10/10: Training Camp Reports - Day 11

10/10: Training Camp Reports - Day 11

Postby JSM on Fri Oct 10, 2008 1:18 pm

Janis Carr of the Orange County Register Blog wrote:Seems Lamar Odom hasn’t been able to do much right in training camp as far as the coaches have been concerned.

Even from his sofa, Coach Phil Jackson didn’t like what he was during the team’s exhibition opener. He was critical of Odom’s shot selection and timing. He furthered his criticism in practice the following day.

“He looks like he’s either curling or doing some other kind of sport. He’s not playing basketball. The first shot he took was a three-pointer in the middle of the third quarter? That was pretty interesting.”

Odom didn’t know what curling was.

“I’m from Jamaica-Queen’s (N.Y.),” Odom said. “We know what football, basketball and baseball are.

“If it looked like curling, then I must not have been doing something right.”

Seems Odom might be getting what Jackson has been not-so-subtly trying to tell him.

The Lakers are trying to find a place for Odom among center Andrew Bynum, power forward Pau Gasol and star guard/forward Kobe Bryant. Jackson prefers to play Bryant at small forward to take advantage of the attack position in the triangle offense, which could spell diminished minutes for Odom.
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Farmar joins Vujacic on the injury front

Postby JSM on Fri Oct 10, 2008 2:59 pm

Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register Blog wrote:The Clippers really wanted to win that game in Fresno on Thursday night. It was their first exhibition game with so many new faces, it was the slimmed-down Baron Davis’ debut and it was against the Lakers.

The Lakers’ priority is not getting anyone hurt after all the injury issues they’ve had in recent years. They’ve basically succeeded, even as they’ve looked pretty bad in exhibition play.

Jordan Farmar came up with a sore right foot from the game with the Clippers and sat out practice back home Friday, wearing flip-flops. It might be enough to earn a trip into the MRI machine but likely isn’t major. Derek Fisher has a sore right knee, but that’s definitely minor.

Sasha Vujacic’s MRI exam Thursday showed nothing worse than a sprain in his left ankle. He will accompany the team to Las Vegas on Saturday but isn’t expected to play Sunday night against Sacramento.
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Powell making the adjustment

Postby JSM on Fri Oct 10, 2008 3:01 pm

Art Thompson III of the Orange County Register Blog wrote:Josh Powell was signed as a free agent by the Lakers this past summer primarily to fill the function that former Laker forward Ronny Turiaf performed - rebound, play defense, be aggressive and bring boundless energy on both ends of the floor.

Turiaf, a restricted free agent this past summer, signed a four-year contract with the Golden State Warriors, that the Lakers declined to match.

It is the Lakers’ hopes that the 6-foot-9 Powell will make sure that Turiaf is not missed. So far, Powell has exhibited those qualities in practice. But Lakers coach Phil Jackson said Friday that Powell has not consistently transferred those attributes in the two exhibition games.

“Not in the games, no. In practices, yes,” Jackson said. “I think he needs to just be comfortable on the floor. (He) probably needs more playing time, than six minutes here and six minutes there. He needs a real dedicated run.”

It has to be a daunting challenge for Powell, who averaged 5.5 points and 5.1 rebounds, in 64 games last season with the Clippers. Powell’s one-year stint with the Clippers was his fourth NBA stop in only three years in the league.

In the Lakers’ two exhibition games, Powell is averaging two points and 3.5 rebounds, in 12.5 minutes per game.

“I thought in the first exhibition game I gave good effort,” Powell said. “(Thursday), for whatever reason, the effort wasn’t there. The only thing I can do is to continue to work and pick it up.”

Powell readily admitted that grasping the nuances of the Lakers’ triangle offense would take some time.

“It’s getting there,” he said. “It’s a learning process.”

Asked if he might be tempering some of his aggressiveness to avoid making mistakes out on the floor, Powell said, “You still have to play hard. But I may be doing some thinking out there.”
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Re: 10/10: Training Camp Reports - Day 11

Postby therealdeal on Fri Oct 10, 2008 6:17 pm

Well I hope Powell doesn't end up being a head case because I already like the kid and I want him to do well.
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Jackson: Odom confused by dual roles

Postby JSM on Fri Oct 10, 2008 10:16 pm

Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register Blog wrote: It remains to be seen whether Phil Jackson is nearing the point of pulling the plug on using Lamar Odom as a primary ball-handler, but Jackson said after practice today that part of Odom’s problem is having two roles in the offense. Through two exhibition games, Odom is averaging 1.5 points, 2.0 assists and 2.8 turnovers in 18 minutes per game.

