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Lakers Media Day video: It begins

Like most things involving the Lakers, Media Day always operates on a different level for the purple and gold than it does for other NBA franchises. This year was no different. The typically massive Katamari ball of humanity, microphones, cameras, and notepads (the technical term starts with "cluster" and ends with a word I can't use in this space...) was only enhanced by the presence of entertainment media hoping for a piece of post-wedding analysis from Lamar Odom. It is, in short, an eventful way to kick off the season, but not exactly an environment conducive to gaining deep insight into the state of the squad.

Still, a few observations:

  • Entertainment media operates in a different way than sports media. Those dudes are sharp elbowed and aggressive with the camera in the big scrums. Generally speaking, I really hope today's events put us on the downhill side of the Odom/Khloe Kardashian story.
  • Andrew Bynum looked strong, fit, and eager to start the season, for what it's worth. He said he'd be wearing a brace on his right knee (the one he hurt last year) for the rest of his career, and may experiment with wearing one on each leg, protection on the left being precautionary. Whatever works.
  • For the first time since I started covering the team, Kobe Bryant wasn't the center of attention. Not that he was standing awkwardly on the fringes David Monds, Michael Fay, and other camp longshots, but LO and Ron Artest drew bigger crowds. "I miss you guys," joked 24 when asked about the new (and temporary, I'm sure) media pecking order.
  • Cutting his hair may be the smartest thing Sasha Vujacic has ever done as a pro. Silly as it sounds- and it does sound silly- his mane had started to overtake his game, adding a persona that was doing nothing for his on-court performance. The haircut represents a fresh start. As an interesting and laudable side note, he had hoped to donate his shorn locks to charity, but was told his hair was about two inches too short. Good for him for thinking in that direction, though.
  • Watching guys handle the circus today, I'm even less concerned than I was before that external issues and distractions will be a problem. In context, the addition of Artest or LO's big summer aren't out of line from other Incredibly Big Lakers Stories from days gone by.

Click below for some of the video fun. LO, Derek Fisher, Sasha, and Bynum. Plenty more to come over the course of the day, as well.

BK

First, a quick bit with LO talking about his wedding, one of the most uncomfortable minutes of video I've ever shot. Not because of the subject matter, but rather the pushing and shoving going on as people jostled for the best angle. My favorite line: When asked if the presence of Khloe (and the cameras that follow her) would be a distraction at Staples, LO smiled. "That's a Laker game, with or without her there. It's still an event."

Fisher talks about distractions, and while he notes that the Hollywood media is a different animal, it's not something that playing in LA doesn't prepare guys for. He expects to, along with Kobe, keep an active eye on things and help the team maintain focus, just as he would in any season.

Vujacic, on everything from cutting his hair to his first post-title summer to his hope for a bounce back season. He was very candid in speaking about his performance last season. "I'm not proud of it," he said. And apparently, once Sasha went back and watched the tape, even he was annoyed with how much he played with his hair.

Bynum, on his knee, and his hope to make the All Star team.

 
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Thank you BK, I know our Lakers Blog is ahead of other blogs when it comes to the Lakers. Let the preseason begins, this is where Champions are mold that separates men from the boys. People are interested to know about Bynum's knee, Artest temper, Kobe and Pau's fingers and lastly Sasha's haircut as if it matters. Can we put his long hair at the Hollywood Wax Museum not for display but to mop the floors! Who will replace Rambis? I will lobby for LakerTom or KBlitz. lol!

[Because I couldn't wait for the media thread, you get to read it again]

Edwin

I loved that comment from PE.

"My knees are great, except that I have to wear braces on both knees for the rest of my life"

WHAT THE HEY!!! Braces for the REST of his life???!!!!

That's like me saying, I'm fine, doing great, except for my brain tumor.

I agree, no more 'socks' for the kid. We are watching him grow up and getting old before us.

My new name for the kid with braces? Forrest Bynum

"Hi, I'm Forrest, Forrest Bynum. I play basketbawl for thee Las An-ge-lees Lakurs"

And the fans are screaming, "Run Forrest Bynum, run!" As he waddles awkwardly down the court.


[And yet there's more reposts!]

Sasha from the media day -

On perhaps why his shooting was off??

“After watching the tape from last year, I was really playing with it too much.”

The poor guy was just too tired to shoot with any accuracy.

Oh, .....he was talking about his hair.

Bynum: "He said he'd be wearing a brace on his right knee (the one he hurt last year) for the rest of his career....."

How much comfortable is it going to be for him playing with a brace, and does it affect mobility/jumping?? "For the rest of his career" sounds ominous, "For the season" kind of sounds ok!! Hope dude feels 100%.

LET'S GET READY TO RUMBLE... AGAIN!!!!!

Fantasy sign up list (want at least 8)
NBA4ever
Robert Chen
Brylle
Rocky
That’s five, me included. Need more, you guys please keep checking in.


