lakers. The coach had a roster full of injured players who weren’t necessarily suited to his preferred style of play, when they were healthy anyway.

    A couple of months after the Lakers flamed out of the playoffs at the hands of a first-round sweep to the San Antonio Spurs, D’Antoni urged Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak and vice president of player personnel Jim Buss to invite Williams to L.A. for a workout.

    “You need guys that you can trust and you don’t have to worry about and you know he’s going to be there every day and he’s going to be one of those guys,” D’Antoni said.

    Williams knew that he’s a tough sell on paper and appreciated his old coach sticking his neck out for him.

    “It was a hard process,” Williams said. “Just telling the truth, coming in, I have a lot of little baggage. So, it was just kind of a tough process. But when you have people in your corner … I look at the NBA like family, and family got to look out for each other and keep everything going.”

    D’Antoni put Williams on the Lakers’ radar, but he wasn’t just going to be given a No. 3 purple-and-gold uniform and told to start launching away from the outside. He had to earn it.

    “I talked to Mike and I talked to Mitch and they gave me some goals to reach before I get to training camp, which was weight-wise, getting my weight down and stuff,” Williams said. “I told them I can do it and they told me they’d give me a shot.”

    ‘A pro’s pro’

    D’Antoni said Williams looks as if he has lost 25 pounds since he first saw him work out this summer. Williams set the record straight, saying he weighed in at 250 pounds in his first official workout with the team, 246 in the second and 237.6 at the start of training camp. He was listed at 230 pounds when he played for the Knicks.

    Williams gives all the credit to the program the Lakers’ trainers formulated for him, calling it “one of the best staffs I’ve done seen.”

    [+] EnlargeShawne Williams

    Juan Ocampo/Getty ImagesShawne Williams was put on the Lakers’ radar by Mike D’Antoni, and Williams is hoping to be a valuable asset for L.A. from 3-point range.

    Tim DiFrancesco, the Lakers’ strength and conditioning coach, gives the credit right back to Williams.

    “Shawne, to me, he’s a pro’s pro,” DiFrancesco said. “That’s what I call him. Either the guy’s a pro, or he’s not. He understands his body is his weapon and he’s knows to get in here every day and take care of it as part of his job. So, Shawne’s one of those guys.”

    DiFrancesco has monitored Williams’ transformation closely.

    “We are able to track, based on the body-fat machine that we use, pounds of lean mass, pounds of muscle,” DiFrancesco said. “His lean mass is maintained and he’s lost all of that fat. All those pounds that he’s lost have come from fat. Non-usable, non-functional mass.”

    Now that the fat has melted away, DiFrancesco’s challenge is to ramp Williams up slowly.
    Because he was out of the league in 2012-13, Williams is kind of like a sports car that has been sitting in the garage all winter. You don’t just gun the engine when the snow melts off the road.

    “It’s definitely a delicate process, because you can’t just throw a guy to the wolves and just all of the sudden go from zero [games] to 90,” DiFrancesco said. “Shawne understood that. Some guys want to go from sitting on their butt to, ‘Well, just try to make me puke from every workout from now on.’ But that’s a recipe for disaster.”

    Rather, it has been a steady process and DiFrancesco has already seen the weight room work translate into on-court success.

    “He’d get a breakaway and there were a couple instances where he had a hard time finishing,” DiFrancesco said. “A guy would catch up to him, even though he was ahead of the pack to start or, he would catch up to him and give him a little bit of legal contact and he would really lose his balance and not be able to take a hit and still finish. For his position, being able to get ahead of the pack and get to a spot where he can catch and shoot, that wasn’t happening as much in the beginning. Then I started to see, he’s absorbing contact, going through contact now. He’s finishing certain plays. He’s getting shots that he wasn’t even getting 4-5 weeks ago because he’s getting to his spots more efficiently, more effectively. The one thing we know for sure with Shawne that if he gets to his spot, he’s going to hit his shot, probably.

    “So those are the things that I kind of look for and can see the tangible, face-to-face, real progress.”

    Not to mention, shooters rely on confidence and nothing breeds confidence like looking good.

    “When you start to drop non-functional, useless fat mass and you start to replace it with some functional, powerful, bullet-proof lean mass,” DiFrancesco said, “you walk out onto this court like, ‘Here we go! I’m feeling good!’ ”

    ‘I feel like everybody has a chance’

    Williams has a veteran minimum’s contract with the Lakers this season, worth about $1 million, but only $100,000 of that is guaranteed. While it wouldn’t be a stretch to see him start some games at the stretch four and play alongside Pau Gasol in the front court this season, he still technically has to make the team.

    The Lakers have 19 players in camp and will likely carry the full, maximum 15-man roster into the season. Williams and Elias Harris, who also has a partially guaranteed deal, would seem like favorites to join the 11 players who are already fully under contract, leaving the real battle between the likes of Xavier Henry, Marcus Landry, Ryan Kelly, Darius Johnson-Odom and Dan Gadzuric for the final two spots, but you never know.

    Williams, who is still only 27 despite all he has been through, isn’t taking anything for granted.

    “I feel like Mitch did a great job of bringing in a lot of good guys to compete to make the spot,” Williams said. “It’s only going to make us better. I feel like everybody has a chance. I’m really not thinking about it, I’m just trying to go through training camp, do what I do best and let that shake itself out.”

    While the Lakers could certainly use a consistent outside stroke like Williams’ this season — L.A. ranked 19th in team 3-point percentage last season — D’Antoni says he thinks Williams brings more to the table than just shooting.

    “One thing that’s overlooked, the guy’s 6-9,” D’Antoni said. “His wingspan, the only guy with a greater wingspan than him is Pau and it’s only by an inch and a half, and Pau’s 7-2. Compare him to like Jordan Hill, for example, he has a two-inch (longer) wingspan and that’s very important.”

    It’s important because Williams’ length can lead to deflections, steals, blocks and rebounds on defense, which is a category the Lakers have to improve on as a team even more than they do on their accuracy from beyond the arc. It’s fitting, too, because Williams says D’Antoni is different than the guy he was with in New York.

    “I’ve done noticed some stuff about Mike too a little bit,” Williams said. “It seems like he’s harping a little bit more on defense now. He’s spending more time on defense. It used to just be a lot of offense and he used to try to tell us, ‘Defense comes from within,’ but now, everything starts with defense and then we let that dictate the offense.”

    ‘He knows we’re in it together’

    Coach and player are back together again. From Broadway and the Big Apple, to the bright lights of Hollywood, they’re still linked by a bouncing ball. And they both have plenty of motivation to make up for the past.

    “I feel like his spirit is great,” Williams said. “Mike is the type of guy for me, he knows we’re in it together. So, his spirit is always going to be high as a coach, as a leader. He don’t harp on a lot of stuff. He tries to stay positive through losses and wins. That’s what I can recall from him in New York.

    “The way I’ve been seeing it, he’s been positive. He’s been kind of amped and hyped and he’s just been doing a lot of defense. That’s the most shocking thing about it. He’s doing a lot of defense. That’s good. That just shows me that he’s thinking ahead and working on everything.”

    Just like Williams is working on his body, his game, his life, little by little.

