10/3: Training Camp Coverage

10/3: Training Camp Coverage

Postby JSM on Sat Oct 03, 2009 4:27 pm

Elliott Teaford of the LA Daily News Blog wrote:Backup guard Sasha Vujacic talked today about a possible shift from shooting guard to point guard after the first few days of training camp. He also spoke about bouncing back from a subpar 2008-09 season, the disappointment of his release from the Slovenian national team during the summer and a minor knee injury that has healed. Read on.

Of moving to the point, he said: "Phil (Jackson) and the coaching staff, basically they have been teaching me to play both positions. I needed some time to put myself into that lead guard position. Now that I'm into my sixth year in the NBA, I feel comfortable. Just got to keep the tempo up or down, depending on who's on the floor. Phil is the guy who is orchestrating everything. We have to take advantage of where the holes are (in the defense). ... I played point guard in Europe. I played my second year (with the Lakers) as point guard, but was more comfortable as shooting guard."

On playing poorly last season: "Every fan of the Lakers wasn't happy how I played last year. No excuses, but my injury (a sprained ankle) the first day of training camp put me back. I was trying to find my game. Regular season I kind of found it, but I never regained it (fully). It's a new year, a fresh start. I've got to start fresh. It's going to be a fresh year. We've got to defend our title, but from a personal point of view, I've got to bring "The Machine" back because that's why I'm here."

On winning the NBA title despite his struggles in the Finals: "I'm not one of those guys, if I play bad and we're winning, I'm not going to bring the team down. You've just got to adapt to the team's success. Fortunately, the team didn't need me as much in the Finals. I could contribute, but yeah, there's disappointment when you know what you need to do and you know how to do it, but you just don't do it. Obviously, it's going to be a disappointment. The more I was working on it, the more I was spending time in the gym, the more it was frustrating, and then coaches some of the teammates and Phil, they said, 'You're trying too much, you're thinking too much.' They were on me. I'm stubborn, and stubborn is what brought me here. It was a good summer, a good experience to be more open and to accept when I'm wrong. I was probably overdoing it last year, much more than I would do ever again."

On taking a break from the gym: "I did. I needed that (break). I had an interesting summer. I went back home. I was supposed to play for the national team, and then all the circumstances happened. Everything happened for a reason. I'm kind of happy I didn't play and everything turned out the way it did. I could have my mind set for the Lakers' season, because that's what I live for and what everybody expects me to do my best. I just want to play up to my potential, nothing less and nothing more."

On the Bench Mob's attempts to bounce back from last season's woes: "It should be (a rebound year for the Bench Mob). We have a very good team, one that's incredible. The Bench Mob, you know, winning the championship, it's not about only one or two players on the bench. It's about five or seven of us. We've got to realize only if we play together can we win. The Bench Mob is ready to do their thing this year. We are old enough and mature enough to do that."

On his summer activities: "I was here after the parade, then I took a seven- to 10-day vacation. I went to my friend's place on the Caribbean side of Mexico. I just went there and re-charged the batteries. Then I came back to L.A., and after a few days I went home to Slovenia. I was there almost one-and-a-half months. Meanwhile, I went to China for the shoe company. When I came back to Slovenia, it turned out that nothing changed from the last time I played for them seven years ago. So, after all the disappointment or whatever, I came back here and all my focus that was supposed to be for the national team is for the Lakers. It was good and bad. That injury kind of put me back, but that's where my life is, that's where I want to win another championship. I want to play the way I played two years ago, or even better. I know I can do better. So it's good."

Was getting cut and suffering the knee injury a blessing in disguise? "Probably. Who knows what would have happened if I had gone there (to the European Championships) and played through the injury and then been here now watching training camp? Thank God I didn't do that. Thank God we have a training staff here that was able to help me. I'm glad I'm here now working out with my teammates."

On returning to Slovenia: "Day 1 of the preparation, I was there 100 percent with the national team. Once I wasn't with them anymore, then I was able to see my uncle, my grandparents, basically everybody I hadn't seen in a long time. Friends I hadn't seen since I was 6 or 7 years old. They were happy for me. It was amazing. It was great. It was a nine-hour difference, but they watched every game (in the NBA Finals)."

