10/1: Training Camp Coverage

Re: 10/1: Training Camp Coverage

Postby JSM on Thu Oct 01, 2009 10:06 pm

Mike Bresnahan of the LA Times wrote:The Lakers will be dominant this season, but the extent of their superiority hinges on their youngest player.

Maybe they will match the 65 regular-season victories they collected last season. Maybe they will give chase to the legendary 72-win season strung up by the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan in 1995-96. Either way, the Lakers will want more from center Andrew Bynum.

The franchise did pretty well for itself back in June, winning its 15th NBA championship without much help from him.

By his own admission, Bynum returned too quickly from a torn medial collateral ligament in his right knee and averaged only 6.3 points and 3.7 rebounds in 23 playoff games.

"I wasn't 100%. I had to get back, give us another body," Bynum said after the Lakers' practice Thursday. "I had to do my due diligence, help us out against Dwight" Howard, Orlando's All-Star center.

Instead, Bynum found himself in constant foul trouble and lacking the explosion he showed in January before Kobe Bryant crashed into his knee on an off-balance drive. Bynum missed 32 regular-season games and broke the 10-point barrier only five times in the playoffs.

He was notably quiet in the Western Conference semifinals against Houston, going scoreless in three games, two of them when center Yao Ming was sidelined because of a broken foot.

Bynum took time off after the season, traveling through Asia and Europe before reuniting with his personal trainer in Atlanta for several weeks' worth of an intensive lower-body workout regimen. He also worked on his outside touch and said he could now make shots from 17 feet.

Bynum, however, will have to make it through this season without two important parts of his support structure.

Former Lakers assistant coach Kurt Rambis was instrumental in Bynum's on-court development but is now the head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Bynum will also reduce his time with special assistant coach Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, a mentoring figure for the last four years who will be attending fewer games in a less-active role with the coaching staff.

"Kareem has been an instrumental part of Andrew's development and improvement over the years, but as Andrew is entering his fifth season, there's a lesser need for such intensive work together," Lakers spokesman John Black said. "Therefore, Kareem's workload will be generally lessened."

Still, Bynum, who turns 22 this month, has lofty aspirations. He wants to be an All-Star in his fifth NBA season.

"That's my goal," he said. "I know I have the talent to do it. I wasn't too far off last year if I didn't get hurt. I'm feeling 100% now. I'm in shape and super excited for the season to start up."

Basketball without borders

NBA coaches often find themselves in a tough situation when their players take part in international tournaments.

Players want to represent their country, but it comes at the expense of a restful off-season. More games obviously mean more chance of wear and tear.

Pau Gasol (broken finger) and Sasha Vujacic (sore knee) emerged with injuries after taking part in practices leading up to the European championships this summer. Gasol was with the Spanish national team, Vujacic with Slovenia. Both players are cleared to take part in the Lakers' training camp.

"We have always been reluctant about our players playing" internationally, Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said. "We know that it's a necessary part of the game. Some of these players are $100-million properties and they are going into a situation that only has diminishing returns.

"I think there is a lot of feelings among the coaches in the league that as much as players may improve their game, some of our players that are older and experienced, like Pau and Kobe . . . there's nothing to be gained from it except fame and the shoe contracts that go along with that type of stuff."
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Re: 10/1: Training Camp Coverage

Postby JSM on Fri Oct 02, 2009 12:03 am

Elliott Teaford of the LA Daily News wrote:Two weeks after the Lakers won the NBA championship, Pau Gasol jumped on an airplane and headed home to Spain, to the island of Ibiza for 10 days of sun and fun. He joined his brother Marc, who plays for the Memphis Grizzlies, and a few friends.
Ten days, then back to work.

Gasol joined the Spanish national team for its preparations for the European Championships. He got an unexpected three-week break after injuring his left index finger in August, and then helped Spain win the Eurobasket title Sept. 20 in Poland.

A week later, he was back in Los Angeles, preparing for what could be another lengthy NBA season with the Lakers, who are expected to challenge for a second straight title and a third consecutive trip to the Finals.

