Monthly Archive for June, 2011

Andrew Goudelock: Introductory Podcast

The morning after being selected by the Lakers with the No. 46 overall pick, Andrew Goudelock joined us on the phone for a podcast all about, well, him.

Here’s your introduction to Goudelock (pronounced: GOWD-LOCK), a confident guard out of the College of Charleston who describes how he grew up with the game in Atlanta, the influence of his parents, his shift from a stubborn kid into a man, the moment he heard his name called at the draft and his reaction, drilling deep triples, how he might fit in with the Lakers, his favorite musical artists and more.

To listen, click below:

No. 41 pick Darius Morris: Q & A

Growing up playing in the parks of Hawthorne, Inglewood, Compton and Long Beach, Darius Morris never imagined that one day he’d hear his name called at the NBA Draft with the words “Los Angeles Lakers select” in front of them.

Morris joined us on Friday afternoon while still in New York with his family to detail his background, share his emotions on draft night and what it could be like guarding Kobe Bryant on the first day of training camp:

Q: On when he had his first thought of making the NBA one day:
Morris: Around the time I was 9 or 10 years old I started playing organized basketball with a team in Los Angeles called ABA hoops, and we went to nationals and played against the best team at the time. Team Maryland ended up winning, but we still performed, we were right there. My dad looked at me in the eye one day and told me, you can make it. He’s just always supported me whatever I wanted to do.

Q: On where he grew up in Los Angeles:
Morris: I grew up in Hawthorne, and then Redondo Beach, and then Carson. Then as a freshman in high school I went to Windward. But in those years my dad would drive me to all the inner city places to play: Inglewood, Long Beach, Compton, so I could go against the better competition. My older brother is eight years older than me, and I’d go to the park with him while I was growing up. He’d know where to get a good game. By the time I was in middle school I started playing in gyms, while also playing AAU ball, so there was always good competition. Often when my dad drove me it was to league games, and my brother would take me to the park. A few courts we’d go to were St. Andrews in L.A., and Derby Park in Inglewood. Those are places where you know you have to perform.

Q: On the impact of his parents: My mom definitely emphasized education, that’s why we went to the neighborhoods that we did, like Redondo Beach, and my high school. My mom wanted me to go to a private school. We were blessed with an 80 or 90 percent scholarship but my parents both worked very, very hard. My dad is a supervisor at the post office in Marina del Rey, and my mom is a manager at public housing in Inglewood.

Q: On his experience at Windward, a private school just off where the 405 meets the 10 freeway, leading to his going to the University of Michigan:
Morris: I was used to going to public school, so it was an adjustment to go to Windward. When I first went there, everyone was saying I wasn’t going to be recruited because it was a small private school. But by the end of the senior year I became the best point guard in Cali, and went on to win a state championship. Then I got recruited to Michigan, and I felt like I could be part of something special there.

Q: On being drafted by the Lakers:
Morris: It was emotional … it was an honor. My dad, mom and brother, and agent were all there. It was crazy going to the Lakers. We used to watch them play all the time. After MJ left the Bulls I didn’t have a favorite team, but the Lakers were in my back yard and I was able to watch them a lot. I think Kobe’s the greatest player in the world.

Q: On potentially defending Kobe on the first day of training camp:
Morris: That’s going to be crazy. I was thinking about guarding (Derek) Fisher and (Steve) Blake, hadn’t really thought about guarding Kobe, but I’m not intimidated, I’m excited. I believe I can play with anybody, and I give anybody their props.

Q: On if the Lakers needing some guards to come in and earn minutes makes the situation more appealing than a team already full of young guards:
Morris: Yeah, definitely. People might think I’m a 41st pick, a second rounder, so I won’t be playing, but I think this is the best situation for me to both develop as a player and have an opportunity to contribute.

Q: On what he’s like on a personal level:
Morris: I’m funny and smart once you get to know me. I mostly just like to hang out with the family.

On his top five artists to listen to:
1) Big Shine, 2) Fabolous, 3) Joe Budden, 4) Jag (new from artist from L.A.) 5) Trey Songz

Lakers 2011 Draft Summary

With four second round selections in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Lakers chose Darius Morris (No. 41, Michigan), Andrew Goudelock (No. 46, College of Charleston), Chukwudiebere Maduabum (No. 56, Nigeria) and Ater Majok (No. 58, Sudan).

“We’re pleased with all four players, but we’re very pleased at 41 and 46, we think we’ve addressed a need on this team going forward,” said Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak. “You know what you get when you draft in the mid 40′s and the 50′s, which is a player that you hope makes your team. We thought those two players would be drafted much higher.”

