Monthly Archive for June, 2013

Lakers Select Ryan Kelly in 2013 Draft

Related Links
Ryan Kelly Injury Update
VIDEO: Kupchak on Kelly

ts_130627ryankelly_duke500With the 48th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, the Lakers selected 6-11 Duke forward Ryan Kelly, who averaged 12.9 points and 5.3 rebounds in 28.9 minutes per game while shooting 42.2 percent from the field as a senior.

“He was the player we had rated the highest still on the board,” said Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak. “It’s unusual to get a guy that’s 6-11, 6-11 1/2 that has the skill that he has, so it’s a unique opportunity, a big player that has an NBA frame that can shoot the ball not only mid-range, but he can make some shots. I think he can become a consistent three-point shooter in the NBA as well.”

L.A. may have found the rare second round pick that can fit into a specific role right away, as Kelly’s ability as a stretch four in the form of New Orleans’ Ryan Anderson is increasingly coveted around the NBA.

“There’s an opportunity there, a guy that can shoot the basketball with the size and length that I have,” said Kelly. “I’m going to have to earn everything that I get, but I think my ability to shoot the basketball and my ball friendliness for a guy my size – I can pass a little bit, dribble the ball a little bit – are the things that are going to allow me to play on a team the Lakers.”

A foot injury that limited Kelly to 23 games in his fourth year under Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski resulted in offseason surgery; he’s 11 weeks into a rehabilitation program that was originally scheduled to last 12 weeks. Kupchak was asked if the injury were a concern.

“No,” he replied. “(Kelly) was cleared to play last week, but I don’t think he’s going to play for another week or two.”

“(I) just this week I got x-rays that showed full healing in my foot,” added Kelly. “I feel great, and I’m ready to get back into it … Every team that I talked to felt like my injury was something that wasn’t going to be (lasting), that once I got healthy I was going to be healthy for a long time.”

All in all, Kelly couldn’t have been more happy to hear his name called as the newest member of the Lakers.

“I feel unbelievably blessed,” he offered. “I’ve been handed a great opportunity, and I look forward to taking advantage of it. It’s hard to put into words how excited I am.”

World Peace Elects to Stay

Los Angeles Lakers v San Antonio Spurs - Game OneWith one more year left on his deal with the Lakers, Metta World Peace decided not to opt out, and thus remains on the Los Angeles roster.

The deadline for players to opt out of contracts was midnight of June 25.

World Peace was the only member of last season’s roster with such an option on his deal, though there are several players set to become free agents on July 1, most notably Dwight Howard.

The NBA Draft will take place on Thursday, June 27, with the Lakers currently holding the No. 48 overall pick in the second round.

Kobe Bryant Radio Transcript

blog_130619_kobe_bryant_radio_transcriptKobe Bryant joined Lakers.com’s Mike Trudell and John Ireland on ESPNLA710 radio to discuss various topics, including his progress after surgery, Dwight Howard’s impending free agency decision, as well as the NBA Finals. Below is a transcription of the interview:

KOBE BRYANT
Q: On if he has started the rehabilitation process for his injury:
Bryant: I’ve been rehabbing now for about a month, almost about a month-and-a-half. The injury and the surgery happened about two months ago, but I’ve been at it for about a month-and-a-half.

Q: On what he’s allowed to do right now at this stage in the rehab process:
Bryant: At the beginning stages, it was just really boring stuff. Just trying to get out the inflammation, trying to break up the scar tissue, make sure your toes are working – that sort of stuff. Now I’m starting to do a little bit more things – walking on the Alter G (treadmill), doing a little bit of the elliptical, doing some strength work, like calf raises and things like that.

Q: On how he’s looking at the big picture with a injury as serious as his:
Bryant: I think it’s going to be fine, I think it’s going to be more than fine. I’m very pleased with where I’m at. I can get up in the morning, get up and walk to the bathroom like nothing was wrong. There was a point where you’d get up and it’s really stiff cause I’d been immobile all night and it was tough to walk a little bit. It feels better than it did before I got hurt.

Q: On if he watched Game 6 of the Heat-Spurs and what stands out as his fondest NBA Finals moment:
Bryant: I caught the really good part (of Game 6); I watched the last three minutes of the game and overtime. It was an exciting basketball game. For me, the most fun was Game 7 against Boston (in 2010). You’re looking a lion in the face in the fourth quarter of Game 7. That’s gut check time. That’s probably the best feeling.

