Lakers Now

Round-the-Clock Purple and Gold

Category: Sasha Vujacic

Lamenting the Lakers' lost reserves from the 2010 NBA title team points to 20/20 hindsight

24155963

Throughout each exit interview, every Laker dropped a morsel suggesting the missing piece to the championship puzzle.

Coach Phil Jackson lamented the team's lack of  speed. Center Andrew Bynum wished the team practiced with more intensity. And nearly everyone acknowledged in some form that the heavy basketball mileage accumulated through three consecutive NBA Finals appearances finally caught up to them. 

Interestingly enough, some of the Lakers from the 2010 championship team fit that description before parting ways. Jordan Farmar, who accepted a three-year, $12-million offer with the New Jersey Nets, provided plenty of speed as a backup point guard. Sasha Vujacic, whom the Lakers traded to the New Jersey Nets for Joe Smith, earned a reputation for playing with full intensity in practice and in games. DJ Mbenga and Josh Powell provided enough minutes to keep the Lakers' front line fresh, but the Lakers' failure to re-sign them resulted in Mbenga and Powell joining the New Orleans Hornets and Atlanta Hawks, respectively. 

The Lakers could have used all those missing ingredients, but fans shouldn't criticize Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak for replacing that bench with a veteran-laden reserve unit. Kupchak hardly expressed much satisfaction with the team's bench, citing Steve Blake's feeling uncomfortable on the floor, Matt Barnes' lateral meniscus tear limiting him and Theo Ratliff's arthroscopic surgery on his left knee happening only eight games into the season. But no one could've anticipated the worst-case scenario involving the newly signed players to unfold.

Sure, I found it risky for the Lakers to sign a 37-year-old Ratliff because of the uncertainty about how long he would last. Sure, I found it a little odd that little effort was made to give Smith a role to play  after lamenting the team's lack of support in helping Pau Gasol absorb Andrew Bynum's minutes while Bynum recovered from offseason surgery. And sure, the Lakers at some point are going to have to inject youth into the team to make the transition seamless when the contracts of Kobe Bryant (2013-14), Gasol (2013-14), Ron Artest (2013-14), Lamar Odom (2012-13) and Derek Fisher (2012-13) run out. But criticizing Lakers' front-office decisions during the 2010 offseason only points to 20/20 hindsight.

Continue reading »

Caught in the Web: Chuck Person interviews with Houston Rockets

61633364

-- ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin reports Chuck Person had planned to interview for a position on Kevin McHale's coaching staff with the Houston Rockets on Monday but that he's keeping all options open.

-- Fox 26 Sports Houston's Mark Berman also details Person's meeting with the Rockets. 

-- The Orange County Register's Kevin Ding believes it's likely Person will stay with the Lakers.

-- ESPN Los Angeles' Andy Kamenetzky talks with Os Davis, from the Ball in Europe site, about what Ettore Messina would bring to the Lakers' coaching staff.

-- Hoopsworld's Eric Pincus looks at various ways to fix the Lakers. 

-- Lakers.com's Mike Trudell updates the team's roster and talks to Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak about what he's looking for in the upcoming NBA Draft.

-- Silver Screen and Roll's C.A. Clark analyzes Sasha Vujacic's stint last season with the Lakers.

-- Forum Blue and Gold's Darius Soriano looks at how Messina's presence would affect the Lakers' offense.

-- Lakers Nation's Steven Almazan argues that Dwight Howard is not the Lakers' missing piece. 

Kobe Bryant plays NBA 2K12 in the video below and reveals this hilarious nugget on the realistic game play: "We were actually running the triangle offense better than we ran the triangle offense last year."

Tweet of the Day: "GSW has also discussed idea of hiring Mike Malone as Mark Jax's top aide. But Malone said to favor joining Lakers if he's still an assistant ... Malone was scheduled to meet today w/Lakers and is highly coveted by Mike Brown, who wants both Malone and the freshly fired John Kuester ... Those in the know say Warriors have discussed offering Mike Malone title of associate head coach, but pull of Lakers hard to overcome. 

