10/24: Training Camp Reports - Day 25

10/24: Training Camp Reports - Day 25

Postby JSM on Sat Oct 25, 2008 12:33 pm

Ramona Shelburne of the LA Daily News wrote:Right now, second-year guard Coby Karl is the bubble boy around Lakers camp. Will he or won't he make the team this year? It's incredible pressure to be under, but having been around this kind of stuff his whole life --his dad is George Karl, coach of the Denver Nuggets -- Coby has some idea of the decisions and factors involved.

``I think it's hard actually because I know the processes the coaches go through,'' he said. ``I know that sometimes even if they do like a player, they have to get rid of him. ... My dad went through that a couple years ago in Denver with a couple players. I understand that. It's tough to understand those things, but I love these guys and the opportunity I've been given here in Los Angeles and I hope I continue to have that opportunity.''

Karl's contract doesn't become fully guaranteed until January 10. He's only partially guaranteed up to $100,000, which, if he makes the team, he'd hit rather quickly. In some ways, this is a good thing for Karl because it gives the club the flexibility to keep him around without the obligation of paying him an entire year right now. In other words, it gives them more time to decide if they want to keep him around. Let's say a couple guards get hurt this season, it would be beneficial for him still to be on the team. Then, on January 10, the team decides whether it still needs him for the stretch run.

``Yeah, it gives the organization some flexibility, and it gives me more of an opportunity to be around and make good impression on them,'' Karl said.

Karl said that he's been working on his strength, defense and maximizing his scoring opportunities. But that the biggest thing he needs to do, right now, is just hit (outside) shots.

``I think currently it's making shots,'' he said. ``I haven't been able to do that this year yet, but I think my track record has shown that I can hit shots.''
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Powell takes precaution

Postby JSM on Sat Oct 25, 2008 12:35 pm

Art Thompson III of the Orange County Register Blog wrote:Lakers backup forward Josh Powell was held out of Friday’s final exhibition game against the Oklahoma City Thunder because of a strained left hamstring.

However, Powell said before the game that the condition of his leg has improved and in his words Powell said, “I’ll be ready (Tuesday),” when the Lakers open the regular season against the Portland Trail Blazers.
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Odom cool with role

Postby JSM on Sat Oct 25, 2008 12:38 pm

Art Thompson III of the Orange County Register Blog wrote:In its annual NBA preview, Sports Illustrated touted Lakers forward Lamar Odom as its predicted choice for the sixth man of the year award.

“If I remain a sixth man for the whole year, why not,” Odom said, when asked before Friday’s final exhibition game, if that was an achievable feat. “The perfect thing, the beautiful thing about my game is that I can fill any role.”

The prospect of coming off the bench was a topic that I reported the Lakers’ coaching staff broached with Odom months before the start of training camp. But once Lakers coach Phil Jackson gave it more than just a passing thought, Odom initially balked, stating that Jackson must have bumped his head.

Now, however, Odom apparently is embracing it.

Not too many players have the humility to do that,” Odom said. “To start their whole career and then come off the bench, without a problem. I’m really comfortable. Whatever the team needs me to, that’s what I’ll do.”

Odom has been a fulltime starter throughout his previous nine NBA seasons. He was a starter in his lone season in college at Rhode Island and a starter throughout his high school career in New York City.

In fact, Odom said the last time he recalled not being a starter was when he was 10 years old, playing on an AAU travel team. Of course, he was playing in a 17-and-under tournament at the time.

“It’s been done before, so it’s no big deal to me,” Odom said. “To be successful, to play for championships, that doesn’t come around often. So, I’ll do whatever it takes. I’m a humble dude. I’ll put my ego aside.”

Odom is aware that critics have charged that he underachieves and that he is much too content on being a facilitator rather than being a dominating force in situations in which he can.

“I’ve been ripped, a lot,” he said. “I’ve taken a lot of shots…even for delivering. Even when I do deliver, to a lot of people, it’s not enough. Or they find a way to criticize me delivering.”

But what the 6-foot-10 Odom can bring to the second unit conceivably could make the Lakers more formidable than they were in the second half of the 2007-2008 season.

“Whatever my game brings,” Odom said. “Another rebounder, someone willing to pass the ball and play team basketball. Get out on the break, make things happen for others.”
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Vujacic eager to get preseason started

Postby JSM on Sat Oct 25, 2008 12:40 pm

Janis Carr of the Orange County Register Blog wrote:Sasha Vujacic realizes his timing might be off and so might his shot. He is apt to be slow when he first enters Friday’s final preseason game against the Oklahoma City Thunder and his focus not as sharp.

But it’s OK. It’s understandable considering the Lakers guard has not played in any of the other preseason games because of an ankle injury. This will be his season debut.

“I’m excited, it’s been a long time,” Vujacic said.

With opening night set for next Tuesday, some might think Vujacic will need more than a handful of minutes to get ready for the rigors of the regular season. Not Vujacic.

“I just need one game,” he said. “I need at least one game in my legs to see what they can do.”

“So do you expect to see 40 minutes,” a reporter asked jokingly.

“Forty-eight,” he said laughingly. “Forty-eight because they (coaches) want to see me pass (out).”
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Kobe out to prove skeptics (and Jackson) wrong

Postby JSM on Sat Oct 25, 2008 12:41 pm

Janis Carr of the Orange County Register Blog wrote:Kobe Bryant, who missed Thursday’s game because of a hyper-extended knee, told Phil Jackson he wanted to play the preseason finale.

His rationale was that his knee felt fine and even doctors didn’t see any problems with his playing.

Skeptics, however, would say why play Kobe at all?

“Those are skeptics,” Phil Jackson said. “That’s what they do. They skepticize. When a guy has played for as long as he’s played for, he understands his body, he knows what its about, if he wants to try it out, you let him do it.”

Jackson, though, wasn’t about to risk further injury and planned to play the star guard only for a stretch early on. Actually, the coach said he had more concern about Bryant’s shooting touch because of the injury to the pinkie on his right hand.

What is there to worry about, though? Bryant is shooting 52 percent from the field in six preseason games. Maybe Jackson is just skepticizing.
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