Q: On if he’s rooting for one particular team to win the Finals:
Bryant: I don’t really care. I’d be happy for either one. They’re both obviously very deserving of winning a championship. I have a close relationship with the guys from the Spurs and (Gregg) Popovich because we’ve played against each other for so many years. But Lebron (James) and (Dwyane) Wade, I’ve known those guys for awhile, too, so it doesn’t really matter to me.

Q: On if he fouls in a late-game situation up by three points or just plays defense straight up (referring to late moment in Game 6 where Chris Bosh grabbed offensive board and kicked it to Ray Allen for a game-tying three-pointer to send game into overtime):
Bryant: I wouldn’t foul right away. I would play defense. It’s really, really tough to get a good look off an initial action with that much time left. But if there’s an offensive rebound, I’d foul right away. The same thing happened with us with (Shawn) Marion getting the rebound and kicking it out to Tim Thomas. Those offensive rebounds are tough to get to the three-point line and get to shooters.

Q: On the legacy of players during in-game moments, how they perform and how it impacts a player in the future:
Bryant: Whoever wins the championship, they’re the greatest thing since sliced bread. Then everybody forgets about it and then whoever wins the championship that year, they’re the greatest thing since sliced bread. It’s whatever that moment dictates. When we all retire eventually, hopefully everybody will be able to look back at all our careers and look at the positive things we’ve done for the game.

Q: On if he’s talked to Dwight Howard and what he thinks he’ll do this offseason:
Bryant: I spoke to him maybe a couple weeks ago to check in on him, see what he’s doing, see what he’s up to, see how his summer was going. But I haven’t spoke to him since. I know he has a big decision to make. He’ll take the visits and talk to the players from the teams that he’s considering. We’ll touch base a lot more.

Q: On what it’s like to go through free agency:
Bryant: You just really try to think with two hats on. You have to look at it from a business perspective as well as from your career’s point of view in terms what team do you believe you’ll have the most success with in winning championships. It’s hard because a lot of times, those two things don’t align, and that’s where you have to make split decisions and you end up splitting hairs some of the time. But you also have to put your business hat on. I know it’s not a very popular thing for athletes to do at times, but you have to.

Q: On why he chose to stay with the Lakers rather than go elsewhere:
Bryant: I bet on Dr. Buss being able to do what he said he could. Ultimately, that was it. The history of the franchise, the history of what he’s done and what he’s accomplished, I would have been a fool to go anywhere else.

Q: On why he thinks Dwight Howard is the right person to eventually take over the team in the future:
Bryant: It’s not like you have guys like Dwight Howard walking around every day. Those guys are hard to find. They don’t grow on trees. When you have somebody like that with his talent level, you have to be able to keep him and lock him in with this franchise. With the history this franchise has with great centers, this, in my opinion, would be the perfect spot for him.

Q: On if he thinks back or reflects on the series with San Antonio in the first round had he not gotten injured:
Bryant: I look at it as a missed opportunity. Had I not gotten hurt, we had been playing really well. We had settled into a nice rhythm in terms of who does what on the team, and how those roles are defined. Because of that, we really started playing well on both ends of the floor. It was unfortunate, but at the same time, I know we’re not far off. I really believe we would have given the Spurs a serious run for their money at the minimum. That makes me excited for next year.

Q: On how far the Lakers can go if everybody returns healthier:
Bryant: You saw what we were able to do in the second half of the season going 28-12 and how well we played. That being said, I still think we need a little bit more length on the perimeter defensively with guys that can cover ground. That was a really big issue for us shutting down penetration and then being able to close out on the shooters. That’s very, very tough for us to do. When you have guys that have that kind of length and those young legs to be able to do that, all of a sudden you wind up shrinking the floor and end up making things difficult for your opposition.

Q: On if the Clippers-Celtics had made a trade with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce coming to Los Angeles, and what that would have done for the Clippers:
Bryant: (laughs) It would have made them substantially better and substantially older. They would have been older than us. At least we would have been the fast-breaking team in the city.

Q: On if he sees any big-name free agents moving to other teams:
Bryant: Nah, you know how it is. There’s always so much talk going on, especially with big-name guys going here and there. That happens once in a blue moon. At the end of the day, I think everybody stays.

Q: On his all-time NBA starting lineup:
Bryant: (Magic) Johnson, (Michael) Jordan, (Larry) Bird, (Bill) Russell and (Kareem Abdul) Jabbar.

Q: On how he handled sitting around post-surgery to rest and recover:
Bryant: I handled it well. I don’t have to sit still anymore. I’m fully mobile. I can get up and do whatever it is I want to do in terms of walking. I can’t run, obviously. For that week-and-a-half (after surgery), I was literally sitting in the bed the entire time. We were on Modern Family and we watched every episode of “Modern Family.”