After the draft, the Lakers ended up moving Maduabum – whose name Kupchak correctly pronounced – to Denver in exchange for a future second round pick. Kupchak added that Majok, a 6-10 power forward who most recently played professionally in Australia, will likely continue to play overseas.

Morris, a 6-5 guard originally from Los Angeles, was an All-Big 10 3rd Team selection as a sophomore after a season averaging 15.0 points, 6.7 assists & 4.0 rebounds. He led the Big 10 and ranked fifth in the entire country in assists, setting a school record for dimes in a season (235).
For more on Morris, CLICK HERE.

Goudelock, a 6-3 guard, stands as one of the most productive Division 1 scorers in history, ranking 39th all-time with his 2,571 points. He was named the Southern Conference Player of the Year as a senior after averaging 23.7 points and 4.2 assists.
For more on Goudelock, CLICK HERE.

Well before the draft began, GM Mitch Kupchak and his staff knew that it was extremely unlikely that all four second round picks would actually be on the Lakers’ roster next season, not only due to a lack of roster space, but also because it’s simply difficult to find that kind of depth of talent in Round 2.

The strategy going in was to select at least one and preferably two guards with the two picks in the 40′s, and to use the picks in the 50′s to take international players, or players that would be willing to play (and develop) abroad.

Clearly, the Lakers stuck to their plan, and are happy to have potentially added to their back court for the 2011-12 campaign.

“We’re hoping that they both can make the team, and at the least, one player can make the team,” said Kupchak. “They’re both talented enough to make the team. They’re very different. Darius is really gifted with the ball in his hands, he does look to make a play and will look to pass first. He’s a younger player, so perhaps there’s more development to come.

“Goudelock is more of a combo guard, and will look to move the ball but will also take a shot. And he’s got great range, he’s a really good shooter. We consider them both ball-handling guards, but they are different in how they play the game.”

However, neither player is guaranteed to make the team — second round picks do not automatically receive guaranteed contracts as first rounders do — out of training camp, and even if members of the final roster could be stuck on the end of the bench just as talented 2010 second round picks Derrick Caracter (who did play some significant minutes early in the season) and Devin Ebanks were. The team would, of course, like to see one of their new players emerge and earn playing time.

That could depend, to an extent, on whether or not Shannon Brown picks up the option on his contract for the 2011-12 season, which L.A. won’t know for sure until June 30.

Lakers Select Darius Morris at No. 41

Growing up in Los Angeles, Windward High grad Darius Morris never could have imagined that he’d one day play for his hometown team.

But with the 41st pick in the 2011 Draft, the sophomore out of Michigan heard his name called by NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver, officially making him property of the Lakers.

“Never in a million years did I think I’d get drafted by the Lakers.” he said. “It was always my goal to play in the NBA, but I never thought I’d be playing for the Lakers in my home town. It’s really great, a dream come true.”

Morris, a 6-5 guard, was an All-Big 10 3rd Team selection as a sophomore after a season averaging 15.0 points, 6.7 assists & 4.0 rebounds. Morris led the Big 10 and ranked fifth in the entire country in assists, setting a school record for dimes in a season (235).

Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak said he was surprised Morris was still there at 41, as he’d been rumored as a possible late first round pick, and jumped at the opportunity to select him. Kupchak and his staff went into the draft looking to select back court players particularly since the team isn’t certain if Shannon Brown will pick up his option for 2011-12, and liked what both No. 46 pick Andrew Goudelock and Morris could bring to the table.

“Darius is very (talented) with the ball in his hands,” said Kupchak. “He’s a younger player, so perhaps there’s more development to come.”

Morris described himself as a playmaker who can read what the defense gives him, make the players around him better and use his size to exploit mismatches in multiple ways.

“I put out a different look being able to play like a small guard but have the size of a big guard,” he said. “On defense I can guard the one or the two, depending on the matchups, and also on the offensive end being able to take advantage of smaller guards and being quicker than bigger guards whether it be scoring or passing.”

Morris said he’d most like to improve his three-point shooting heading into training camp, as he shot only 22.3 percent in his two years at Michigan from long range.

“It’s something I’m really going to attack hard in my workouts in the offseason so that I’m covering all facets of the game,” he explained.

Kupchak said that while it’s generally difficult for second round picks, both Morris and Goudelock can make the team out of training camp, saying that both possess the talent to do so. In the meantime, Morris is feeling pretty good.