    “He’s a tough guy,” D’Antoni said. “I’ll walk down an alley with him at night and I’ll be fine. Now, he won’t get much help from me, but I’m sure I’ll get a lot of help from him.”

    The thing about that is, D’Antoni has already helped Williams in so many ways.

    via From N.Y. to L.A., still with something to prove – Los Angeles Lakers Blog – ESPN Los Angeles.

     
  • LakerTom (Publisher) 7:21 PM on October 1, 2013 Permalink  

    Trudell: Farmar Poised for his Second Lakers Run 

    During training camp, a bevy of basketball heads connected to the Lakers in some way are watching practice, and among the most common of general opinions to come out of the building thus far has been how well Jordan Farmar’s playing.

    His new head coach is among those pleased with what he’s seen.

    “I think what he does, you can already see he’s going to be effective this year,” said Mike D’Antoni. “The biggest thing is his toughness. That’s how Steve Blake is. They’re just coming at you. He shoots the ball really well, he’s quick, he’s feisty, he’s got good court vision, so he’s got it all.”

    Among the best athletes to ever go through the team’s workout for draft prospects, the now 26-year-old spent his first four seasons in Los Angeles (2006-10), winning two championships as a reserve point guard while playing around 18 minutes per game. The L.A. native and UCLA product spent one full season and one lockout-shortened campaign with the Nets before traveling first to Israel and then to Turkey to lead professional teams of his own.

    We caught up with Farmar to discuss his level of excitement to be playing in coach Mike D’Antoni’s system, to gauge how he’s developed in the past few years and find out which of his teammates are looking good early in camp:

    Below is a transcript of the conversation:

    MT: How are you approaching this opportunity to potentially get legit minutes in an increased role under a new coach and style that may well suit your strengths?
    Farmar: I’m feeling good. I’m really enjoying this style of play and am excited about what I can do under coach D’Antoni. One thing to keep in mind (when I have the ball) is that we still have a very talented team, with a lot of guys who are established and will be a big part of what we do, so that will dictate the offensive flow. But no doubt I’m excited about running this system.

    MT: Rewinding a bit for a moment – after consecutive titles as a backup to Derek Fisher in Phil Jackson’s triangle, you left to try and expand your game. What was your thinking?
    Farmar: At that time I was just looking for an opportunity to grow as a player and as a person, and that’s really what I did. I left and I got a chance to do some things outside of the triangle, learn how different coaches coach and how different philosophies are here in the NBA and around the world. That just added to my level of my basketball knowledge, my respect of the game and understanding that there are a lot of different ways to make an impact.

    MT: How would you explain your approach to running D’Antoni’s offense?
    Farmar: It’s really about knowing yourself and the players that are on the floor with you. Knowing what specific guys like to do and where they can be successful and then staying aggressive to be able to put them in those positions. So if I can make the defense commit to me, then a guard is going to get an open shot. If I can make the interior defense come out to me, a big man is going to get an opportunity. And if I know where guys want to get the ball to succeed the most, I can focus on that.

    MT: Something that’s made Steve Nash so great is that you literally can’t go under on screen/roll, or ever leave him alone, because he won’t miss his shot. Of course, he’s good at so many things within this system; how do you see it?
    Farmar: It’s everything, but what makes him so great is his efficiency. If you leave him open, he’s knocking it down at a very high percentage. That forces defensive players to overplay him, to overcommit, and he’s such a great passer that he can kill you that way too by making the right play almost every time. That’s why he’s one of the best of all time, and I’m happy to be here with him to try and work with and talk to him as much as I can. Hopefully it can rub off on my game.

    MT: I read that you made a joke on media day about being in Nash’s ear so much he’s going to feel like he’s your father?
    Farmar: His son follows him around when he works out, and I said I’m going to be the same way. Just be right behind him, asking him questions, asking him what he thinks and how he can help me out. And he’s come up to me more than once saying, ‘Feel free to ask me anything you need,’ or ‘I’m always here to talk to about anything.’ Hopefully I can help him rest a little bit, and he can help me grow; it should be a really good combination.

    MT: You’ve now seen most of what there is in the basketball world, but what can Nash specifically help you with?
    Farmar: I’ll ask him what he’s looking for in certain scenarios, like if a guy does x to you, what do you do?

    MT: What’s an example?
    Farmar: It could be anything. It’ll just happen in a scrimmage, and then I’ll ask him on the spot or later. ‘They played you like this, so what was your first read?’ … ‘How did you set yourself up to get space to get that shot off, or that big to commit to you?’

    MT: For a guy that’s so instinctual, is Nash always able to explain it?
    Farmar: He definitely does a lot on instinct, but he’ll think about it for a second and then explain what his feeling was. He does a good job at that. And I try to do the same, trying to play off instinct and not think too much. It’s key to have a good knowledge of the game, and then just trust yourself to play ball.

    MT: It’s almost cliché to wax poetic on how great the attitude is early in training camp of any sport, but guys are really pointing out the differences this year at least compared to last. How do you see it, perhaps in comparison to your last Lakers training camp in 2010?
    Farmar: The attitude has been great. Everybody is really focused on the same stuff, and competitive. We’re trying to win every little scrimmage, every little game. There’s been trash talking that carries over to the next day. Everyone is locked in, trying to take advantage of the situation and have fun while doing it.

    MT: Especially when Nash is in, D’Antoni said he won’t hesitate using you or Steve Blake at the two. Is there a real difference in your approach should that occur? Other than having to defend a bigger guard and spot up more, does that change your preparation?
    Farmar: It’s pretty self-explanatory basketball. It’s not rocket science; it’s not as complex as certain parts of the triangle in terms of having an answer for every little read the defense has. It’s really organic, about having good spacing and trusting each other. It doesn’t matter if you’re on or off the ball, you should still approach it the same way. It’s just basketball, man. They call it ‘Park Method.’ If you’re at the park, just play ball. Dribble hand off, pick for each other, spacing, use each other. Just play.

    MT: Nash has discussed some difficulties last year with every player buying into what the coach asked for, with a willingness to run screen/roll a particular issue. That doesn’t appear to be an issue in this camp?
    Farmar: No. If you have four guys standing around and one guy not going to roll, there’s no help, there’s no weak side action and it breaks down. But if someone sets a good screen and rolls hard, whether they’re a great player or not, it creates offense for everybody. So it’s just about being committed and doing it. We’re going to stay together. We have a good locker room, and everybody respects one another. I don’t see us getting divided, even if there are some tough stretches. Chemistry is a big, big thing, and they had a very talented team last year, but they couldn’t get on the same page.

    MT: Or stay healthy. No doubt. Moving on, have you had a chance to break bread with Kobe yet? I know you were always a big fan in your last run together.
    Farmar: Big time. I’m a big time supporter and fan of Kobe’s. When he’s out there, he’s trying to win. He makes no excuses, he plays through injuries, he does whatever he can to win. He’s dedicated his whole life to that, and I respect him to the fullest. We speak every day about life, about everything. His locker is right next to mine. He’s working his butt off every day, excited to get back on the court. It’s great to be back around him.

