Want to Have a Laker Roll His Eyes at You?
Ask about the whole Clippers/Lakers rivalry thing. Man alive, I haven't heard so many non-answers to reporters' questions in a long time (and believe me, we get a lot of non-answers). It's still a rivalry that is more media- and perhaps fan-driven than an issue with those in purple and gold. Obviously, the crosstown (cross-building?) matchup is a lil' bigger deal now that the Clips don't suck, but at least for today in El Segundo, little to no gasoline was poured on whatever fire there is. "I know the owners like each other. Donald Sterling has been eating off Dr. Buss' plate for years," Phil Jackson joked.
One big issue, literally, for tomorrow night? The Clippers frontline of Elton Brand and Chris Kaman. Large, large, large. It'll be a challenge for Kwame Brown, likely to spend time on E.B., and Bynum, who will see lots of Kaman. Jackson didn't rule out the notion that they'd both start. (I'm going to go out on a limb and say he'll do it) "I think the biggest step is Kwame Brown having to guard their All Star," Jackson said, talking about a key to the game. "He's become a bonafide power player in this game, and we have two games coming up with (Carlos) Boozer and the Clippers in which we're going to have to show we can play inside with these teams."
As for the laughter at the top of the clip, it was caused by Brown himself. Listen closely and you might be able to hear what he said to cause the guffaws.
Why not keep it on Kwame for a while? P.J. was asked how Bynum's development might impact what happens with Brown. Obviously, the team has an investment in both. "Right now, he hasn't done as much on-the-court work as he's done therapy work," Jackson said. Injury has limited Brown to the basics, with the more sophisticated stuff hopefully to come. "Kwame has to take the rest of that game and develop it."
Of course, it's not fair to talk about a guy without hearing what he has to say. To his credit, Kwame has shown a great attitude in terms of not complaining about losing his starting job. I asked Jackson if he worried at all about Brown becoming a little too comfortable in his role as a backup, and P.J. said no. They've talked about it and Kwame's goal is to start. Good to hear. Where could be up for debate. Brown said Jackson had him practicing out on the wing today (more fuel for my "Kwame Starts at the Four Tuesday" theory, and its sister theory "I Was Wrong About Kwame Starting at the Four, but He'll See Time There"). "I guess I'll be out there for defensive purposes, but I'll try to find my way on the offensive end," he said. "I haven't run at that position in a while. I still remember some of it, but I didn't have it down that great when I was there, so we'll see."
As for the state of his jumper? "I don't want to talk about it," Brown laughed. So if you happen to see any K.B. three pointers tomorrow night, that's probably not by design.
Brown said his goal is to get back into the starting lineup and he thinks he can produce, though if he were in charge, the rotations wouldn't change since things are going well for the team. He's an interesting player, in that you hate to hear guys complain about minutes — which Kwame is absolutely not doing — but I'd also love for him to say something like, "Andrew is playing great and I'll never whine about p.t., but my goal is to play so well that the coaches will have no choice but to give me 35 minutes a night." Or something similar.
He should feel free to find his own style and verbal flair, for sure. Kwame's a really good guy, but oddly passive sometimes, whether it's downplaying expectations of his production or saying that it's tough to grab rebounds because L.O. steals them all. Download kwame_brown2_11.20.mp3
Kobe was pleased with his effort defensively last night. Download kobe_on_defense_11.20.mp3
Health Notes: Jordan Farmar's twisted ankle could keep him out of Tuesday's game. Like all of us, he's day to day. As for Ronny Turiaf, he practiced Monday afternoon, and is somewhere between questionable and probable for tomorrow. Given the amount of bigs the Clips can throw at you, look for Turiaf to suit up.
Finally, after practice there was a media-only D-League exhibition between YOUR LOS ANGELES D-FENDERS! and, for our O.C. readers, YOUR ANAHEIM ARSENAL! I regret to inform you that I was unable to stay (or unwilling, depending on your POV), but did catch a glimpse of the D-Fenders warmups. Purple and gold, patterned after the big club, except with "D-League" stitched on prominently... just in case these guys happened to forget where they're playing. Also, if you had guards Elton Nesbitt and Jamar McKnight on your NBDL fantasy league squad, it's with a heavy heart that I inform you they were released last week.