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What happens before Vegas doesn't stay in El Segundo

Thus, I'm at liberty to provide tidbits from today's practice before the Lakers head to Sin City for two days of roundball. The afternoon featured a lot of half-court scrimmage played with an increased physicality at the behest of Phil Jackson. Having sufficiently run his teams' legs off on Friday, the Zen Master was looking to see guys grind things out more and generally liked what he saw. "It  gets very physical and competitive. We're kind of wanting the guys to get into that activity, get them reacting and playing with some physical aggression and competing." 

Unfortunately, with aggressive play often comes carelessness, meaning turnovers plaguing the Lakers throughout the preseason haven't vanished quite yet. While hardly satisfied with the oft-sloppy play, Phil wasn't freaked out by it, either. "Historically or hysterically, whichever word you want to say, our team has 20 turnovers to start the season and are down to 12 by the end of the year."  As Jackson also noted, the majority of this roster fancies himself a playmaker of sorts.  Thus, it's a matter of learning to hone that skill in conjunction with what everyone else is doing. And contrary to belief often tossed around, PJ isn't indifferent toward contests that don't count in the 82-game record.  "I like to win games in the preseason," stated PJ.  But even with that victorious agenda in mind, perspective must be maintained.  The offense typically takes longer to truly click than some other systems after a layoff, younger players are being given the chance to showcase themselves after working hard in camp, and there's a fair amount of tinkering in the works, which means the inevitable trial and error. 

Along those lines, Andrew Bynum worked more with Pau Gasol in the first unit (there's still some confusion, but Drew said they're coming along as a tandem), Vlad Radmanovic- whose play and ability to expand the court was praised by Phil- also spent time there, and Lamar Odom played both forward spots and even in relief of Derek Fisher off the bench for a good chunk of time.  The move was neither confirmation nor denial of a decision to come, but simply a look-see for both parties.  "He can start thinking about how he can help the team and what he can do when he does that.  But I don't know if I'll experiment with him in a game yet."  Jackson acknowledged that coming off the bench can rub some players the wrong way because learning to feel out a game already in the works isn't easy. "They get behind the action.  Everybody else is going by the time you get in."  Odom indeed had some trouble finding a groove at the outset, although once he got going, Phil thought he looked fine.  The role, should it end up Lamar's, doesn't guarantee cut minutes by any stretch, at least not in Jackson's eyes.  "A really good sixth guy can play 34 minutes with ease." 

Scrimmage Observations

As mentioned, Phil praised Vlad Rad's efforts.  During the tail end of practice we saw, he did play quite well, and not even within his typical "downtown" comfort zone.  Baskets came via a driving finger roll layup and good use of screen for a cutting curl to the rack, but his best moment came setting up Kobe for a dunk with a fantastic behind the back paint pass.

Gasol had a strong dunk over DJ Mbenga.

Josh Powell continued his very active work on the boards, including a terrific grab between three bodies while losing his balance. 

Coby Karl drained a pair of three balls and maintained an active, aggressive energy.

This was the first time I'd seen Luke Walton scrimmage, and he moved better than I would have expected.  I wouldn't quite describe him as "fluid" yet, but he was active and able to keep up, if not necessarily dominate.  "He looked good," nodded Phil.  Walton's game activity is still being limited- meaning he's not likely to suit up in Vegas- but that's as much a precaution to hopefully prevent making his ankle worse.   His bad ankle buddy Sasha Vujacic also won't play tomorrow and still moved a little gingerly along the sidelines, but should start working again next week.  Sasha also said there's no new swelling or setbacks, so that's a plus.   

Kobe operated with a lot of enthusiasm, whether telling some young non-roster invitees where to go during certain sequences, reminding Pau Gasol to provide quicker defense reinforcement or generally talking a little smack.  After picking off an errant pass from Trevor Ariza for a coast to coast field goal, he loudly thanked the small forward for the unintentional gift.  He also jawed with Jordan Farmar after Coby Karl's trey notched a win for the gray team (Farmar, Karl, Ariza, Powell, Mbenga) over Kobe's purple/starting crew.  "All ^$%%# day, you win one," mocked The Mamba.  "One in six!!!"   

