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Report Card/Exit Interview: Sasha Vujacic

Report Card: I feel for Sasha.  He's a nice kid.  He works very hard.  He really wants to help the Lakers.  And I really want him to help the Lakers.  I'm just not convinced he ever will.  His progress over three years is pretty standstill at best.  Yes, this season's 4.3 ppg represents (scarily) a career high, but it's in part because 39.7% from the field also represents (scarily) a career high for a guy known primarily as a shooter.  In the meantime, his minutes dropped considerably, his play making skills are minimal and his defense is more about frantic effort, fouls and "the face" than really stopping anyone.  As BK and I have often theorized, a big reason Sasha still has believers among the Nation has more to do with likable earnestness (especially when compared to a brooding Smush Parker) than any flashes he's shown.  Honestly, I think Sasha's obvious desire to succeed is often his Achilles heel, prompting him to force the action (and often poor results) .  Ironically, he might actually start playing better if he stopped giving an "eff."  I've recommended everything from smoking to hypnosis as a means of relaxation.  Whatever methodology, I can't imagine he's got more than one more season to figure it out in a Laker uni.  Final Grade: D+ 


Sasha Vujacic's Exit Interview is below the jump.

Q: What was your meeting with the top guys about?

Sasha Vujacic: With the top guys?  Oh, nothing.  We talked about the season.  We talked about season.  What my plans are.  Obviously, it was disappointing to lose twice in a row to the same team, but now we just have to have a good summer and do something different next season.

Q: What did they talk about with you about specifically working on?

SV: I didn't go the basket a lot, obviously.  I was playing two-guard more (this year) and the point guard last year.  Definitely, there were some things that didn't show up in the games that they know I can do.  I just definitely have to put some more pounds on me and come ready for training camp.

Q: How would you evaluate your year?

SV: My year?  It was a little bit different than last year.  There were some ups and downs.  I was very disappointed in the end to lose to the same team.  From the individual point of view, I just think that I could do much, much better.  That's why I'm looking forward to having a good summer, working a lot and coming around.

Q: Are you planning on playing for your national team this summer?

SV: I'm still thinking about it, because it's a different situation than last year.  Last year, I had much more minutes (with the Lakers), so I didn't even think about playing.  But this year, I would definitely consider that as an option and I'll make my decision soon.

Q: Is that just to get more playing time over the summer in a structured offense?

SV: I like to compete.   I like to play.  And I had a long talk with Ronny (Turiaf) as well about that.  We're in the same group, so definitely, we will be there.  It'll be a lot of fun when we beat them.

AK: In terms of the "downs" you mentioned during the season, not playing as much as you hoped, do you attribute it to just skills not being there enough, not being in the right place mentally?

SV: Honestly, it was frustrating.  It was a different season than a year ago.  I just think that I have so much more in my game that didn't show up.  Probably not even 40% of my capabilities didn't show up and that's something that I just want to give out and show what I can do.  That's all I think are the ups and downs?

Q: Why do you think what you're capable of didn't come out?

SV: Who knows why?  Basketball is a very fun game, so you can't force yourself to come to the game.  You have to let the game come to you.  That's what I'm planning to do.  Hopefully, it'll be a situation where the game comes to me and it's just going to be nice and fun.

AK: Along those lines of "letting the game come to you," do you feel like you sometimes look to either force the action or get anxious?

SV: No, I'm never anxious.  Whenever I'm out there, I just love playing basketball.  I like having fun and whenever I'm out there, I want to give my 110%.  I'm kind of sad, because like I said before, it was different than last year.  Coach didn't have as much confidence in me as last year, so it wasn't the way I expected.  But anyway, like I said before, it's going to be a very tough summer for me.  Very big decisions to make, and I just want to be as much I can be.  Good as I can be.

Q: What do you think needs to happen for Phil to regain confidence in you?

SV: Just to have a great summer.  Have a great summer, come to training camp and try to be the best.  Just to be the best in training camp and that's my plan. When training camp opens in Hawaii, I want to be the best over there.  I wanna show to everybody what I can do.