Hearing Warriors are keeping hard press on Mike Malone and optimistic that they CAN get him as Mark Jackson's top aide and keep him from LAL ... W/Lakers looking to keep coaching salaries down, Dubs can easily win a Mike Malone bidding war to ensure Jack has best bench possible ... NBA coaching sources say Warriors have made "generous" offer to Mike Malone to convince him to join Mark Jackson's staff (over Mike Brown's)" -- Stein_LINE_HQ (ESPN.com's Marc Stein)

Rick Friedman Reader Comment of the Day: "All this team really needs are players who are hungry for a title. It's all about the "Hunger." -- :-(  

-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: Lakers assistant coaches Brian Shaw, left, and Chuck Person are interviewing for the head coaching job with the Golden State Warriors this week. Credit: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Yes, one last Sasha Vujacic post

Just when you thought it was safe to return to the Lakers blog, we have one more Sasha Vujacic post for you.

nj.com is reporting that New Jersey Nets Coach Avery Johnson wanted to activate the newly acquired Vujacic tonight but couldn't because the players cannot be used until everyone passes their physicals. And the Rockets are still waiting for Terrence Williams to pass his physical.

When someone suggested Williams might be late for his physical, a group of reporters laughed.

"That's not funny," Johnson said. "Just make sure you report that all of you guys laughed."

With Vujacic inactive, the Nets only have three guards: Jordan Farmar (that name sounds familiar for some reason), Devin Harris and Ben Uzoh.

--Houston Mitchell

 

Lakers' trade for Joe Smith officially announced

The Lakers have officially announced that they traded Sasha Vujacic and a 2011 first-round draft pick to the New Jersey Nets for veteran forward Joe Smith as part of a multi-team trade.

The Lakers also receive Golden State's second-round draft selection in 2011 and Chicago's second-round selection in 2012. Golden State's second-rounder next June might be only a handful of spots lower than the first-rounder the Lakers are giving up in the deal.

The Lakers also received the rights to 6-foot-10 Ukrainian center Sergei Lishouk, 28, who was drafted by Memphis with the 49th pick in 2004 and later had his rights traded to Houston.

The Lakers will save $8 million to $9 million in salary and luxury-tax considerations by trading Vujacic, whose playing time had decreased dramatically this season.

Smith, 35, will take a physical in Philadelphia on Thursday and might practice with the team that afternoon. The Lakers play in Indiana on Wednesday and in Philadelphia on Friday.

The Lakers do not expect any medical problems with Smith that would hold up the deal.

Vujacic, 26, is averaging only 1.8 points and 4.9 minutes a game this season. He played in 12 of the Lakers' 25 games.

Smith was the top overall pick in the 1995 draft, but he has seen a dramatic downturn in his statistics in recent seasons. He played only four games for the Nets this season, averaging 0.5 points and 0.8 rebounds.

-- Mike Bresnahan in Washington

Five things to take away from Lakers' 113-80 victory over the Sacramento Kings

58081265

1. The Lakers ended their four-game losing streak. The significance of the Lakers' 113-80 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Friday at Staples Center is fairly minimal, considering that the Kings (4-13) entered the contest having lost 11 of their last 12 games and had a limited Tyreke Evans and tons of youth.

But here's where the victory is significant: It would not be healthy for the Lakers (14-6) to wait four days before playing a game after a loss. The Lakers already showed a stoic and levelheaded demeanor following their fourth loss in a row, but piling on another one would only have increased the frustration and tension. Having to then sit with that before a game Tuesday against Washington would only heighten their antsiness to get out and end that streak. After all, Lakers Coach Phil Jackson readily acknowledged that the team felt "frustrated" with losing four consecutive games for the first time since April 2007. So now instead of furthering that streak, the Lakers have a half-week stretch in which they don't have to field questions about their latest loss and they don't have to overly scrutinize their weaknesses.

Still, it's critical to consider the opponent.

"It's hard to make a judgment," Jackson said. "Have we broken free from the bonds that have held us, or are we still mired in what we're doing and we just got a weak sister in this particular time of the year?"

It's typical that Jackson gives his players a day off after a large block of games, particularly when the schedule shows a three-day cushion before the next contest. But the Lakers want center Andrew Bynum to practice as much as possible, so on Saturday, he'll take part in a half-court four-on-four scrimmage to test his surgically repaired right knee. With the Lakers' starters planning to rest, however, Jackson said he doesn't really know how valuable that practice will be. He also said he plans to keep the practice short because afterward the Lakers have their annual holiday event, sponsored by East West Bank, that entails hosting a clinic and providing gifts for underprivileged children. Jackson also said Monday's practice might be fairly limited because the Lakers have a holiday party.