Gasol has been on an almost nonstop joyride since joining the Lakers in a Feb. 1, 2008, trade from the Grizzlies. Since then, he and the Lakers lost in the 2008 Finals, and then he and Spain won the silver medal at the Beijing Olympics.

Last season, he and the Lakers won the NBA championship, and then he and Spain won the European Championships for the first time after six near-misses that included a one-point loss to the Russians at home in 2007.

"It was a big deal for me, for my teammates, for my country to be able to accomplish that and get that gold medal," Gasol said Thursday. "It's really, really tough to get that medal. That's why we were so proud, so happy, and so fortunate."

If the Lakers are worried about Gasol's workload, they aren't saying so publicly. In fact, Phil Jackson made it clear that Gasol won't be given a break, mainly because he doesn't believe the 7-footer works all that hard in practice.

"I'm not going to baby him," Jackson said. "He's the worst practice player I have. I like him, though. He makes practice fun. He has an easy attitude about it. He doesn't get into the seriousness of it, not like some of the other players."
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Re: 10/1: Training Camp Coverage

Postby JSM on Fri Oct 02, 2009 12:24 am

Jeff Eisenberg of the Press Enterprise wrote:Whether it's running for office, writing another book or getting involved in coaching, Derek Fisher has as much to look forward to as any member of the Lakers once his basketball career is over.

As passionate as he is about the sport, however, that's not going to be for a while.

Fisher, 35, worked extensively this offseason with Peter Park, the longtime the strength and conditioning coach for seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong. The two focused mostly on flexibility, mobility and core work, all designed to help Fisher avoid injury this season, play all 82 games for the fifth year in a row and extend his career for as long as possible.

"The goal was to get him bulletproof so he's not injury-prone at all," Park said. "He loves the game so much he's like a little kid. It's as fun for him now as it was 30 years ago. He thrives on the grind, and he couldn't wait for practice to start."

While a late shooting slump cost Fisher minutes last season and two hungry young guards are pushing him for playing time again this year, he insists neither of those things entered his mind. On the contrary, Fisher said his motivation for the offseason workouts was simply to become the best player he can be.

"If I had to use external motivating factors too much, I couldn't keep it up," Fisher said. "I love not just the game at 7:30 at night, but I literally love the game of basketball and all of the detail and preparation and discipline that goes into finding out how good can you be."

It seems as though Fisher will keep his starting job and play a similar role to what he did last season, though Lakers coach Phil Jackson isn't ready to make any early proclamation. Jackson said both Jordan Farmar and Shannon Brown have split time with the second and third units, with Farmar joining the starters on Thursday when Fisher took the morning off.

Regardless of what Fisher's role is, he said he's never been more physically ready. Park praised Fisher's dedication, comparing his work ethic with Armstrong's.

"The similarities I see between the two are they don't leave a stone unturned," Park said. "They both always come in on time and take it very seriously."

ONCE-A-DAY for GASOL

Pau Gasol is participating in only one of the two practice sessions during training camp two-a-days even though Jackson doesn't seem especially concerned about overextending the big man despite his busy summer.

In fact, never one to miss a chance to needle his players, Jackson called Gasol "the worst practice player I have," suggesting the big man is rather nonchalant.

Those comments drew a wry grin and a roll of the eyes from Gasol, who has heard similar prodding from Jackson since he joined the Lakers.

"Exciting news," he deadpanned. "I don't know why that doesn't surprise me."
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Re: 10/1: Training Camp Coverage

Postby Weezy on Fri Oct 02, 2009 1:42 am

Image

Sasha's hair still looks silly, just in a different way.

Image

I like these shoes a lot.
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Re: 10/1: Training Camp Coverage

Postby ZenMaster4President on Fri Oct 02, 2009 2:40 am

LOL at Pau vs. Phil.

