Archive for the 'Mike Brown' Category

Lord Stanley Visits the Lakers

The Stanley Cup continues to make the rounds around Los Angeles and Sunday night that included visiting a place that it knows very well, STAPLES Center. Except this time the hardwood was down on the floor instead of the ice.

As the team exited the locker room following their postgame media obligations they were able to stop and spend a moment with the most historical trophy in sports. Here’s a look at Dwight Howard, Mike Brown and Metta World Peace checking out the cup. Thanks to the LA Kings for sharing the big guy with us for an evening.

Quote Round Up: Saturday Practice

Here’s a transcription of interviews from Jordan Hill*, Dwight Howard, Mike Brown and Steve Nash from Saturday’s Lakers practice. The team faces the Sacramento Kings at STAPLES Center tomorrow night at 6:30 p.m.

*Click on each name to watch the video.

JORDAN HILL
Q: On what he did in practice today:
Hill: I did everything – a full practice, stretched and did everything the team did. We’re still trying to watch out for the back, get my core stronger and see how it goes.

Q: On how the back feels:
Hill: It’s gotten lot better. Still trying to watch out for it, but it feels good right now. (I’ll) see what the trainer thinks, we’ll take a look at it and we’ll go from there.

Q: On if he’ll be ready for the opener:
Hill: There’s a possibility. Like I said, it’s up to the trainers – whatever they feel, however they think – but just got to keep working.

DWIGHT HOWARD
Q: On the team’s fourth preseason game:
Dwight: Everybody looked good in that last game and everybody played hard. It almost felt like a playoff game – the atmosphere was crazy in Vegas. Devin Ebanks came in and he had an excellent game. Pau (Gasol) did a great job all around. The game was pretty good. Our defense picked up, our offense picked up and I’m looking forward to the next couple games.

Q: On his excitement level to be playing soon:
Dwight: I’m very excited. I think everybody is excited just to see me play, which is a great honor. I just want to make sure I’m able to sustain everything that I do so I don’t have to play one game, sit out the next 20 (games) or something like that. I want to make sure that I’m being consistent with this team.

MIKE BROWN
Q: On Steve Blake’s play in the fourth quarter last night:
Brown: Steve Blake did some nice things; he did some nice things for us yesterday. I’m looking for a guy that’s going to keep us organized out there offensively that, at times, can put some pressure on the ball full court, make them work bringing the ball up the floor and be different than what the starters are bringing to the table. The biggest thing is I’m hoping to have a backup that doesn’t turn the ball over.

Q: On what Devin Ebanks needs to do to get more playing time:
Brown: He’s got to defend and defend consistently on a high level. Offensively, he’s got to be quick but not be in a hurry. Sometimes, you have a player a little out of sorts and you can start dribbling all over the place. When that happens, it gets everybody out of sync or out of rhythm. When you’re out of rhythm or our of sync like that, it can have a ripple down effect and affect the entire second unit for a few trips down the floor. So he has to stay composed offensively and play within the system and figure out how he’s going to get his looks within the system.

STEVE NASH
Q: On what Dwight will bring to the team:
Nash: Dwight is going to bring a lot to our team. He’s going to make the game a lot easier for all of us. Hopefully I can make the game easier for him, but he’s definitely going to make the game a lot easier for me. He’s going to draw a lot of attention; his roll to the basket gives me a great target, but he also is going to draw a lot of attention and open up a lot of teammates for open shots.

Q: On how he feels about playing with Dwight soon in a game situation:
Nash: I’m happy that we can get to another stage of development for our team. We’re learning the offense without Dwight and now we get to learn with him in a game situation. It’s just breaking down these barriers that’s important for us.

Thursday Practice Report

Here’s a round up from Thursday’s Lakers practice before the team headed to Las Vegas in advance of the team’s fifth preseason game.

Jordan Hill Returns To Practice:
Jordan Hill, who was diagnosed with a herniated disc in his back after the team’s first preseason game, went through non-contact drills for the first time since getting injured.

“He did everything that was non-contact, which was good, because it was the first time in awhile that he had a chance to go out there in script,” coach Mike Brown said. “For us, the way we’re playing, he’s got to know specific routes and reads, so there’s a lot that he still needs to do to play catch up. He didn’t do anything live.”

Brown was uncertain about when Hill will return to game action, but did note that it was a positive sign the 6-foot-10 power forward was out on the floor again.

“(The trainers) haven’t given a specific timetable yet, but I know they’re taking this one step at a time,” Brown noted. “The thing that surprised me – I knew he was going to be able to do non-contact stuff today – is we did a warm-up drill where you’re required to run and get out and go a little bit. He got out and ran and they let him do it, so that was a little surprising to me, but it was good to see.”

Gasol Wants More On Defense:
Pau Gasol wants to see more improvement from his teammates on that end of the floor in the next four preseason games, and in the regular season as well.

“I want us to be solid on the defensive end,” the 7-foot Spaniard explained. “That’s what I want to see us do. I want us to be consistent every single game. I want us to stop teams and choke them. That’s what I like to see. Offensively, we have enough talent on this team to be able to score, but if we defend like we’re supposed to do and want to, it’ll be very, very hard to beat us.