(In an interesting aside, Jackson didn't seem too concerned with correct spelling when he wrote this on the white board in the locker room following the game, specifying Saturday's schedule: "11 report, Children Holiday, Joyfull ,Blessed, Gift, Xmas party, 1230ish").

Jackson's mild complaint about the Lakers adjusting their practice times based on the team's "social calendar" prompted a reporter to jokingly suggest that Jackson is exclaiming "Bah! Humbug!" a la Ebenezer Scrooge.

"It just turned December," Jackson said, smiling. "I begin celebrating Christmas on the 21st."

The Lakers certainly wouldn't have been in much of a festive spirit Saturday, however, without a win.

58081375

2. Pau Gasol proved healthy enough to play. He had spent all Friday morning receiving treatment and stretching his strained left hamstring, but the routine almost proved pointless, considering he arrived at Staples Center 35 minutes late in connection with an undisclosed personal matter.

It turned out the team's warm-up was all Gasol needed to determine he could play, though he later said the hamstring "felt a little sore and a little tight." His 16 points on six-of-eight shooting showed he could overcome that discomfort. He displayed his usual post efficiency, such as when he saw a cutting Shannon Brown through the lane and pivoted a few steps before banking in a jumper. Gasol was in slow motion running up and down the court, but considering how efficiently the Lakers played on offense and defense, it was good enough.

I didn't push it too hard," Gasol said. "I was able to play through it."

"He looked all right," Jackson said. "I thought he moved OK, played inside the framework we were trying to do tonight. It was a real aggressive offensive game for him, but he did fine."

Most important, Gasol played only 27 minutes, after logging at least 40 minutes per game in four of the last five contests. Always eager to find a way to needle Gasol, Jackson told him he might to reenter the game after rookie Derrick Caracter picked up his fifth foul with 3:53 remaining.

Said Jackson: "He got quite animated and asked Derrick to watch his fouls. It was the most animated he was all night in a lot of ways."

Even though Gasol knew Jackson was joking, he didn't want to take his chances and told the coach, "Ron [Artest] is ready" before also offering a warning to Caracter.

"He [Gasol] just said play smart the last four minutes," Caracter said, "and don't get the last foul."

Continue reading »

Dissecting the Suns' three-pointers in Lakers' 121-116 loss to Phoenix

57645145Were Lakers Coach Phil Jackson a gambling man, he'd gladly roll the dice that Phoenix's penchant for three-point shooting wouldn't last.

"Our philosophy," Jackson said, "is those things even out through time."

Instead, the team's 121-116 loss Sunday to the Suns featured Phoenix setting a franchise-record 22 three-pointers, the second-highest league total any team's scored in a game.

The feat seems so uncommon that Lakers guard Kobe Bryant nearly guaranteed that you wouldn't see it happen again anywhere else.

"When guys are in the gym by themselves," Bryant said, "they can't shoot that percentage."

And Phoenix's live-and-die-by-the-three mentality seems so unorthodox, Lakers guard Derek Fisher highly doubts that strategy will prove sustainable for a playoff run.

"I'll just say I have five rings playing a particular way," he said. "I feel like that works pretty well. People do other things, and you see the results. That's just my opinion. Obviously, I'm biased."

The Lakers' refrain in the locker room after their second consecutive loss became as predictable as the Suns' relentless three-pointers. Rather than using this time to reflect on their poor defense, the Lakers pointed their fingers at Phoenix, claiming there was very little L.A. could do to stop a hot shooting night. Sure, Lakers forward Lamar Odom conceded the team could've performed better on closeouts. Sure, Lakers guard Shannon Brown acknowledged that the Lakers should've slowed the pace down to prevent the Suns from hitting so many three-pointers. And sure, Lakers forward Matt Barnes pointed to the Lakers' 18 turnovers feeding into Phoenix's high-octane offense.

But the Lakers' aura of resignation masked the plenty of things they could've prevented in allowing an opponent to set a new franchise record for most three-pointers given up in single game against the Lakers' franchise. Considering how rare it is for teams to hit such a high volume of three-pointers in a single game, it's tempting for the Lakers simply to just forget it and move on. But the tape shows this is another example of the Lakers' ongoing problems on defensive coverages.

