Author Archive for Mike Trudell

LaVine Hits Rare Air

Zach LaVine Draft Workout Photo Gallery

The athletic highlight of L.A.’s first round of prospective draft pick workouts at their El Segundo facility on Wednesday was a 46-inch vertical jump from UCLA freshman Zach LaVine.

That’s not a short distance to cover.

“We had a little bit more of a run (up),” LaVine explained after the session. “I think at the draft (combine) you had two steps, here we had three or four. I knew I’d gone higher than that before … I think I had 44.5, but this was one of my higher ones. I think I was pumped a little bit, you know, the Lakers.”

The Lakers allow prospects one straight up vertical jump, and one with a lead in, the latter being how LaVine topped the previous high of 44 inches by Peyton Siva last summer.

LaVine’s standing vertical jump measured at 37 inches, while Aaron Gordon hopped 34 inches straight up and 43 inches with a lead in.

Of course, athletic tests are only a small part of the overall puzzle of comparing players to one another. The Lakers, whose No. 7 draft position is their highest since 1982, have been watching these prospects extensively throughout the season, but always appreciate the chance to get the players in their own gym.

“Just up front and close and seeing how much they’ve worked on their game,” Kupchak said about the workouts. “We get to interview them, we get to administer our testing and we get to know them by talking to them and hanging around them in the locker room. They get to know our trainers and coaches.”

This first crop of players – including Gordon (Arizona), Doug McDermott (Creighton), James Young (Kentucky), Elfrid Payton (Louisiana Lafayette), Davion Berry (Weber State), Jerry Evans (Nevada), Tyler Ennis (Syracuse), Gary Harris (Michigan State), LaVine (UCLA), Brendan Lane (Pepperdine), Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State) and Noah Vonleh (Indiana) – had no shortage of athleticism.

“We had a couple really, really good showings athletically,” Kupchak summarized. “There are a lot of components to evaluate in the draft. We do interviews and (tests) for athletic ability, shooting drills, playing. There’s a lot of components to evaluate in a player and then you have to project out how good a player is going to be. Some players have gone to school three or four years and some guys have gone one year. Actually some of the guys have yet to turn 19 years old.”

Among the good athletic showings was Gordon, who performed well in nearly every test, even if the vertical jump of LaVine stood out a bit more. LaVine just turned 19 in March, while Gordon doesn’t reach 19 until September.

L.A. plans to hold more workouts in the coming days leading up to the June 26 Draft.

Zach LaVine Draft Workout Photo Gallery

Lakers Readying for the Lottery

2013 NBA Draft LotteryAs Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak detailed on, there’s a big circle over “May 20″ on the team’s calendar.

That’s when the Lakers find out what slot they’ll draft in come June 26.

L.A.’s percentages as the team with the sixth-best odds are:

- 21.5 percent to move into the top three
- 43.9 to stay in the six slot
- 30.5 to pick seventh
- 4.0 to drop to eighth, and 0.1 to fall to ninth

As such, it’s most likely they’ll stay at six or seven, and extremely unlikely they’d drop to eight or nine, thus assuring the franchise’s highest pick since James Worthy in 1982.

Speaking of Big Game James … he’ll be the one representing the team at the draft lottery.

Now, the lottery didn’t actually begin until 1985, and since then, the always-in-the-playoffs Lakers have seen lottery balls only twice:

Lakers All-Time Lottery Picks (since 1985)
Year – Pick – Player, Prior to NBA
2005 – 10 – Andrew Bynum, St. Joseph High School (NJ)
1994 – 10 – Eddie Jones, Temple University

In fact, the Lakers have had only 13 top 10 picks in franchise history since the move to L.A. in 1960, as well as two territorial picks:

