The general principal behind Phil Jackson’s annual Turkey Trot, a Thanksgiving Day scrimmage between guards and big men, is that each appreciate the differing skills one another possess while having a bit of fun along the way.
Big men — whom Jackson has referred to as “Goons” — aren’t supposed to be able to handle the ball and shoot as well as their small counterparts, while the guards theoretically lack the bigs’ ability to rebound, score in the paint, block shots and the like.
But with Andrew Bynum and Theo Ratliff out injured and Pau Gasol resting, the Laker “Bigs” were really more like the Laker “Wings.” Here was your roster:
BIGS: Derrick Caracter (6-9), Lamar Odom (6-10), Ron Artest (6-7), Devin Ebanks (6-9), Luke Walton (6-8)
SMALLS: Derek Fisher (6-1), Steve Blake (6-3), Shannon Brown (6-4), Sasha Vujacic (6-7) and Matt Barnes (6-7)
With team training staffers Chip Schaefer and Marco Nunez reffing, it was the bigs taking home a four-point victory in a game both Ebanks and Caracter said was very competitive throughout.
The two rookies were quick to name the other as the game’s “MVP,” while both players also explained that some East Coast roots had a lot to do with the victory. With three players from Queens (Odom, Artest and Ebanks) and one from New Jersey (Caracter), ball handling wasn’t as much of an issue as it may have otherwise been for a group of guys 6-7 and above.
We’ll have to wait and see which group performs better against Utah on Friday night, however, to see if anything out of the Turkey Trot carries into the games that actually count.