Apropos to nothing of importance, I've decided that C.J. Giles' baby face makes him look like the world's tallest 11-year old.  Even while knowing for a fact that he's 23, selling him beer would still feel like a lawless act. 

Phil Jackson, Part I (some interesting stuff about how much longer the preseason used to be):
Download phil_jackson_i_10.11.08.mp3
Phil Jackson, Part II:  Download phil_jackson_ii_10.11.08.mp3
Andrew Bynum: Download andrew_bynum_10.11.08.mp3
Sasha Vujacic: Download sasha_vujacic_10.11.08.mp3

AK

 
Comments () | Archives (41)

The comments to this entry are closed.

It sure did quiet in the last 48 hours here in laker land. It's just the preseason, after all.

You have to hand it to the Clippers. They get up for the preseason and play like it's the playoffs.

Take a look at Terry Porter and SHACK, and the Birdman, tonight on TNT for the FIRST OUTDOOR NBA GAME IN 36 YEARS, PLAYED IN PALM SPRINGS

good shctuff.

Just one question. Who among the bubble players do you think will make the team? Based on who/when they play I have to say Karl. Although Giles and Heath have played much much better.

GASOL DUNKED OVER MBENGA!!!!

That is truly encouraging!!!

GOOOoooOOOOO LAKERS!!!!!

Totally offtopic, but a little diversion for y'all. Be careful if you're at work...this is addictive as Hell and your production will suffer:

http://www.itsga.com/fun/cat_new.swf

I can't think of a better use for cats.......heh heh heh...

Faith,

Karl should make it for sure!
Is it just me, or is his defense way improved from last season. I don't remember him this active. Add in his experience and it would take some monster play from Crawford, Heath, Mitchell or Giles.

And C.J. still hasn't paid the homeboy who pulled me. Dudes gonna get his knees wrecked!

thanks for the news.

Phill seems to like this group of reporters. he seems straightforward, telling it like it is when he can and telling you that he won't when he can't. he seems relaxed. i'm getting a good vibe from him.

i'm still praying for the team's health. this looks like a great year!

BUTLER,

Watching the Suns right now. Shaq is WASHED UP!!!

I'm glad too because Nash is hooking him up with some easy ones. If Shaq had anything left in his tank, it would be scary, but this guy is done.

Robin Lopez looks good tho, back to back blocks, not too shabby at all!

That notion that PJ brought up of everyone thinking they're playmakers is really poignant. With this squad, (this mix of guys) the players need to find their roles (what their specific jobs are on the floor). Sasha's a good example of a player who knows his role. Offensively he's a catch-and-shoot guy. Josh Powell is a rebounder. That's what we need. Guys who focus on one or two aspects of their game and make it their life on the floor. Guys like Pau and Kobe are mature and talented enough to be multi-faceted. But everyone else needs to find their role and stick to it. Think back to guys like Horry, Fox, Harper, (Horace) Grant etc. When you have everyone on the team trying to do everything you have the Knicks.

15th coming, Lopez is going to fit in just fine. He's not polished offensively but always brings energy.

Shack needs to teach him some interview skills. It's a good pair of 7-footers to have, the old champion and young buck. They both fill the same need, rebounds and post D, maybe a few points.

Dragic is the new backup PG. Looked hesitant in the first half, but he's got a lot of pressure and will learn to just play eventually.

AK,

What about Zach Randolph, he looks like the world's tallest 5-year-old.

AK
"He [Kobe] also jawed with Jordan Farmar after Coby Karl's trey notched a win for the gray team (Farmar, Karl, Ariza, Powell, Mbenga) over Kobe's purple/starting crew."

I believe it. That Squad is DEADLY!!

That's why I think we need Karl on this team. Because this is what our bench is gonna look like if Sasha is injured. Coby is a great backup for Sasha. And if he can't perform, Karl can step in and *almost not miss a beat.

*Pretty big almost!

Also watching the Suns. I like Robin Lopez. He reminds me of Ronny
a bit. Lots of blocks, lots of fouls, very active.

AK,

"This was the first time I'd seen Luke Walton scrimmage. He was active and able to keep up, if not necessarily dominate."

That had me LMAO. It's OK...I don't think any of us thought Luke would ever be dominating.