    MT: Finally, Jordan, has anybody stood out to you early in camp with certain guys that you haven’t played with before?
    Farmar: Yeah man, I’m having to get used to Wesley (Johnson). He’s really, really long and athletic on defense, and makes some plays that are incredible. He’ll be leaning one way, and still manage to reach back and get a steal. He has a knack for getting his hand on the ball, so there are a lot of things he can do on defense that will help us. And he’s shooting the hell out of the ball as well, so I’ve been happy to see that. He’s a very, very capable NBA player.

    MT: With his length and foot speed, can he slide over to some of the better NBA point guards to relieve Nash specifically in certain situations?
    Farmar: Absolutely.

    MT: Like if he’s in with Nash against OKC, he could slide to Russell Westbrook …
    Farmar: Right, and Nash on (Thabo) Sefolosha. That’s coach D’Antoni’s call, but Wesley is one of those guys, for sure.

    via Farmar Poised for his Second Lakers Run | THE OFFICIAL SITE OF THE LOS ANGELES LAKERS.

     
    • LakerTom 7:34 PM on October 1, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’m not sure it qualifies as an epiphany but the thought struck me the other day that Jordan Farmar could possibly emerge as our point guard of the future. I’ve bemoaned the fact that we didn’t have a talented young point guard whom Steve could mentor as our next starting point guard but maybe Jordan will turn out to be that player. He is a perfect fit for D’Antoni’s offense, seems to have matured as a person, and apparently is impressing everybody in training camp. And we would come pretty cheaply. With 2 years tutoring from Nash, who knows?

    • Michael H (Editor)

      Michael H 7:48 PM on October 1, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Aloha Tom

      I had the same thought when we signed him. I always liked his skill set and athleticism. Didn’t like his attitude. But it’s obvious that he’s matured. And let’s face it the triangle was a terrible fit. All you need in the triangle is a combo guard or a shooting guard with a decent handle to run it. Jordan is a true pg going into a system that revolves around the point.

      • LakerTom 7:54 PM on October 1, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Aloha, Michael,

        I’ve always been a big Farmar fan. I remember a lot of ridicule from the usual suspects for Jordan allowing players to blow by him but I also remember him doing the same to lots of guys. He’s likely a better defender now and a more consistent shooter. I’ll be rooting for him. In fact, I really like how we are set at the point. 3 40% 3-point shooters.

        We both believe one of the goals this year is to find a couple of starters out of Farmar, Hill, Johnson, Young, et al as well as a couple of quality bench players. So far, I’m glad we’re getting good reports early on Jordan, Wes, and Shayne.

        Can’t wait for next Saturday. I think it will be a blessing for Kobe to miss pre-season and the first couple of weeks of regular season. It will give D’Antoni and Nash a chance to implement the offense and hopefully play exciting up tempo basketball.

        I also don’t think you have to have 5 greyhounds to play up-tempo. Most fast breaks are 3 on 2 or 2 on 1. Pau rebounds, passes to Nash, who hits Kobe, Hill, or Nick. That’s how the Lakers fast breaks are going to look. Pau and Nash don’t have to be speedy greyhounds. They’re the center and quarterback. The other 3 are wide-outs and rb’s.

        • Magic Phil

          Magic Phil 8:33 PM on October 1, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Sup guys. I’m also hopeful of Farmar. He learned quite a lot those 3 years away from the Lakers but I’m really curious to see what a true Laker fan/player can do for us during hard times like now. Same with Wes and Swagy P.

          Time will tell.

          • trollman 9:13 PM on October 1, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Key component, but not of the Lakers 2 rings in the world according to Blitz.

            • KB Blitz 9:16 PM on October 1, 2013 Permalink

              Shannon Brown, Lamar Odom contributed MORE than Jordan Farmar ever did. Farmar is barely above Luke Walton and Sasha Vujacic as “key components” off the bench.

              Yeah a guy who averaged less than 13 minutes per game was a “Key component”. So I guess Luke was also a “key contributor”.

              Trollman: The one who thought Luke Walton was as good and as essential to the Lakers title runs. I wouldn’t miss that for the world!

              :negative:

        • tate793

          tate793 8:50 PM on October 1, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          .

          • LakerTom 9:26 PM on October 1, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            The purpose of pushing the ball is to beat the defense down the court, to be able to play 4 on 3, 3 on 2, or 2 on 1 rather than having to attack a team’s half court defense after it gets set up. Pushing the ball is about getting layups and wide open 3-point shots, higher percentage shots than teams usually get in half court.

            That’s why every team in the league is looking to push the ball in transition. And if you think about how most transition baskets occur, it’s rarely the center who scores as a trailer. It’s usually the power forward. And the guys who get the easy layups, they’re usually speedsters like Young, Johnson, and Farmar. With a point guard like a healthy Steve Nash, you can bet they’re going to be taking off after every shot.

            No, the Lakers aren’t going to run 7-seocnds or less but they’re going to push the ball every time even when the starters are in the game. Pace is a big part of Mike D’Antoni’s offense. It’s not only about getting easier shots in transition but also about getting more possessions and shots, which helps shooters get into a rhythm. You are not going to see the Lakers walk the effing ball up and then pass it into the post for Pau or Kobe. That’s not what they hired Mike D’Antoni to do and frankly, that’s not how they’re going to win.

            • tate793

              tate793 9:56 PM on October 1, 2013 Permalink

              Tom.

              I never said they were going to walk the “EFFIN” ball up cout then pass it into the post for Pau or Kobe.

              And why would you take that tone with me. I don’t address you that way.

              If that’s the way you are going to respond to my posts then, I’d just as soon post somewhere else.

              For the most part, I’ve enjoyed posting here. Lots of great people and ideas. Sure, I had more moments with trollman, blitz, therealtj and pang. But, I figured I contributed a fair amount of input and experiences.

              Be that as it may -- you all have a great season. Time to go.
              Take care and best of luck to all. Bye

            • LakerTom 6:16 AM on October 2, 2013 Permalink

              Good morning. Tate. I wasn’t taking a tone at you. And you know I appreciate your contributions to this blog even though we may not agree on everything. Jerez, man, come on.

    • trollman 9:09 PM on October 1, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      speaking of Westbrook, any see where he had to have a second operation on his knee and will be out another 4 to 6 weeks?

      • KB Blitz 9:23 PM on October 1, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        That’s too bad. On the other hand Farmar and Walton will be the on the First All-NBA and All-Defensive teams now!

        :lolol:

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 7:14 PM on October 1, 2013 Permalink  

    Lakers Nation: One On One With Lakers Rookie Ryan Kelly 

    Serena Winters: How does it feel to be wearing number 4, Luke Walton’s number?

    Ryan Kelly: Pretty darn cool. This Lakers jersey is something special, something iconic. Everybody in this country can say that they know it and I’m very privileged and proud of the fact that I get to put it on.

    SW: Last time I talked to you, you were just getting settled into L.A. So now you’ve been here for a little while. What have you been up to and how does it feel?

    RK: I’m enjoying and loving L.A. Still in the hotel, but I don’t mind it. I got to enjoy the beach a little bit and this weather’s hard to beat.

    SW: How has it been working out in this facility since you’ve been here now and what have you been working on specifically for your game?

    RK: It’s been awesome. All the players have been here for some time now and now that I’m officially medically cleared and ready to roll I’ve been working on my jump shot as much as possible, just working on a little aspects of my game, ball-handling, as we move forward into training camp being ready to go. I’m still working on the alter-G machine, the treadmill. I’m up to about 90 percent now and by the end of next week I should be able to really start running on the court, and start getting rolling.

