Getting in the flow of the season, today is a â€œtravel dayâ€ to Hawaii for the Lakers, then training camp will start tomorrow. Thatâ€™s when weâ€™ll start taking a closer look at this team, until then here are a few traveling day thoughts:
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ According to the Daily News report from last weekâ€™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 letâ€™s say he does get sent down â€” this may be exactly what he needs. The developmental league is a great place for players who have game but need to learn professionalism. Thereâ€™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 Iâ€™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, didnâ€™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 heâ€™ll be up with the Lakers â€” everyone needs a guy who can shoot.
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ I still think that if long-term one of the two big men the Lakers brought in this summer â€” Kwame Brown and Andrew Bynum â€” 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.
â€¢ By the way, I missed Phil Jackson on the Sunday Conversation on ESPN. Did anyone catch it? Anything of interest?