Archive for the 'Steve Nash' Category

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Bryant Has Third-Most Jersey Sales Worldwide

ts_131003kobe_jersey670Kobe Bryant came in at No. 3 for most popular jersey sales worldwide for the 2012-13 season, according to a release from the NBA. Derrick Rose and LeBron James came in at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively. The rankings are based on Adidas global sales in advance of the NBA Global Games, which tips off Oct. 5.

Bryant also had the third-most jersey sales in China, Europe and the Philippines and the second-most jersey sales in Latin America. Teammate Steve Nash had 11th most worldwide, while Pau Gasol had the fifth-most sales in Europe.

The Lakers, along with 11 other NBA teams, will play a combined 10 preseason and regular-season games in 10 cities in seven countries as part of the 2013-14 Global Games schedule. L.A. will face Golden State in Beijing on Oct. 15 and again in Shanghai on Oct. 18 as part of their preseason slate.

Healthy Gasol, Nash to be Protected in Camp

nashPerhaps the biggest and most unfortunate storyline of the 2012-13 season in Los Angeles was the Murphy’s Law progression of injuries. Every key player, let alone the head coach, had a major injury that ultimately derailed L.A.’s late push when Kobe Bryant tore his Achilles on April 12.

Bryant remains on the shelf with no set timetable to return as he continues rehabilitation, but Pau Gasol and Steve Nash — L.A.’s other two key pieces — have started camp in better health than they were able to achieve last season.

Nash suffered a fracture in his leg in just the second game of the season, and wasn’t able to stay ahead of back/hamstring/nerve issues that emerged when he returned in late December and plagued him throughout the season.

Gasol had a plethora of problems, including a concussion, a tear of his plantar fascia and tendonosis in both knees that required an offseason procedure from which he’s been rehabilitating.

L.A.’s approach with both players will to be to limit their overall exertion in training camp while getting them enough reps to get in game shape and get integrated with their teammates. It’s way too early to tell how that will work for either player, but significantly, both are in solid shape thus far.

“Pau was out there (Saturday),” said Mike D’Antoni. “I just won’t let him and Steve Nash do two-a-days. They know what we’re trying to do. They were in the film room. I just didn’t want them to push it early. They could have gone if they needed to.”

That’s all well and good for Gasol and Nash.

“I feel good,” said Nash. “At this time of year, I need to play and get reps, but obviously find a balance between overdoing it as well … It obviously gets a little more difficult in that you have to be more thorough the older you get, and obviously, I don’t want to discount there’s a factor with age as much as I don’t want to indulge in that. I still feel really capable, positive and optimistic, especially at the start of the season.”

“I was cleared to (practice) and the doctors gave me the (OK) I was ready to do it,” added Gasol. “Now it’s just absorbing the load that I put myself through out there, and going day by day … I don’t think I’ll ever be 100 percent anymore, but I think I’ll be a lot better than I was last year and that will be a big improvement.”

Starting To Put In The System:
Installing a system of play on both ends of the court has been something Mike D’Antoni and his coaching staff have been very much looking forward to for months, particularly since last season didn’t afford the same opportunity.

Camp started on Saturday night and continued into Sunday morning’s session at the team’s practice facility, with an emphasis on general teaching as is consistent for most teams.

“The biggest thing is trying to put in everything we do,” said D’Antoni. “We try to teach them everything first and then we’ll break it down each day. Yesterday was just devoted to how we want to play offensively and defensively, and today we’ll start breaking down segments of it.”

In essence, the morning sessions are for film and the putting in of various sets and schemes. At night, the players scrimmage. The fact that nearly the entire roster has been at the facility playing games and working out for most of September has aided the process.

“These guys have been going 90 percent for the last month, so it’s pretty smooth and they’re pretty far along,” said the coach. “Everything is going to be the same we did in Phoenix. We might do it a different speed. That speed is determined by the players, which is fine, but the basic principles are all the same. We’re moving the ball, getting wide-open shots, and hopefully we make it.”

Media Day Vines

Steve Nash: 2013 Exit Interview

13exits_NashSteve Nash appeared and started in 50 games in 2012-13, missing 24 games due to a lower leg fracture and the last eight of the regular season because of hamstring/hip/back issues. Nash averaged 12.7 points and 6.7 assists, and narrowly missed his fifth 50/40/90 season (49.7 percent field goals, 43.8 percent on three-pointers, 92.2 percent free throws).