Q: What role would they like you play next season?

SV: We don't know that yet.  Definitely, I see myself as a point guard.  This year, I played much less point guard than a year ago.  It's a different offense, the triangle.  It's a two-guard offense, lead guard and the off-guard.  For me, I see myself as a point guard or a combo guard who can play the two, but my preference is definitely the one.      

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He gets an A+ from me simply cause he's Sasha! lol.

Seriously though, dude Sasha, you gotta relax. When you shot well you came into it confident, and damned the percentages. This year's stand out moment has to be the game winning shot against memphis? Don't remember lol...but it shows what he's capable of, if he just remains consistent and stop being so "eager." I can tell he's been talking with PJ and Kob...."let the game come to him" the paint.

And yes we do like him because he does try...because he's all effort (discombobulated effort, but effort nonetheless lol). This says it all "I just definitely have to put some more pounds on me and come ready for training camp." By the way, I do think Sasha needs to put on some muscles...think DFish like. That should let him body up opposing players on D.



Did Shaq Ask His Teammates Not to Play Defense?
Posted May 7th 2007 4:00PM by mjd
Filed under: Heat, Eastern

Shaquille O'Neal's absorbed some pretty harsh criticism throughout his career. At various points, he's been called out for his tendency to coast through the regular season, his commitment to conditioning, and some selfishness.

No criticism he's ever gotten, in my opinion, is as damning as this tidbit from Sam Smith's column at
Heat coach Pat Riley in his post-series comments said he was to blame for what he called the "pervasive" attitude of the veterans that the team could turn it on at any time. Hmm, wonder whom he meant. Riley said it would have been "a mockery" if the Heat had defeated the Bulls.

"It would have sent the wrong message. We didn't do anything the right way this year," Riley said. Then he added: "If he wants to give back $10 million and play half the season, fine." Wonder again whom he meant.

Miami insiders said not only was O'Neal indifferent to the regular season, as usual, and this time had knee surgery, but he'd even go so far as to tell teammates not to bother with defense, apparently to not make his own indifference look bad.
If that's true, it's unforgivable. Not playing defense yourself is one thing ... in the regular season, every single player in the league takes some possessions off. No big deal.

But to implore your teammates to stop trying, because it would make you look bad? I can't even count the ways that that's messed up.

He's putting his own image above the interests of the team. His own image. We're not even talking about his stats, his touches, or his role in the offense, all of which would be bad, but are at least things that happen sometimes. We're talking about his image ... he's perfectly willing to let his team lose games because he doesn't want people to single him out for not trying? Unbelievable.

I'm going to choose not to believe this, just because if I did believe it, I'd have no choice but to believe Shaq is a man of zero basketball integrity. I'd forgive Ron Artest for mistreating his dog before I forgave Shaq for asking his teammates not to try. I don't want to do that, so I'm not believing this.

Yes, we feel about Sasha.
He at list, try.
He is humble.

The problem is: He isn't a Nba caliber player.
Maybe in some kind of european league of second division.

Yes is sad to see him go.
One of the reason Lakers had being a mess for 5 years is because
we still nurturing guys like him, not shoot accuracy, not atleticism,
not defense, not dribbling abilities.

Sorry, but winning discard sentimentlism.

So, I think I'll just post these interview outtakes individually if there's a second update in one day instead of posting the entirety of them together. I'll recap them the following day. If you missed the first ones, check out my post on the Jordan Farmar Report Card.

Exit Interview Outtakes, cont'd.

Sasha Vujacic

G1: Where are you from, originally?
SV: [laughing] Shouldn't you know this?
G1: Well yeah, but just humor me.
SV: Alright. I'm from Slovenia.
G1: If it's 10:30am here, do you know what time it is there?
SV: [thinking] 7:30pm?
G1: Right. And what time do you usually practice?
SV: In the morning?
G1: When do you hit the most shots, at practice or during a game?
SV: [laughing] Well, in practice it seems.
G1: So, if you lived in Los Angeles, but switched around your sleep patterns so that you were on Slovenian time which would make it seem like 7:30pm here was 10:30am...
SV: [laughing] Wait, what?
G1: If you slept during the day and woke up at 12 noon, then... wait. If you went to sleep at 7:30 every... no, that's not right. Look, if you practiced at 4am in Slovenia and then flew here to Los Angeles for games...
SV: [interrupting]I'm confused.
G1: You and me both, dude.
SV: You started it, idiot.
G1: "Sasha" is a girly name.