“I’m very excited,” Morris said. “It’s truly a blessing for them to pick me.”

Lakers Select Andrew Goudelock at No. 46

With the 46th pick in the second round of the 2011 NBA Draft, the Lakers selected 6-3 guard Andrew Goudelock from the College of Charleston.

Goudelock finished his collegiate career as one of the most productive scorers in Division 1 history, ranking 39th all-time with his 2,571 points. The four-year player was named the Southern Conference Player of the Year as a senior after averaging 23.7 points, 4.2 assists and shooting 82.1 percent from the line.

“His confidence, being a four-year player, he’ll probably have more confidence than a player who is 19 or 20 (years old),” said Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak. “He’s a seasoned player who played for a very good coach*. We know him very well.”
*College of Charleston’s Bobby Cremins, who was formerly the winningest coach in Georgia Tech history.

Goudelock, who improved his scoring average by roughly three points a year from 13.2 as a freshman to 23.7 as a senior, said he started to realize he could play in the NBA heading into his final season. He was elated to be selected by L.A.

“I actually started crying, it was very emotional for me,” Goudelock said. “Going to L.A. is a great thing. I’ve always looked up to guys like Kobe Bryant (and) Derek Fisher. I was just really excited. Tonight I’m going to enjoy it, and it’s back to work for me.”

Goudelock participated in a pre-draft workout at the Lakers’ practice facility and impressed the team’s brass enough that they were pleased when he was still on the board at No. 46. Kupchak was looking for a player who could knock down perimeter shots and potentially earn some backup guard minutes, and Goudelock – whose strong points are different from those of fellow guard and No. 41 pick Darius Morris – fit the bill. Known best for his scoring and shooting, Goudelock made 41.2 percent of his three-point attempts in college with a high of 44.0 percent as a sophomore, and showed NBA-type range noted by Kupchak.

“Unless I get some type of disease where I forget how to shoot, I’ll be able to shoot until the day I die,” he said.

The Stone Mountain, Georgia native emphasized that his game is well-rounded, having scored the ball in a variety of ways and also led his Charleston in assists for three straight years. Kupchak said the Lakers liked that Goudelock had the ability to both pass and shoot the ball with skill.

“I’m very unselfish,” he explained. “Although I scored a lot of points at the College of Charleston, I was never selfish. Whenever there was an open man, I passed the ball. I’m a great teammate.”

Handling the basketball is another area in which Goudelock says he has prowess.

“I have a little junk in my game, so I like to do a lot of different types of things, mix it up a little bit,” he detailed. “Dribbling, coming off screens, spin off a guy, try a crossover … A lot of people know I can shoot, so I try to put it on the floor a lot, try to create a lot of things for myself and it usually works out pretty well for me. I’m not bashful about my game.”

When asked what he needs to work on most, Goudelock said he’d like to improve defensively.

“I think the farther I come defensively the farther I come as a basketball player because my offense is there,” he said. “I’m not going to back down from nobody. I’m going to get better every day. If it means I’m going to have to guard somebody 6-5 or 6-6, I’m going to have to do that.”

In fact, Goudelock could find himself guarding someone who knows how to score, a bit, in practice that happens to be 6-6. His name is Kobe. Yet Goudelock could fit right in…

“I’m not afraid of anybody,” he stated. “I don’t care who it is, whenever I step on that floor, I’m going to give it 150 percent and try to kill it.”

At the same time, Goudelock only wants to fit in to a team he knows is full of some of the world’s best players.

“I’m not going to try and come in and try to do anything that I can’t do,” he concluded. “I’m going to come in and play my game, whatever they need me to do, that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to be a team player first. First things first is winning.

“I know they want me to play my game … as long as you’re working hard, you don’t have much to worry about.”

Metta World Peace

What, exactly, does the title of this post mean, you wonder?

Well … that’s going to be Ron Artest’s name.

A former employee of Artest’s informed the Lakers on Thursday evening, just before the 2011 NBA Draft, that the veteran filed paperwork in Los Angeles to change his name to “Metta World Peace.”

Artest’s new first name, “Metta,” is Buddhist for “loving kindness,” pretty consistent with “World Peace.”

We’ll try and figure out whether or not the NBA will allow Artest to change his name on his jersey, but we do know that the Lakers do not have any say in the matter.

For, we’ve yet to decide whether or not to refer to Artest by just “Metta,” “Metta World Peace,” “Peace” or “MWP.” Feel free to offer your preferences on Twitter.

Follow Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) on Twitter.