Below the jump, I detail what went wrong on nearly every Suns' three-pointer. I left out two sequences simply because I DVR'ed Fox Sports West's replay Monday afternoon, and that version fast-forwarded through a few parts of the first quarter, leaving two first-quarter treys on the cutting-room floor. But you get the idea.

Continue reading »

Five things to take away from Lakers' 121-116 loss to the Phoenix Suns

Kobe1 1. The Suns' record-setting performance from three-point range points to a hot shooting performance and poor Lakers defense.

The sequence soon became as monotonous and predictable as a blow-'em-up summer blockbuster. The Suns dribbled up the floor, swung the ball around the perimeter and then waited for an open cutter to appear beyond the arc. Whether taking place from the corner, the top of the key or from 25 feet out or more, the Suns wouldn't see a three-pointer they didn't like.

The Lakers' 121-116 loss Sunday to the Phoenix Suns gives them their second consecutive loss and points to a problem that's bothered them all season long -- a failure to defend. Sometimes that's entailed the Lakers messing up on defending screen and rolls, failing to block off driving lanes or performing on help defense when needed. But against Phoenix, the Lakers' most egregious defensive problem was their failure to overplay the perimeter.

The result: The Suns went 22 of 40 from three-point range, a franchise record for three-pointers made in a game, and the highest number of three-pointers the Lakers have allowed in a game. The explanations in the locker room appeared mixed, with Lakers Coach Phil Jackson and most players conceding that they had thought the Suns' hot streak would eventually fizzle out, but acknowledging they didn't react well on close outs and switching defensive rotations. Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, who sagged a bit on defense himself, simply chalked it up to Phoenix shooting well.

It's indisputable that a team hitting 22 three-pointers will rarely happen. It is a record after all. Hedo Turkoglu's 17 points on six-of-nine shooting included a second-quarter three-pointer that tipped the front rim and simply dropped in the basket and a 26-foot heave that gave the Suns a 115-109 lead with 34.7 seconds remaining. There isn't much you can do there. But plenty of Jason Richardson's 35 points on 13-of-20 shooting and seven-of-10 from three-point range came on wide-open looks or delayed contested reactions.

The Lakers' poor defense, which led to Phoenix's 22 of 43 field goals coming from long range, isn't as worrisome moving forward as is the fact that the poor focus in that department has been ongoing. As tempting as it is to simply flush this defensive performance away because the Suns played as if they held the fireball in NBA Jam, the Lakers' poor communication on defense isn't anything out of the ordinary. 

Continue reading »

Phil Jackson's nickname for the bench: Renegades

It's only two games into the regular season, and Lakers Coach Phil Jackson has already assigned the team's bench a nickname. They're "Renegades."

"I gave it to them," Jackson said Saturday after practice at the Lakers' facility in El Segundo. "They're getting a sense of how to play together."

That includes Steve Blake, Shannon Brown and Matt Barnes, a trio KCAL-9's Stu Lantz and a few L.A. Times Lakers blog readers described as "Killer B's." Beyond this settling a long debate or perhaps furthering it within this corner of the blogosphere, it's not so much important what nickname Jackson has assigned the reserves so much as that his willingness to do it so early in the season shows his satisfaction with the team's overall play. Jackson limited Saturday's practice solely to the reserves, a unit he says will feature more unspecified playing time from Devin Ebanks and Sasha Vujacic possibly as early as Sunday against the Golden State Warriors. 

Dictionary.com defines "renegade" as a "person who deserts a party or cause for another," hardly a quality trait you'd want to have in a teammate. But the Lakers see it differently.

"When you think of renegade, you think of someone who's almost mean, but going out there and getting the job done," Brown said. "They're fierce. They don't play many games, but they're close knit together. They won't let nobody mess with them."

The reactions among the bench struck a perfect balance between amusement ("I'm liking all these names," said Brown) and professionalism ("We're not going to worry about nicknames," Blake said. We're just going to go out there and keep doing what we're doing").

The bench so far has been doing the right things. In the Lakers' 112-110 season-opening victory Tuesday against the Houston Rockets, Blake hit the game-winning three-pointer and shut off Aaron Brooks in the lane on the final play. Meanwhile, Brown provided an energy boost in both season opener and in the Lakers' 114-106 victory Friday over the Phoenix Suns, showing a solid mid-range game and ability to run the break. And Barnes has scrapped on the boards as well as going three-of-four from three-point range against the Suns.