Thank God he is about the 11th man on the depth chart. And don't even start with the high IQ garbage.

I watched the Phoenix/Denver game... I wished we had signed the birdman... I squawked about it this summer on the blog but didn't get much support. The guy might be a bit of a nutcase but he's got great energy and plays both ends. Still, there probably would have been too many tempations in L.A..

A new generation of Centers in the NBA.

Andrew Bynum, Greg Oden, Dwight Howard, Chris Kaman, Sam Dalembert, Andrew Bogut, Kendrick Perkins, Roy Hibbert, Brroks Lopez, Robin Lopez, Marc Gasol, Joakim Noah.

AK:

This may be a little off-topic, but I just wanted to say what a great post you wrote today. Beautifully crafted writing! Thanks for such a great read from a writer's perspective.

Late Night Reader

Oooooh, the young guys. Time to evaluate the
off-season.

As for me, these days I have time to do little more than lurk...but a good lurker I am.

Go Sacramento Kings of Basketball!

Sonnybelfast

SUNS coach Terry Porter is such an Idiot! This is what he had to say after their outdoor game in the desert.

"We didn't think the wind was going to blow like it did."

The Bucks knew what they were doing when they fired this guy. This dude is not all there in the head. It's obvious when you hear him speak.

Looks like the Lakers will be retaining Coby Karl. I hope so. Having two Kobe/Coby's on any team is a winning combination.

GO LAKERS!

Eric M,

""This was the first time I'd seen Luke Walton scrimmage. He was active and able to keep up, if not necessarily dominate."

"That had me LMAO. It's OK...I don't think any of us thought Luke would ever be dominating. Thank God he is about the 11th man on the depth chart. And don't even start with the high IQ garbage."


No, I figured as much, nor was I inferring that Walton typically dominates. My point was more that Luke didn't appear to be 100% physically and that there's likely still a way to go before he's really recovered from the ankle surgery.

AK

Sonnybelfast,

How many years do you think it will be before the Kings are back in the playoffs because they're certainly not making it this year?

GO LAKERS!

Late Night Reader,

What I like about the Kamenetsky Brothers' writing style is that it is very relaxed--conversational in nature. While perhaps not as well suited for a traditional newspaper format, for a blog format it's perfect since it feels like a dialogue and, thus, facillitates discussion, which is what a blog is all about.

GO LAKERS!

Odd question for the blog....

Do the Denver Nuggets have a rival?

I mean, the Lakers are practically the rival for everyone in the Western Conference, but not really the Nuggets. The Nuggets might THINK the Lakers are their rival because of Colorado Kobegate, but they're not because its not a feeling a mutual rivalry.

So, since the Nuggets are kind of geographically isolated in Colorado who are their rivals? The Utah Jazz? The Phoenix Suns?

I honestly don't know.

GO LAKERS!

Lakers Top Ten Rivals (in order of historic rivalness)

1. Boston Celtics
2. Phoenix Suns
3. San Antonio
4. Sacramento Kings
5. Portland Trailblazers
6. Detroit Pistons
7. New York Knicks
8. Utah Jazz
9. Dallas Mavericks
10. Los Angeles Clippers

(Of course this list is fluid and shifts from year to year, but these are our top ten rivals, methinks.)

GO LAKERS!

Phil Jackson says: "A really good sixth guy can play 34 minutes with ease."

This is really how LO needs to view the possibility of coming off the bench. I've never been sold on the prospect of LO starting at the 3 with the big lineup, his skills don't fit into what we need at that position nearly as well as what Trevor and Vlad bring.

Good morning Laker Family. Good morning Charles, Simi Laker Girl, PSLakerFan, and everyone else coming to our Blog viewing party tonight in Sherman Oaks. Really looking forward to meeting everybody.

I'm really looking forward to this pre-season game. This is a great rivalry, even though the Kings haven't been at their peak lately. What makes it even more fun is that the major shareholder of the company I work for is related to the Maloofs. Company loyalty only goes so far!

Something tells me that the Lakers will be determined to win tonight, and that for at least some of the game, we'll see some lineups that better represent what the Lakers hope to develop, going forward. Go Lakers!


