Training Camp Opens

Kurt —  September 30, 2008

Baseball training camps seem to get all the love, with their ties to spring and a feeling of rebirth.

But for basketball and NBA fans, today is our day of spring, it’s just that the crack of bats is replaced with sneakers squeaking on hardwood. But the underlying tenets are the same:

Today there is hope, there is optimism. Not just for Lakers fans, who see a team that could potentially provide us with a year of thrills culminated in a parade through downtown, but in NBA cities across the land. Today there is a sense of hope in Milwaukee and Atlanta, a sense of optimism in Phoenix and Orlando and Sacramento. There is the hope of youth, the optimism of potential, the excitement of what could be and what is dreamed.

For fans, today, the first day of camp, should be about savoring the feeling and excitement of an oncoming season. It should be about the untainted joy that sport can provide. We’ll spend plenty of time talking about Xs and Os, contracts and injuries, as the season wears on.

But today is none of that. Today is about hope. Remember, Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies.

Kurt

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43 responses to Training Camp Opens

  1. Hear! Hear!

    Also, I think you meant “tenets,” not “tenants”.

  2. it’s ABOUT time!!

  3. Hell, today there’s even hope in New York. Maybe.

    Time to start saving for the League Pass! The long dark nights of having to figure out what to watch on tv are finally almost over!

    And thank God. The nightly news isn’t exactly happy lately.

  4. Can’t wait to start watching some games again

  5. 1. Weston, thanks for the catch. Change made. I’d like to blame spell check for that one, but I think it’s on me this time.

  6. 3. Let’s not get carried away here.

  7. Have people gotten a chance to see the pictures of Drew Bynum, dude looks like a beast. Also, Sasha has gotten stronger (physically) as well, good to see, he can hopefully give Kobe some more minutes on the bench.

  8. 9. Emma, we talked about this in the last post comments. Bottom line, I think what Phil said in the first place was an effort to motivate LO, part of a long pattern of Phil using the media to make points. LO wasn’t supposed to like it, doesn’t and will work hard to be a starter. That’s what Phil wanted all along.

  9. Thanks, Kurt! Sorry, but I don’t read all the comment sections :)

    I happen to agree with Phil and just thought that L.O. would have handled it more graciously.

  10. ok nobody has done it yet so:

    “let me tell you something about hope my friend, hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.”

    which just to clarify, isnt me being off topic by quoting shawshank as well that quote pretty much sums up my feelings toward the start of this laker season. God I can’t remember anticipating anything this much.

  11. Look at this picture: http://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20080929/capt.c07216ac5a9b4303b0183691ae64b9d5.lakers_media_day_basketball_ksd103.jpg
    Pau Gasol: 7’0″
    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?playerId=0996
    Andrew Bynum: 7’0″
    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?playerId=2748

    I have little doubt Gasol is an authentic 7-footer, maybe 7’1″, but Bynum looks like he’s got 3 inches on him in that pic. Granted, Gasol has his head down a bit, but still. Imagine if this kid is 7’3″ by the time he’s done growing and can still run the floor?

  12. What a difference a year makes. This time last summer, everyone was convinced Kobe was a Bull.

  13. Hope…

    “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.” – Albert Einstein

  14. I Love The Lakers! ‘Nuff said!

  15. For those who get League Pass,strongly advise taping/DVRing/TiVOing as many games as possible. It’s a great thing to have for next summers’ dog days. I’ve been watching the games from last yr and it’s been nice having something to look forward to at night.

  16. Based on today’s quotes, I think Odom is conflicted about the sixth man thing:

    “I don’t think it will be a problem when you’re playing together. It’s too bad it has to be politics and business around the game, especially when you have a team like this. It’s not right for me to be selfish at this time,” Odom said.

    “I walk into the locker room and I’m like, ‘Damn, this team is going to win the championship.’ I want to be a part of that. But … It’s definitely conflicted emotions. I might wake up today feeling one way and wake up tomorrow feeling another way. This is the team I want to be on. This is the coach I want to play for. These are the guys I want to be around.”

  17. the other Stephen September 30, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    18. yeah, i was just about to say that his comments about being a “doormat, rug, whatever” sounded like they were edged with some discontent. basically, i hope he plays well so that he can keep that starting spot!