    SW: Now that you’ve been here for a little while who has reached out to you or who have you had the biggest connection with at the facility?

    RK: I’ve been pretty fortunate. Most of the guys have been around. I have got to spend some time with both of the Steves, Steve Nash and Steve Blake and meet their family members. All the guys have been really receptive…especially for a rookie I guess.

    SW: What rookie duty are you just not looking forward to doing at all?

    RK: Carrying the bags is never fun. I already experienced that a little bit in summer league, which was even worse because I didn’t even get to play and then I had to carry the bags. That’s never fun.

    SW: What type of music do you listen to?

    RK: About everything, literally everything.

    SW: Kanye or Jay-Z? Who would you pick?

    RK: Jay-Z

    SW: Colors, would you pick purple or gold?

    RK: Probably gold.

    SW: Nicknames for Kobe, would you prefer Vino or Black Mamba?

    RK: I like the Black Mamba.

    SW: What about for Steve Nash? Nashty or Great Gatsby?

    RK: I think I like Nashty.

    SW: Speaking of Nashty, have you seen his funny wild side? Has he brought that out to you all at all yet?

    RK: A little bit, not too much. I think he’s holding that off for the season but I have seen it a tiny bit. It’s funny just seeing him around his kids too, that’s always fun.

    SW: I also read that you were working with Special Olympics, were you doing that?

    RK: I did do that. A lot back in high school and some through college. My high school Ravenscroft, back in North Carolina always worked with the Special Olympics every year. We got to work with them and I have been fortunate to stay connected with that. That’s something I really feel like I understand as somebody who’s in the spotlight to some extent. You really got to take advantage of that and give back and I’ve done that not only through Special Olympics but through an organization called the Monday Life which works with children’s hospitals to better the environment there. I’m trying to give back to the best of my abilities.

    SW: That foots feeling good? The one that has been through multiple surgeries is feeling good?

    RK: Yeah. It’s feeling great.

    via VIDEO Interview: One On One With Lakers Rookie Ryan Kelly | Lakers Nation.

     
  • LakerTom (Publisher) 7:12 PM on October 1, 2013 Permalink  

    Examiner: Steve Nash thinks Kobe will be back before Thanksgiving 

    The one question everyone has been asking with the start of the season for the Los Angeles Lakers only a few weeks away is whether or not Kobe Bryant will be ready for the season opener. Apparently, Steve Nash believes Kobe may need some more time according to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports via Twitter on Oct. 1:

    LAL Steve Nash to Y! Sports on Kobe’s likely return: “I think he will be back some time between the beginning of the season & Thanksgiving.”

    The safe move for Kobe and the storied NBA franchise would be not to rush back unnecessarily. Although Kobe wants to be on the floor for Oct. 29 against the division rival Los Angeles Clippers, the five-time NBA champion might be better off staying out of the lineup until back to 100 percent.

    Fortunately for the Lakers, the team has a few players that can help fill the void at shooting. The addition of Nick Young, Wesley Johnson and Jordan Farmar will help shoulder the load while Jodie Meeks will likely get the start if Kobe is unable to go to start the year.

    With exactly four weeks left before the start of the season, Kobe will have the bulk of this month to get his body right.

    At this point in time, it’s difficult to rule out Kobe for the matchup against the Clippers, but the safe bet would be to expect him on the bench for the first game and perhaps the majority of November.

    via Lakers News: Steve Nash thinks Kobe will be back before Thanksgiving – Los Angeles Los Angeles Lakers | Examiner.com.

     
  • LakerTom (Publisher) 11:30 AM on September 28, 2013 Permalink  

    Lakers Nation: Kurt Rambis Talks Defense 

    By | September 28, 2013

    Among the criticisms that face Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni on a daily basis, defense seems to be the top choice of what draws the ire of Laker fans the most.

    Known more for his offense than his defensive scheme, the Lakers ranked 21st in the league as they allowed 101 points per game and gave up way too many easy shots possession after possession. The solution: Kurt Rambis.

    Rambis was a Lakers assistant during most of the Phil Jackson era and will try to help an aging roster that was frustrating to watch on the defensive end for the entire year last season.

    In his first Lakers media day since 2009, Rambis was the first to stress the importance of defense this season:

    When you look at our team, clearly we’re going to have to be a team that functions at a high level in terms of our team defense; we don’t have guys that are going to just shut somebody down, said Rambis. That means we have to put a lot of pressure on strong side action, the weak side has to to a great job with being supportive and helping guys with a strong side action.

    We’ve gone over the defense all summer long that we’re going to put them in a situation and position to where they can be functioning at a high level. But it’s going to be up to our job in training camp and preseason to make sure that they’re able to do what we want them to do.

    With a defensive perimeter that features aging veterans Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant, coupled together with a less than defensive front line, the Lakers might be in some trouble again this season.

    However, perimeter players Nick Young, Wesley Johnson and whomever makes the team out of camp, will be counted upon to provide some defensive relief. Under Rambis, the Lakers were a very competitive defensive team and with a full training camp under D’Antoni, his system should be easily installed.

    When Rambis was hired, many suggested this was an olive branch to former Lakers head coach Phil Jackson, but D’Antoni and general manager Mitch Kupchak maintain he was hired because he was the best man for the job.

    This year more than ever, the Lakers are going to need to play as a team and without Kobe for a possibly long stretch at the beginning of the year, a strong defense could go a long way in the standings.

    via Lakers News: Kurt Rambis Talks Defense At Lakers Media Day | Lakers Nation.

     
  • LakerTom (Publisher) 12:36 PM on September 26, 2013 Permalink  

    Pincus: Scouting coordinator Jesse Buss is also part owner of the franchise 

    When Jerry Buss passed away in February, he left his ownership stake in the Lakers to his six children.

    While Jim and Jeanie Buss are the face of the team — Jim making the basketball decisions and Jeanie running the team’s business operations — Johnny, Jesse, Joey and Janie (Drexel) also own a portion of the team.

    Alex Lambeth and Jory Dreher of LakerNation.com caught up with the youngest of Buss’ children, Jesse, who works as both the Lakers’ scouting coordinator and is the D-Fenders’ director of scouting.

    “My job as the director of scouting basically consists of scheduling our scouting staff to see college games for the upcoming season, helping organize meetings with all of our scouts, and scouting prospects on a regular basis,” said Buss. “I’m in constant contact with our staff.”

    Buss shares an office in El Segundo with Ryan West, the Lakers’ assistant director of scouting and son of Jerry West.

    “[We] talk almost every day — about everything that goes into scouting,” said Buss.  “I would say I’m probably out of town close to 100 days out of the year.”

    Buss answers to Jim Buss, General Manager Mitch Kupchak and Assistant General Manager Glenn Carraro.

    “We often talk about everything that’s going on with anything that’s basketball related: anything that’s current, any game we saw, what’s going on with our team,” he said. “But mainly we collaborate with college scouting and anything involved with that.”

    It’s been a difficult transition for the Buss family after the loss of their patriarch.