X,

I concur on your point. LO just doesn't fit at the 3. I love the lakers rotation with Odom coming off the bench at the 4. I wish he would just "Get it" and stop with the attitude. He doesn't realize he gave up his right to be the "Go to" guy long ago. Taking the first half the season off every year tends to move you down the rotation. That being said, I think him as sixth man can add a lot to the team.

Bynum, Pau, Odom each playing 32 minutes at the 4/5. If there is foul trouble or injury, Mihm and Powell pick up a few minutes.

Ariza and VladRad at the 3: One for energy and defense; one is a shooter.

Kobe and Sasha at the 2. Sasha will pick up more minutes when Kobe slides to the 3 when matchups dictate, or if both Vlad and Ariza are playing bad.

Fisher/Farmer splitting time at the point. I think Farmar should start getting 28 minutes to Derek's 20 per game.

I really think this rotation spells CHAMPIONSHIP.

Sonny B - good to see you pop up... you've been conspicuous by your absence, haha.

Xodus,

I'm thinking that Lamar Odom would be better suited as a sixth man. It would really strengthen the second team. He should play a Manu Ginobili-type role and go for sixth man of the year playing 32+ minutes a game.

I hope Lamar understands that its what's best for the game and it's not a knock on him, but just the way it should be with this lineup.

GO LAKERS!

Jon K.

"I'm thinking that Lamar Odom would be better suited as a sixth man. It would really strengthen the second team. "

Dude, that would be a CRAZY bench!
Imagine if we could somehow convince Lamar that ths is the way to go? We could be unstoppable with Phil Jackson throwing waves and waves of talented players at our opponents!!!!

Oh man:

Jordan
Sasha
Vlad
L.O.
Mihm

WHEN DOES THE SEASON START!
THIS IS OUR YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Go Lakers!

you know, it's interesting everybody is talking about how tall our lineup could be with Lamar at the SF slot but totally ignore how tall the lineup would be if Radmanovic remained the starter which is looking more and more likely...

on another note, the "Butler" character is also known as a "blog killer" because all they do is talk about things nobody is interested in and all the responses go towards the non-interesting things which drives the rest of us, who are interested in the Lakers, somewhere else... just a thought on why it's so dead around here...

This is a Laker blog, if I want Phx news or stock market news I'll go to those sources, ok? I don't mind an article on Oden, etc. but there just isn't much Laker talk here anymore...

So here is my report on the outdoor game last night.

First of all let me say that pro basketball players are wussies. I was in the third row (not far from the court) and both the wind and the cold weren't nearly as bad as the players were whining about. It never got below 65 degrees and the wind was minimal. I do agree that the wind probably was the biggest factor in the low shooting percentage though.

Anyway it was nice to see the NBA in my backyard and the organizers did a great job of setting things up. The court, baskets, scoreboards, etc. were all professional. They had baskets set up outside the stadium for kids to dunk on at 7',8',9' heights. They also had three point contests for All Star tickets, etc. All and all very well put together despite the whining. (We didn't have 3rd row tickets by the way, but sneaking down was a breeze as security was a joke). But you didn't hear that from me.

On a side note. Amare Stoudamire is listed as 6'-11" and Shaq is listed as 7'-1". In person there is about 4"-5" difference in height between them. Seeing as Shaq was towering over Robin Lopez I would say that Amare is fudging quite a bit.

Anyway I hope a few of you can join us (Rick F., Charles, Simi, Lakerman, myself) for our blog party tonight at Pineapple Hill Grill in Sherman Oaks. 6:30 tip off. Obviously Dodgers and Chargers will be on as well so you won't miss any other action.

pslakerfan

PREGAME CHATTERS and RAMBLES…

lakers_sth,

>>>>> When you have everyone on the team trying to do everything you have the Knicks.

Excellent points about the importance of players having and knowing their roles, one of the strengths of Phil Jackson teams. There is a big difference, however, getting guys who cannot do certain things to play within themselves and getting guys who are multi-dimensional to scale back their roles to fit the team dynamics. For example, I do not agree with Phil’s attempts to have Drew scale back his offensive dominance. It removes the second best offensive force and tempers the natural aggressiveness that is the basis for Drew’s game at both ends of the court.

