Jackson expected to arrive soon
By KEVIN DING
The Orange County Register
EL SEGUNDO – The Lakers had their first two-a-day workouts Saturday, still without their coach, Phil Jackson, but he is expected at the club's practice facility next week to begin observing the team.
Jackson also will be at the facility for personal benefit: to rehabilitate the right hip that was surgically replaced Tuesday. Jackson's longtime friend, Chip Schaefer, is the Lakers' director of athletic performance and player development, and Jackson has been pleased with the work he has done in the past with athletic performance coordinator Alex McKechnie.
But Kurt Rambis, the acting head coach, is moving forward without Jackson, who planned only the first week of practices for the Lakers' coaching staff.
"I'll give him a call, but he hasn't been here to see what's going on," Rambis said. "It's up to us - it's our job - to see what our team has done and what it needs work on."
On Saturday, Rambis put together a to-do list for the Lakers' coaching staff for the coming days.
Although Rambis has the lead role in Jackson's stead, all the assistants have continued to oversee specific groups of players.
To wrap up the Saturday morning practice, the centers worked with special assistant Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at one basket, Rambis and Frank Hamblen coached the forwards at another basket, and Brian Shaw, Jim Cleamons, Craig Hodges and Tex Winter handled the guards at another basket.
Winter, the inventor of the triangle offense, will be with the club through the middle of the month, accompanying the Lakers to Las Vegas on Oct. 14 for two exhibition games. By the time Winter departs, Jackson could be close to resuming a regular role with the team. Jackson half-jokingly said before his surgery that he hoped to be back for the Lakers' Oct. 20 exhibition game at Staples Center, but sounded his usual disdainful tone for exhibitions and suggested that he'd show up only for the last quarter of the game.
ON THE BALL
A source of frustration for Lakers coaches and fans alike last season was Kwame Brown's penchant for mishandling the ball.
"You know what? To be honest with you, I don't think that I've noticed him dropping the ball in this training camp," Rambis said of Brown.
Brown called his comfort level now compared to a year ago "like night and day. My big thing is slowing down. I'm not as wide-eyed as I was last year."
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