Brown’s Three Rules: Offense

On Tuesday, we took a look at Lakers coach Mike Brown’s three primary defensive principles: shrink the floor; don’t give up middle drives; and get multiple efforts to finish with a shot contest.

Here’s what Brown lives by on the other side of the floor:

1) Attack the clock.
Brown: “Let’s get that ball from the back court to the front court within the first three and four seconds. Why? We don’t want to get to our second our third option and see that the shot clock is winding down to two seconds or something like that. We want to get the ball up the floor, and if we can run for a layup, you’ll never see me stop that. My last two years in Cleveland, we were a top 10 and top 5 offensive team in the NBA. We averaged over 100 points a game both those years.”

2) Ball reversal with paint touches.
Brown: “We want to drive and kick, we want to go inside out. We want to put that pressure on our opponent’s defense of letting them know that the ball is going to be down there, because we have guys that can drive it and guys that can post up.”

3) Spacing.
Brown: “You have to have the right spacing in order for guys to be able to operate and go to work.”

Of course, it’s not quite this simple for Brown. These principles are what he “lives and dies by,” he said, but there are other aspects to the game that he and his coaching staff — such as certain elements of the triangle offense — will incorporate into the team’s larger plan.

We’ll be bugging Brown throughout the summer on for some of those details.

Brown’s Three Rules: Defense

Soon enough, we’re going to hear the voice of Mike Brown more than that of anyone else around the Lakers’ organization. After practices. After shootarounds. Before and after games. At his house (OK, made the last one up, but you get the point).

Thus far, we’ve had only a (35-minute) introductory press conference to hear what Brown has in mind for his new team, but that didn’t stop him from outlining his core principles about offensive and defensive basketball at both ends of the floor. In fact, Brown’s specific plans for L.A.’s personnel at both ends of the court were a major factor in his being hired.

Let’s start on defense, where Brown likes to bread his butter (check back on Wednesday for Brown’s three offensive principle).

1) Shrink the floor.
Brown: “We don’t want anything easy to happen in that paint.”

2) Don’t give up middle drives.
Brown: “If the ball gets to the middle of the floor, there are too many outlets. You can go left, you can go right, you can finish at the rim.”

3) Get multiple efforts to finish with a shot contest.
This one’s pretty self-explanatory, but in short, giving up on a play is never an option on defense, from the start of an offensive possession through an opponent’s shot attempt.

In short: “Those three things, my players will hear often, and you guys will hear me say it often,” he concluded. “As long as the group is willing, which it sounds like it is, we’ll get it done.”

Lakers No Longer the Champs

When the Lakers lost in Round 2 of the 2011 playoffs to Dallas in early May, L.A.’s receptionist at the team’s business office stopped answering phone calls with the “Back-to-back champion Lakers” line she’d gotten used to since the Purple and Gold defeated Boston last June.

But since the Mavericks sealed up their first ever NBA championship on Sunday evening in Miami, the Lakers are officially no longer champs for the first time since June 14, 2009 in Orlando, when they defeated the Magic in five games.

Instead, the Lakers are just one of 29 teams who didn’t win, one of 29 who had to watch Mark Cuban and Co. raise the trophy when handed off by Commissioner David Stern. For many, that’s part of the process of creating a bit more motivation for the following season. Imagine Kobe Bryant sitting at home in his Orange County home, watching Dirk Nowitzki cap a fantastic individual postseason by raising the Larry O’Brien trophy, then the Bill Russell Finals MVP trophy that’s been Bryant’s for two straight seasons.

In fact, during the clinching Game 6 between Dallas and Miami, Twitter follower @LArunr asked, “@LakersReporter, who do u [sic] reckon Kobe’s pulling for: #Heat or #Mavs?

My (somewhat facetious) response: “Neither, just plotting revenge.”

No, we don’t know if Kobe was literally sitting at home with his teeth grating, looking like Khal Drogo in HBO’s “Game of Thrones” after someone dared disrespect his queen … but it’s not hard to imagine.

Follow Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) on Twitter.

Heat On 2010 LAL Track?

The 2010 Finals went like this: the Lakers win Games 1, 3, 6 and 7. Boston wins Games 2, 4 and 5.

Thus far in what’s been a fantastic 2011 Finals, the Miami Heat are on the Laker track, winning 1 and 3, losing 2, 4 and 5, and heading back to Miami for Games 6 and 7.

As Kobe Bryant — having been swept a few weeks ago by the Mavs — is forced to watch from his Orange County home (angrily plotting his revenge, naturally), will the Heat be able to do what L.A. did?

Game 6 is Sunday.