Brown echoed similar sentiments, citing transition defense as an area where the team collectively needs to improve, too.

“The one thing I’ve been disappointed in – if there is one thing – is in all four games our transition defense hasn’t been good,” he said. “Even in our last game, whether we’re winning or losing or we don’t have certain guys, we can still get back the right way and make them at least let them score over a contested defense or have the defensive presence and they got to many uncontested layups and/or shots in transition. I told our guys: ‘Let’s do a better job collectively as a group with our transition defense no matter who is on the floor.’”

Dwight Howard’s Return?
The Lakers center continues to make progress, he says, but his main concern – as has been said before – is getting his stamina back.

“It’s conditioning,” Howard stated. “That’s the main thing. Like I told you guys: ‘I don’t want to go out there fatigued and injure something else.’ Most of the time, that’s when you (get) injuries. So I just want to make sure I’m in pretty good shape to play.”

Howard continues to participate in full contact, 5-on-5 scrimmages during practice, and so far, he maintains there is no concern about having any setbacks.

“I came too far from where I was at to go backwards now,” he noted. “I want to continue to work hard as I can every day when I step on the court and make myself better and my teammates better.”

Quote Round Up: Postgame vs. Utah

Here’s a transcription of Lakers.com postgame interviews with Mike Brown*, Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant after the team’s fourth preseason game.

*Click on each name to watch the video.

MIKE BROWN
Q: On not having his starting five once in this preseason:
Brown: Yeah, but that’s OK. I’m OK with that. Whenever Dwight (Howard) is healthy, he’ll play and whenever everybody can play, we’ll play. The first three ball games, I thought we played the right way on both ends of the floor — for the most part. We just didn’t win them, which is understandable because it’s tough for (Ronnie) Aguilar, (Greg) Somogyi and some of the other younger (guys) to come in the last five minutes of a ballgame and try to win it, or come in the last 10 minutes of a ballgame and try to win it. To me, that’s understandable. I thought we played well the first three games, especially with where we were in the preseason. I thought tonight we took half a step backwards in terms of our execution and ball movement, and even our overall defense, especially in transition, which is going to happen from time to time. Out of the four preseason games, this one I’ve probably been the most disappointed. I was OK with the other three because we did a lot of other good things in the other three.

Q: On what the team needs to correct first to improve:
Brown: Right now would be good but I know it’s not going to happen. Our transition defense right now is probably the biggest thing that is of concern. Besides that, there are little things that pop up. Sometimes we gamble too much, which takes us out of position. But our transition defense is something we’re not doing a good job of at all.

Q: On if the team’s transition defense is attributed to the amount of turnovers:
Brown: Yeah, we’re turning it over, but I’m OK with some of our turnovers because we’re trying to make plays and the right guys are trying to make plays. We’re not having the wrong guys out there trying to make too many plays. Part of the reason we’re turning the ball over is we’re trying to execute the offense a little bit and trying to do things the right way. I think we’ll get better turnover wise, but it does hurt us when we do turn the ball over and they run out and get dunks and layups in transition. But hey, Utah is a good team, too, so you have to give them credit for playing as hard as they did.

Q: On if there were any positives he can take away from the team’s fourth preseason game considering the outcome:
Brown: It was great to see Jodie Meeks shoot the ball the way he did. I thought (Robert) Sacre did some things that make you go: ‘Maybe,’ which is a positive thing. I thought, at times, we did a nice job of trying to execute, but once we took Jamison off the floor, it was really hard for us to execute because we don’t have another guy that was able to play tonight that has played the power forward position. It takes us completely out of our offense because that specific position you have to know specific routes and reads, and all our power forwards right now from Pau (Gasol) to Jordan Hill to Earl Clark are out. So offensively, we had to keep our execution simple and run baseline screens or middle pick-and-roll when Jamison was out. Those guys tried to execute the right way, but it just didn’t happen all the time.

Q: On Jodie Meeks hitting four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and if that kind of play can help limit Kobe’s minutes during the regular season:
Brown: Yeah, but we’re still searching for guys that are going to come off the bench. I’m not quite sure who it’s going to be yet. So to see Jodie step up and knock some shots down, but also defensively, he did some good things, too. So to see a combination of those two things was a positive at that two guard position.

STEVE NASH
Q: On if he saw any positives in the game:
Nash: I was only out there the first quarter and I thought there were some things on both ends that were positive, but again, not a great performance by any stretch. But sometimes you learn a lot more from the nights you struggle than the nights that everything goes well. This is good for us, it’s good for us to struggle, it’s good for us to want to come tomorrow with more resolve to improve and if we floated through the preseason, we might be fooling ourselves. So we got a lot of work to do and we continue to know that and realize that and tonight was a motivator as well.

Q: On if the team’s effort disappointed him the most:
Nash: Like I said, I was only out there the first quarter. I was getting treatment a lot of the night, but the effort wasn’t bad in the first quarter. We just had some matchup problems in the post that allowed them to score. Our defense was pretty good other than the fact that they had some terrific one-on-one post players. Offensively, we created some good opportunities, but we’re a work in progress. That’s the bottom line.