Lakers All-Time Top-10 Picks (Los Angeles Era; since 1960)
Year – Pick – Player, Prior to NBA
2005 – 10 – Andrew Bynum, St. Joseph High School (NJ)
1994 – 10 – Eddie Jones, Temple University
1982 – 1 – James Worthy, University of North Carolina
1979 – 1 – Magic Johnson, Michigan State University
1977 – 6 – Kenny Carr, North Carolina State University
1975 – 2 – Dave Meyers, UCLA
1975 – 8 – Junior Bridgeman, University of Louisville
1973 – 5 – Kermit Washington, American University
1966 – 7 – Jerry Chambers, University of Utah
1963 – 7 – Roger Strickland, Jacksonville University
1962 – 6 – Leroy Ellis, St. John’s University
1961 – 5 – Wayne Yates, University of Memphis
1960 – 2 – Jerry West, West Virginia University

Lakers All-Time Territorial Picks (Los Angeles Era; since 1960)
Year Pick Player Prior to NBA
1965 T Gail Goodrich UCLA
1964 T Walt Hazzard UCLA

We’ll find out who’s next soon enough.

Kobe on Kimmel

Toronto Raptors v Los Angeles LakersKobe Bryant sat down with ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” Thursday night to discuss his health, L.A.’s coaching situation, Michael Jordan and more. Below is a transcription of his interview:

Q: On his physical health:
Bryant: From a health standpoint, 100 percent.

Q: On where he’s at from a basketball perspective:
Bryant: I’m not there yet. I started doing a lot of on-court training, and so I’m back into my routine, my lifting, started doing the running, which I hate. But by the time the season comes around I’ll be ready to go.

Q: On watching the Lakers’ 2013-14 season in which he played only six games:
Bryant: I’d rather stay home and eat paint chips. It was tough, man. It was really, really tough. But when you go through seasons like that, it just adds fuel to the fire.

Q: On if he feels optimistic about next season:
Bryant: Absolutely.

Q: On Magic Johnson’s comment about coach Mike D’Antoni resigning:
Bryant: The first thing I thought of was seeing the munchkins on the yellow brick road dancing and singing “The wicked witch is dead” when (Magic) said that, that song just came to mind. But look, Mike was dealt a really bad hand when dealing with all the injuries he had. This is a tough place if you’re not winning. I honestly didn’t care (to see him go).

Q: On if the team consults him about coaching candidates, and the approach of team owners Jim and Jeanie Buss:
Bryant: On the last two, they didn’t. On the next one, I’m hoping they do. Jimmy and Jeanie both are really determined and excited about the possibilities of next season and rebuilding this, building on their father’s legacy and everything that he’s accomplished. They’re taking the challenge extremely, extremely seriously; they’re both on the same page and they want nothing but excellence here, so I have no doubt that we’ll make it happen.

Q: On if management needs to take his temperature on the coaching hire:
Bryant: Now I think it’s an open-door policy. We talk back and forth, text … honestly it’s not really about whether the players like the coach or not. It’s really about getting results. Liking somebody and results don’t necessarily go hand in hand. Sometimes when a coach is driving you, you don’t necessarily like him, but it’s part of the process. Then once you win, everybody is buddy-buddy after that.

Q: On if anyone drives him harder than he drives himself:
Bryant: No, I’m pretty psychopathic when it comes to that stuff. But Phil (Jackson), I’ve been very lucky to have Phil as a coach throughout my entire career, and Tex Winter, Jim Cleamons, Frank Hamblen, Brian Shaw and those guys have really done wonders for my career.

Q: On if he considered buying the Clippers:
Bryant: No. That’s not a possibility, but in terms of brand depreciation, that’s as quick as you can get.

Q: His reflection on when the Clippers were recruiting him in free agency and his meeting with Donald Sterling:
Bryant: At the time the biggest concern was, was he willing to spend to have a successful team. He said during the meeting he was willing to make that commitment to bring a championship team – another championship team to Los Angeles. He has done that. He has spent the money to go out, keep Blake (Griffin) and DeAndre (Jordan) and Chris (Paul) and those guys.

Q: On if he watches the Clippers in the playoffs and whether there is a rooting interest for or against them:
Bryant: It doesn’t really matter to me. I’m not winning so what the hell do I care who wins? Doesn’t matter to me, man. But most of them are friends of mine. Chris is a good friend. I make sure I sent him a message during this whole fiasco. I watch and hope the guys I know do well.