I noted before how the bench's teamwork mentality will surely pay dividends this season, and a scene in the locker room before the Suns game fully illustrated why. Barnes recalled seeing Ron Artest's ring brought a wave of emotions.

"Seeing that ring for the first time, I'm happy for those guys but I'm definitely jealous," Barnes said. "It makes me hungrier to get my own. I'm thinking about how it's going to feel to get my own."

For now, the Lakers' bench can be comforted to know they've at least earned enough respect for a nickname. They realize they've earned it.

"Renegades are people that are out there reckless and taking care of business," Barnes added. "Killer B's is self explanatory. It's us three taking care of business and having fun."

Brown suggested there should be a poll on this topic, so I told him I'd be more than willing to oblige and then report the results. Feel free to vote in some of the polls below after the jump. Of course, if you don't like these nicknames, pitch a few others and I'll see if it resonates with the bench.

Continue reading »

Five things to take away from Lakers' 114-106 victory over Phoenix Suns

57192537

1.Kobe Bryant continues to make progress on his right knee. - This isn't because Bryant scored a team-leading 25 points on a nine of 19 clip in the Lakers' 114-106 victory Friday over the Phoenix Suns. It's because his minutes (34) and involvement in other areas (seven rebounds, three assists) shows he's returning to his normal self. Another sign that Bryant's making progress is he seemed to enjoy matching Grant Hill's hot shooting (21 points on 10 of 17 shooting) and testing the foul limits. The next development I'm interested in seeing entails how Bryant's body responds next week when the Lakers play four games, including Sunday against Golden State, Tuesday against Memphis, Wednesday at Sacramento and Friday against Toronto.

2. Pau Gasol shows leadership All pre-season Lakers Coach Phil Jackson has prodded Gasol into taking charge of the team. At the beginning of the fourth quarter, he gathered together Ron Artest, Matt Barnes, Shannon Brown and Steve Blake together and appeared to give them advice. The Lakers entered the quarter leading 90-79, but no lead against Phoenix ever feels safe, considering the Suns shot 44 of 93, went nine of 24 from three-point range and featured five players cracking double digits, including Hill (21), center Robin Lopez (18), shooting guard Jason Richardson (17), backup guard Goran Dragic (15) and Jared Dudley (10) as well as nine assists from Steve Nash. Gasol helped the Lakers secure the win by dishing out five of his team-high nine assists in the fourth quarter, including plays that led to two Barnes' three-pointers, feeding Bryant and Lamar Odom inside for layups and finding Derek Fisher open for a jumper. Oh, and he also contributed with 21 points on 10 of 17 shooting with eight rebounds, falling short of the triple double.

Gasol's shooting stroke looked very smooth, resulting in numerous mid-range J's. His footwork remained unstoppable resulting in a left hook over Lopez. And his patience in letting the play develop while posting up paid off numerous times.

57192547

3. Lamar Odom isn't missing a beat - KCAL-9 Lakers analyst Stu Lantz correctly observed that some fans take for Odom's contributions for granted. It's easy to fall into the trap with this game because he's provided all throughout the training camp. He had a field day against Hedo Turkoglu in the post and on the perimeter, scoring 18 points on eight of 12 shooting, along with 17 rebounds and five assists. After nailing a three at the top of the three in the second quarter, he grabbed a rebound and fired an outlet pass, resulting in a Shannon Brown layup. He drove the lane one time and immediately noticed traffic so he kicked it out to Bryant for the open shot. And he relentlessly owned the boards against an undersized Phoenix team, most notably when he grabbed a rebound off an Artest missed shot and converted on an off-balance layup.

Although he's recorded seven turnovers in the first two games, Odom avoided getting into foul trouble against Phoenix, which prevented Jackson from having to play Theo Ratliff heavy minutes as well as give rookie Derrick Caracter playing time.

4. The Lakers continue to show trust in their bench - It's amazing to already see the work Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak put in this offseason already reap the benefits. Shannon Brown provided another energy game, scoring eight points on four of eight shooting, while Barnes had 11 points, including three of four from three-point range. Blake, Barnes and Brown entered the game late in the third quarter, and partly contributed to the team going on a 9-2 run to create a 87-79 cushion. Barne made a key defensive rebound that resulted in Blake converted from long-range, and Brown stole a poor Dragic pass resulting in a thunderous two-handed slam. Clearly, Jackson has confidence the bench can secure and widen leads, and it's also clear that Sasha Vujacic's zero minutes through two games will prove to be the norm rather than the exception this season.