Q: On Kobe’s scoring outburst in the third quarter:
Nash: I wasn’t out there, so I missed it, but it’s certainly nice to have a player of his ability to go off like he can. I’m thrilled he’s on my team.

KOBE BRYANT
Q: On his rhythm in the third quarter:
Kobe: Yeah, I just had to come out and kind of get going a little bit, work on some things, shooting out of the offense, catch-and-shoot and things of that nature. Up until this point, I had just kind of been practicing throughout the course of the game and trying new things. Tonight, I just went back to the basics.

Q: On if he saw any positives in the game:
Kobe: You kind of just threw it out a little bit. We didn’t execute as well as we should have as a whole in the first half, and as a result, we dug ourselves deep, but you kind of have to throw it out. Their bigs dominated us for obvious reasons. All our bigs were out, so they kind of had a field day down there.

Q: On what he wants to see from the team in the second half of the preseason:
Kobe: Hopefully, we can get everybody out there at some point and work on our rhythm a little bit more and playing together. The more we play together, obviously, the better we’ll get — and that’s the most important thing. That’s what we try to do in practice; we just try to play a lot together and work on our execution, work on our rhythm, likes and dislikes and things of that nature.

Q: On not playing with the starting five once in this preseason
Kobe: In practice, we do it a lot, though. In practice, we play quite a bit together. Mike (Brown) has been really good about it of throwing the ball out there and letting us scrimmage and get some timing down. But you’re right — that’s the most important thing for us is to get out there, play together, work out some of the kinks out and communicate with each other on the floor.

Q: On how close Dwight Howard is to returning from his viewpoint:
Kobe: He’s extremely close. He’s making plays defensively that no big outside of Bill Russell can make in the history of the game in terms of playing the passing lanes, getting steals, guarding guards, stripping the ball from them. He does things defensively that no other big can do.

Q: On if he and Steve Nash can take more chances defensively:
Kobe: Sure, we can. It all depends on how the game goes in a ballgame. Early in a ballgame, you don’t want to do that depending on how they officiate the game. You don’t want to get Dwight in foul trouble. But certainly, at certain points of the game, we can.

Q: On his mindset in the third quarter:
Kobe. No, I just really went back to the basics. I was just kind of experimenting the entire preseason, just working on different moves and things of that nature. In the third quarter, I just went to the basics: catch guys off of you, just rise up and shoot, if you have a lane, drive, bump the guy off you, pull up and shoot it. I just went back to the simplicity of it.

Quote Round Up: Postgame vs. Portland

Here’s a transcription up of Lakers.com postgame interviews with Mike Brown*, Steve Nash, Dwight Howard and Metta World Peace, assembled by Lakers.com Intern Trevor.
*Click on each name to watch the video.

MIKE BROWN
Q: On the team’s play in second preseason game:
Brown: In the first half — in the first quarter particularly — our defense gambled too much. Every time we gambled, it seemed like they scored on us. Once we settled down defensively and started playing by our principles and giving the multiple efforts that we needed to contesting and rebounding, I thought we got some stops. Offensively — the first group and the second group a little bit in the first half — we did a nice job of trying to execute our offense. We got some wide open shots … offensively, we were pretty good in the first half.

Q: On the chemistry between players that haven’t played before:
Brown: Chemistry is great, but when you have Jordan Hill out, Kobe (Bryant) out and Dwight (Howard) out, the guys that are playing together aren’t going to play together a ton this coming season. So what I’m looking for, more than anything else, is individual performances in terms of is: ‘Is a guy playing defense the right way, is a guy trying to help his teammates get better by spacing the floor, making the right cuts, making the right reads offensively?’ And then when he gets a chance to knock down shots, he doesn’t look like he’s in panic mode out there. So there are a few things I’m looking for individually on both ends of the floor more than anything else because I still don’t know who’s going to play when it comes to my backup point, my backup two, my backup three, my backup four and my backup five.

Q: On why the game got out of hand in the second half:
Brown: Well, there are a couple reasons: We had over a 2-hour practice today, so maybe it could be their legs. I’ve been working them pretty hard, but Portland just outworked us. Everything that they did, it was harder, sharper, better, quicker and we did not – in the second half – give a multiple effort to contest the rebound. We made one effort and then we stopped and we just watched. And they got open shots, they got loose balls, they got layups, they got whatever they wanted because we didn’t give the multiple effort to contest the rebound in the second half.

Q: On distributing minutes to starters in the second half going forward in the preseason:
Brown: I’ll continue to do that. Pau (Gasol) needs to work on his conditioning some, Metta (World Peace) needs to work on it a little bit, too. But I’ll continue to give the guys that start minutes into the second half, and then eventually, I’ll play the rotation right. But right now, I’m going to stick with what I did tonight. I’m going to change up some of the guys in our next game. I’m going to give some other guys the backup minutes so I can continue to look at individual guys and different combinations to find out where I want to go with that second unit.

