10/13: Training Camp Reports - Day 14

10/13: Training Camp Reports - Day 14

Postby JSM on Mon Oct 13, 2008 8:28 pm

Ty Nowell of Lakers.com wrote:Sasha Vujacic spent another day away from live action as he nurses the sore ankle that he suffered early in training camp. Vujacic put up some shots today but wasn’t able to get in any of the scrimmages with his teammates.

Luke Walton on the other hand is progressing nicely. “Luke’s playing. He’s playing pretty well,” said Head Coach Phil Jackson. Walton could be available for this weekend’s shootout at STAPLES Center.
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Phil Jackson Practice Notes

Postby JSM on Mon Oct 13, 2008 8:30 pm

Ty Nowell of Lakers.com wrote:* The Lakers practiced for three plus hours today, but Phil didn’t think that it was that hard of a practice. Although none of the three hours were spent in film study, the team spent a substantial amount of time working on defensive sets, which meant a lot of standing around and teaching. Overall, Jackson was happy with the practice, “Sometimes when they go that long they don’t finish as strong as you like, but it was okay.”

* Vladimir Radmanovic is a starter for “right now,” according to Jackson. “We play really well with him out there on the floor. As long as you play well, coaches are addicted to that kind of stuff.” That doesn’t guarantee Vladi the starting spot when the Lakers next lace them up against Regal FC Barcelona on Saturday, but it is a nice vote of confidence for the big man from Serbia.

* Phil liked how aggressive Lamar Odom was when he entered Sunday’s game. What he wasn’t as fond of was Lamar taking a couple of three pointers as soon as he entered the game. This isn’t a slight on Odom’s long-range game as much as it’s just Phil wanting to see only a few designated gunners taking the shots from deep.

* Phil intimated that there would be a roster cut at some point this week. No indication on who or when, but the decision will be based on how practice goes the next couple days and the overall health of the team.

* The Andrew Bynum/Pau Gasol experiment seems to be heading in the right direction. “They’re playing pretty well together,” Jackson said. “It’s still a work in progress.” Phil mentioned that Pau is still learning a lot of the organizational intricacies and automatics of playing the wing spot as opposed to the center position. The advantages of these two figuring out how to play with each other has been discussed ad nausea, but Jackson brought up transition defense as something that could be a disadvantage of the twin tower setup. Both will have to realize when it’s best for them to go to the boards and when it’s best to retreat.


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Practicing to Win

Postby JSM on Mon Oct 13, 2008 8:33 pm

Mike Trudell of Lakers.com wrote:Kobe Bryant hates losing five-on-five drills. He hates missing shots in routine shooting drills. He hates missing free throws that result in running … And if the team does run, he hates losing the sprints.

If you know Kobe, none of this is new information, yet it’s telling that heading into his 13th season, his practice habits remain as fierce as ever. What’s changed is Kobe’s mental approach, as assistant coach Brian Shaw told me after practice. Like the leadership role Bryant’s taken with “his” team. Much was made last season about Kobe’s switch from berating to encouraging teammates, but he seems to be taken even the next step this year. However, just remember, his encouragement doesn’t always come in the form of compliments; sometimes he’ll use trash talk to push players. I’ll get into that more specifically tomorrow in an interview with Shaw.

As for Monday’s practice - which went for over three hours, mind you - the best line came not from Kobe, but from Phil Jackson, who said “The Sun rises” in his dry manner after Sun Yue drained a three. But Bryant’s barbs came more frequently:

Situation A: Lamar Odom finishes a tough layup off glass after Trevor Ariza hammers him, and Odom tells Ariza about it with Bryant encouraging.
Bryant: “You heard him! You heard him! You heard him! Yeah!”

Situation B: Sun Yue tries to block Kobe’s fadeaway, which swishes through the net.
Bryant: “No no no no no no no no no no no no no SUN!!” while running back up the court.

Situation C: Bryant drives to the rack and drops off a pass to Pau Gasol for a wide-open dunk.
Bryant: “There you go Pau! There you go Pau!”
Gasol: “I appreciate that.”

Situation D: Good natured, general trash talking from Kobe to Sun, all over the court, for the whole game. Sun, who’s quite funny, by the way, had a smile on his face the whole time, and did knock down a few threes when Bryant left him wide open to double someone.
Bryant: “You don’t want that Sun.” or “You can’t see me Sun.” etc. Tough matchup for the kid.

Situation E: Bryant found Jordan Farmar neck-and-neck with him way ahead of the pack at the end of the first killer, so Kobe sprinted ahead of the youngster just past mid court, then weaved in between two bigs - cutting Farmar off - and sprinting to the line.
Bryant: (no words, just two hands held up in the air with fists clenched, like Usain Bolt).

Situation F: The Lakers must miss no more than four free throws out of the 17 players or face running extra sprints. After the fourth miss, Coby Karl and Derek Fisher make theirs, leaving Bryant to take the final shot. Front rim, glass, net.
Bryant: (no words - just hold that release)
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Practice Report: Monday

Postby JSM on Mon Oct 13, 2008 8:34 pm

Ramona Shelburne of the LA Daily News Blog wrote:Kobe Bryant delivered another MVP performance Monday, and like many of his athletic feats, it was something only he could pull off.

But this was no crazy high-flying act or off-balance fall-away jumper as the clock ran down.

No, only a guy like Bryant, with MVP cache could get away with this one.