Note: Sasha didn't actually retort after that at all, he just sat there looking a little dejected. I think his eyes welled up a little, though.


You are a tough grader. On the other hand, Faith is a softee. lol
I give Sasha a C-

Sasha would be the Steve Kerr on the Bulls team.
He can play better Def and can drive better, but when Kerr shot, you always felt it was going in. With Sasha, not the same, except in practice from what we hear.

Sasha has ADD and needs to SLOW down. Either take prozac or have a shot of tequila before each game. This guy gets on my nerves. He has so much energy, that if you could tap that, you might be able to run the Electricty needs of the Staples center.

If he could just relax and go with the flow, he might become our Steve Kerr someday.

Fatty from Arizona, where Nash was to slow to out run Karma

LOL Fatty.

Generic One...tha's hilarious since it's thought to be that he plays better on day fact I think his stats show it (marginally but they show it) if we can just move all our games to days, or get him under hypnosis to think night games are day games lol.

Generic One,

You are now officially the "Borat" of the Lakers. Keep 'em comin'!

Why reporters and Kobe heaters in this blog don't talk about Steve Nash, the perfect leader for a team, calling out his temmates in the press after the lost, last sunday.
Wao!....Deja vu is over again. Nash is a looser. Phoenix is dead, before the war started. D'antoni is crying as a baby in the sideline. Phoenix jokers aren't coming here anymore to defend "Nash the little wonder".

What Nash doesn't talk about it is that he let him Parker score as a Kobester , and his defense is killing the team. Yea.. is good to talk trash playing against "dead men walking" like Smush, farmar , sasha and shammond.

The Suns Aren't Trying, Either
Posted May 7th 2007 4:23PM by mjd
Filed under: Suns, Spurs, Western, NBA Playoffs

If you're scoring at home, this will make three consecutive posts about a team or players lacking some kind of a competitive desire. This time, it's Steve Nash calling out his teammates.
"I really don't know what to say ... I mean, how many times can you talk about it?" said a bewildered Nash, who had all his faculties despite a blow that cost him six stitches and the Suns a chance at a victory. "I think some of us just didn't have the fire it takes to be a world championship team.

"We give up size to pretty much every team. I think we have to play harder and a little more desperate."
Oh, yeah. We call that "Detroit Pistons Disease," from which the Pistons have seemed to recover this postseason, but not before spreading the malady to the Suns. Honestly, I hadn't noticed it in the Suns ... possibly because everyone looks like they're playing on fast forward against Smush Parker and Kwame Brown.

But if that's what Nash says, that pretty much makes it truth. No one knows Amare Stoudamire, Shawn Marion, and the rest of the Suns better than he does, seeing that he's largely responsible for much of the success they've had in their careers.

There are enough things working against the Suns in this series against the Spurs. If this is what Nash believes, then I believe the Suns are pretty much cooked.




A Sasha Vujacic - Steve Kerr comparison. That's a low blow to Steve Kerr. Keep the gloves up.

Maybe you can compare Sasha to Shephen A. Smith since they are both:

1. utterly annoying
2. use their areas of origin as credibility for their professions
3. use their energy in unneccessary ways
4. when they get their chance, they normally choke horribly (quite frankly)
5. get paid to do things they know nothing about
6. when the chips are on the table, they are out of their league (quite frankly)

ok enough sasha bashing.

i know he means well. but the kid has no game.

his energy would be put to better use if he were the team mascot or one of those kats who mops the floor after a player lands on it. BY THE WAY, HOW OLD IS THAT TOWEL BOY WHO ASSISTS THE VISITING TEAM AT STAPLES? dude has been around for ages (since the kobe-shaq dynasty...sad but that seems like ages ago).

sasha frantically guarding an opponent at the half court line only to get burned badly at the three point line is sasha's m.o.

seems like a nice guy. i wish him well.

the lakers don't need nice guys, we need guys who can play basketball.

and the sad part in all of this remains that sasha will most likely remain a laker:

because he is under contract
because he is our token euro
because he is dirt cheap
and NOT BECAUSE he can play a lick of basketball.