Q: On if anybody moved up on depth chart based on second preseason game:
Brown: I need to go back and watch the tape. Darius Morris, the few minutes he got, were solid. (Andrew) Goudelock’s minutes were solid. Jodie Meeks didn’t knock down shots, but I thought defensively he was good, I thought he got a lot of loose balls, I thought he got some rebounds and I thought he was a presence out there. He just didn’t make shots, so that’s the type of stuff I’m looking for. Offensively, he was never in a hurry. He took what the defense gave him, he kind of understood and knew what we were trying to do offensively. I was impressed with Jodie’s toughness, his composure, his pace, what he did defensively, how he got after some loose balls and some long rebounds.

STEVE NASH
Q: On what he’s seen from the team thus far:
Nash: We’re continuing to find moments where we see a familiarity and an understanding of what we’re trying to accomplish on both ends of the floor. Right now, we’ve gone over a lot. We’ve had long days and we’re not necessarily producing the way we’d like to, but we’re showing glimpses of all that time on the court. And all that new territory we’ve been covering is paying off. We have to have faith that we’re doing the right things and just continue to grow day by day.

Q: On what team needs to work on:
Nash: We always want to hang our hats on the defensive end of the floor, so for us to shore up that side of the ball will always be number one. But again, the offense is a big, vast, new sea of understanding and knowledge for us, so we’re all trying to not only learn it, but learn how to play together out of it. That takes time and we’re not going to get it in two preseason games. We’re probably not going to get it in eight preseason games. We’re going to have to continue to improve throughout the season.

Q: On how Jodie Meeks filled in for Kobe and Robert Sacre filled in for Dwight:
Nash: It felt good. I thought we had a pretty good little (connection) going out there with the first unit. The ball moved, we created a lot of open shots, we didn’t finish at a rate we’re capable of, but I thought we did a good job executing. We just didn’t make shots tonight. Jodie did a good job, got some open looks and knocked some down. He missed some, but we know he can make them. Robert is a rookie and he’s done very well.
Continue reading ‘Quote Round Up: Postgame vs. Portland’

Postgame Quote Summary: Fresno

If you missed L.A.’s opening preseason game, or just want to hear what two of the starters and Mike Brown had to say afterwards, you can watch the postgame interviews right here:

Steve Nash: LAL – GSW Postgame
Metta World Peace: LAL – GSW Postgame
Mike Brown: LAL – GSW Postgame

Below is a summary of the comments featured in the videos:

STEVE NASH:
Q: On his first game with the team:
Nash: I felt pretty good considering I’ve only been at this for a week — less than a week — so we got a long way to go. We covered a lot this week, and you never know what to expect the first time out. I felt like it wasn’t bad.

Q: On finding his teammates in the game:
Nash: We definitely found some opportunities to get easy buckets and some other opportunities where we got open looks. Make or miss, they were good shots for our team. My job is to facilitate and make the game easy for my teammates, get them opportunities to score easy baskets, have an advantage against their man or make the defense pay, so when you get to play with good players who understand the game, I think it’ll come together nicely.

Q: On how the week of practice helped team chemistry:
Nash: We just spent time on the court together. You have to spend time on the court to get any kind of chemistry, so I think the week of practice definitely helped, so we had somewhat of a familiarity going out there and we were able to find some cohesion. I thought both ends of the floor, we did a pretty decent job of playing together.

Q: On playing with Kobe:
Nash: It felt pretty good, to be honest. I felt pretty good and it’s only going to get better. I can’t complain about that part of the game … Hopefully (Kobe) can save some energy, get some looks, get his rhythm, get some baskets without having to put his head down and take on a team. And he can save his legs for later in the game.

METTA WORLD PEACE:
Q: On his first game after losing so much weight in offseason:
MWP: It’s only the first game so I’m definitely 17 pounds lighter but at the same time, it’s still the beginning. But definitely, I feel much better.

Q: On if he didn’t like anything in the team’s first preseason game:
MWP: You always want to improve. It’s never a thing where I don’t like something. It’s just a thing where I can improve and always look at it as a positive rather than seeing it as a negative out there.

Q: On playing with Nash:
MWP: I mean, he’s Nash and his passes are really, really good. His passes are right on target, right on target.

MIKE BROWN:
Q: On the first half:
Brown: We’re going to get some great shots, we’re going to get some great looks. We scored 56 points in the first half and we could have even played better than we did in the first half. Then you throw in a guy like Dwight in there — on both ends of the floor, he helps your defense, he helps your offense — you just got some intelligent guys that can really play the game the right way offensively and defensively, so it was fun to watch.

Q: On Nash creating opportunities for his teammates:
Brown: He does. He’s a guy that’s extremely intelligent and it doesn’t matter how you play him. He’s going to find a weakness or a hole in the defense and he’s going to make the game easier for everybody. On the flip side, you got Metta and Dwight. Just like Steve sets the table for everybody offensively, those two guys are going to set the table for everybody defensively. It’s going to be exciting to watch.

Q: On if he didn’t like anything from the team in their first game together:
Brown: There were some things here and there we could have done a little bit better. Our transition defense could have been a little bit better and I thought we gambled too much, whether it was in transition or in the half court, which kind of put us out of position. But they’re all things that are definitely fixable.