Q: On what his daughters watch on television:
Bryant: They dominate it. They have some great programs and Disney Channel – there’s nothing else on outside Disney Channel. When they go to sleep, then I can actually watch what I want to watch. I watch “Da Vinci’s Demons”, “Game of Thrones” … I haven’t been able to stay up on “Mad Men.”

Q: On who gets more attention walking into a restaurant: Jack Nicholson or himself:
Bryant: Depends where you go. Out of the danger of sounding too egotistical, I’m going to go with myself just because I can’t blend in. You don’t see too many 6-foot-6 black dudes walking into a very upscale restaurant. He’ll do his shades, he’ll do his hat and he’ll blend right in. If we go to China, it’s a wrap for him.

Q: On when he thinks he’ll be able to return to the court:
Bryant: I’m shooting for November, December at the latest. That’s the goal in my head and that’s what I’m shooting for. I’m really, really determined about getting there. As soon as they take the governor off, when they think the tendon is strong enough for me to progress to really heavy weights, more conditioning, running and things like that, then it’s on me. I won’t have any fear or any worry of having the tendon rupturing again. There’s nothing I can do about it. If it goes again, it goes again. Once I’m ready to go, it’s going to be on.

Q: On his summer basketball camp in Santa Barbara at UCSB:
Bryant: I’m there every day. I know what it feels like to be a part of a camp and the person actually hosting the camp is never there. That feeling sucks. I wanted to make sure I was there every day for the kids, ages 8-18. What we do is pretty cool because each age group plays in a structure. The youngest age group, they play in the flex offense; the mid-tier group, they run the Princeton offense; and the oldest group runs the Triangle offense. They actually get a chance to play the game and play the game right way.

Q: On what he appreciates most about kids looking up to him and listening to him at these camps:
Bryant: I enjoy it. Most of the kids have been doing it for so long, we have a really good relationship. It’s not like: ‘Oh wow, there’s Kobe Bryant.’ It’s more like: ‘Can you help me out with this move?’ or ‘What do you think of this particular strategy?’ It’s really become a family atmosphere.

Q: On who wins Game 7 between Heat-Spurs:
Bryant: The biggest thing that San Antonio has to be careful for is Wade exploding and going off. He’s been struggling a bit, laying in the weeds a bit and the game hasn’t been flowing his way. This is the game telling me for him to erupt. If they can monitor that, I think they’ll give themselves a good chance to win down the stretch.

Q: On having the right mental mindset each and every game, especially for a team that has been to three straight NBA Finals appearances (i.e. Lakers teams from 2008-2010):
Bryant: It’s tough. That’s why it’s tough repeating. It’s mentally draining; it’s physically draining. You just try to put yourself in a position to have the team win, and that’s what championship teams are supposed to do. Case in point for Game 6: It was a tough go for them all night, but they found a way to keep it close, and steal it at the end. To be a champion, that’s what you have to do.

Q: On what they (Mike Trudell and John Ireland) should look forward to when the Lakers go to China for preseason games in October:
Bryant: The passion they have for the game. That’s a beautiful thing to be a part of. You’re going to see so much energy and love they have for the game, and the Lakers organization, in particular. It’s going to be a blast. The passion they have for the game is incredible.

Lakers Host Draft Prospects

blog_130613predraft_workoutOn Thursday afternoon in El Segundo, the Lakers hosted a workout for six prospective players, including guards Peyton Siva (18) and Brandon Triche (19), as the franchise looks ahead to the June 27 NBA Draft.

Such workouts are commonplace around the league, though teams outside of the lottery like L.A. are a bit limited.

“You try to know all the players, but some of it is out of your control,” explained GM Mitch Kupchak. “For example, the agents aren’t going to let you see the top 10 guys, because they know you don’t have a top 10 pick … They’re going to send them to the teams that are in the lottery. But by and large, we try to figure the draft out one through 60 as best we can.”

The Lakers currently hold only the No. 48 overall pick in the second round, though Kupchak acknowledged that trades to acquire further picks are always a possibility as the chatter picks up in advance of draft day.

USC’s Dewayne Dedmon, Wake Forest’s C.J. Harris, Arkansas’ B.J. Young and Miami’s Kenny Kadji were also in attendance for drills run by legendary scout/coach Bill Bertka and the rest of Kupchak’s staff.