    “He just really knew how to relate to anyone he talked to,” Buss said of his father. “He let me grow and develop as a person without trying to force me to do something. It’s definitely a huge void in my life not having him here. I really miss talking to him.”

    The Lakers start the regular season Oct. 29 at home against the Clippers.

    via Scouting coordinator Jesse Buss is also part owner of the franchise – latimes.com.

     
    • KB Blitz 12:42 PM on September 26, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      What the use of scouting if the picks are so low they are utterly useless.

      Not saying scouting is unimportant but until the Lakers get some quality picks most of the picks will be the likes of Darius Morris more than Marc Gasol.

      • LakerTom 12:51 PM on September 26, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I disagree. Scouting is important regardless of where you end up drafting. Mitch has always been great at identifying young players in the first round and following them in hopes of being able to obtain them down the road. That’s how we got HIll, Young, and Johnson. So scouting is important even if you don’t get a chance to draft a player. In fact, we need to place more emphasis on it rather than less.

        • KB Blitz 1:07 PM on September 26, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          And how successful draft picks did we have?

          Yes it’s mostly high because of the Lakers success but still hard as heck to get a good pick that high.

          It’s tough enough for lottery teams even.

          I never said it was unimportant. But to draft the quality players have to be in a position to lose or to trade in advance. Second round picks are much more on Sun Yue and Darrius Morris. It’s super rare to get even a Mo Williams much less a Manu Ginobili.

          • MongoSlade

            MongoSlade 1:35 PM on September 26, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Scouting is even MORE important when you’re drafting late in the round. A coupla months ago I listed a bunch of impact players who were recently drafted late in the 1st or in the 2nd round. Those guys are out there and it takes good scouting to find em.

            • KB Blitz 3:44 PM on September 26, 2013 Permalink

              but most of our draft picks we either traded away or near the end of the second round which at that point the Lakers could draft us and almost be the same. Manu Ginobili or even a good role player at that point is once in a 5 years kinda thing.

              Now if we had more quality 2nd rounders (high second rounders) then yes I agree but either have to trade with a bad team or be a bad team ourselves. Having no 1st rounders the past two years (traded for Nash/Howard/Sessions really hurt much even if they were late ones) and having to really one mid-secounders is almost down right impossible with our scouting department coming up with the likes of Darius Morris and Andrew Goudelock instead of Ginobili or even Toni Kukoc.

              Until we have more consistent 1st rounders (even late rounds are ok) or high second picks, scouting at that point is up to luck and hope that something can be gained. The Marc Gasols of the league are hard enough to get and he had to wait for a year before he came to the NBA.

    • LakerTom 5:32 PM on September 26, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Was I the only one who actually read the article? The Lakers assistant director of scouting is Ryan West, son of Jerry West, the guy who discovered Kobe Bryant. That’s pretty cool. Guy had a pretty good mentor to teach him about evaluating players.

      • mclyne32 6:02 PM on September 26, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Let’s hope a LOT of his Pappy has rubbed off on young Ryan.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 4:24 PM on September 25, 2013 Permalink  

    Trudell: Kupchak on Kobe 

    The hottest topic during Mitch Kupchaks look-ahead-to-the-season, 35-minute press conference on Wednesday at the Lakers practice facility was no surprise: Kobe Bryant.

    Before any expectations can be assigned, or predictions rendered, the Lakers need to see how Bryant responds from the rehabilitation of his left Achilles thats been of primary focus since the original tear back in April.

    Kupchak reiterated last weeks update from team spokesman John Black, which detailed how Bryants “progressing well” as expected but does not have a timetable to return to the basketball floor.

    No real expectations. I do believe he’ll get back and play this season. You won’t be able to look at him and say he was hurt. In other words, some guys, like myself when I hurt my knee, I always had a limp. You won’t be able to tell with Kobe. He’ll get back on the court, he’ll be healthy, but he is 35. His game has been evolving anyway the last two or three years, although statistically you would not notice that. Even if there is a difference statistically this year, it may be a function not of the injury, but of the team we have; he may decide to get players involved more or do things differently. He comes into the season with a mindset of how he’s going to play. I do expect when he does come back, and if he’s thinking a certain way, and we’re down by two or three, the Kobe we all know and love is going to take the last shot. I do know that.

    If Bryant gets back early in the season and gives L.A. what Kupchak called a “high-performing player” for the vast chunk of the schedule, expectations will go one way. If there is a delay in his return, or setbacks, thats going to “affect the performance of the team.”

    Kupchak continued to explain how hes seen Bryant more often this offseason than in any of the 17 previous summers hes been a Laker, the 15-time All-Star checking in at around 7 a.m. every day to do rehabilitation with the teams head physical therapist, Dr. Judy Seto.

    Kupchak was pushed for further specifics on the rehab process.

    “The only thing I know is Bryants still on the Alter-G anti-gravity treadmill,” he explained. “That’s a gravity-oriented treadmill where you can adjust your weight percentages. When you get to 100 percent you’re there for a couple days, then you transition to the court … when he get back to the court, it’s not like he’s not going to start practicing. It’s going to take some time.”

    Bryants current contract expires after the 2013-14 season, and as Kupchak described, there have been no talks as of yet regarding an extension. But as far as Kupchaks concerned, Bryant isnt going anywhere.

    “Kobe has made it clear that he intends to retire in a Lakers uniform, and I know as an organization, we feel the same way,” Kupchak offered. “If you think for a second that Kobe can’t play at a high level or up to his expectations that he wants to continue to play, I don’t think that’s in his DNA. I think it makes sense for him and for us to get him back on the court, and to get a feel or a gauge of how much longer he wants to play and at what level.”

    via Kupchak on Kobe | THE OFFICIAL SITE OF THE LOS ANGELES LAKERS.

     
    • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

      Jamie Sweet 7:13 PM on September 25, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Gotta love Mitch cutting straight through all the BS. Mitch has done as good a job as one can do with the new financial restrictions.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 2:00 PM on September 24, 2013 Permalink  

    Rant Sports: Los Angeles Lakers Should Cut Ryan Kelly After Training Camp 

    Los Angeles Lakers training camp starts September 28, and the Lakers will be forced to cut at least two of the players on their roster right now.

    Who will it be?

    The NBA allows for 15 spots on every team’s roster. The Lakers have 11 guaranteed contracts next season with (get ready for it) Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Steve Blake, Nick Young, Chris Kaman, Jordan Farmar, Wesley Johnson, Paul Gasol, Jodie Meeks, Robert Sacre and Jordan Hill. Shawne Williams also reportedly has a partially guaranteed deal. So that leaves four players to compete for the three available spots.

    The Lakers signed Elias Harris, Marcus Landry, Xavier Henry and Ryan Kelly to non-guaranteed contracts, meaning they have to prove themselves during training camp in order to secure one of those three roster spots.

    My guess is that, alas, Ryan Kelly will be cut.

    If you read my column on RantSports.com you know I’m no fan of Landry, Harris or Henry. But compared to Kelly these three may look more promising to the Lakers.

    Kelly is still struggling to recover from his broken foot, for which he underwent surgery. According to sources the Lakers have already spoken out about their disappointment in Kelly’s performance.

    The Lakers drafted Kelly, the former Duke forward, 48th overall in the 2013 NBA Draft.  He missed all of this year’s Summer League, and my guess is he’ll serve as little more than a body to practice with at the training camp.