5. The Lakers show potential to be a better three-point shooting team than last year: It's only two games so obviously this statistic remains far from definitive. But the Lakers' 47.9% mark from three-point range shows the team has better personnel to shoot from three-point range than last year's team, which went 34.1% from the field. Barnes finished three of four from three-point range, Blake and Bryant went two of five, Artest went three of eight, Fisher hit one of two and Odom nailed his sole attempt.

It's going to be a nice skill for the Lakers to acquire considering that wasn't their biggest strength last season, and it's going to give teammates fits considering how dangerous the Lakers frontline usually shows. The Lakers should approach the game, however, looking to get the ball in the lane and post first, before settling for outside. Working inside-out instead of outside-in will also help the Lakers' perimeter shooters develop a better rhythm as well.

Stat of the Night: 1,100. The number of wins for Lakers Coach Phil Jackson, who became the fastest coach in NBA history to achieve such a feat.

Quote of the Night: I'm a great rebounder." -- Lakers foward Lamar Odom to KCAL-9's John Ireland

--Mark Medina

Twitter.com/latmedina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant drives down the lane against Suns point guard Goran Dragic in the first quarter Friday night. Credit: Matt York/Associated Press

Photo: Lakers forward Lamar Odom looks to pass over the defense of Suns forward Hedo Turkoglu in the first quarter Friday night. Credit: Matt York / Associated Press

Phil Jackson acknowledges challenge in fitting in Sasha Vujacic into rotation

Lakers Coach Phil Jackson outlined the tough road ahead it will be for finding a proper balance in minutes for the Lakers' backcourt. And in the Lakers' 112-110 season-opening victory Tuesday against the Houston Rockets, it was Sasha Vujacic who didn't make an appearance for a single minute.

"It's real tough to play five guards," Jackson said after Thursday's practice at the Lakers' facility in El Segundo. "We know that. He knows that. All of our guards know it."

Jackson's rationale for leaving Vujacic out entails the fact that Shannon Brown scored 16 points on six of nine shooting in 21 minutes. That led Jackson "ride the hot hand," as he called it, even if he had planned for Vujacic to defend against Houston guard Kevin Martin, who scored 26 points on eight of 17 shooting, including going three of six from three-point range.

"Even a dumb person would know that one, right?" Jackson said a few hours before the team was to leave for its Friday night game at Phoenix (0-1). "The rotation's not that important as far as how it goes. It's about winning and that's important."

Vujacic spent lots of time working on his shooting after practice, but did not speak to most reporters afterward. The strong possibility that Vujacic will receive a limited role in the backcourt isn't at all surprising, considering Kobe Bryant's skill set, Derek Fisher's leadership, Steve Blake's strong understanding of the triangle offense and Shannon Brown's improved outside shot. But with one year remaining on his contract worth $5.5 million, Vujacic acknowledged during his exit interview how important it is to ride his confidence, including the two clutch free throws he made in Game 7 of the NBA Finals with 11.7 seconds remaining to secure the win and the title. Though he missed three exhibition games after suffering a concussion, Vujacic provided tons of energy, key outside shots and defensive scrappiness.

"I'm very competitive and sometimes a lot of people take that the wrong way," Vujacic said before training camp started. "I don't really care right now about the free agency or the contract year. What I care about is to do what I did all summer, to work hard and to play some basketball. To play basketball the right way and to win."

"Obviously, Sasha's a guy that comes in and does some things with shots in three-point territory," Jackson said during training camp. "We need [someone] to stir up the game. We need someone to anticipate picking up full court or chasing guys up full screens, animated defense. Those are the things Sasha can help us with."

But how much Vujacic will help in those departments remains to be seen. When I asked Jackson if Vujacic's recent contentiousness with Phoenix guard Goran Dragic could entice him to play Vujacic more Friday against Phoenix, Jackson said, "There are matchups that are really important."

--Mark Medina

Twitter.com/latmedina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Connect

Advertisement

In Case You Missed It...

Video

All Things Lakers »

Your database for all things purple and gold.

Find a Laker

Search a name

Select a season

Choose one of our lists



Categories


Archives
 

About the Bloggers


Bleacher Report | Lakers

Reader contributions from Times partner Bleacher Report

More Lakers on Bleacher Report »



Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists:


In Case You Missed It...