Mamba- just thought of it; don't tell me you missed my song parodies? perish forbid. I mean, don't you think it's a bit unfair to inflict them on everybody again (and in all their length, to boot) just so you can see them? well, ok, you talked me into it.

No, i'm kidding for the moment. There are, for the record, five now. Maybe if I get twelve or so I can start my own site and just link to it. on the other hand, maybe not. I don't think i'd even visit that one.

[Mamba; "what is phred talking about']

[LakerTom; "hey, he says nice things about bynum, humor him]

[a few guys whose names I am too embarrassed to post 'hey, i think he's funny]

[edwin; "he is not funny."]

j/king, j/king

I know its slightly off-topic, but did anyone check about Shaq's welcome party by the Cavaliers. It says

'James was a no-show, but Cavaliers teammates Mo Williams and Anderson Varejao hung out and partied with O'Neal, who hasn't settled on a nickname yet in Cleveland."

What was that? They bring Shaq to satisfy him, and Big-Old-Diesel makes statements saying "My job is to protect the king", "I am here to get a ring for the king", and the "king" does not honor his subject by attending his welcome party??

May be Queen Crab's big ego would have prevented him from attending a show where there's a chance he might not be the primary "center" of attraction in the crowd??

Mo Williams : "We got LeBron. We got Shaq. C'mon, what else you need?"

Yeah, just play 2-on-5, coz thats what might mostly happen (and then end at 1-on-1, meaning Shaq cursing Mike Brown/James when things dont work out), and yeah....this is the same Mo Williams who guaranteed a Cavs win in Orlando and has to put his head into his behind when it did not happen!!

Coming back to the original post - nice to see Sasha shedding his mane. As much as Odom is telling the wedding's not gonna affect anything - the media and questions are certainly going to distract his focus and attention (dude already has that a lot!!)


MEDIA DAY UPS & DOWNS…


- - - - -


ANDREW BYNUM – MOSTLY UP. AB looked very relaxed, happy, confident, and eager to play. The feeling would have been unanimously UP had it not been for the ominous comment about having to wear a brace on his right knee (the one injured last year) or both knees for the rest of his career.


Even as optimistic as I am, the first thought I had was a feeling of dismay that the injuries that we thought Drew was going to put behind him this year might instead haunt and limit him for the rest of his career, that the Drew we were going to get might be the Drew “Light” we got in the playoffs.


Bottom line, it doesn’t seem that Drew is bothered by the decision to wear the brace. I think the thing about the playoffs was that the knee was still hurting, which was probably a big part of why his play at times was very hesitant. It is impossible to go strong when there’s pain recovering from an injury.


So if Drew and the Lakers are not worried, then I am not going to be. Drew seemed to be in great spirits and appeared confident that he was going to have an All-Star season. I liked the comment about taking off right where he left off before getting injured. That drew spells D-Y-N-A-S-T-Y.


- - - - -


LAMAR ODOM – SLIGHTLY DOWN. LO didn’t look comfortable in the interviews that I saw. He definitely was feeling attacked by the celebrity media questions as to whether his marriage on Sunday was “real” and even stupider questions such as whether Khloe was going to travel with the team.


I thought it was very interesting the Fish actually commented on how the team will come together to provide Lamar with a refuge from the celebrity stuff when he is with the team. That reminds me of how the team banded behind Kobe and provided him with sanctuary during the Colorado situation.

Here’s hoping that Lamar has matured enough over the last couple of years to be able to handle the pressure of a new ring, new contract, and new marriage. The truth is that love can conquer all.


- - - - -


SASHA VUJACIC – STRONGLY DOWN. SV definitely looked a little haggard, just like his new doo. He was pretty chippy when BK (I think that was him) asked what he thought about the Lakers having a target on their backs as champs and Sasha misunderstood the question to imply that “he” personally had a target on his back. “What target?” he asked, obviously defensive.


I want to give Sasha a break because he is a great shooter but unless Faith bakes the boy some brownies before every game to calm him down, I think he is going to crash and burn this year. The Lakers are so deep that minutes from the bench other than Lamar, Jordan, and Shannon are going to be scarce. Sasha is going to have to be smoking from day 1 or he will get lost at the end of the bench.


- - - - -


DEREK FISHER – STEADILY LEVEL. DF was his usual self. I have to admit that I was totally surprised at his announcement that this would be his last year and that he looked forward to joining Phil’s coaching staff as his heir apparent beginning next year. Oh, wait, that was my dream last night. I still remember screaming “Not yet, Derek” as my alarm went off and my personal reality TV show rolling with the hope that summer was over and I wouldn’t wake up any more to Ground Hog Day.


- - - - -


Tom


As a newbie here on the blog, I hate to run counter to the arguments and thoughts proposed by the great Laker Tom. But I can't sit quite anymore on this silly notion of putting the "Fantastic Five" (Kobe, Ron, LO, Pau, Drew) on the floor as a practice for extended periods of time. (My apologies to Tom, but you've got this one wrong.)