  18. Holy moly, Bynum looks ripped in that picture (comment 13). He looks taller than Pau… who is legit 7 foot. But I can’t be sure about the perspective. Guess we will have to wait to see how they look on the floor.

    Can we point to Manu as to what Lamar could do off the bench? His ability to facilitate the offense could make him the ultimate glue guy if he can stay out of foul trouble. Most games Lamar has foul trouble, he picks up a quickie or too. Perhaps coming off the bench could partially hep that.

    Comes in 5-7 minutes into the game, plays 34-39 mins. Proven four with either Pau or Bynum as the center.

  19. 20. There are things Odom could do off the bench. But once again, why don’t we give him a shot in the starting lineup before we decide this isn’t going to work and he should come off the bench? Let’s see what happens before we change tactics.

  20. For what it’s worth, I agree with you. If you are paying a player 14.5 million, he starts. Period.

    Coupled with the fact that he was an integral starter on the team during a championship run, I don’t know how any coach could not start him.

    I think we all know Phil is just messing with Lamar, getting him pumped for the season. It’s a contract year for Lamar, and he’s only 29…

    I was merely pointing out worst case scenario is still pretty awesome.

    Keep wanting to pinch myself looking at this lineup and its permutations. Pau is extra hungry after the Olympics. Contract time for Lamar, Bynum and Ariza. Kobe, well, he wants to make a splash before living in Europe for the twilight of his career with his kids.

  21. Er, 28, rather. He turns 29 on November 6th (!).

  22. Did anyone else listen to the full Odom interview on lakers.com. He sounds increasingly confused and nonsensical throughout. I’m not exactly sure where he was going, but I think the underlying, unsaid message was that it’s going to be tough for him to both play for a new contract and sacrifice for the team’s success. I wasn’t too thrilled with where his head seems to be, but what else is new.

  23. Reed,
    I get the impression that you’re right about the underlying message. However, I also get the impression that he understands that winning is the most important thing and that for him to go all WR (Ocho Cinco, TO, Moss) on the Lakers isn’t the best route to get what he wants. On some levels, I feel for Odom in that, at least last season and in those playoff series against the Suns, the Lakers really depended on him as a major contributor and now he sees a bench role as the opposite of a major contributor. In the end though, if he’s serious about winning, he’ll do what it takes to help us win.

  24. Lamar ALWAYS sounds confused and nonsensical. If you watch him in interviews, it’s like he’s daydreaming.

  25. haha.. youre right about LO. i think he needs to lay off the blunts. maybe he’d be a little more consistent..

    i do love LO though. i think he is more than versatile enough to start at the 3 and pull it off. it will be interesting nonetheless.. aahhhh. can’t wait until the season starts.

  26. length just means more fouls if you aren’t fast enough. we saw that happen a lot during the Utah series. so we’ll have to see if all that length translates to good defense… or easy buckets.

  27. Hi Laker fans, does anyone else think Bynum looks like Philip Bolden, the kid from “Are We There Yet?”

  28. the other Stephen October 1, 2008 at 8:25 am

    29. to me, he looks more like devean george’s brother from another mother. or his illegitimate son.

  29. I dont see what is wrong with a guy that has conflict about these sorts of things. LO is getting a bad take from a lot of people becasue of these statements. Wouldnt you be a little disturbed considering that Coach is talking about making you the 6th Man (even if it is media motivation)…yet you need to shine in your contract year becasue this is your livelihood…and yet you want to be the ultimate team player becasue you realize this is your chance for that ring you have dreamed about all your life. I sure would be distrurbed.

    Lamar Odom is all heart!!!! He played that season where his kid had died…everyone got injured…he tore his Labrum and still played as best he could in the playoff series against phoniex. Lamar will be just fine with whatever role is assigned to him. If he is off the becnh he can logically be relife for 3 positions…not many in the league can do that. But I still see him starting…but that is my opinion.

    And with Jordan, Trevor, Luke, Chris, Sasha and the rest of the bench…this isnt about Hope…this is about planning a better route for the Flat Bed.