Q: On if the Warriors’ 37-2 run was concerning:
Brown: My goal going into the game was to play everybody. I wanted to get guys a few minutes here, a few minutes there. I told our guys nobody would probably play over 20 minutes. I didn’t care what the score was. We could have been down 105 to 22 and I was going to stay the course, so that these guys can get a taste of it and get a feel of it. It was great they were going against some guys that played in the NBA for a long time it was great that they got to see what its like to guard Richard Jefferson, Harrison Barnes and David Lee. It was great experience for the guys and probably something they’ll never forget.

Q: On Nash and Kobe playing together:
Brown: It was good. It thought those guys played well out on the floor. They each tried to find one another and Steve just created easy shots for everybody. He made (Robert) Sacre look like he was in his third year in the league.

Q: On what team needs to work on:
Brown: The one thing we know we need to work on is transition defense an there are some things offensively, we can tweak on what we’re doing and learning how to do that better. The neat part about it is that we’ve probably put in 20 percent of what we’re gong to do offensively so there’s still a lot more that we need to add, which we’ll do in terms of taking our time. But there’s a lot to work on. Transition defense is probably the number one thing that we’ll get to.

Q: On how the team’s chemistry looked:
Brown: The first thing is we have good guys. Chemistry can be had if you have some good people in your group and we have good people in our group. Then when you have good people and the trust is there, that’s what chemistry is – it’s trust. Our guys understand that. We said this to them at the beginning of the year. Respect one another as teammates and what your teammates can bring to the table, respect the process and then respect the journey. You’re going to have ups and downs throughout the course of the journey and it’s how we handle the ups and how we handle the downs is going to determine whether or not we reach our goal at the end of the year. We have guys that understand that and are capable of dong that, and that’s what makes this thing exciting.

Mike Brown Presser Round Up

Here’s a smattering of what the head coach has been saying after the past two practices:

Q: On Metta World Peace:
Brown: He’s shooting the ball well, he’s handling the ball great, defensively he’s locked in. He’s night and day performance wise now than what he was at this point last year.

Q: On who has looked good among the reserves early in camp:
Brown: Jordan Hill is showing that he needs to be on the floor. He’s the one guy I can say besides my starters that is showing he really needs to be on the floor with his activity out there. Antawn (Jamison) is a pro, he’s going to get it done. He’s shown he can be on the floor. Besides that, you have Jodie Meeks, Devin Ebanks, Chris Duhon, Steve Blake; those are probably the next guys along with a few of the young guys.

Q: On Dwight Howard’s defense:
Brown: Dwight, defensively, does for us what Steve Nash does offensively for us. Nash makes the game easy for everybody on the offensive end of the floor. Dwight’s going to make the game easier for everybody on the defensive end of the floor, whether it’s in the pick-and-roll, coming from the weak side and help defense. His presence alone is going to (be huge).

Q: On Howard’s defensive capabilities to Anderson Varejao, whom Brown coached in Cleveland:
Brown: The athleticism is a lot different (between) the two guys, but you talk about the agility of a Dwight Howard and the agility of an Anderson Varejao. Both those are off the charts. Anderson doesn’t have great athleticism, but he’s extremely agile and he has great feet. And there aren’t too many people that have the feet that he does.

Q: On what Howard’s done in practice:
Brown: He’s done (pretty much) everything. I don’t have a rule where a guy has to play in x number of preseason games. He can still play in the opener (if ready).

Q: On seeing all the talent on the floor:
Brown: It’s exciting because, again, we do have a talented group of guys, but they’re good guys. Not only are they good guys, but they work hard and they want to win. So, in a short amount of time we’ve thrown a lot at them. We’ve been throwing all the stuff at them to see if they can pick it up, understand it, feel it, execute it is just a testament to how intelligent the group is overall.

Q: On Steve Blake’s first practice back from a foot injury:
Brown: He’s tough as nails. I don’t know if he’ll ever get out of shape. He only knows one way to play, which is hard. And he’s worked extremely hard on his game this summer. Watching him, you couldn’t tell this was his first practice. He’s worked extremely hard this summer on his game and it had shown. Right before he got hurt, he was playing some — not good basketball — great basketball.

Q: On what he’ll need from Blake this year:
Brown: We’ll need him to play hard and show some leadership. When he’s open, to knock down shots, when he feels like being aggressive, be aggressive and run the team. Just as important as that, he’s going to have to defend, and he’s going to have to defend at a high level, which is what he does very well.

Q: On if there’s more competition among 13th, 14th, 15th guys than last season:
Brown: Yeah, definitely. This is a deep roster and we feel good about the guys coming off the bench. It was a little tough from the standpoint of last year because we had a shortened training camp so couldn’t see everybody. Not only could you see everybody, but because the season started so all of a sudden, you had guys playing overseas that couldn’t get out of their deal, and because they couldn’t get out of their deal, they were standing and watching. By the time they were out of their deal, we had to move past them because we only had two preseason games and then the season was here. So it was a lot tougher last year, obviously.

Q: On Gasol’s passing, particularly as it could benefit Howard:
Brown: Obviously, Dwight can play. You don’t want to take anybody away from him, but to me, Pau is Steve Nash in the paint. He is probably a better passer than Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Pau is probably on the level of (Arvidas) Sabonis maybe. That touch pass he made to Dwight – Are you kidding me? Pau, to me, is a jack of all trades. If we need him to shoot jumpers, he can shoot jumpers. If we need him to take a guy off the dribble, he’ll take a guy off the dribble. If we need him to facilitate, he can facilitate. If he needs to rebound, he’ll rebound. To me, he’s a jack of all trades guy that can do it all. And most guys, when they do it all, they do a good job of doing it all or a solid job. But Pau, he’s great at everything.