On playing for Slovenia: "I haven't played for them for a long time. They had assured me that some things had changed, but once I got there, once I saw that basically nothing changed, I was sad that I couldn't help and do that for Slovenia. Life goes on. It wasn't meant to be. It's behind me. My only focus now is on the Lakers and how well I can do. Just something that I thought had changed, but nothing changed."
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Re: 10/3: Training Camp Coverage

Postby therealdeal on Sat Oct 03, 2009 4:36 pm

I've always loved his passion. I hope the best for him.
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Re: 10/3: Training Camp Coverage

Postby 10scott10 on Sat Oct 03, 2009 4:37 pm

Oh please do not make sasha a point guard.

I like him, but making him a point guard is a disaster waiting to happen
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Re: 10/3: Training Camp Coverage

Postby JSM on Sat Oct 03, 2009 5:05 pm

LakersReporter: Sasha Vujacic and Luke Walton stayed late to shoot, while Kobe Bryant was stretching well after practice ended.
about 4 hours ago from Echofon

LakersReporter: Magic Johnson was on hand at Lakers practice on Saturday.
about 4 hours ago from Echofon
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Re: 10/3: Training Camp Coverage

Postby therealdeal on Sat Oct 03, 2009 5:07 pm

Well, Magic needs to check on his investments.
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Re: 10/3: Training Camp Coverage

Postby JSM on Sat Oct 03, 2009 5:10 pm

ThugRaider37: Second practice coming soon The black mamba is working really hard This is going to be a good season
about 2 hours ago from Echofon
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Re: 10/3: Training Camp Coverage

Postby JSM on Sat Oct 03, 2009 5:17 pm

Jeff Miller of the Orange County Register Blog wrote:The Lakers have no shortage of lead guard options, with Derek Fisher and Jordan Farmar and Shannon Brown all available.

Of course, Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom are also adapt as playmakers.

Then there’s Sasha Vujacic, who has been operating at the position at times during the opening days of training camp.

“It makes me more versatile,” said Vujacic, who is entering his sixth NBA season, all with the Lakers. “I’ve played point guard some in the past. It’s something I could do.”

Vujacic, 25, is trying to come back from a difficult shooting experience in the playoffs. He was one of the few Lakers who genuinely struggled, particularly as the postseason advanced.
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Re: 10/3: Training Camp Coverage

Postby ben_ready on Sat Oct 03, 2009 6:20 pm

i'm down on the guy but hope he can come bacc this season yell
great "scott"! you're too "green", and not "worthy" enough to taste the "magic" "kareem"(cream)/You flew the "coop" "west" so don't fuss just drive the "buss"(bus),while i eat my "chick" n' "stu"(chicken stew) in the aisle,"back 2 back" with "riles" my favorite laker squad
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Re: 10/3: Training Camp Coverage

Postby JSM on Sun Oct 04, 2009 6:35 am

Broderick Turner of the LA Times wrote:Luke Walton knows his time on the court might decrease now that the Lakers have Ron Artest.

Walton is aware that Artest likes to play heavy minutes.

Still, Walton said he hopes he can continue to get quality minutes this season as the backup small forward behind Artest.

"I want to play," Walton said after practice Saturday. "There's no way to tell right now until the season gets going. But I'm going to work my tail off to try and earn as many minutes as I can get."

Walton averaged 17.9 minutes last season in 65 games, 34 as a starter.

Artest averaged 35.2 minutes a game last season with the Houston Rockets.

"That affects Luke's role," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said. "I talked to him a little bit about it before the season in recognition that some things have changed. But he still can play a number of positions for us.

"We know that Ron likes to play in the 30s [minutes].We'll see how it plays out, but Ron's going to have big-minute nights."

Because he can handle the basketball, run the offense and pass, Walton said he'll play anywhere, as long as he can get on the court.

"Hey, I'll play some one [point guard], Magic Johnson style," Walton said, half-jokingly. "I'll just back people all the way down the court."

Jackson cuts morning practice

The coach noticed tired legs at training camp Saturday morning, so Jackson reduced the scheduled three-hour practice to one hour.