1. Forget the concern about not having a true point to run the offense. The triangle can be easily managed by Kobe, and adequately managed by LO. Don't get distracted by that seemingly obvious issue. It is a misnomer.


2. The real issue of not having a D-Fish/Jordan/ShannonB on the floor is at the other end of the floor ~ on D. If Kobe is assigned to defend opponent point guard (safe assumption), there is a major weakness when Kobe cannot stop dribble penetration (which he won't be able to ~ that's a given). With opposing point penetration, you are left with LO and Ron as your main help-then-recover-back-to-your-own-man players. Too slow. We would be burned time and time again on 3-point, or just plain 2-point outside shooters.


3. Final concern for now is spacing. It is the air that the Triangle breathes. NO spacing ~ NO life. Does anyone believe that Drew, Pau and LO can provide adequate spacing for kick-outs on Kobe penetrations? Does anyone believe that those three can operate in space together? Drew only effective within 10 feet. Pau only within 15 feet. LO a risk outside 20 feet (spotty shot and loss of offensive rebounding presence).


PJ is a genius. HE sees that line-up for what it is ~ an unnecessary liability. My bet is that we won't see that line-up posting as many minutes in all the regular season and playoffs combined as we will in the preseason. Take that to the bank.


Mike

All the excitement for media day and then everyone takes off?

Sasha sell his hair?

I know a certain poster here who would gladly sell her macbook for that hair.

“…Even as optimistic as I am, the first thought I had was a feeling of dismay that the injuries that we thought Drew was going to put behind him this year might instead haunt and limit him for the rest of his career, that the Drew we were going to get might be the Drew “Light” we got in the playoffs.
-LT

Um, if by “we,” you mean “me, LakerTom, while the rest of you have been cautiously optimistic”

“…As a newbie here on the blog, I hate to run counter to the arguments and thoughts proposed by the great Laker Tom. But I can't sit quite anymore on this silly notion of putting the "Fantastic Five" (Kobe, Ron, LO, Pau, Drew) on the floor as a practice for extended periods of time. (My apologies to Tom, but you've got this one wrong.)
LakerMike

Haha. We all welcome mike, LT included, and he jumps up and tells off LT.

Aaaaah, welcome to the ‘We pay more attention to LakerTom than Andrew or Brian K blog” And sometimes maybe it just doesn’t pay to get out of bed, fire up the computer, and relentlessly cheerlead Andrew Bynum all day.

I kid, Tom. I kid. Better get yourself a fantasy team so you can show all those young opinion slingers that you do know about what you talk.

Lmike, I actually have to give you credit for a reasoned and factually supported opinion. Except the part where you think that Kobe backing up Sasha/Farmar/Fish after they blow coverage is better than LO/Artest backing up Kobe after he um, doesn’t blow coverage quite as often. But good points anyways, I think you have already established yourself as being saner than about 85% of the people who post here. Myself included.

“Phil is a genius” Ah, the new kid is about to get hassled by phfunk. Welcome to the blog, kid. LOL

Fantasy sign up list (want at least 8)
NBA4ever
Robert Chen
Brylle
Rocky
That’s five, me included. Need more, you guys please keep checking in.

Walton, Mbenga, Vujacic, and Brown for LeBron James.

Then they could have a really, really big lineup of Gasol, Bynum, Odom, Artest and James. Gasol could handle the ball - it would be called the PowerPoint lineup. Tremendous matchup problems for the other teams.

exhelodrvr,

"Powerpoint" Lineup - that was a good one!!

Will they "Excel" though?? Who's gonna give their "Word" for this, and what is people's "Outlook" toward this line-up :)

ex- you funny, man.

LakerMike says "PJ is a genius. HE sees that line-up for what it is ~ an unnecessary liability."

Mmm, maybe. Phil might also remember back in the finals against Seattle when Harp's knees were too gimpy to play... and he started 6-11 Kukoc at the point. Obviously Pippin, Jordan and Kukoc were doing some switches but couldn't the same be done with Odom, Artest and Kobe?

At any rate, I'm not sure any of us can see things through PJ's eyes. Let's see what happens, maybe he'll play around with a big lineup, maybe not. In the meantime, it's all good to talk about.

ps - that lineup was Luc, Rodman, Pippen, Jordan and Kukoc.

hey, gald to se michael fey finally got out of singapore just in time for lakers media today.

e perez- I was going to ask about that. You are obviously on the ball while the rest of us are 'downloading.' Did anyone ask him if he is suffering any ill effects? Or did that guy finally get whupped?

I'm so fricken excited.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!!

Wow. Sasha looks great.

exhelodrvr,

"Powerpoint" Lineup - that was a good one!!

Will they "Excel" though?? Who's gonna give their "Word" for this, and what is people's "Outlook" toward this line-up :)


Posted by: Kobefan in Cupertino | September 29, 2009 at 08:51 PM

====================
To find your answer you need to look through the "Windows".


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