At the end of the Lakers marathon, three-and-a-half hour practice Monday afternoon, and the Lakers going through what seemed like the 50th conditioning drill of the day, Bryant intervened on his teammates behalf.

Lakers coach Phil Jackson had sent the team on what's called an ``indian run,'' where the team runs in a single line around the court and the last person in line has to sprint to the front of the line. When that person gets there, the next person at the end of the line has to sprint to the front of the line until the coach stops the drill.

About four laps in, Bryant took matters into his own hands, sprinting on the inside of the line -- by far a shorter distance than outside the line -- came to an almost complete stop in front of Derek Fisher at the front of the line and bought his teammates an extra five or ten seconds of rest.

``The veterans taught me that, I'm just passing it on,'' Bryant joked afterwards. ``Thats just how you do it. Phil (Jackson) teaches us to run together so you have to have a collective effort and one mind so our one mind was to slow the hell down.''

A couple minutes later, Bryant really put the team on his back, sinking a free throw to end the days' practice.

After playing in Las Vegas Sunday night, one might have assumed Jackson would just run an easy practice Monday. If anything, the opposite was true.

``We're going to work hard. Thats what training camp is about, getting in shape, getting in condition, it's not so much about the games,'' Bryant said. ``I don't think anybody out here is exhausted or anything.''

Also: Luke Walton (ankle) will likely play in Saturday's exhibition against the Spanish club FC Barcelona. Walton said that his surgically repaired ankle feels strong and hasn't bothered him when he makes cuts, but still gets a little sore. He probably could've played in Sunday's game in Las Vegas, but the training staff wanted him to go through a full week of practice first. ... Sasha Vujacic (ankle) was limited to light activity and shooting Monday and wasn't able to practice with the team in full-court activities. ... Jackson said that the next roster cuts will likely take place later this week. The Lakers currently have 18 players in camp.
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Sasha remains out

Postby JSM on Mon Oct 13, 2008 8:36 pm

Art Thompson III of the Orange County Register Blog wrote: The look of boredom was evident, as guard Sasha Vujacic watched the great majority of the Lakers’ marathon practice Monday from the sidelines.

Vujacic has not yet been cleared for full participation due to a sprained left ankle. Three other Lakers, however, were able to work through minor aches.

Derek Fisher (sore right knee), D.J. Mbenga (bruised right heel) and Jordan Farmar (bruised right foot) lasted through the duration of the practice that Coach Phil Jackson said began later than scheduled but still ran over 3 1/2 hours.
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Clowning the Comet

Postby JSM on Mon Oct 13, 2008 8:42 pm

Art Thompson III of the Orange County Register Blog wrote:One of the more lighthearted moments in the Lakers’ marathon-long practice Monday came when Kobe Bryant sailed down court for a lay-up and rookie Brandon Heath tried valiantly to keep stride.

Heath made enough body contact on Bryant to cause the lay-up to be missed, as Bryant yelled, “And one,” signifying that he was fouled.

Bryant then added a stinging salvo, with a shout out to the 6-foot-3 Heath’s high school alma mater whose sports-teams nickname is Comets - “You’re too small anyway, Westchester.”
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Re: 10/13: Training Camp Reports - Day 14

Postby JSM on Mon Oct 13, 2008 10:42 pm

Broderick Turner of the LA Times wrote:It's as if Lakers Coach Phil Jackson has become this mad scientist, relishing entering his laboratory to experiment with his test subjects.

Subject No. 1 is Lamar Odom, who started the Lakers' first two exhibition games but came off the bench in Sunday night's win over the Sacramento Kings.

Subject No. 2 is Andrew Bynum, who came off the bench in the first two games but started against the Kings.

His other subjects are Trevor Ariza and Vladimir Radmanovic. Ariza started the first two games but was a reserve Sunday. Radmanovic came off the bench the first two games but started against the Kings.

"I'm alternating a few guys out there together, see how they play," Jackson said.

Only Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher and Pau Gasol have started all three games.

"Phil is still playing with the lineup," Bryant said. "It's tough to really know what that lineup is going to look like, or what we want to be while he still tinkers with it."

Odom started the first two games at power forward, in which he played a hybrid role, also initiating the offense at point guard. He has started throughout his nine-year NBA career.

It would that seem that Odom's preference is to start, especially considering that this is the final year of his contract.

"That doesn't matter," Odom said Monday. "I'm not the coach. It don't matter. I'm comfortable in my own skin." This, in contrast with his public questioning of Jackson earlier this month. Jackson complimented Odom's play against the Kings, with one exception.

"Did he take a three-point shot when he first got in the game?" Jackson said. "I didn't like that."

Odom is taking it all in stride. He freely talks to the media, but he hasn't had a conversation with Jackson about his role.

"For what?" Odom said. "Everybody in this league knows I can play. I can play anywhere. You need a '4' [power forward], you need a '3' [small forward], I can play there. I can guard centers. I can play in this league."

Jackson said Radmanovic is the starter "right now" at small forward.

As for how long that will last, Jackson smiled at the question.

"I don't know," he said. "We played really well with him out there on the floor, so as long as you play well, coaches are addicted to that kind of stuff."

So Jackson was asked whether Radmanovic would remain in the starting lineup for the team's next game Saturday.

"Weekend is a long ways away," he said. "We just go one day at a time, see how that works."
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