  30. Emma,

    I would rather see LO react to it like that, rather than graciously. It shows it bothers him. Alot. That’s a better indicator that he’s going to make sure that he knows what’s at stake. What you read was an honest passionate response that Phil was probably looking to evoke.

  31. I like LO, but I don’t know if I ever remember him playing great with a chip on his shoulder. When the trade rumors come around, he doesn’t get upset and play his best, nor does he when he tells everybody he’s trying to be an all star. He typically comes around right after the trade deadline, when he’s secure again. I think he excels when he feels accepted and appreciated.

    I’m not expecting a great year from him, since even if he isn’t benched, he’s in a contract year. He’ll put pressure on himself and struggle to find his place.

    Fortunately, we may not need more than that with this lineup.

  32. JD,

    Good points. He had that star shaved into his head well after it was certain he had no shot of making the All-Star team, as if he didn’t get the memo.

    I’m a fan of LO, but I posted something on FD yesterday about Marbury, and added that I think that LO to a lesser extent suffers from the same problem that plagues Stephon.

    While it could be true that he may help this team more off the bench, realistically, hisego may not be able to handle it because of the shoulda, coulda, woulda baggage he has. Lamar, like Steph, came up as NYC legends, and the value they put on themselves and because of the shoulda, coulda, woulda we put on them, they can’t accept ANY thought that what they should be might be less than what they actually are.

    This isn’t meant to bash Lamar at all. I just agree with JD, that I’m not sure if LO can really handle a “demotion.” Regardless of it’s real implications.

  33. I have a question. I was just thinking about it today and I wondered, “would Jordan have been as successful had he not played in the triangle offense?” My thought is that he would have probably won a ring or two, but definitely not 6. What do ya’ll think?

  34. Michael Jordan was one of the best NBA players of all time. However, I wouldn’t go farther than that and I wouldn’t try to isolate any player who is better than all the rest – can’t be done, in my opinion.

    The thing about Jordan was that he was the 1st homegrown star for Nike and the first ESPN athlete. Both those things emphasized his exposure and minimized his troubles. I do tend to agree with rubens that the triangle system helped him to shine, while allowing the team to win with players who were closer to average than either the Celtics or Lakers of the 80′s had. I also didn’t hurt that the teams of the 90′s weren’t consistently as good as the teams of the 80′s.

  35. Rubens,

    That’s an unfair hypothetical. Whose to say any player has won anything just because of the system they played in ? Jordan did win a Championship in college, and he nailed the game winner. He didn’t play in the triangle at Carolina. Have you thought that maybe the Triangle might look so good because it helps to have Jordan & Pippen, and Shaq & Kobe ? MJ was amazing.

  36. Rubens, the timing of the triangle coming into MJ’s career coincided with two things: 1) After years of losses in the playoffs despite Jordan’s efforts, he finally was getting enough talent around him to win; 2) Tied to that point, Jordan was realizing that the team did better when he scored 30 not 60. I think the triangle offense helped facilitate some of that, but whatever offense the Bulls ran at that point they were poised to start winning a lot.

    At the level of the NBA, offensive design is not wins a title. It’s how any offense is used to exploit advantages.

  37. Rubens,
    I would actually say that Coaching played the biggest role in Jordan’s winning. Obviously the Triangle is tied to that, but Phil is the coach that told Jordan that he was going to run an “equal oppurtunity” offense and convinced him of it’s merits. Jordan was reluctant at first, but Phil got him to understand and built up the trust that allowed Joradan to understand that playing in that offense and playing the team game is what would lead them to the mountain top.

  38. news and notes new post up

  39. John Hollinger on Kobe:

    “He’s also 30 and has more mileage on his legs than any other 30-year-old in history, which might not be a concern except that his numbers have dropped fairly sharply each of the past two seasons. ”

    That’s a little misleading, no? His numbers decreased 2 years ago because the year prior had been historical. Last year they decreased again because he had so much more help. It’s not like he lost a step.

    Otherwise, I wouldn’t be THAT surprised if the Lakers didn’t grab the top seed. PJ knows the value of that, but he also knows that the team will have to win on the road anyways, and fresh legs are more valuable than the 1 seed.

  40. Phil: ‘I’ve never seen Lamar motivated’.

    My man’s laying it on THICK.