    Nevertheless, I wish Kelly and all of the Lakers team a successful and healthytraining camp.

    via Los Angeles Lakers Should Cut Ryan Kelly After Training Camp.

     
    • mclyne32 5:25 PM on September 24, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Are you going to be okay, Tom? :hello:

      • KB Blitz 6:28 PM on September 24, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I think the article is “Kelly should be cut” rather than “Kelly might be cut”.

      • LakerTom 8:24 PM on September 24, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Let’s see how the guy looks when he show up. I can’t see the Lakers not giving him a good shot because there are not many near 7-footers with his stroke and college pedigree. I actually think he will make the final 15 for sure. He is a perfect fit for Mike D’Antoni’s offense. Trying to pick the end of the bench is foolish until we see these guys playing against each other.

    • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

      Jamie Sweet 6:56 PM on September 24, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I wouldn’t be surprised if Ryan gets cut. He looks like a poor man’s Mike Dunleavey. Let him rehab on as a D-Fender, or play overseas. He’s not the guy to take this team to a level that leads to a banner.

    • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

      Jamie Sweet 7:02 PM on September 24, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’ll take Vujacic over this guy, despite our need for some size and what would become a glut at the 2. First off he’s been all the way to the cookie and sunk some clutch free throws for his little nibble. He’s a pretty inspired defender and I think he and Wes Johnson with Hill in the post could play some solid on ball D and cause some chaos.

      Plus he’s a great guy to practice against and he’s hungry for a shot at the NBA, again. Kelly doesn’t have an NBA body and is coming off the kind of injury that has a long, storied history of never really getting better. I’ll admit that of all the NBA coaches out there Mike D’Antoni is one the more likely to play a Ryan Kelly-type player at the 4. So he’s got that going for him.

      But, for me, I’ll take a healthy, hungry and motivated Vujacic over Ryan Kelly. But maybe I’ll have to take those words back…in TRAINING CAMP!!!! (so soooooooon)

      • tate793

        tate793 11:28 PM on September 24, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Lakers Rookie Ryan Kelly Ready To Go For Lakers Training Camp

        by Phillip Barnett, LakersNation.com

        With the 48th pick in this year’s NBA Draft, the Lakers drafted Ryan Kelly out of Duke University. Kelly, a sharp shooting forward, was the Lakers only draft pick this season, and was drafted following an operation to repair an injured foot.

        Kelly’s operation sidelined him for the Lakers Summer League, where the team was able to get good looks at guys like Elias Harris and Marcus Landry — both of whom were invited to training camp this year (Harris on a guaranteed deal). Without being able to play in Summer League, Kelly is entering camp a bit behind other invites, and was expected to take another step back by not being fully healthy by the start of camp. However, according to The Herald Sun’s Steve Weisman, Kelly will be ready to go when the Lakers open camp on September 29.

        “I am ready to go,” Kelly said.

        Even though he said he hasn’t had any problems with pain or swelling in the right foot [sic] two months, Kelly said the Lakers medical team took a cautious approach before clearing him. He was fine with that.

        “With pro sports, your body is truly your career,” Kelly said. “I was told by many a person that has played to make sure you are 100 percent healthy and don’t try to come back. Just take care of your body first. You have to be physically sound at that level.”

        Kelly is going to have to have a great training camp to make this year’s Opening Night roster. He’s behind the curve on the defensive end and lacks the athleticism that will bode well in head coach Mike D’Antoni’s fast paced offensive system. Kelly is going to have to shoot his way onto the Lakers roster, because that’s really the only skill set that can set him apart from other invites.

        Regardless of whether or not Kelly makes the team, it’s good to see that he’s fully healthy and ready to go.”

      • mclyne32 9:37 AM on September 25, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        @Jamie
        Agreed!

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 7:18 PM on September 23, 2013 Permalink  

    Simers: ‘Laker Girl’ airs family laundry 

    Two years ago Jeanie Buss reflected on her life with boyfriend, Phil Jackson, in a book entitled “Laker Girl.”

    “I should probably wear a whistle to bed,” she wrote.

    Well, you can’t just leave people wondering whether a personal foul should have been called or not.

    So she’s scribbled three new chapters to remind everyone what we already know: Her bozo brother, Jim, is out to ruin the Lakers.

    Now if I were Jim’s sister, I might’ve called to tell him he’s a creep, or emailed advising him to take off his baseball cap. I even know how to text.

    But Jeanie thought the best way to help her bozo brother’s lousy reputation with Lakers fans was to go Kardashian on everyone. She’s going public with a second printing of “Laker Girl” to make sure folks know how deceitful her brother can be.

    Given her expertise in marketing, maybe she realizes front-office controversy is all the Lakers have to offer this season as training camp begins Saturday.

    In an excerpt published by the L.A. Times, she writes: “The sequence of events – Phil almost coming back and then being told someone else was better for the job – practically destroyed me.”

    These are the people who are replacing one of the greatest owners in all sports, the Lakers responding with prepared statements from each on Monday.

    Jim Buss: “The words and sentiments in Jeanie’s new book reflect her feelings and frustrations nearly a year ago, and how she felt at that time. I understand that Jeanie felt that way, and why she felt that way. Since that time, we have discussed the situation, the circumstances that led to it, and our feelings about it. Both of us feel this has been resolved and have put this behind us.”

    Jeanie Buss: “Jim has been great in terms of understanding my feelings about this and in fostering an atmosphere that has led to better communication. We have regular meetings and talks and are both committed to creating the best working environment possible, as are my sister and other brothers as well. We are focused only on what is best for the franchise and in making the Lakers championship contenders.”

    via Simers: ‘Laker Girl’ airs family laundry | jeanie, lakers, jim – Sports – The Orange County Register.

     
    • LakerTom 7:25 PM on September 23, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Looks like TJ is Ding’s replacement at the OC Register and the paywall appears to have fallen.
      It will be good to have camp start so we have some actual things to talk about. LOL.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 7:21 PM on September 22, 2013 Permalink  

    BR: What Steve Nash Must Do to Bounce Back in Mike D'Antoni's Offense 

    As a member of the Suns, the two-time MVP set up every big field-goal attempt or took every big shot in crunch time. In Los Angeles, it is quite understandable that Bryant owns that job, but there is nothing wrong with Nash taking the reins in the clutch.

    If anything, Nash taking over the offense down the stretch will be a welcome change for a Lakers team that has traditionally struggled late in ballgames in the Kobe Bryant era.

    NBA.com tells us that Nash’s conversion rate in the final five minutes of games with a scoring margin within five points has consistently been great.

    There is some obvious irony at play here. The version of Nash that made plays down the stretch of games is the one that put fear in the heart of Lakers fans once upon a time. That’s part of the reason Mitch Kupchak brought him aboard.

    However, he has not really had a chance to display his offensive talents down the stretch of close contests with the Lakers. Reminding us of what he once accomplished is practically obligatory if the franchise wishes to earn a postseason berth heading into 2013-14.

    Thus, the Lakers’ lead guard will have more opportunities to dictate the flow of games with Howard gone. Instead of dumping the ball into the post merely for the sake of placating Howard, the Lakers will become a free-flowing perimeter-oriented offense.