Nash played the first two postseason games, averaging 12.5 points and 4.5 assists in 30 minutes per contest, before missing the final two with the same back/hip/hamstring issues that kept him out at the end of the regular season.

Below is a summary of his exit interview:

- Nash opened by expressing his disappointment with the tough season: “It’s definitely been the most frustrating year of my career.” Obviously the injuries were difficult, let alone the failure to meet expectations. Regardless of the reasons why – and there were plenty – that’s going to result in disappointment.

- On recovering from his injuries this offseason, starting with the nerve issues he’s battled in his back/hip/hamstring: “I always work hard. I’m definitely going to prepare better than I ever have to make next year (different). (I have) no concerns. No word (from the) medical staff for long-term issues or next season being in jeopardy. There’s still a lot of work to do to get right.” Nash is hoping that he’ll be back to 100 percent in the next month or so.

- Nash on Dwight Howard, who is an unrestricted free agent: “I’m very hopeful that Dwight will be back. I think this is the place for him. I’m hopeful he sees it that way.”

- On playing for the Los Angeles Lakers: “It was an amazing experience for me to play for this franchise … that’s the one thing that burns me so much right now. I wanted to have a huge impact on the team and really make this an incredible year, and experience for the fans, the players and everyone involved … I just hope next year we can repay everyone for their loyalty and enthusiasm.”

- On how a coaching change, injuries derailed things: “It feels like we never even got started … we kept fighting, and played really good basketball for the last couple of months.”

- Nash isn’t sure what the roster will look like next season, saying changes are inevitable in the NBA, but he likes a lot of what is in place if healthy: “I think the core pieces with the disappointment of this season could (help us) form something special. It’s not a perfect fit, but we have great players that can find a way to make this work.” L.A. almost never had a healthy, cohesive team throughout the season.

- Nash downplayed chemistry issues with the team that may have plagued the roster early in the season. He said that losing brings out a certain degree of difficulty for any team, but that the Lakers definitely figured things out as the season wore on. “In the big picture I think relationships were formed and kept … I think it’s the only reason we didn’t (putter out).” The team played good basketball in the final three months of the season even while beat up.

- Nash discussed the difficulty of having established veterans who have all played different styles in the past, and how difficult that can be for a head coach: “We have a lot of guys who have had great careers, great success that have done it in their way. But when you come together you can’t do it in four or five different ways. I think that was really difficult for everyone, for the players, and particularly for the coach. We can make a long list of what (coach) Mike (D’Antoni) faced this year: coming in late, the craziest injury situation I’ve ever seen, guys playing when they’re not themselves. It’s hard to find an identity when guys aren’t what they’re going to be in a week, or out of the line up in a week. I thought he handled it well. He competed, he worked every day, he was passionate about it.”

- What’s most important for Nash moving forward for next season? “For me, I just want to get in great shape … so that nothing is holding me back for next season. For the team, we’ll see.” Nash went on to explain that further, but basically, it’s tough to really plan too much until we see who is on the roster for next season.

Nash on Jason Collins: “I think it’s great that Jason is strong enough to come out. I think he’s going to make a huge impact on a lot of people, most importantly on a lot of young people … I’ve thought for a while now that it’s not going to be a big issue. I don’t think it’s fair for Jason to think it’s going to be a walk in the park, but at the same time, this is a really important issue and time that somebody has finally taken a leadership role in this respect.”

Watch every exit interview on our Exit Interview Central

Murphy’s Law Injury Season Continues

Los Angeles Lakers v San Antonio Spurs - Game TwoLakers Injury Report sponsored by UCLA Health SystemThings seemed bad enough from an injury standpoint with Kobe Bryant watching losses in Games 1 and 2 from his home in Orange County as his backcourt partner Steve Nash hobbled/battled his way through nerve issues in his back/hip/hamstring.

But in a season in which nearly everything has gone wrong from an injury standpoint, we learned on Friday that Steve Blake would be out indefinitely with a moderate hamstring strain, while Nash and Jodie Meeks (sprained left ankle) are doubtful for Friday’s Game 3.

