Injury Update: Phil Jackson said before tonight’s game against the Jazz that Luke Walton is still listed as day to day. According to the coach, Kwame Brown is still not ready to start for the team and will likely see limited minutes when he does return until he proves he is ready to handle a larger role.
Jackson praised Trevor Ariza’s addition to the team, highlighted by his 14-point effort against the Suns on Christmas Day. Jackson said that Trevor’s value in starting at small forward lies in his ability to ignite the team’s running game and his ability to penetrate. “His mobility is exceptional,” said Jackson. When asked to address Ariza’s development within the triangle, Jackson said he is now comfortable enough to operate within the system, although he is still learning its nuances.
Following the intense media hype that has ensued following Andrew Bynum’s breakout performance against the Suns, Jackson said that Bynum needs to continue to use his assets–his length and size–to his advantage. Jackson singled out Bynum’s rebounds and blocks as two areas of his game that he needs to focus on. The Lakers coach also reminded reporters that despite Andrew’s rapid development, he struggled against Utah’s interior game in the Lakers’ loss to the Jazz at the end of November.
Jackson also commented on the reaction that Derek Fisher received from the Energy Solutions Arena crowd in his return to Salt Lake City, revealing that he was not pleased with the way Jazz fans treated Derek considering he left Utah to secure better medical help for his daughter.