Q: On Gasol’s role offensively this year:
Brown: He’s too good for me to be specific with him. But he just does so much, I don’t want to put a ceiling on him. Literally, Pau can play dribble hand off, he can be the giver or the receiver, he can play pick and roll, Pau can come off a jump shot and catch and shoot and make a play, he can come off a screen, Pau can set the screen. So I don’t want to put him a box just because he is so versatile. His role with us is going to be doing whatever he can to help us offensively.

VIDEO:
- Mike Brown after practice 10/05/12
- Mike Brown after practice 10/04/12

LAL Camp Q&A: Eddie Jordan

One of the three new faces on Mike Brown’s coaching staff is Eddie Jordan, whose NBA head coaching career was headlined by a six-year stint in Washington (2003-09), where he coached current Lakers Antawn Jamison and Steve Blake.

Known best for his use of the Princeton Offense, Jordan will help head coach Mike Brown integrate parts of that system into what Brown already has in place, the collective idea to maximize the skills of a diversely capable roster.

We spoke to Jordan prior to the start of training camp to discuss his coaching philosophy, how players like Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Steve Nash and Dwight Howard will fit into the offense, why he came to Los Angeles and more:

MT: What brought you to the Lakers, coach?
Jordan: No. 1 is that Mike (Brown) is a terrific coach, a top notch coach in the league. No. 1 A was that it was the Lakers, and this was before Steve Nash and Dwight Howard (were acquired). I was here talking about things for two or three days, and Mike and I both got excited, and then on the third or fourth day the Nash trade came about. We started to tweak the offense to Steve’s strengths, and Mike had a terrific way of blending the principles of the Princeton offense to what he’s done in the past. Mike has an excellent mind offensively and defensively, and the way he’s putting it together are some things I haven’t seen. With a starting five on paper like we have, (the system) is very beneficial for everybody. I’d like to say to them as a coaching staff (that) we’re all responsible for each other’s success, and our success equals a championship. That’s the principle of it: help your teammate first.

MT: It’s no secret that you’re one of the foremost experts on the Princeton offense. As you just stated and as Coach Brown has alluded to, it’s only going to be part of what you do. With that understood, how would you describe the offense?
Jordan: It’s a system that’s been used through the time when the Celtics won their championships decades ago, then the Knicks as well as part of what Chicago and Utah did in the 1990′s. It’s old school basketball in a sense, a series of two-man games and three-man games with constant movement and spacing that offers all the traditional sets of the NBA: pick and rolls; pinch post; multiple screening actions; isolations. Everything that traditional NBA teams use, it’s within that system, it’s just that you don’t call plays as much. It’s more read and react, and Mike recognizes that it’s stress free. You don’t fight the defense, you go away from it. Everyone has to see where the next pass, where the next cut is, where the next screen is.

MT: What’s the most critical principle to a successful offense?
Jordan: Most of it is just being a willing passer. It’s how you think. If you think to help your teammate first, you’ll get great results. If you understand movements and the options, you’ll get a lot out of it. If you know how to use your individual strengths, you’ll get a lot out of it.

MT: Whether it’s the Princeton or the triangle or what have you, it sounds like many of these principles are the same?
Jordan: That’s right. We categorize our positions as two guards, two forwards and a center, and you can play on either side of the floor. A three man can run to either side of the floor, and the two guard can initiate the offense just as easily as the point guard can. It started with Butch van Breda Kolff with the Lakers, and that’s where (Princeton coaching legend) Pete Carill realy learned most of it. It’s just basketball. If you cut hard and want to help your teammate, then it’s going to work, and now it’s even better because there is more spacing with three-point shooters.

MT: You alluded to tweaking the offense for Nash, and I’m sure you will for Howard as well. That has to be sorta fun…
Jordan: No question. Getting more good players, guys with high IQ’s will just help us execute everything better. This offense is tailor made for five terrific players. We used it when we went to the Finals with the Nets, two years in a row, and people didn’t think Jason Kidd could share the ball because he pushed tempo so much – but yet he did. The offense tilted towards his pick and rolls and post ups because that’s what he did well. Kerry Kittles was a great cutter so he got a lot of layups. And even a guy like Kenyon Martin, who isn’t a typical forward who can make shots on the perimeter, utilized the offense to get to the post, to run pick and rolls and get slashes to the basket. It works for good players.

MT: I know you and Coach Brown have met with Kobe Bryant to discuss things. How did that go?
Jordan: He was way ahead of the game. He knew, when we started to go through how the offense works, what was going on. He said, ‘We could do this, this option is available.’ I said, ‘Sure, that works Kobe.’ He already knows the movements, where to get his shots from, where dribble hand offs occur, pin downs and so on. He understood that there has been more stress on him getting his shots off in the last few years, but this offense should make it easier.

