Practice Notes and Quotes (10.6)
This just in: KOBE BRYANT'S 'DO IS TIGHT THESE DAYS!!!
I say that only because I'm trying to keep y'all updated on basketball's Jack Bauer, but when asked of the latest haps, he just shrugged, "Got a haircut. Other than that, nothing new." I'm gonna go out on a limb and say Kobe's going batty waiting to get on the floor. I can't say I know the guy like my best friend, but for some reason, he doesn't seem like the kind of guy who prefers watching hoops over playing. Maybe it's just me.
Anyhoo, today's end of practice scrimmage was divvied up into three squads rotating in and out against each other.
Blue Squad: LO, Smush, Sasha, Cook, Kwame, Walton
White Squad: Bynum, Turiaf, Shammond, Evans, Vlad, Pinnock
Green Squad: Devin Green (which is likely more a coincidence than Kurt Rambis trying to keep things light with an ironic play on words), Wafer, Douthit, Mamadou, Farmar,
There were highlights (Kwame sneaking a wrap around pass to a very surprised Cookie, who barely recovered from his shock to score the lay in) and lowlights (Smush blowing a layup after stealing the ball from Pinnock off an inbound. He redeemed himself, however, by canning a J on the next possession), but the one consistent was very physical action, meaning a fair amount of "whistleable" play. That's simply par the course, according to Rambis. "Training camp, there's just always fouls."
Odom agreed, especially since the monotony of early practices don't exactly reek of "fun." "Everything's so systematic. You gotta learn things together as far as defense and offense. Even learning the fast break is systematic. Guys get a little testy. Especially when the one time they get the ball, they get fouled. If you watch the whole practice, it's like that."
Rambis was asked if Aaron McKie was still an unknown commodity at this point, given his injury-riddled and borderline nonexistent 2006. His answer stuck me as very "yes and no," depending on what the Lakers are specifically looking for in the wily vet. "That's an interesting question. We have a lot of faith in his leadership capabilities. He did a great job when he wasn't playing or when he was dealing with injuries last year working with the younger guys, showing them how to be professional. He was fantastic in those areas."
When I asked if that that presence remained as necessary for a team one year older and wiser, Rambis didn't hesitate to confirm. "He does a great job talking to the players. When things get out of hand, he settles the team down. He's mature. He knows how to be a leader. He knows how to say the right things."
As to McKie's theoretical contributions on the court, that's where things might get a little more dicey. "In terms of playing out there on the court, he shows all those instincts that good defensive players have," said Rambis. "He understand this offense and now it's just physically whether or not he's able to keep up." This was unfortunately not one of those days, since McKie's back done went gimpy.
Good news if you're a Dodgers fan: LO does think the series will go five games. Bad news if you're a Dodgers fan. He didn't seem to convinced of L.A. actually beating the Mets.