K bros, who's next?

did i miss cookie's interview? that dude is a dog with fleas...

mitchell & generic_one,

i for one was waiting for sasha to say, "my wife..." or "very nice" or the "us and a"

as usual, he disappointed like no other.

maybe vlad stepped up in his interview. "snowboard...i teach you. you like?"


Shaq ain't nothing but a fat behemoth (and a nice person, or so I've heard).

But I'd rather have someone whose work ethic I can respect, than a hulking, no-basketball-specific-skill-set freak of nature.

Kobe Bryant is always the first one in the gym, last one out. He respects the game, and is always trying to improve.


well for one the spurs have a damn good head coach is poppovich. he knows while nash is the leading mvp candidate, he is also the suns worst defender.

poppovich also understands he has the players (tony parker) to expose that huge weakness (nash's defense).

as for the lakers, i think we have the right coach - who would have loved to expose that same weakness.

however, we lacked the personnel to expose nash's matador defense.

by the way, nash's gashed up beak was more his fault than parker's.

nash guessed wrong and got beat so bad, his beak took the brunt of it.

damn this blog is therapeutic.

mitchell: Make it the "Mo Rocca" of the Lakers and you've got a deal.

tha show: Cook's interview was posted a couple days ago (Cinco de Mayo!).

Tha Show,

LOL......high five!?!?!

Unfortunately, I agree with Tha Show 100%. (BTW, the Stephen A Smith comparison was hilarious...and yet surprisingly accurate.) I started out a Sasha fan, due to his effort and size. There was definitely some potential. But over the years he simply hasn't gotten any better. How many years are we going to have to hear that this guy is a LIGHTS OUT shooter in practice...and yet can't hit them in games....despite the fact that the Laker perimeter players get great looks at the basket due to the defensive focus on Kobe. I don't care if this guy is Steve Kerr in practice...he is definitely nowhere near Kerr's level in games.

IT's not Sasha's fault that he is a likeable guy and even the Laker organization likes him, Phil and Kobe also, so they'll continue to give him a chance.

I think Sasha is liked because he does really try hard to play better and be better, that's only what you ask for.

I was thinking of throwing in one of those "In Soviet Russia ___ ___ you!." jokes, but those get used a lot. In Soviet Russia, snow boards you! Yeah, lame.


lol. i forgot about that one.

it's kinda funny how many bloggers (including myself sometimes) want to trade our worst players in exchange for another team's best player?

you know like:

kwame, cook, sasha and a first rounder for kevin garnett

kinda laughable.

if the lakers want a bonafide power forward, lamar will have to go. sad to say, but true.

Gerneric One,

You're right, Bynum has an uncanny resemblance to Tracy Morgan, but check this link out. This is Bynum after getting whistled for a foul:

tha show
"because he is our token euro"

You are in rare form today. lol

I first thought Vladimir was a Euro, but forgot he came to us by way of Mars. "He would be our token Martian"

Fatty from Arizona where Amare says "Duncan didn't out play him, the refs gave him the game"

Nash excuses:

1)He doesn't trust his teammates....
"I think some of us just didn't have the fire it takes to be a world championship team."
Really NASH?

2)Suddenly his teams isn't well assembled - management faults/.
"We give up size to pretty much every team."
Why it took you so long to wonder about it NASH?

3)He see his team as a looser already.
"I think we have to play harder and a little more desperate."
Key word: Desperate. (wao!... only one lost and he is in doubt)

In fact the biggest fish to too big, dear NAsh.
Somewhere, somehow, Kobe Bryant laught about Nash words,
Phoenix Suns fans are depressed and hopeless.
Are we talking here about another Dirk debacle?
His brother in pain?
Now, the same press that santify Nash is willing also to vilify him, if necessary, because the show must
go on.
All in the name of keeping the saga interesting and readers attention.
And Nash words still sounding, his technic is very known:
The Adan excuse: "Is them, not me".