Given that Jackson said late Thursday night that Odom will “find his way,” there remains hope that Odom can take some of the dribbling load off Derek Fisher and Kobe Bryant. But Jackson said Odom switching between bringing the ball up as a guard and running the floor as a big man assigned to sprint toward the post has been difficult for him.

This shouldn’t be any sort of shock. Odom has done both roles in the past and struggled with it. How much did he struggle?

He committed the unimaginable turnover one time a few years back of dribbling the ball inbounds in game.

The explanation (if there can be one): The big men or wing men in the offense make the inbounds passes; the guards dribble the ball up. Odom has done both at different times.
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Sun’s fate still undetermined

Postby JSM on Fri Oct 10, 2008 10:35 pm

Art Thompson III of the Orange County Register Blog wrote:Lakers coach Phil Jackson said Friday that any ideas of rookie Sun Yue getting the bulk of his playing time this coming season in the NBA’s Developmental League is premature.

If that were to occur, Sun would be assigned to the Lakers’ D-League affiliate, the Los Angeles Defenders. Guard Coby Karl, who is trying to secure spot on the Lakers’ regular-season roster, spent the better part of last season shuffling back and forth between the Lakers and the Defenders.

That fate not necessarily would await the 6-foot-9 Sun, who is competing for a backup role at guard.

“We’re not making any decision about that yet, until we see how he performs at this level,” Jackson said.

Jackson said that the 22-year old Sun might currently be lacking strength, speed and experience “but he’s got a lot of moxie.”

After missing the first exhibition game and being restricted during the opening days of training camp, due to a bout of mononucleosis, Sun saw his first action in a Lakers unform in Thursday’s exhibition game against the Clippers.

Sun was scoreless and did not grab a rebound in a abbreviated eight-minute stint.

“My body condition is much better than before. Better than last week,” said Sun, who conducted the interview without the aid of a translator.

Mononucleosis is a disease that can incapacitate someone afflicted with it for as long as six months. However, Sun appears to have recovered from it, after he first was diagnosed only days before training camp began.

As expected, Sun’s conditioning is not at the level at which it needs to be.

“It’s all gone but it still takes time to adjust the body,” Sun said.
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Injury Update

Postby JSM on Fri Oct 10, 2008 10:44 pm

Mike Trudell of Lakers.com wrote:Lakers spokesman John Black offered an injury update following Friday’s practice:

- An MRI from a few days ago revealed that Sasha Vujacic does have a sprained ankle, as was thought to be the case.
- Jordan Farmar missed practice with a sore right foot.
- D.J. Mbenga practiced for the first half of the session but sat out the second with a sore right heel.
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Friday Practice Notes

Postby JSM on Fri Oct 10, 2008 11:00 pm

Mike Trudell of Lakers.com wrote:After Friday’s practice, Phil Jackson didn’t seem worried in the least that the team hasn’t looked great thus far, addressing only a few topics in a relatively short interview after practice. Here’s a synopsis:

- When asked about Sun Yue playing in D-League this season, Jackson had this to say: “We aren’t making any decisions about that until we see how he performs at this level.” He added that Sun has played professionally and that “he’s got a lot of moxie.”
- Asked yet again about Lamar Odom, Jackson repeated the same message: Odom needs to simply find a way to be productive on the floor. Nothing new there. He mentioned that what’s difficult is at times Odom’s a ball handler and at times he’s playing as a big guy, and it’s not easy especially with Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum on the floor.

Team spokesman John Black added a quick injury update which you can find in the immediately subsequent post.

Back to the Odom bit … Though I’ve been here just a week, it seems silly to repeatedly inquire about Odom’s production - or lack there of - after 35 minutes of preseason action. It’s almost as if questions are being sent out as feelers to get a reaction out of Jackson, which might then look interesting in an article, or rather could be taken back to Odom. Perhaps it’s too easy to say “relax” when it comes to Odom - whose effort and focus has been questioned both local and nationally - but repeated questions about the same issue don’t seem to shine any new light.