MT: How does Pau Gasol’s skill set fit in with what you want to do?
Jordan: It’s awesome. He’s a terrific player, a great passer who sees the game, a very unselfish and flexible player in the offense who will learn both the forward and center spots. He’s going to get his post ups, his assists, his pick and rolls, his pick and pops and his two-man games with everybody. It’s going to be tough for defenses to prepare schemes to handle all of those varieties. It puts a lot of stress on opponent’s preparation.

MT: And that center position is particularly important in this offense…
Jordan: The offense revolves around the center, and if he’s a good scorer, it’s going to be great. When basketball was invented by James Naismith and Bernie Bickerstaff, the center was named as such because everything revolved around him, and that’s what this offense is about. Players would give the center the ball and then cut off him, feed off him. If he can catch down there and be a passer, it helps everybody. The more you pass, the easier it is to score in the post.

MT: What can you do with Howard and Gasol interchanging positions and spots on the floor?
Jordan: You can tweak it however you want. You can go to a triple post strong side, a two-man game attacking from the front and move the center from the low post to the elbow to the top of the key on both sides of the floor. The flexibility of the center is enhanced. I was just watching the 1985 Finals (Lakers vs. Celtics), and how Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar) would catch it in the post and first look around for James Worthy, then Magic (Johnson’s) cut, then check if Michael Cooper was open from three before he went to work. He looked to pass and that opened everything else up, while also setting himself up for easier looks. The most prolific scorer in NBA history was looking to pass first.

MT: Getting back to tweaking the offense around Nash, what does he enable you to do with his combination of elite ball handling, passing and shooting?
Nash: Mike’s the first to say: we want Steve to initiate the fast break, run our early offense and manipulate the possession with the ball in his hands. This is where Mike’s offense is integrating with the Princeton. We don’t want to be in the offense at first, we want to get a stop, a rebound, an outlet and get an easy shot in early offense. We want the ball to be pushed at high tempo at Steve’s discretion. If we can’t get anything from there, that’s where you can flow into the Princeton. Read the defense and deliver the play. Steve will be the catalyst. And Steve will get perimeter shots not just off pick and rolls, but off flares, dribble hand offs and coming off screens.

MT: There have been questions about Kobe and Nash since both have had the ball in their hands a lot in the past, but it would seem to me that Kobe in particular would prefer to have the rock less, allowing Nash to set him up for easier looks.
Jordan: It’s something we’re going to look forward to, and learn about as coaches. There’s a basic shell that we will play out of, but the players will show us how it works. I believe that both Kobe and Steve are looking to do more by doing less, and if that’s what they’re looking for, this is perfect.

MT: Does it help your transition to L.A. to have a former player you trust in Antawn Jamison on the roster?
Jordan: Yes it really helps. Antawn is, first of all, an awesome pro. He’ll come every day and work. He’s terrific in the locker room and is easy going off the court. He’s easy to smile and laugh with. Just a great pro. But he has a different game with terrific, uncanny post up game and he can make threes. He’s a terrific rebounder and has a knack for put backs. However you match up with him opponent wise, he’s going to find a way to take an advantage even going into his 16th year.

MT: Orlando spaced the floor with three-point shooters around Howard, but were there elements they ran you noticed could work well in L.A.?
Jordan: Believe it or not, Orlando ran a generic part of the Princeton. Their high pick and roll was our play out of the Princeton, and Dwight is going to be familiar with it. I told Mike, there could be 100 things to do in the Princeton, but we may just do 10. I believe in milking something that’s going to be good for you that’s very high percentage, because the object of any offense is to get a quality, high percentage shot. And even through my years as a head coach, we always said, let’s have some basic direct NBA plays. A simple side pick and roll, simple screen downs and so on that just work.

MT: Coach Brown is among the many coaches that says that good offense leads to good defense.
Jordan: Absolutely. If you take high quality shots out of the offense, our floor is moving the defense from side to side and is balanced. Then we’re built for transition defense. Of course, you still have to run back and stop the ball and defend the ball and match up, you still have to build a wall against a player like Russell Westbrook. But it can be done. The fact that Dwight is a great athlete really helps there, as well, having your (biggest player be so mobile).

MT: With so much focus on L.A.’s top four players, some might forget that Metta World Peace is coming into camp in fantastic shape, and can pose a lot of problems for opponents…
Jordan: Metta World Peace is the prototypical forward in this offense. He can make perimeter shots, he’s a slasher, he’s a willing passer and he can post up. And when he’s doing that action, maybe Kobe or Steve is getting a flare. Maybe Dwight’s rolling in on the other box. All the misdirection in the offense is supposed to benefit there. He’s tailor made more than anybody there is on the team. Kobe’s tailor made for any offense and Nash can run any offense, but it’s made for a guy like Metta. He’s the guy that can play with everybody. His physicality on cutting and slashing should get him a lot of easy chances. That’s why you don’t want to only run pick and rolls, because you want a more balanced offense, and you get better chemistry when everyone is a part of the success. And that makes them play harder on D.

MT: Again – that all sounds fun for a coaching staff. Last thing, coach: why are you so specifically optimistic about this team?
Jordan: What makes a champion in the NBA is talent, and that’s always No. 1. Then it’s toughness, experience and character. That’s what we have.