This picture looks wrong to me...
Where is the image created about him as the ultimate and consumated team player?
Suddenly he is a rat.


You forgot to mention that when Vladimir turned to Kwame and said.."Why’d you throw that cake?" He was also flipping him off.

Kwame then going outside, and being the practical joker that he his, slashed the tires of Mitch Kupchak's Kia Sorento, wrote" F You" all over PJ's Corrola Hybred, and put a live hog, and basketball in Kobe's Mercedes. Oh that Kwame, he's such a funny practical joker.

Fatty the guy from Arizona

jorema, thanks for the article on shaq. if true, it's not cool. you seem to be a Nash-hater. I'm starting to think you're kobe in disguise again. I guess if you can't beat them, just talk crap about them. kobe, get your won MVP awards and division titles! be happy you've got your scoring titles and All-Star MVP award. kobe's second banana to Nash, haha!


Its that "bad apple theory" working its ugly stuff on Nash. Kobe is not just a cancer on the Lakers, but a cancer to anyone he comes into contact with.

Nash couldn't help it, Kobe made him talk that way.

Fatty from Flagstaff, Arizona, U.S.A.

Did Sasha say he only showed us only 40% of his talent?! Wow, wait until he shows us the rest of his game, then we will be an elite team..haha..I like Sasha too, b/c you can't teach effort.

Sasha was supposed to step up this year. Now he may have to step out.

AK and BK,

Why not a report card on Mitch Kupchak?
I am sure many of us would like to post a comment on Mr. Kupchak.

Did no one ask Sasha about Paris Hilton?

Jorema, the more i read your post, the more you sound like me towards Prince Kobe. Dang, you really don't like Nash huh? Nash is a good player, why do you diss him so much?


We're getting there. Kobe, LO, Mitch, Kwame, Smush, PJ, etc. are all coming. We're tyring to get the stuff out quickly, and still give everyone a chance to comment and discuss before the next thread starts. We figure the big guns are bigger conversations than the end of the bench, so better to clear out the chaff before getting to the wheat. Besides, putting Kobe, Mitch, or PJ up first would be like using up Radiohead as an opening act at Coachella.



Please draw it out as long as you can. I'd rather have a little each day than a wealth of information followed by two weeks of silence.

I'm going through withdrawals already. Quick, somebody start another Walton/Spears rumor!

BK, thanks for the Radiohead reference. One of my favs. You're rolling out everything just right. Yes, it looks like we all have plenty to say about everyone.

What's pathetic is how many guys on the team have earned their low grades. A D+ for Sasha is pretty much on the money, maybe even generous.

here's a great article written by Kevin Ding, and just get a taste of what he says

The answers speak to why trading Caron Butler for Brown hasn't worked, why Ronny Turiaf has succeeded Butler as Bryant's guy and why Bynum needs to be traded.

Who cared: Bryant, Odom, Turiaf, Luke Walton. Who sort of cared: Maurice Evans, Jordan Farmar, Aaron McKie, Sasha Vujacic. Who didn't care: Kwame Brown, Bynum, Brian Cook, Smush Parker, Vladimir Radmanovic, Shammond Williams.

Tex Winter talks about the work required of preps making it as pros and compares Bynum not to Bryant – but to Brown. You remember that Bynum slogged through high school overweight and under the radar, then dropped 30 pounds only when the NBA beckoned. You notice that he happily got the PlayStation3 the day it came out — by making someone else wait in line overnight for him.

The rest of the article here:

I agree with Kevin those were the only guys that cared and I wish they could stay and the team needs to trade the players that don't care.

Because those players didn't follow Kobe's leadership or Lamar's leadership, they just don't care.


