Mike Brown maintains optimism about current roster
The Lakers have a little less than a month before the trade deadline to figure out what their final roster will look like.
But Thursday marked another day in which it appeared uncertain the Lakers could make any moves. Free-agent guard J.R. Smith talked with Coach Mike Brown on Tuesday about possibly joining the Lakers, but the New York Times' Howard Beck reports Smith has narrowed his choices between the Clippers and New York Knicks. Fox Sports' Chris Tomasson reported that the Minnesota Timberwolves have offered Derrick Williams and draft picks to the Lakers for Pau Gasol. But he still was at the Lakers' facility Thursday, practicing and later talking with reporters.
That prompted Brown to provide the never-ending coach-speak on why he remains detached from the team possibly making any roster moves.
"If I think about that, then I'm wasting my energy with the guys on the floor. I think this happens every year," Brown said. "Even when I was in Cleveland and our team was set and all that other stuff, come trade deadline it's the talk of each team. But as a coach, I think you're mistreating your team if you're worried about who you get and every move. I'm putting all my energy into making this team better X's and O's wise. I like the team I have."
So much that Brown touted the Lakers (17-12) as making significant progress within the last six or seven games. He cited Andrew Bynum's improvement on facing double teams. Brown mentioned Metta World Peace reducing his weight. He gushed over rookie guard Andrew Goudelock's sudden emergence in the rotation.
Unfortunately for Brown's case, the progress remains pretty mixed. The Lakers have seen improvement in the last five games compared to their season average in three-point shooting (31.1%, 29.8%), total defense (88.8 points per game, 90.45) and rebounds (50.2, 45.35). But in that same stretch, the Lakers have actually worsened in several categories compared to their season average, including points per game (88.6, 92.48), field-goal percentage (41.2%, 44.7%) and turnovers (15.4, 14.83).
Still, Brown maintains the Lakers' fifth-place standing in the Western Conference points directly to the growing pains toward learning a new system with new personnel.
"If there's a way to help this team get better, you always look at that," Brown said. "But I'm excited about the group of guys we have in this gym right now. I'm excited this group of guys can get us to pinnacle that they're looking to get to this year."
-- Mark Medina
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