Siva – the point guard for the 2013 National Champion Louisville squad – and Triche – a strong player out of Syracuse – broke down the work out for Lakers.com:

PEYTON SIVA
Q: On how the Lakers workout compares to the other team workouts:
Siva: It compared to one of the top ones because we got to put some sets in, run some sets and get some full court action going. You definitely have to be in condition to come work out.

Q: On how playing at a big-name school like Louisville could help his draft stock:
Siva: Just recognition and shows I’m a winner, and I competed (against) a lot of other people in this draft. It helps we won.

Q: On if he gets drafted by the Lakers, and how playing on a big stage at Louisville will help him:
Siva: We played in front of 22,000 every night. The crowd doesn’t affect me. I’m not scared of the spotlight. We played on the biggest stage in the national championship and in the Final Four the year before. Big stages don’t frighten me; you live for those moments.

Q: On if he talked to former Louisville product Earl Clark:
Siva: I didn’t talk to him before I came out here, but before the tournament run. I love E5. He’s a soft-spoken dude, but a great guy.

Q: On what’s next:
Siva: Going to Golden State’s workout, then a couple more and see what happens on (June) 27.

BRANDON TRICHE
Q: On the predraft workout:
Triche: It was a pretty good workout. We all competed at a high level, and that’s what you want. I think it was the second time where we did full court and 3-on-3, where it touches your stamina. Overall, a great workout for me.

Q: On how the Lakers’ workout compared to other ones he had been through before:
Triche: It was a mixture of learning a few sets and plays, with a mixture of testing your stamina, but still getting to your talents, abilities and skills. Overall, this might have been the best workouts I’ve been through with the variety of things that they taught and I learned today.

Q: On what he thinks of the Lakers:
Triche: I think of them being, obviously, a great organization – tops in the league. I see a vacancy at the point guard spot, and I’m sure they’re looking forward to a bigger point guard. I look for the opportunity to play for these guys and help them out the best I can.

Q: On how he fared today against some of the competition:
Triche: I thought I matched up pretty good. It’s a little different because they have set teams before you go against everybody. Today, you can’t go against everybody; you just go against one person. Overall, a good workout and I thought I competed at at a high level, and brought my best ability and that’s all you can ask for.

Blake’s 3-Point Efficiency

Los Angeles Lakers v San Antonio Spurs - Game OneA year ago, Steve Blake recorded the second-lowest shooting clip of his career from beyond the arc at 33.5 percent … but after a terrific shooting season in 2012-13, it proved to be an abnormality.

Particularly in the last month of the season, the 6-foot-3 combo guard caught fire from distance.

For the year, Blake shot 42.1 percent from deep, which tied for 13th in the NBA.

Injuries to key rotation players thrust Blake into playing more minutes, and a greater role on the offensive end (11.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.8 assists from March 13-April 17). During the last half of March, he averaged nearly 31 minutes with Kobe Bryant (sprained ankle) and Metta World Peace (torn meniscus) sitting out a combined five games. In April, that figure increased to 39 minutes, with Blake starting at point guard in the final eight regular-season contests with Steve Nash (hamstring/hip/back issues) sidelined.

In a 17-game span from March 13-April 17, he drilled 45 of 103 three-pointers, a 43.7 clip.

Below is a breakdown and a shot chart of his attempts from various parts of the perimeter:
- Left corner three-pointer: 6 for 23 (26.1 percent)
- Right corner three-pointer: 10 for 15 (66.7 percent)
- Above the break three-pointer: 29 for 64 (45.3 percent)

Steve_Blake_Three-Pointers
*All information used is courtesy of NBA.com/stats.

Phil Jackson Radio Transcript

Kobe Bryant And Phil Jackson Address The MediaFormer Lakers coach Phil Jackson joined ESPNLA710′s Mark Willard and Mychal Thompson last week to discuss myriad topics, including his new book Eleven Rings, coaching Kobe Bryant and the Lakers’ offseason.

Among the several interviews Jackson has been doing, this one is focused on current Lakers items. Below is a transcription:

PHIL JACKSON
Q: On the motivation behind writing his book:
Jackson: Well, it’s a recap of coaching and lessons learned. One of the biggest lessons I learned as a coach was about how to deal with Kobe Bryant, my relationship with him was a big part of a learning curve for myself, and hopefully for Kobe, too, because we have a great relationship. I know airing it sometimes might seem insensitive, but it’s a personal book and I think it explains some things that are gratifying. The first chapter, obviously, details how Kobe’s growth brought together a basketball team to reform a championship, which we were able to win two, and his growth as an individual. There’s plenty of praise in there, too.