    This is the perfect setting for Nash to rejoin the list of elite point guards in basketball. Once upon a time, he was the best maestro in the world. He still has that in him, and he now has the blueprint to show it.

    via What Steve Nash Must Do to Bounce Back in Mike D’Antoni’s Offense | Bleacher Report.

     
    • LakerTom 7:46 PM on September 22, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Next to Kobe’s recovery from a torn Achilles, the Lakers biggest wild cards is how Steve Nash rebounds from his injury plagued first year with the Lakers. A healthy Steve Nash could run D’Antoni’s offense and make sure the right guy got the ball at the right place and right time.

      I really think it might be advantageous for the Lakers in the long run for Kobe to take his time coming back. Kobe’s absence might give other Lakers a chance to show what they could do in a team oriented offense where the ball was shared and didn’t stop when it got to one player.

      We would get a chance to see what Steve Nash could do with the ball in his hands and whether Nick Young could succeed Kobe at the 2 and Wes Johnson succeed MWP at the 3. But if Kobe plays, he’ll want the ball instead of Nash while Wes likely starts while Nick comes off the bench.

      But the big beneficiary of Kobe taking his time coming back would be Steve Nash. It’s not a coincidence that the players the Lakers added were not only good fits for Mike D’Antoni’s offense but also for Steve Nash’s point guard play. The jury is still out on the Nash trade.

      A healthy Steve Nash playing pain free with the ball in his hands could change how the Lakers offense looks when Kobe returns and give Mike D’Antoni’s offense the best chance at success and at playing team ball choreographed by Steve Nash as opposed to Kobe running isolations.

      • mclyne32 9:22 AM on September 23, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I agree with all of that, Tom.
        I think Nash will have the first few weeks of the season to have complete control. After that, I think Kobe will be back. If we are winning games, maybe Kobe will let Nash run the team, but if we are at .500 or less, we all know what’s going to happen, because we saw it last season.

    • Magic Phil

      Magic Phil 11:06 PM on September 22, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Yadda, etc…

      Nash is a great P&R PG but the idiot DW wanted to play whatever…So we couldn’t see the best P&R PG with the best P&R C,

      Ok. Nash can do other things too. His shooting was ok while playing “spoil-the-clown” system, around 37% downtown; but when Kobe-the-facilitator came into the court playing PG and Nash inherit the SG position, he was over 40% from the devil’s line. That’s because an old/slow guy that can hit the 3 over 40% on a regular basis, is a great asset, to say the least.

      • 63Footer (Die! Rector! Die!)

        63Footer 7:12 AM on September 23, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        And don’t forget he’s Canadian. I believe that will be a key for the team winning this year.

        • tate793

          tate793 11:57 AM on September 23, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Hey! Remember “Canada Dry”? My first mixed drink when I turned 21 was a Tom Collins made with Canada Dry!

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 3:41 PM on September 19, 2013 Permalink  

    Medina: Lakers taking cautious approach with Ryan Kelly 

    With a surgically repaired right foot still healing, there’s not much second-round draft pick Ryan Kelly could do with the Lakers.

    He couldn’t participate in any pre-draft workouts and fell to the 48th overall pick perhaps because of that reality. The former Duke product didn’t play on the Lakers’ summer league team. Only nine days before Lakers’ training camp begins, Kelly spent part of Thursday running at 75 percent of his body weight on a treadmill. Although he described Kelly as “completely asymptomatic,” Lakers athletic trainer Gary Vitti said that the training staff has taken a conservative approach toward Kelly’s rehab, making it unclear when he will return to the court.

    Kelly has already gone through plenty, having surgery in April to repair a screw that was initially inserted in his right foot in March 2012 to treat a broken bone.

    “Ryan has already done this twice. So this makes us want to take this really slowly and bring him back one step at at time,” Vitti said Thursday at the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo in a wide-ranging interview with this newspaper. “We want to make sure the screw is in there and the bone is healed around the screw.”

    The 6’11″ Kelly could help the Lakers. His floor spacing and mid-range jumper helped him average 12.9 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.6 blocked shots his senior season at Duke while shooting 42% from three-point range. But the Lakers have yet to sign Kelly. Should he fully recover, Kelly could compete for a roster spot during training camp against Marcus Landry, Elias Harris, Xavier Henry and Shawne Williams, all whom signed one-year deals this summer with the Lakers. The Lakers have a league-maximum 15 players under contract, though they’re expected to field 18-20 players during training camp from Sept. 28 to Oct. 25.

    via Lakers taking cautious approach with Ryan Kelly | Inside the Lakers.

     
    • Michael H (Editor)

      Michael H 7:19 PM on September 19, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Aloha

      I think the Lakers will be very careful with Kelly. If he’s not ready for camp they may not sign him this year and stash him over seas for a year. This is a guy that was projected as a low 1st or high 2nd round pick. He fell to us because of the injury. He has a similar collage resume as Parsons at Houston and that worked out well there. If the sign him and he doesn’t make the team do to injuries then we lose his rights.

      • LakerTom 8:44 PM on September 19, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Good points, Michael. I think a lit will depend on what the Lakers see in camp, especially Landry and Harris. Going to be fun.

        • Michael H (Editor)

          Michael H 10:31 PM on September 19, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Aloha Tom

          You’re right. It should be fun. If Kelly isn’t 100% it would be foolish to sign him and run the chance of losing his future rights. I am pretty sure that’s why he hasn’t signed yet.

    • tate793

      tate793 11:34 PM on September 19, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      It doesn’t seem that Kelly has all the drive that he should have. A seven footer should be able to garner more than 5.3 rebounds. That’s a tad bit more than 1 rebound a quarter. Ryan Anderson pulls down 6.4 and that’s against a lot bigger guys. While the 1.6blks is commendable, it appears that Kelly has an aversion to banging and is a slow healer.

      • mclyne32 9:43 AM on September 20, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        It’s kind of hard to grab a lot of boards when you are a spot up seven footer.
        I’m sure if he had played more in the paint, his numbers would have been greater.
        Anyway, my hopes of this season are not hanging on the tiny thread that represents his chance to even make the squad.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 8:11 AM on September 19, 2013 Permalink  

    BR: Why Houston Rockets Won’t Exceed Expectations in 2013-14 

    The Houston Rockets’ vaunted trio will need at least a year of playing together before the team can reach the expectations many are hoping for. Dwight Howard, James Harden and Chandler Parsons are a solid core to build around, but championships aren’t won simply by big names on paper.

    Last year’s Los Angeles Lakers, whom Howard was a member of, were a prime example of what happens when teams get ahead of themselves after comprising an All-Star roster. With one of the most impressive starting rotations ever assembled, the Lakers were expected to be instant title contenders.

    In reality, the Lake Show struggled to find an identity and stumbled to a 45-37 record. They were eventually nabbed the seventh seed and were swept in the first round by the San Antonio Spurs.

    This year’s Rockets team will be much improved from last year’s bunch (which also went 45-37 and lost in the first round, although in more dramatic fashion). The addition of Howard, the league’s best center, gives Houston an offensive force in the paint as well as another imposing rim protector to go along with Omer Asik (1.1 blocks per game in 2012-13).