Q: On if it’s difficult to watch when the Clippers are doing so well:
Bryant: I think it’s great for the city, I think it’s great for competition. I love it when they do well. I would love nothing more than for the Lakers to get back to that championship level and meet the Clippers in the playoffs. I think that would be fantastic.

Q: On teaching his daughter a lesson about losing:
Bryant: Our youngest one becomes very emotional when she loses. She had a really tough game. She’s playing softball, she had a tough time, she’s crying. I was telling her: ‘It’s alright. You lose, it’s OK.’ (She said): ‘No, it’s not OK.’ I’m like: ‘How the hell do I reach this kid?’ I showed her us getting absolutely destroyed, pummeled by the Celtics in the Finals and being upset and crying and stuff and showing it’s OK. Then I showed her the 2010 Finals and we bounced back, redeemed ourselves and tried to use that as some kind of a teaching tool. She went out in the championship game and had the game-winning double, so seems like it worked pretty well for her.

Q: On Nick Young’s first pitch at the Dodgers game:
Bryant: That’s crazy. I pray to god he (didn’t do that on purpose). That’s so bad it’s impressive.

Q: On Phil Jackson telling a story of young Kobe Bryant meeting Michael Jordan and telling Jordan he’d kick his (butt) in a game of one-on-one:
Kobe Bryant: Well, you know, it’s half true. Phil – as much as I love Phil – likes to embellish. He writes books – a lot. He has to market those books. But the other story is Michael was dishing it out to me as well, man. Years later, after I scored 81, he was barking about how I could never do it against him. ‘You’re never going to do it against me. I would have fouled out.’ We would have went back and forth. I usually try to stay pretty cool when it comes to MJ because I looked up to him so much, but on that particular occasion, I had to remind him I did have 42 in one half against him. But Phil loves embellishing. I told him at some point, ‘You’re going to have to give me some royalties off your books.’

Q: On if he misses Phil:
Bryant: I do. We still speak often. I think he’ll do fantastic (in New York), especially the more people say he won’t be successful. I found myself reading a lot of the books that he gave me when I was a player that I was just too young, and had too much energy to actually sit down and pay attention to. But he was just a fantastic mentor and unbelievable coach.

Q: On if he feels like the Lakers can win next year:
Bryant: I do. We will make changes for sure, there are certain characteristics you have to build your team around with speed and length and rebounding. We’ll make those adjustments.

Lakers’ Lottery Odds

Boston Celtics v Los Angeles LakersWith just one game remaining in the 2013-14 season, we have a pretty good idea about the Lakers’ odds in the lottery for the 2014 NBA Draft.

INVERSE STANDINGS (Remaining Opponent):
1) Milwaukee: 15-66 (ATL)
2) Philadelphia: 18-63 (@MIA)
3) Orlando: 23-58 (IND)
4) Utah: 24-57 (@MIN)
5) Boston: 25-56 (WAS)
6) Lakers: 26-55 (@SAS)
7) Sacramento: 28-53 (PHX)
8) Detroit: 29-52 (@OKC)

With L.A.’s win at Utah on Monday evening, they assured that they’ll finish no lower than tied for fifth place with Boston, and no higher than sixth, the slot they currently occupy.

If Boston beats Washington at home, and the Lakers lose at San Antonio, both teams would finish 26-56 on the season. There are no tiebreaker rules used as with playoff teams for seeding, however. Both teams would receive the average of the total number of combinations for the slots that they occupy, and if the average number isn’t an integer, a coin flip is used to determine which team receives extra combinations. If neither team jumps into the top three of the lottery, that coin flip dictates which team would select fifth, and which team sixth.

So in short: to move into the fifth slot, L.A. would need a loss, plus a Boston win, and then a win in a coin flip versus the Celtics. The Lakers will have the sixth-best odds if they win at San Antonio, if Boston loses to Washington or if they lose the coin flip and neither team moves into the top three.