A lot of people ask me why I like Sasha so much. I think it's because of three things

1. He tries really hard and has a lot of heart
2. He's European
3. He looks like a Greek singer

note: #2 and #3 are very similar, and can be combined into one point, so point #3 is:

3. The SASHA FACE, without a doubt the most famous face (I can think of) in the history of the Laker Organization.

Don't forget, the sasha face not only accounts for the actual face, but also the palms pointed upward and the raise of the shoulders/lowering of the head.

how can you not love a 12 year old 6 foot 6 Slovenian kid who looks like a Greek singer???

didn't vujacic get an extension? wh00hooo!! i don't think he's gonna be trade bait though.

all I really want to know is this.... How come the white guys on our team can't shoot?

"kobe's second banana to Nash, haha!"

Posted by: KL "the beast" | May 07, 2007 at 04:03 PM

Really? Two REGULAR SEASON MVP(regular season emphasized) fo Nash makes Kobe second banana to him? If Nash is that great, why did he not get an MVP while in Dallas? Does Nash have an All Star MVP? Does Nash have championship rings?

I don't know why Lakers selected Sasha, he is slow, can't asst, usually Euro players can shoot the ball well, can run, can asst, average defender. Sasha should sign with other NBA teams, he won't be better player in trial angle offense.

I have no clue how sasha can think of himself at a point guard when every time I see him he cant wait to jack up a shot. I hope he is kidding.

I cant believe anyone would admit only 40% of their game was on display. Where the heck was it? On vacation. He clearly thinks way to highly of himself.

Thanks for the post. I'm beginning to hate Bynum even more! Notice how Ding mentions that Jim fell in love with Bynum in the first 5 minutes. It tells you that it doesn't take a lot to impress him, and once impressed, he blindly supports the guy no matter what.

Pretty an indictment of front office ongoing futility in the draft as GM Kupcake wasted a first round pick on a Euro point guard who, while he possesses the physical attributes and thrive in practice games, failed to translate those in game-time siutation. Some of his flaws include lack of passing skill, hesistancy to drive in the paint, play physical D and consistently hit key jumpers.

Sasha is plagued more by mental than physical issues -- low basketball I.Q. and confidence level -- which ultimately will jettison him from the Laker lineup back to the Euro league.

Another one bites dust.

We don't need a 2 pm player, we need a 7 pm player. No matter if he tried too hard or just didn't have the talent, we want to see good performance from our players on the court, not in practices.

No Greek Dude,
SASHA Face rivals DEVEAN GEORGE face as the top ridiculous looks of all time.

What's more famous:

The world awaits the blogs answer!!!


Thank you for the update and please forgive my unreasonable impatience.
I have deep understanding for “clearing out the chaff before getting to the wheat.”

I am new to your site but a Lakers fan for many years.
Thank you for the wonderful job you are doing for the fans and for the team keeping everything at a professional level and most importantly at LA-Times grade.
And, thank you for keeping this site clean in monitoring the comments and keeping the garbage out


Sasha should get a grade F.

If you can only make shots in practice, then what do the lakers need him for?

Like I said last week. We seem to only get the Euro Rejects on this team.

BTW, Golden state is winning again.

I hope Kobe is watching just how a real team plays together.

I think Sasha should have been given more minutes.

zack randolph is the solution to the problem!

and the only feasible one! (brown, vlad, brian cook, 2 second rounders)

add morris peterson with the mle

and trade bynum, 1st rounder for rights to corey brewer

thats my plan to make the lakers better
go small, everyone else is doing it!

farmar/ earl watson/corey brewer
kob/ maurice
Zack/ chris mihm
Lamar/ ronny
Morris peterson/ luke walton/ corey brewer

corey f***ing brewer

will ball for the lakers next year

sasha is so annoying and he sucks. get rid of him
yeah, he gives his effort but he has no athleticism and he's getting paid to shoot and play D which he hasn't done this season. I think he will still be a laker because nobody wants him but they gotta somehow package this guy.

if you see jerry buss someday, please tell him to fire mitch kupchak, the worst gm ever.
also, we need to get rid of brian cook, radman, kwame and smush of course.

It's too bad this year isn't his last year in a Laker uniform. He's probably a nice guy, but he brings nothing to the table, that I can see.



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