The Lakers had practiced for five days, a total of seven sessions with the two-a-days.

With the Lakers set to scrimmage later Saturday night, Jackson wanted his players ready to play.

"It took them a while to getting them shooting at a level I wanted them to shoot today," Jackson said. "So I cut this practice a little bit short because I wanted them rested for [Saturday] night so that they can have a good scrimmage."

The Lakers don't play their first exhibition game until Wednesday, when they face the Golden State Warriors at the Honda Center in Anaheim, so Jackson wants to see his team make strides in the meantime.

"I look for recognition, for players to start recognizing how to play in their roles they have out there," Jackson said. "I look for how they are going to use things in the offense for their own advantage, how they are getting along with their teammates as far as moving the ball and looking for one another."

Artest downplays Cuban's comments

Artest said he was told about Mark Cuban's comments by his "Twitter friends," in which the Dallas Mavericks owner suggested that Artest would upset the Lakers' chemistry.

"I talked to Kobe [Bryant] about it," Artest said. "He said that's what happens when you're a Laker."

In an ESPN radio interview in Dallas, Cuban said: "Could you imagine? Ron Artest has got the ball and Kobe's standing there, 'Throw me the ball.' Thank you, Ron Artest."

Artest viewed Cuban's comments as entertainment.

"As long as you can play basketball, work hard, come to work every day, get your training in, get your extra work in, I think it's important that the fans get entertained," Artest said. "It's important that Mark Cuban says stuff like that. It's great for the fans. It's something to read and it keeps it interesting.

"Nobody is really getting hurt. It's just words. I think the fans like that. That's why I love this game."
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Re: 10/3: Training Camp Coverage

Postby JSM on Sun Oct 04, 2009 7:07 am

Jeff Miller of the Orange County Register wrote:He was attempting to improve himself when, oddly and logically, he damaged himself instead.

Of course, Sasha Vujacic was running uphill at the time.

This is a guy who could use a break, this Laker paid for his outside shooting who still hasn't made an outside shot – or a shot from any proximity – since Denver.

You remember Denver, right? Back before the Lakers won their latest NBA title, back before the Magic, back before that creepy Hulk Hogan appearance in Orlando?

Yeah, way back, like when the Dodgers were still considered punchers and not a punch line.

"Of course I wasn't happy, just like every fan of mine wasn't happy and every Lakers fan wasn't happy," Vujacic said of his Finals flameout. "I'm trying to find my game again."

At least he has rediscovered his game again. Vujacic injured himself during the summer, tweaking his knee while running in the Slovenian mountains.

Doesn't that sound like something a saber-toothed tiger would do? Running in the Slovenian mountains, we mean, not tweaking his knee.

Anyway, the knee nagged Vujacic for two weeks, all the local remedies failing. At one point, someone was massaging oil – olive oil – into Vujacic's leg, certain the condition would improve.

Either that, or they were planning to serve Vujacic over a bed of linguine.

"The knee thing might have been best, really," Vujacic said. "I came home – and when I say home, I mean L.A. – a little earlier and the training staff here was able to get me ready to go."

Much like his playoff way-off, Vujacic's summer was sharply uneven, a mix of celebrating the greatest moment of his pro career and contemplating his very place in the sport.

The lowlight came when he returned to Slovenia to play for his home country's national team – the NBA champion triumphantly riding back into town – and was told, ah, no thanks.

Vujacic preferred not to disclose the details, though it's clear someone in the Slovenian Federation isn't a Sasha Vujacic fan. Hey, if this had happened to a Laker in America, we'd all know the story because it would have been made into a reality TV series.

"I was sad," Vujacic said. "I wanted to help the team. But life goes on. I'm beyond that now. What matters is the present and the future. The Laker season, that's what I live for."

The summer wasn't all sore knees and hurt feelings. Vujacic spent a week in Mexico, at a friend's resort, where people recognized him as a Laker and an NBA champion.

While at dinner, some of those same people even sent him cakes for dessert with things like "Congratulations" written in the icing.

He said the locals "had a little party" for him in Slovenia, where those close to Vujacic had battled the nine-hour time difference to watch the Lakers' playoff run on television.