Blake had an ultrasound on Friday to confirm the hamstring strain; Meeks had an MRI on his ankle; and Nash received two epidural injections in his back, in addition to a cortisone shot in his right hip.

Mike D’Antoni said that Nash is the more likely between he and Meeks to be able to play, but both are unlikely to see the floor.

As such, the Lakers would be without their top four guards, with 2011 second round picks Darius Morris and Andrew Goudelock (the recently called-up 2012-13 D-League MVP) and Chris Duhon remaining to try and hold the fort.

Morris will likely start at point guard, charged with defending Tony Parker, which Blake did exceptionally well in the first two games. Parker did manage to explode for 15 of his 28 points in the third quarter of Game 2, hitting 9 of 20 shots and 9 of 10 free throws, after 18 points on 8 of 21 field goals in Game 1.

Goudelock may get the nod at off guard, his ability to create his own shot and knock down open threes coveted, with Duhon backing up both spots.

INJURY MONSTER (bug doesn’t cut it)
In the regular season, the Lakers lost 81 games to starters, and 171 overall, with almost every key rotation player missing at least four games:

- Steve Nash: lower left leg fracture (24 games); right hamstring/hip issues (8 games)
- Kobe Bryant: sprained left ankle (2 games); torn left Achilles tendon (2 games)
- Metta World Peace: torn lateral meniscus in left knee (6 games)
- Pau Gasol: tendinitis in both knees (8 games); concussion (5 games); torn plantar fascia in right foot (20 games)
- Dwight Howard: torn labrum in right shoulder (6 games)
- Jordan Hill: left hip injury (53 games)
- Steve Blake: abdominal injury (37 games)

Add in two missed playoff games for Bryant, one for Hill and Jodie Meeks plus the potential for four guards out for Game 3, and things have gone beyond ridiculous. A qualifier is the team’s collective age, making injuries more likely, but even head athletic trainer Gary Vitti said he’s never seen anything like this season from an injury perspective.

For comparison’s sake, here’s how three other Western teams have fared on the injury front from a games missed standpoint:

Lakers: 171 total, 81 starting five
Spurs: 86 total, 50 starting five
Clippers: 86 total, 17 starting five*
Thunder: 12 total, seven starting five
*Chauncey Billups also missed 60 games

Pretty rough for the purple and gold, to say the least, particularly as the Spurs, Clippers and Thunder have all gotten their key players back for the postseason.

Nash Plans To Play In Game 1

IMG_2899Steve Nash participated in his second straight practice on Saturday in advance of the Lakers opening round series that starts in San Antonio.

“I plan on playing unless there’s a setback between now and (Sunday),” Nash said. “So far, so good.”

During Friday’s media session, Nash allowed he had not tried sprinting yet, but Saturday, he was able to get up and down the court with no problems.

“A little bit,” Nash said. “We went up and down I’d say 10 trips, and I got through it OK. It wasn’t playing a quarter or anything, but at least it was a little bit more of a step for me, and it gives me some optimism that I’ll be able to get through tomorrow.”

Coach Mike D’Antoni stated there would be “a possibility” both Nash and Blake in the backcourt together on Friday, but remained mum on Saturday as to who would start.

“We’ll see (on Sunday), he said. “We haven’t quite settled in yet.”

Blake started the final eight regular-season games, while Jodie Meeks started the last two after Kobe Bryant went down for the season with a torn Achilles tendon. Because Nash has not played in more than three weeks, though, there could be limitations on his minutes.

“We’ll see,” D’Antoni said. “Obviously, he’s not going to play a lot of minutes. Whatever he can give us will be great, and then we’ll play it by ear. As the series goes on, he should get stronger.”

Limited minutes or not, Nash maintains he’s ready to return and help the team in some capacity after preparing himself to this point.

“All the games are more and more important,” he said. “It’s been tough and that’s why I’m doing whatever I can to get back out there as fast as I can. I’m working hard to put myself in a position to give it a shot, and I think I’m ready to try.”

Nash Optimistic For Game 1

Lakers Injury Report sponsored by UCLA Health SystemSteve Nash, who missed the final eight games of the regular season with hamstring/hip issues, went through a 5-on-5 halfcourt scrimmage with the team in advance of their opening round playoff series with San Antonio.

