Fast Break

Kurt —  October 3, 2005

Getting in the flow of the season, today is a “travel day” to Hawaii for the Lakers, then training camp will start tomorrow. That’s when we’ll start taking a closer look at this team, until then here are a few traveling day thoughts:

• Update: The latest Carnival of the NBA Blogs is up at 120 Proof Ball, so here’s an easy way to catch up on what’s going on around the league as training camp opens.

• According to the Daily News report from last week’s Phil Jackson press conference, second round draft pick guard Von Wafer could be headed to the NDLB. First off, this is not certain as Wafer will get his chance in training camp to prove he is more deserving of a roster spot than Smush or other guards, or of playing time than Sasha and the rest. He can make the squad if he earns it.

But let’s say he does get sent down — this may be exactly what he needs. The developmental league is a great place for players who have game but need to learn professionalism. There’s no doubt Wafer can shoot the ball (he had an eFG% of 60% and shot 48.1% from three-point range in the Summer Pro League). But, as I’ve looked around this summer for more information on him, the reports that came out of games at Florida State on him were that he took games off, quarters off, didn’t like to play defense night in and night out, and all that is what led to problems with the his coach. That attitude was not evident in the four games I saw him play in the Summer Pro League, but there he knew it was an eight-game audition. Will he carry that work ethic over if he makes the roster? Maybe, or maybe he gets comfortable and reverts to form. The NDBL is perfect for players like him who need to mature and prove they can play hard every game at the next level. He does that at the NDLB and he’ll be up with the Lakers — everyone needs a guy who can shoot.

• Update: If you can’t wait for a Laker preview, Kelly Dwyer over at SI.com has his up at the site and he thinks this will be a more fun and interesting version of the Lakers and the triangle this year, but that we still need more in the post.

Last season couldn’t have gone much worse for the Lakers, but they should rebound nicely this season. They won’t contend for anything better than the seventh seed in the West, but it will be a solid start to the second Jackson Era. We’ve always suspected that a Kobe Bryant-led team would play more to the Triangle’s idiosyncrasies than a team with Shaq on the roster, so this season will be an interesting experiment.

• I still think that if long-term one of the two big men the Lakers brought in this summer — Kwame Brown and Andrew Bynum — pan out they will have done well. Here are a couple of interviews with those players, Brown in the Washington Post and Bynum in the LA Times.

• By the way, I missed Phil Jackson on the Sunday Conversation on ESPN. Did anyone catch it? Anything of interest?

Kurt

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8 responses to Fast Break

  1. Links to Sunday Conversation with Phil Jackson are available to both audio and text on Lakersground. BTW, I really appreciate your column. I’ve been a regular for several months now and like your carefully reasoned style and choice of topics. Thanks and keep up the good work.

  2. Thanks Randall. And I noticed that, but I can’t listen at work, I will tonight.

  3. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=2177339
    here is the link to the P. Jax conversation…

    i guess the best move the lakers have done this summer is phil…
    kobe is comfortable again, and the Zenmeister can make this team a contender in few years…

    there is nothing new on what phil said… it just tell me how jax want to success with this team

    man, i can’t believe the kind of especial coach/tutors that we have this year… pippen for LO Kareem helpping Bynum, Kwame and Mihm… if they can’t b successful with all that kind of help they will never b

  4. and don’t forget craig hodges is the new shooting coach too.

    thanks for the interview links. i’ve been wanting to know what the players have been thinkin/doing this summer in order to prep. haven’t went there yet. i’m hoping kobe didn’t get frustrated with bynum, because i saw his regimen somewhere and it sounded like andrew wasn’t taking part like he was earlier in the summer.

    all the special coaches are just another sign that the lakers organization is still probably the best iin the league. sure, the pressure to succeed is very high, but they’ve done well with bringing the best out of young talent. it’s not like elden campbell or eddie jones or nick van exel went somewhere else and became superstars.

    the last teenager they took on as a long-term project worked out pretty well.

    mitch kupchak’s moves this summer showed he took a lot of notes under jerry west. the last time the lakers gambled this big was in the summer of ’96, and that worked out pretty well.

    it could have been disastrous, and so can this. it can also be the making of yet another laker dynasty.

  5. i guess you are true… the preasure works good on kupchack… he saw that his job was in danger and just look who has brought to the team… it’s not just players cuz if we do a balance… we lost chuky caron and grant… but we got kwame, bynum and Mckie + PIPPEN + ABDUL-JABBAR+ PHIL JACKSON + HODGES
    and I hope seeing a better LO that will take preasure from kobe that if you have seen is 2nd in 1st pics for the Fantasy Draft in a survey from nba.com (1st spot is for James) so that means that not only the laker fans think that this might b a really good season for Kobe

    man i wish i would b in the US to see as much as possible from the lakers but here in spain the is a little NBA and mostly is about Pau Gasol haha love this guy but i rather prefere my lakers hahaha

  6. I know that I am young but I have never heard of this many special coaches being on one squad ever. I like it though and I can’t wait to see how it turns out. I don’t think that Abdul-Jabbar or Phil are going to approach Brown the same way that Jordan did because we all saw how that turned out. Also who better then Pippen to teach LO how to play the position in the triangle that he did and did so well. I am like xavier in the fact that right now I am not in the US because I am in the military and I am stationed in Japan and I love this site. Please keep up the good work.

  7. The transcript for the Sunday convo is on ESPN.com. I liked the idea of Phil letting Kobe loose and not confining him to the role of initiator as he did in his days with Shaq. Something along the lines of “unleashing” Kobe’s scoring potential on the opposing team.

  8. ^You’re all forgetting one former Laker: Brian Shaw.