At least 27 media members swarmed around Kobe Bryant, Phil Jackson, Pau Gasol and four other Lakers in the final practice before Tuesday’s much-anticipated season opener.
Amidst the media search for starting lineup news, some very interesting questions – and answers – appeared. For example, Phil Jackson was asked if his team’s depth is its best quality. Instead of taking the bait and simply praising his second unit as he often (deservedly) does, Jackson said that the best thing about the Lakers is the “supreme talent” of Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. Jackson explained that having superstars who have the ability to simply do things better than their opponents is what truly transcends in basketball. Sure, it’s great to have depth of talent, but it’s not doing much good without super talent. Makes you think about Jordan, Pippen, Shaq and Kobe from Jackson’s title runs. He gets it.
Among Bryant’s most interesting comments was his description of why Jackson spent extra time on defense this preseason: It’s a young team. Bryant explained that on L.A.’s three-peat squad, there were a number of vets who already understood team defensive concepts (Shaq, Rick Fox, Brian Shaw, Robert Horry, etc.). Ditto for his Bulls teams (Jordan, Pippen, Rodman and so on). But this Lakers team is young, and needs more prodding in that area, because truly picking up defensive rotations takes years. Bryant dismissed that defense was simply about effort, saying that effort can be fruitless if not given to a solid team defensive concept.
From: Mike Subject: Ten things happening when you turned 21
1) Your team, the L.A. Lakers, was picked before the season by a majority of NBA general managers to win the title in June. Many were influenced in large part by your return to the team after last January’s knee injury.
2) The Philadelphia Phillies destroyed Tampa like Daniel vs. Cobra Kai in game four the night before your b-day to take a commanding 3-1 lead. Beast Cole Hamels is set to pitch game five at home. The last time a Philly team won a championship was in 1983 when Dr. J’s 76ers beat your Lakers.
3) Illinois Senator Barak Obama could become the nation’s first African American president just eight days after your birthday, should all recent polling prove accurate on November 4, 2008. This will be the first election in which you can vote for your candidate of choice.
4) One of Wall Street’s worst months in history is about to come to a close, but now’s a good time to buy some real estate, ‘Drew!
5) Pop star Christina Aguilera is debuting her new music video “Keeps Gettin’ Better” on the internet, not MTV. Music videos actually existed when you were born.
6) Kim Kardashian celebrated her 28th birthday just six days before your 21st, though she was mostly at the hospital caring for her boo Reggie Bush, who was recovering from minor surgery on his knee.
The Lakers waived Coby Karl on Monday to trim the current roster down to 14 players.
An undrafted free agent signed by the Lakers last season, Karl appeared in 17 games to average 1.8 points and 0.8 boards in 4.2 minutes.
Karl was terrific, however, in 17 games with the L.A. D-Fenders of the D-league, as he averaged 17.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.1 steals in 37.6 minutes while posting a .411 3-point field goal percentage. In the playoffs, Karl managed 13.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 2.0 steals in 37.0 minutes.
The 6-5 guard from Boise State averaged 14.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.0 assists as a senior and was named First Team All-WAC. He scored 1,698 career points to rank third on Boise State’s all-time scoring charts, and is the current record holder for games played (127) and threes made (266).
Kobe Bryant and the Lakers are saying that they need to improve their defense to win it all, and there’s nothing wrong with saying that. But it was their offense that was more of an issue in the Finals, and Andrew Bynum’s return should help the D anyway. They were stronger defensively before he got hurt (105.3 points allowed per 100 possessions) than they were after (108.6).
This Week: 2 | Last Year: 2 | Diff: 0
It’s a good thing L.A. is so stacked, because it has some history to overcome along with all that tough comp out West. The losing team in the Finals, remember, hasn’t won the next season’s title since 1989.
Average Ranking: This Week: 2 | Last Year: 2 | Diff: 0
Today’s question is: What year was the Minneapolis Lakers’ first season? (Answer Here)
If you think you know the answer, login to Lakers Courtside Connection and see if right. Then come back tomorrow to test your knowledge on Lakers history, while making the running towards really cool prizes.
The regular season opener is right around the corner which means it’s officially time to get the Lakers back on your desktop. Click here to download the Lakers Schedule Wallpaper and make sure you never miss a game.
Published by Ty Nowell on October 26, 2008 11:27 am in Uncategorized.
The Lakers will have their first day off of the season Sunday. The team has practiced or played everyday since training camp opened September 30th so a day off before Tuesday’s opener is deserved.
Here’s some reading to tide you over in lieu of practice news.
We chatted again briefly after the Lakers dominated OKC, and Haskins told me that if L.A. worked hard defensively, winning a championship would be “a wrap,” another way of saying “it’s over.” That’s good to hear, right?