“Mentally, I’m chomping at the bit and physically I’m getting there,” he said. “I’m very optimistic I’ll be able to play on Sunday.”

Nash received an epidural injection on April 16, but admitted he is still not pain free. He has yet to sprint full speed, though, and acknowledged as much post practice.

“Not full out,” he explained. “I was able to play halfcourt today, and there were a couple situations where it was pretty close to a sprint, so it’s coming. In some ways, I want to give myself as much time as possible, but at the same time you can’t wait forever. Just trying to play that timing game, let the medicine work, (rely) on myself to heal and recover and at the same time, be prepared to play without blowing it out again.”

It’s been nearly three weeks since the 6-foot-3 point guard last played significant minutes in a game – at Milwaukee when coach Mike D’Antoni pulled him early in the second half. The following contest at Sacramento, Nash started but played just two minutes before exiting for good.

“There’s still a lot of movements to work through,” Nash said. “That’s going to take some time. Getting used to some of the pain, some of the inhibition and trying to work through it and get myself back to where I’m capable.”

With Nash injured, Steve Blake started all eight games in April, averaging 12.6 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists, while shooting 41 percent on 3’s. The last two home games against San Antonio and Houston, he posted a combined 47 points, 12 boards and 11 dimes.

“Steve has been phenomenal and filled in not only for myself, but for Kobe and for our depth,” Nash said of his backcourt partner. “He’s made a lot of shots for us. He’s a fighter. That’s such a valuable thing on your team.”

Should Nash be able to go on Sunday, D’Antoni stated “it’s a possibility” both him and Blake would start together in the backcourt.

“I’m just hoping to be able to play, get out there and contribute,” Nash explained. “That’s the bottom line. I’m just really hopeful and working hard – pretty much twice a day the last few weeks – to get back, and hopefully the time has come.”

Injury Update: Nash Remains Out

Los Angeles Lakers v Los Angeles ClippersLakers Injury Report sponsored by UCLA Health SystemSteve Nash pulled himself out of L.A.’s March 30 game at Sacramento after just under two minutes of action, his back/hip/hamstring not allowing him to play, and on Sunday against San Antonio will miss his eighth consecutive game.

The Lakers managed to go 6-1 in the seven games without him, shifting ball-handling and play-making responsibilities over to Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol (over seven assists per game in Nash’s absence). But since Bryant tore his Achilles with 3:08 left in the fourth quarter of L.A.’s Friday night win over Golden State, the Lakers will miss what Nash brings to the table even more.

It’s coach Mike D’Antoni’s hope that Nash will be ready to play on Wednesday, but we’ll have to wait and see how he responds.

Super competitive and constantly hard working, Nash has been increasingly frustrated with the injury, and has been doing everything he can to get back on the floor.

Injury Update: Steve Nash

Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles LakersLakers Injury Report sponsored by UCLA Health SystemSteve Nash missed a third straight practice as he continues to heal from a hamstring/hip injury.

Nash has been absent from the lineup for nearly three games because of a strained hamstring/hip strain. He played the first two minutes at Sacramento before having to exit.

When asked about his status for Sunday’s game, coach Mike D’Antoni said: “I don’t think he’s going to go tomorrow. We’re shooting for Tuesday hopefully.”

Steve Blake started against Dallas and Memphis, and received the bulk of the minutes at Sacramento once Nash went down. In his last three games, Blake is averaging 10.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists, while shooting 47.8 percent from the floor and 50.0 percent from the 3-point line.

Kobe Bryant has carried a heavier load more recently, playing in nearly 45 minutes a game during this stretch. He posted 24 points, nine assists and five boards in 42 minutes against Memphis, after playing all but 79 seconds in the previous two games. The 16-year veteran is averaging 22.0 points, 11.3 assists and 8.3 rebounds over his last three.

Bryant and Nash Injury Update

Minnesota Timberwolves v Los Angeles LakersLakers Injury Report sponsored by UCLA Health SystemFrom Lakers PR:

Kobe Bryant received treatment on his foot and ankle today and his status for tomorrow is probable. Steve Nash also received treatment today and his status for tomorrow is questionable.