Report Card/Exit Interview: Jordan Farmar
Report Card: Smush Parker's first season as a Laker starter was a roller coaster, so it's only fitting that the guy who eventually took William Henry's job during an inaugural (and rookie) year would experience a similar ride. Jordan Farmar's day one presence in the rotation as Parker's backup surprised some and his solid second unit play (combined with Smush's early struggles) led to mid-season lineup switch speculation. But instead of joining the first unit, Farmar proceeded to struggle, eventually finding himself glued to the bench or donning a D-Fenders uni. But the junior circuit success actually bolstered his confidence and when Smush suffered an April meltdown, Farmar found himself a playoff starter. From there, it was up and down all over again.
But during all the trials and tribulations, Farmar displayed a nice combo of promise, smarts and work ethic, plus an iron will when in over his head (which was occasionally the case). He also has a tendency to telegraph passes, get burnt defensively and generally try to do too much, which is why I'm not sure the front office is convinced he's ready for full-time work running the '08 show. But whether he starts or plays off the pine, it's reasonable to think Farmar can improve upon a nice foundation built during his rookie campaign. Final grade: B-
Jordan Farmar's Exit interview is below the jump.
Q: How did your interview go?
Jordan Farmar: It went well. They just talked about this season and what to work on during the summertime.
Q: You ended the season on a high note, with a starting spot during the playoffs. Was that important for you to finish strong?
JF: I think so. I think it was okay for me to show some positive signs, but I'm only out there to win basketball games and do whatever I can to help this organization. I'm not really thinking about personal things when I'm out there and the team's going. The summertime's when I can really focus on myself and work on things I need to work on. But when I'm out there, I don't really think about myself too much.
AK: What did it mean to you that Phil decided to stick with you as the starter during the playoffs, when there had been talk about him possibly going with a different starter for Game 5?
JF: I didn't even hear any talk about a switch. I don't really read the paper. I just try to stay focused and do my job. But it was a good feeling to be the starter and be the starting point guard for the Lakers. Go up against Steve Nash and all that great stuff. Playing for Phil Jackson, who's not really known to play rookies. Being a little guard and starting. And that stuff goes into it. But at the same time, I'm just trying to do my job and help this team in any way I can.
AK: The rookie season is now done. Thoughts on the experience?
JF: It was up and down, you know? I feel like I still have a lot more to offer, but I still feel like I had a productive, positive season. I learned a lot on and off the court. I played for a great coach who a different style of coaching than I'm used to, so I learned that there's a lot of differences and ways to go about it. I had a good time. I think I've grown as a player and a man. I've been humbled, having to play in the D-League and things like that. But it's just all been for my benefit and to help me grow.
Q: Did you guys talk about goals or is it too soon for that?
JF: I think it's too soon. Right now, I think you have to go work on the individual aspects. If you bring your game back at another level, you can definitely contribute to the team in more ways. The more weapons and things you have personally, the more ways you can help the team.
AK: Is it ever surreal for you to put on the uni of the team I assume you grew up rooting for?
JF: Not really. Growing up, I kind of expected it. Not necessarily to be a Laker, I just expected to kind of be in this situation. When you expect something and you know you can do it, it doesn't really overwhelm you.
Q: One of the biggest questions the Lakers have to answer over the summer is who'll be the starting point guard?
JF: That's not up to me to answer. I just work on my stuff and be ready if my name is called. I definitely want to be the Lakers starting point guard, but that's out of my hands right now, so i just have to go, get back to work, improve myself and be ready for training camp.
AK: What specifically do you want to work on?
JF: A little bit of everything, but really over the summer, I can (look to) get shots in our offense, where I usually don't take shots. Watch some tape and see where I could have been more aggressive, make some things happen. Physically and defensively, that's pretty much all around. Just really focus on the way we play basketball and being able to be successful in this system.
Q: Can you talk a bit about watching your old UCLA teammates get to the Final Four and that loss to Florida? Was it tough for you to see?
JF: Yeah. I was really proud of them for what they did, rooting them on the whole time. Those are my guys. I was their leader less than a year ago, so it was a lot of fun seeing them grow, seeing them develop. And for me here, it was the same thing. They were looking on me with the same amount of pride. Being proud of me the same way I was proud of them. Watching me grow and I'm seeing the guys make tremendous improvements. Darren (Collison) from one year to the next. And for them to see me at this level, go through my ups and downs and keep fighting, keep working. It's just good both ways.
AK: You looking forward to someone else carrying your luggage next year?
JF: No, it's not really about that. (Smiles) I'm not worried about that. I'm here to play basketball. That stuff doesn't matter to me. I'll do it again if I have to.