The most significant compliment was when folks he grew up with told him he hadn't changed, that he was still as humble as ever.

"Those were the biggest words and inspiration for me," Vujacic said. "And seeing tears in people's eyes was amazing. They were all so happy for me. It was great."

He looked awfully comfortable after practice Saturday, dressed in a Rolling Stones T-shirt and slippers. No kidding, slippers. Fuzzy ones at that. And, yes, he also was wearing pants.

But unless Vujacic solves his shooting riddle, the comfort won't last long.

"I gotta get that Machine back because that's why I'm here," he said. "I'm trying to turn the page around now."

Vujacic missed 74 percent of his field-goal attempts in the postseason. He made only 16 of 51 (31 percent) three-point tries.

In five games in the Finals, he played just 22 minutes, misfiring on all six of his shots and scoring as many points as Magic season-ticket holder Tiger Woods did.

Vujacic is a grinder, a helpless gym rat, and he did what he always has done when he can't make a shot. He shot more. In practice. Before practice. After practice. Late at night, in bed, with his eyes closed.

Despite the Lakers' coaches urging Vujacic to back off, he continued pushing.

"I'm stubborn, but stubborn got me where I am," he said. "I was probably overdoing it too much. I won't do that again."

This comeback story would have the elements of a soap opera if these weren't the 2009-10 Lakers. As it is, Vujacic's tale is barely a commercial break.

There's the new Laker, Ron Artest, who is destined to be the team's top nit-Twit.

And there's the newlywed Laker, Lamar Odom, who held out for more as a free-agent basketballer but apparently took the first offer that came along as a free-agent bachelor.

Before this season is over, the Lakers could become the first professional sports team to be E!'d, TMZ'd and Shannon Tweed to death.

Somewhere buried in the middle will be Vujacic, the well-olive-oiled-Machine searching for a familiar reflection.
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Re: 10/3: Training Camp Coverage

Postby therealdeal on Sun Oct 04, 2009 11:35 am

Hopefully he gets his groove back. With him shooting well, this team is so much more deadly
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Re: 10/3: Training Camp Coverage

Postby Battle Tested20 on Sun Oct 04, 2009 10:42 pm

I really believe it, even to the point that I am willing to bet on it that Sasha will have a great year again. When a player puts as much time and effort into his game as Sasha as it's only a matter of time when those results and repetitive shooting improves. I can't wait till Oct. 27th 7:30pm pct.
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Re: 10/3: Training Camp Coverage

Postby jlkr on Mon Oct 05, 2009 8:22 am

Battle Tested20 wrote:I really believe it, even to the point that I am willing to bet on it that Sasha will have a great year again. When a player puts as much time and effort into his game as Sasha as it's only a matter of time when those results and repetitive shooting improves. I can't wait till Oct. 27th 11:30am pct.

fixed
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

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Re: 10/3: Training Camp Coverage

Postby 10scott10 on Mon Oct 05, 2009 8:38 am

jlkr wrote:
Battle Tested20 wrote:I really believe it, even to the point that I am willing to bet on it that Sasha will have a great year again. When a player puts as much time and effort into his game as Sasha as it's only a matter of time when those results and repetitive shooting improves. I can't wait till Oct. 27th 11:30am pct.

fixed

wow, your timezone must suck for watching games
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Re: 10/3: Training Camp Coverage

Postby Psychobroker on Mon Oct 05, 2009 3:05 pm

Wow, it took Sasha 6 years to feel comfortable in the NBA??
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Re: 10/3: Training Camp Coverage

Postby Battle Tested20 on Mon Oct 05, 2009 6:48 pm

jlkr wrote:
Battle Tested20 wrote:I really believe it, even to the point that I am willing to bet on it that Sasha will have a great year again. When a player puts as much time and effort into his game as Sasha as it's only a matter of time when those results and repetitive shooting improves. I can't wait till Oct. 27th 11:30am pct.

fixed


Ok, you must leave somewhere else because that's why I said pct (Pacific Time), if it was eastern it would be 10:30pm est. But 11:30am I don't know where that's from
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