Q: On picking Bill Russell over any team to start a franchise:
Jackson: I think everybody who has gone through the process of winning championship rings, it’s an arduous thing and it takes tremendous amount of will, courage and playing through all kinds of adversity, and 11 rings are just a testament to how great this guy really was. It’s his era, it’s what he did and it’s a tribute and honor for him to have won 11 rings at a time when the league was very compact – eight or 10 teams in the league – and to be able to do that, it’s a phenomenal feat.

Q: On any direct feedback he’s received from the book from former players:
Jackson: Kobe and I have exchanged a few things. I sent him a book right away when he was bruised perhaps by some of the responses that I picked Michael as better than him. It’s not true. It’s a comparison, not better or best. I sent him a book right away, so he can read it for himself to get a taste of what it’s about. Rick Fox, we communicate back and forth. I haven’t heard from a lot of my other players with the Chicago Bulls, so I can’t comment on anybody on that end. I am going to do a live talk forum with John Salley, who was on both on a Bulls championship team in 1997-98 and a Lakers championship team in 1999-00.

Q: On what he sees his role to be right now:
Jackson: My role right now is really to support (fiance and Lakers executive) Jeanie Buss, sit back in my retirement and maybe do some mentoring. I had a conversation with the possible owner of the Seattle Supersonics and their failed efforts to secure the Sacramento franchise. That was a real interest on my part because it was a team that was going to start all over again, and move their franchise from one city to the next and I really liked Chris Hansen’s ideas as an owner as to how to elevate the game.

Q: On what he wants the future to look like for him:
Jackson: There really are no wants. There’s nothing I feel compelled to do. Obviously there’s a real diversity in the styles of basketball being played right now in the NBA as opposed to how I coached a team. Maybe the only ones that can compare are Indiana and San Antonio that are full-fledged offenses that use passing. Post up basketball used to be the trademark of the NBA game. The game has changed now. It’s dribble penetration and you see maybe one or two passes. There’s a change in styles. There’s that mentoring aspect, or being part of a larger entity.

Q: On under what scenario he would coach:
Jackson: I have no intention of coaching. I don’t have any intention of coaching. I actually used that same phrase to Mitch Kupchak back in (November) of this past year. It’s much different when all of a sudden they’re in need … The (Lakers) suddenly have a team that was composed of many players I coached and a team that is looking for an offensive system that could match what I basically used to run with two bigs in (Dwight) Howard and Pau Gasol. There was intrigue there, but I hadn’t even made up my mind to coach that team when they offered it. I was still sitting on my decision when they short-gapped it, called me up instead and said: “We think Mike D’Antoni is the right person for this team.”

Q: On if he thinks Dwight Howard will go to Houston:
Jackson: It’s an obvious choice, from the standpoint of best scenarios. (But) then you have all the other things trailing along behind you … he gave up on the Lakers, he left his team in Orlando, he didn’t see it through with the Lakers and there’s the financial issue. There’s very few players that you see are willing to forgo the financial issues for issues of best scenario for them playing wise. I think we’ve seen Tim Duncan take less money in his contract negotiation to facilitate bringing better players on, but we don’t see many players (do that) … You have, really, the draw of an agent saying this is best for financial, perhaps this is best for your scenario. The other thing is: Mike D’Antoni is a good coach. People disregard the fact he’s had success. He knows what he needs to have to put a team together. If they’re minding their P’s and Q’s over there in the organization, they’re trying to figure this out. They can have Dwight as a screen and roll guy that pounds the inside a la Amaré Stoudemire. He’ll get the ball on the move. He might not get many post ups or many decisive plays in which he’s directing the traffic from the post position, but he’s going to get more opportunities to score. In a situation where Mike comes in, he has a training camp, everything else can happen and he has more personnel around him to support his system. I think (Howard is) on the horns of a dilemma. There’s no doubt about it. He has a decision to make, and it’s going to be tough. And the Lakers have a decision to make with Pau. Is Pau perhaps the better player in a D’Antoni system than Howard would be? Even though the defense isn’t there, but is he a better offensive player because of his mobility and outside shooting? There’s other things and there’s the Lakers side of it, too. I would just like to see both players to have the best possible chance to fulfill their wishes.

Q: On what advice he’d give to Howard, or if he thinks Los Angeles is the best place for him:
Jackson: I think staying with a franchise and hanging in here, I think he likes the life here in L.A., I think he has hopes for success and the monetary issue is considerable. I have more Lakers blood in me than Houston Rockets blood for sure. At least extended family that runs this organization, I hope he remains a Laker.