I also have a slightly different view of the Knicks: When you have everyone on the team trying to score points or pad stats, you have the Knicks.

********

Jon,

>>>>>Lakers Top Ten Rivals (in order of historic rivalness)

>>>>>1. Boston Celtics
>>>>>2. Phoenix Suns
>>>>>3. San Antonio
>>>>>4. Sacramento Kings
>>>>>5. Portland Trailblazers
>>>>>6. Detroit Pistons
>>>>>7. New York Knicks
>>>>>8. Utah Jazz
>>>>>9. Dallas Mavericks
>>>>>10. Los Angeles Clippers

Proof again that you know what you know your “rivalness,” Jon. Whether you tossed this list off the top of your head or actually thought about it, it is uncannily correct in my opinion. Another excellent take from the blog’s Mad Man.

********

Xodus,

>>>>>This is really how LO needs to view the possibility of coming off the bench.
>>>>>I've never been sold on the prospect of LO starting at the 3 with the big lineup,
>>>>>his skills don't fit into what we need at that position nearly as well as what
>>>>>Trevor and Vlad bring.

I agree. You can see Phil’s Machiavellian tinkering everywhere on this issue, starting with the criticism of Lamar before we even played a game. What I like about Lamar as a 6th man is the ability of Phil to insert him in the game for a multitude of reasons – scoring, rebounding, defense, or playmaking – as well as a multitude of positions – power forward, small forward, or point guard. Lamar needs to realize that he will still play starter minutes and will have a chance to become a big fish in the small pond of 6th men versus continuing to be an afterthought as a starting power or small forward.

********

MiloRambaldi,

As a lifetime cat lover, you can shove your “sail-cat” and “bowling-cat” stories where the sun don’t shine. Not funny! May you meet a “real” cat someday. Perhaps a visit to see tigers at the San Francisco Zoo might be in order. JK.

********

Rick Friedman,

Since moving from LA, I missed seeing the Lakers live and the LA Times. Now I have to add Lakers Blog Viewing Parties. Wish I could be there.

Any Bay Area Lakers Bloggers interested in getting together to watch the season-opener? Let me know. Thanks.

********

Phil Jackson,

Stop screwing around and start Drew and Pau together and move Lamar to 6th man.

Tom

Eric M, Jon K,

The thing LO doesn't get is that this is the best thing for HIM. I think it's just an ego thing for him that he wants to be the starter, but he could excel as the go-to guy of the 1st team. Playing with the uptempo second unit lead by Farmar suits his skills, he'd be the primary rebounder of that unit and could still pull down 8 or 9 boards and score against a number of second unit PFs who shouldn't be able to defend him.

Eric M,

I also agree with you that Farmar should play more minutes than Fish this year. He was better than Fish in terms of stats, but obviously lacks Fish's defensive savvy and leadership skills at this point.

It looks like Farmar has improved this season and I think we're all going to enjoy the times when a Farmar, Kobe, Ariza, Gasol, Bynum lineup is on the floor. I could see us ending games with that lineup in certain situations.

Eric,

>>>>>I really think this rotation spells CHAMPIONSHIP.

We may not agree on politics, but we are simpatico as far as the Lakers go. Lamar off the bench to backup power forward is the way to go. Excellent post.

Tom

Thanks LT,

"Lamar off the bench to backup power forward is the way to go. Excellent post."

Now I'm sorry I just got done bashing SF. LOL

AK,

Where did my SF post to LT go? Did I just get "Censored"? Now I know how Jon K. feels. LOL

Eric M,

Accident on my part. Sorry about that.

AK

StayThirsty sez:

"on another note, the "Butler" character is also known as a "blog killer" because all they do is talk about things nobody is interested in and all the responses go towards the non-interesting things which drives the rest of us, who are interested in the Lakers, somewhere else... just a thought on why it's so dead around here..."

Not true - check out my Lam-Od op-ed int he new blog.

Perhaps the lack of talk around here has something to do with the desultory results of the lakers' preseason so far. Or the dodgers. I can't take all the credit.

hello laker bros,

get ready for our first preseason win tonight.

anybody have a link to the game tonight__?

thanks!

go purple and gold!


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