1) 250 combinations, 25.0% chance of receiving the #1 pick
2) 199 combinations, 19.9% chance
3) 156 combinations, 15.6% chance
4) 119 combinations, 11.9% chance
5) 88 combinations, 8.8% chance
6) 63 combinations, 6.3% chance

In the lottery, a team can move no farther than three picks below its slot, and that’s in the extremely unlikely event that three lower team all move into the top three positions. Below are the odds of which selection the team with the fifth- and sixth-best odds will make:

Fifth Seed:
1st: 8.8*%; 2nd: 9.7%; 3rd: 10.7%; 4th: N/A; 5th: 26.1%; 6th: 36.0%; 7th: 8.4%; 8th: 0.4%
*In the case that the Lakers get the fifth seed, they’d have an 8.8 percent chance of receiving the No. 1 overall selection, a 9.7 percent chance at the second pick and so on.

Sixth Seed:
1st: 6.3%; 2nd: 7.1%; 3rd: 8.1%; 4th: N/A; 5th: N/A; 6th: 43.9%; 7th: 30.5%; 8th: 4.0%; 9th: 0.1%

The 2014 NBA Draft lottery takes places on Tuesday, May 20, and the Draft itself occurs on Thursday, June 26.

LAL 119, Jazz 104: 4/14 Running Diary

Los Angeles Lakers v Utah JazzBelow is a running diary of L.A.’s road contest at Utah with comments drawn from Mike Trudell’s @LakersReporter Twitter account, to ensure you’re covered from start to finish:

Lakers: Marshall, Meeks, Johnson, Kelly and Hill
Jazz: Burke, Burks, Hayward, Favors and Kanter

LAL 130, Rockets 145: 4/8 Running Diary

Houston Rockets v Los Angeles LakersBelow is a running diary of L.A.’s home contest against Houston with comments drawn from Mike Trudell’s @LakersReporter Twitter account, to ensure you’re covered from start to finish:

Lakers: Marshall, Meeks, Johnson, Kelly and Hill
Rockets: Lin, Harden, Parsons, Jones and Asik




Houston Rockets v Los Angeles Lakers

LAL 95, Mavs 107: 4/4 Running Diary

Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles LakersBelow is a running diary of L.A.’s home contest against Dallas with comments drawn from Mike Trudell’s @LakersReporter Twitter account, to ensure you’re covered from start to finish:

Lakers: Marshall, Meeks, Bazemore, Kelly and Hill
Mavs: Calderon, Ellis, Marion, Nowitzki and Dalembert


Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles Lakers


Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles Lakers

Young Draining Triples

Portland Trail Blazers v Los Angeles LakersWhile his teammates were struggling to get going on offense in Tuesday’s loss to Portland, Nick Young … was not. He drained 15 of his 26 shots – including his first eight – to drop 40 points, thanks in no small part to a bunch of three-pointers.

Young hit six of his 13 three-point attempts, cooling down only in the second half after he hit three of his first four, keeping pace with a recent trend of half of his FGA’s coming from three.

Since returning from injury on March 21, Young’s averaging 20.9 ppg off the pine (up from 16.8 prior), and was attempting 48.2% of his FG’s from 3 before 13 of his 26 vs. POR. He’s hitting 46.3 percent of his bombs in that stretch (35.3% prior). Below is a shot chart of his efficiency from beyond the arc in his last seven games, courtesy of


That 40-spot is second only to the 42 points Jodie Meeks put on Oklahoma City on March 9.

LAL 115, Suns 99: 3/30 Running Diary

Phoenix Suns v Los Angeles LakersBelow is a running diary of L.A.’s home contest against Phoenix with comments drawn from Mike Trudell’s @LakersReporter Twitter account, to ensure you’re covered from start to finish:

Lakers: Marshall, Meeks, Bazemore, Hill and Kaman
Suns: Dragic, Bledsoe, Tucker, Frye and Plumlee


Phoenix Suns v Los Angeles Lakers


Phoenix Suns v Los Angeles Lakers

LAL 107, Wolves 143: 3/28 Running Diary

140328_hillBelow is a running diary of L.A.’s road contest against at Minnesota with comments drawn from Mike Trudell’s @LakersReporter Twitter account, to ensure you’re covered from start to finish:

Lakers: Marshall, Meeks, Bazemore, Hill and Kaman
Wolves: Rubio, Martin, Brewer, Love and Pekovic




Los Angeles Lakers v Minnesota Timberwolves