Ship his lazy a.. out.
Pau Gasol yesterday morning when asked about Dwight Howard: "I haven't called. Calls are expensive."
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Re: 10/1: Training Camp Coverage

Postby JSM on Fri Oct 02, 2009 9:39 am

GERALD NARCISO of Dime Magazine wrote:Andrew Bynum’s game has come so far since he entered the league out of high school in 2005. When healthy, Bynum can throw up numbers that are on par with almost any center in the league. He averaged a career high 14.3 ppg to go along with 8 rpg and 1.8 bpg. This season, he’s looking to make a bigger impact as the Lakers work towards winning back-to-back championships. Bynum took some time after yesterday’s training camp session to talk to Dime on the phone.

Dime: There have been reports that you came into camp in great shape. Where have you been working out this offseason and what have you been doing?
Andrew Bynum: With my trainer down in Atlanta. What we normally do is track workouts. Then we follow it up with a weight room routine whether it be for the legs or upper body. The majority of my summer has been leg workouts because I had to get my base back and I had to get the strength back in my legs. We might have done one maybe two upper body workouts a week and everything else was legs, four days of legs. Just trying to get strong and my quickness back.

Dime: What part of your game do you think you’ve improved in the most over the summer?
AB: Just shots all around the paint - 15-feet out. Just working on anything that’s going to get me to that next level. If people don’t honor my jumper than they’ll just baseline double me or not allow me to get to the middle. So I have to add something else to open those things back up to allow me to be a more efficient player.

Dime: Between Lamar Odom getting married to Khloe Kardashian and you guys being the returning champs, I imagine media day looked like a circus. How has the media attention compared to past seasons?
AB: Actually it wasn’t really that bad. It’s not going to be so much mainstream media, it’s going to be more the TMZ’s all that waiting around when we get to the hotel, and stuff like that. Mainstream media was about the same.

Dime: You’ve been around this city and the media craziness for the past four years. Do you ever get used to the TMZ’s and living under the microscope in L.A.?
AB: Yeah you got to get used to it. It’s unfortunate but it comes along with the role. You give them that time, you give them the answers their looking for and you keep it moving and that’s what you got to do. The bottom line is some of it’s good some of it’s bad, you know what I mean? It’s not a bad thing for everyone to know you. And you shouldn’t be doing the things that get you in trouble in those publications anyway. I’ve definitely had my experiences with paparazzi. For me, I’m very casual I just take it with a grain of salt. They ask me whatever they want I give them my answer than keep it moving.

Dime: As the leader on the team, what has Kobe done to keep the focus on repeating?
AB: Actually you know what, it’s kind of been funny. He definitely has told us what it’s going to take and talked about winning it again and things like that. But for the most part, he’s never really had to. I think everybody’s come into camp this year understanding that, ‘look we’re the team to beat.’ Everybody’s gotten better and I think we’re ready to go right now.

Dime: You guys have been in training camp for a few days now. Describe what the vibe has been in practice?
AB: Oh it’s been fun. Yesterday we did something, a five-man drill we call it. It’s like a four-on-four-on-four game and everybody was being competitive. The final score was like 9-8. One team had 8, one team had 10, one team had 9. Everybody was competing and having fun.

Dime: How is Ron Artest looking in practice?
AB: Oh man Ron is a beast, I love him to death. He’s definitely a cool guy and I think he’s definitely going to help us on the defensive side and bring us toughness. And on offense, we’re unstoppable. You can’t double off anybody, everybody can make plays. I think he’ll be great for us.

Dime: So is he adjusting to the triangle offense?
AB: Yeah he’s picking it up quick. He’s been studying it all summer.

Dime: Last year Sasha Vujacic’s game declined a little bit. How is he been looking in practices so far?
AB: Yeah he’s been looking great. He’s shooting the ball well. To me he’s gotten tougher. He’s been taking the ball to the rim a lot more.

Dime: What do you expect out of yourself this season?
AB: Personally for me this season, my goal is to be on that All-Star team. And that’s the new priority. I think it’s definitely something I can do, I’ve shown that. Hopefully I’ll be injury-free this year. And then obviously with Yao being out and Shaq being traded back to the East Coast, I think that center position is wide open.

Dime: Are you guys going to repeat?
AB: Yes, definitely. That’s the goal, nothing less. And you know what’s funny is being on the Lakers just makes you think that way because it’s a storied franchise.
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