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Jackson makes Lakers pay for defensive lapses

Postby JSM on Fri Oct 10, 2008 11:13 pm

Jeff Eisenberg wrote:The morning after Thursday's uninspired 27-point loss to the Clippers, Lakers coach Phil Jackson sent a message to his team that even in the preseason lackluster defense will not be tolerated.

First, he had players watch segments of game film Friday highlighting sluggish closeouts, foolish gambles and shoddy defensive rotations that led to uncontested layins.

Then he put the Lakers through a three-hour practice that included an exhausting diagonal passing drill in which weary-legged players running from baseline to baseline had to make 82 layups in two minutes or repeat the exercise.

"It took us about six or seven times through before we finally hit it on the nose at 82," center Chris Mihm said. "It's really hard. You can't miss any layups. Everyone has to be going full speed. You have to put the ball through the hoop the right way so it's not banging around and guys don't fumble the ball."

The emphasis on defense and conditioning was in direct response to Thursday's game in which the Clippers shot 48.1 percent, grabbed 11 offensive rebounds and scored 36 first-quarter points to build a lead they never relinquished. The Lakers surrendered 42 points in the paint, after giving up 40 to the Jazz on Tuesday in their exhibition opener.

Despite making defense their top priority entering training camp after being embarrassed by the Celtics in the NBA Finals, the Lakers have been slow to embrace the concepts Jackson has implemented in practice. Even the two 7-footers, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, were not especially imposing in their nine minutes on the court together.

"Defensively, we're not at a very high level," Gasol said. "We're still trying to figure out different concepts we're trying to introduce, and we're still trying to get on the same page. It's harder to do in the preseason with different lineups and a lot of guys rotating, but we're trying. I think things are going to come together because we know defense is going to be crucial."
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Re: 10/10: Training Camp Reports - Day 11

Postby JSM on Fri Oct 10, 2008 11:18 pm

Mike Bresnahan of the LA Times wrote:By the time practice finally ended and the Lakers trudged off the court Friday, they were fewer in number than when the session began, and those who remained were more than slightly fatigued.

The morning after the Lakers were pummeled by the Clippers, they were hit by an inability to finish off a drill that led to extra running -- a lot of it.

If there's such a thing as the dog days of the exhibition season, the Lakers might be feeling it.

"We had a little challenge for them today, and it took a while for them to meet the challenge," said Coach Phil Jackson, alluding to a drill in which players needed to score a certain number of baskets in two minutes.

The Lakers are 0-2 in exhibitions after a 107-80 loss Thursday to the Clippers, and they're still figuring out a few details. Can Lamar Odom be a primary ballhandler? Is there room in the frontcourt for both Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum?

The regular season begins Oct. 28 against Portland, but the Lakers aren't close to worrying.

Jackson on Odom: "He really needs to be a positive influence on the floor. He's really capable of doing that. It doesn't mean he needs to score. It means he rebounds and gets assists and just fills gaps that we have to have."

Kobe Bryant on Gasol and Bynum playing together: "I don't really see a problem with it. . . . It's a lot of work to do before we get to that point [of success], but it's exciting to think of the potential."

Meanwhile, Derek Fisher sat out practice Friday because of a sore right knee, Jordan Farmar sat out because of a sore right foot and DJ Mbenga missed the second half of practice because of a sore right heel. Sasha Vujacic did not practice after an MRI exam confirmed a sprained left ankle. Their status for Sunday's game against Sacramento was unclear.

Sun finally plays

Rookie Sun Yue didn't look tired after playing nine minutes against the Clippers, his first game while battling mononucleosis.

"I'm a good actor," he said.

His stats were insignificant -- one missed shot and one foul, nothing else -- but Jackson declined to look too far into Sun's future, which could ultimately include a stint in the Development League.

"We're not making any decision on that until we see how he performs at this level," Jackson said.

Players in their first two seasons can be assigned to the Development League up to three times a season. If Sun were assigned to the Lakers' Development League affiliate, the D-Fenders, he would still be part of the Lakers' roster.
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