    The Howard acquisition also raised the team’s expectations. ESPN’s Summer Forecast projects the Rockets to go 53-29 this season. Houston also received 45 votes from the Worldwide Leader’s panel to finish as Western Conference champions, which was fourth-most on the list of contenders.

    Fifty wins seems reasonable for a team with this much talent (though you could have said the same thing about last year’s Lakers, too). A trip to the finals isn’t out of the question, but there are concerns that need to be addressed first.

    For starters, the Big Three have to mesh together. The NBA isn’t fantasy basketball. You can’t throw a bunch of stars together and expect them to dominate. Even the Miami Heat needed a year of developing chemistry before they became champions.

    Head coach Kevin McHale is going to have to figure out a way to make everyone happy. Harden is an electrifying scorer that tends to dominate the basketball. Howard is going to want a significant amount of touches as well. It is going to take some time for the two to get on the same page. 

    If the Rockets get off to a slow start or problems arise with the scheme, will Howard waltz into general manager Daryl Morey’s office and call for McHale’s termination? You’d like to think those kind of politics are old hat for Howard, but who can say with any real certainty? 

    Houston is going to be a formidable contender for years to come. They have an impressive young core that will continue to grow together. Howard is 27 years old, Parsons is 25 and Harden is 24. Even role players such as Asik and Jeremy Lin are under 30.

    They have a solid bench with guys like Patrick Beverley, Terrence Jones (assuming he doesn’t start) and Donatas Motiejunas. They also have a head coach with a championship pedigree from his playing days with the Boston Celtics.

    That being said, the stars aren’t aligned just yet. ESPN’s prediction of 53 wins seems right on the money. In the playoffs, Houston will probably enter as the third or fourth seed.

    Any chance of topping that will require a number of things to fall into place. Harden, Howard and Parsons will need time to adjust to each other, and the West is still too top-heavy for Houston to make a run this season.

    The Rockets’ time will come eventually but, as we’ve seen in the past, it will take more than putting a few flashy names together for this team to live up to the hype.

    via Why Houston Rockets Won’t Exceed Expectations in 2013-14 | Bleacher Report.

     
    • KB Blitz 9:48 AM on September 19, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Another anti -- Dwight /Houston when yet the Clippers and Warriors are not only better but also in the same division lol yet barely get a touch from Tommy Boy lol

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 8:28 PM on September 18, 2013 Permalink  

    Pincus: Are the Lakers better than the New Orleans Pelicans? 

    Point guard

    The Pelicans made two major off-season additions in Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans.

    Holiday, a one-time All-Star, was picked up from the Philadelphia 76ers in trade. Last season, he averaged 17.7 points with 8.0 assists for the Sixers.

    Evans was acquired in trade from the Sacramento Kings after averaging 15.2 points a game.  The former rookie of the year could start at small forward, or come off the bench at either guard position.

    The Pelicans also have Austin Rivers and Brian Roberts at the position. Rivers struggled in his rookie season. Roberts is a solid low-minute guard.

    The Lakers have three point guards on their roster, including Steve Nash, who is healthier now than he was for almost all of last season (breaking his leg in the second game of the year).

    In addition to veteran Steve Blake, the Lakers brought back Jordan Farmar (who recently played in Turkey).

    Farmar adds some athleticism to the position for the Lakers, but the Sixers have an advantage when it comes to pure speed and quickness.

    The Lakers come in with tremendous experience at the position — making up some of the athleticism gap.

    Shooting guard

    Eric Gordon has struggled to stay healthy (knees) but he’s a capable scorer and defender at his best. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been at his best since his time with the Clippers in 2011.

    Last year, Gordon averaged 17 points a game but at 40.2% from the field in just 42 appearances.

    Evans will probably log minutes at two-guard as well. The Hornets also signed shooter Anthony Morrow.

    Naturally the biggest question facing the Lakers is the health of Kobe Bryant after April’s Achilles’ tendon tear. If he’s able to play the bulk of the season as a relatively high level, the Lakers have the advantage.

    The Lakers also picked up Nick Young and Wesley Johnson over the off-season, both capable of playing two-guard (although they both may get more time at small forward).

    Jodie Meeks is returning; the team also invited Xavier Henry to camp. Blake and even Farmar could see minutes at the two as well.

    The Lakers have depth and are younger than they were a year ago.

    If Gordon can bounce back, the Pelicans are formidable at shooting guard — but Bryant is still among the best in the game until proved otherwise.

    via Are the Lakers better than the New Orleans Pelicans? – latimes.com.

     
    • mclyne32 10:31 AM on September 19, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Thanks for the laugh, Picnus.
      Kobe at 80% is better offensively than all of the Pelicans guards combined, so yeah, we have a better back court.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 1:28 PM on September 18, 2013 Permalink  

    Lakers Nation: Steve Blake Says Kaman More Dynamic On P&R Than Dwight 

    Last season was Steve Blake’s finest season as a Laker. With both Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash out down the stretch of the season Blake took over the scoring and playmaking duties for the Lakers including a monster 24-point, seven rebound, seven assist night in the 99-95 OT victory against the Houston Rockets to clinch the seventh seed on the final night of the NBA season.

    Blake has been working out recently with some of his new teammates at the Lakers practice facility as training camp nears, and in an interview with Mike Trudell, had some great praise for new center Chris Kaman:

    Chris Kaman is  great in the pick and roll. He can shoot the mid range shot; he  understands the game and where to be […] He has a willingness to be ok with running into the pick and roll every single time. He can roll; he can pop, it gives us a little bit more of a dynamic option than just Dwight rolling to the rim every single time.

    Kaman is definitely more multi-faceted as an offensive player than Dwight Howard, there is no disputing that. His ability to shoot from mid-range and work from the high post gives the Lakers more options, and his willingness to run it consistently is important, especially coming in with the second unit.

    Blake will be in an interesting battle with Jordan Farmar and Jodie Meeks to get backup point guard and some shooting guard minutes behind Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant. Blake impressed many last year with how he raised his game when necessary and could be one of those players to flourish if Kobe takes a step back when he returns.

    If he is able to develop chemistry with a big man as talented as Kaman it could go a long way towards strengthening a bench for the Lakers that was almost non-existent last season.

    via Steve Blake: Chris Kaman More Dynamic On Pick And Roll Than Dwight | Lakers Nation.

     
    • LakerTom 1:30 PM on September 18, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Having Pau and Kaman at center will make the Lakers a better offensive team.
      Hopefully, the speed and athleticism of our new perimeter players will help on defense.

    • LRob (Director)

      LRob 2:37 PM on September 18, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’m not worried about the offense. But I do chuckle at any statement that alludes to us being better without Dwight (except FT shooting).

      • LakerTom 2:58 PM on September 18, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        LOL. Sometimes the truth is funnier than fiction. From chemistry alone, we WILL be better w/o Dwight Coward.

        • KB Blitz 3:10 PM on September 18, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        • LRob (Director)

          LRob 4:30 PM on September 18, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          LT -- I hope you’re right. Chemistry wasn’t my strongest subject :)

          • 63Footer (Die! Rector! Die!)

            63Footer 7:22 AM on September 19, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            I’m more about physics: if ball, B, is traveling in a parabolic arc at force, F, what is the trajectory necessary for it to go into hoop, H? Show your work.

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