LAL Assistant Coach Roles

With Friday’s announcement of Mike Brown’s new assistant coaching staff, we took a look at where each addition might focus in the 2012-13 season:

EDDIE JORDAN:
Lakers fans may remember Jordan as a player on the 1982 title-winning team, but he’s best known as a coach in the NBA headlined by a six-year stint with the Washington Wizards from 2003-09 and for his use of the Princeton Offense. As Brown has discussed this summer, the team will be incorporating the Princeton into the rest of the offense*, and Jordan happens to be an expert who learned from its creator, Princeton’s own Pete Carril. Last season, assistant John Kuester was charged with some of the offensive system, but the team is heading down a new road to best take advantage of the personnel. Kuester has been reassigned as an advanced NBA scout and will be based on the East Coast.
*Highlighted by Steve Nash pick and rolls, and post ups for Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, Kobe Bryant as well as Metta World Peace at times.

BERNIE BICKERSTAFF:
Bickerstaff first hired Mike Brown back in 1992, Brown’s first job in the NBA as a video intern for Denver, with the inverse now occurring in 2012. Bickerstaff was the Nuggets President and GM at the time, and went on to coach the Nuggets for three seasons (1994-97), out of his 39 total years of coaching experience. Most recently, Bickerstaff was an assistant with Portland. Bickerstaff is expected to take on part of the role occupied last season by Ettore Messina – who along with fellow 2011-12 Lakers assistant Quin Snyder will be coaching CSKA Moscow next season – by looking at the big picture of the team, and not focusing on any particular area. Neither Bickerstaff nor Jordan will likely scout specific teams to set up game plans, leaving that duty for new hire Steve Clifford along with returning coaches Chuck Person and Darvin Ham.

STEVE CLIFFORD:
Having spent the last five seasons as an assistant coach in Orlando under head coach Stan Van Gundy and alongside new Lakers center Dwight Howard, Steve Clifford will step into a role for Mike Brown occupied in part by Snyder last season. In addition to setting up specific game plans for a third of L.A.’s opponents, Clifford will work with both the defense and the offense, not necessarily focusing on one or the other. His previous NBA coaching stints came as an assistant with the Knicks (2000-03) and Rockets (2003-07).

Person and Ham will continue their respective roles from last season. Person focuses more on the defensive end (plus beating players in three-point shooting contests) and Ham more like Snyder (then) and Clifford (now) on both ends while also working with the big men.

Mike Brown: 2012 Exit Interview

It’s the job of any NBA head coach to speak with the media before and after every game, and following every practice throughout the season; the last time Mike Brown sat down in front of the horde comes on exit interview day.

Below is a summary of Brown’s last interview of the 2011-12 campaign, going over his first season as the coach of the Lakers:

- To open: “Sitting here at this point in the year is definitely not satisfying. Under the circumstances, I feel like we got a lot accomplished and feel we learned a lot … but we can be better.”

- Brown acknowledged the difficulty of fighting uphill, trying to get a system installed and the players incorporated into it, with the limited training camp and practices, but didn’t want to use it as an excuse.

- On Pau Gasol trying to adjust to a new role: “With Andrew (Bynum) having a bigger role within what we do especially offensively, it made it a little tougher for Pau. With Andrew on one block and Kobe (Bryant) on the other, and Metta (World Peace), it was (tough to get opportunities at times). But i thought he adjusted really well.” Brown discussed Gasol’s ability to shoot the mid range shot, and pass from that position, which many 7-footers simply couldn’t do.

- Brown on Bynum: “I think he can be a cornerstone to an organization. But you have to remember that Andrew is still learning what he’s (eventually) going to be. He didn’t play near the minutes (as he did in 2011-12). He needs time and the commitment to want to get better every time he steps onto the floor … the sky is the limit on how good he wants to be.” Brown said that Bynum fluctuated on how he handled his much-increased role: “At times he handled it really well, at times he could have handled it better.”

- On the current roster: “I like the core of this team … we have some good guys on this team that can help us win.” He implied that with a full training camp and practices in a regular season, maybe things would be different, citing how San Antonio and Oklahoma City have the type of continuity that “makes a world of difference” with talent and a good staff. Brown’s basic point is that L.A. may already have enough to win the whole thing, but the compressed season did make that more difficult. The margin for error obviously wasn’t too big, with L.A. beating OKC once and holding a 7-point lead with two minutes to play in one road game and a 9-point lead with six minutes to left in the Game 4 home contest.

- On if players watch Kobe too much: “That’s something at times over the year we addressed. We play with a lot of motion on offense with reads, but (many guys) would get locked in on Kobe” and not see guys open on the weak side of the floor.” It’s a bit of a chicken/egg argument, but may always been an issue with someone who plays as aggressively as Bryant.

- On his own coaching performance: “I feel like I could have done a lot better. I’m not using it as an excuse, but I tell you, it was tough that you didn’t get to practice the way that you (wanted to). I know there were a lot of things I felt rushed on that I did on the fly based on the lack of time. So to really give myself a true evaluation would be hard. I thought based on the circumstances, with a staff, we did fairly well, but we could have done a lot better.”