Around The World (Wide Web): Media Day Edition

Darius Soriano —  September 25, 2010

Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson (L) and guard Kobe Bryant watch the team practice for Game 1 of the NBA Finals basketball series against the Boston Celtics in Los Angeles June 2, 2010. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

It’s been a busy couple of days for the Lakers as training camp is about to begin and members of the organization have been talking to the press about the upcoming season.  Below are some of the recaps from various members of the press and/or blogosphere that were there for first hand accounts and few extra links for good measure.

*The man that everyone spoke to yesterday was Phil Jackson as he gave his annual pre training camp presser on all things Lakers.  He talked about this probably/maybe being his last stand (including a great line about Custer), about the “exhibition” games in Europe, about his decision to come back for this season, about Andrew Bynum, and much, much more.  For some excellent recaps for Phil’s discussion with the media, check out the summaries from Mike Trudell over at, the K-Bros at Land O’ Lakers, and Mike Bresnahan at the LA Times.

*As mentioned, one of the main story lines going into training camp relates to Andrew Bynum and how he’s still not fully recovered from his off-season knee surgery.  Which means he will not play in any of the Lakers pre-season games and may not even be ready for the start of the regular season.  This has brought Bynum some heat from the local media where questions about the timing of his surgery have been debated and young ‘Drew has pretty much been portrayed in a negative light.  I’m on the same page as Phil on this in that the surgery ended up being a bit more complex than originally estimated and that pushed back his recovery time.  And since the team encouraged ‘Drew to get away from the game for a little while, there is no blame to be laid here.  Bynum will eventually recover and he’ll contribute to the success of the Lakers this upcoming season.  That may not be in October but the team wants a healthy ‘Drew in May and June.

*Speaking of ‘Drew, over at Pro Basketball Talk, Matt Moore is also questioning Bynum and bringing up the long debated topics of laziness and work ethic and how it’s still tough to know what the Lakers have in their young Center (Moore also lists plenty of positives about ‘Drew – so go give it a read).  Let me say that while Moore makes some good points, I think the questions about Bynum’s work ethic are a bit misguided.  As I’ve said multiple times in the past, Bynum has improved too much in his career for folks to question how hard he’s worked.  When ‘Drew came into the league he was doughy teenager that had limited offensive skills.  Since his rookie year he’s transformed his body, refined his post game to the point that he’s effective finishing with both hands from both sides of the paint, has developed a good face up game, and has even picked up counters to compliment his go-to, pet moves.  He’s also worked his way back from some pretty serious knee injuries in order to become a major contributor to the Lakers’ success.  And while some of this development operated on timelines slower than what fans would have liked, the fact that he’s come this far shows the amount of work that he’s put in.  I just don’t buy that this kid is lazy or that his focus isn’t where it should be.

*Speaking of hard work, no one ever questions the effort that Kobe puts in during the off-season and this year is no different.   Based off what Phil has seen and heard from both Kobe and the Lakers’ training staff, #24 will be ready to go this pre-season and should even see some minutes during the games played in Europe after dealing with his own off-season knee surgery.  This is excellent news for the Lakers (and the paying customers in England and Spain) as we all want to see how Kobe looks (hopefully, well rested) and if his game is ready to go for next season.  One body part that may not be healed, though, is Mr. Bean’s busted index finger.  As Kevin Ding reported, Kobe has arthritis in the knuckle on that finger and there’s really no repairing that through surgery.  The hope is that he’s done enough strengthening of the finger through exercises and rehab to have it be less of an issue this upcoming year, but that remains to be seen.

*As for other training camp news, the Lakers have added a few more bodies to the roster as camp invites.  Four players in total were added and they’re back court players Trey Johnson Anthony Roberson and centers Andrew Naymick and Russell Hicks.  This brings the Lakers roster to 18 players heading into training camp.  Before anyone asks, I think it’s highly doubtful any of these guys make the team and are in Lakers camp to hopefully get some exposure around the league to make another roster or potentially get an offer from a European club (and considering the Lakers will be in Europe for part of the pre-season, this may be even more likely).  For a bit more of a background on Russell Hicks, check out the interview Henry Abbott had with his agent when talking about Russell’s invite to Lakers camp.

Darius Soriano

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30 responses to Around The World (Wide Web): Media Day Edition

  1. Not cool about bynum. I have no issue with the decision to delay surgery. But the decision to hold off releasing the news is bunk. Once the surgery was done, the doctors and the lakers knew the damage was worse than thought. Just from a pr standpoint, getting bad news out of the way earlier is better. Lots Of more interesting stuff to talk about on first day of training camp. Wishing bynum a speedy recovery and looking forward to the new season.

  2. The only people hurt by Andrew Bynum putting off surgery are the fantasy owners who drafted him. The only thing the Lakers and we their fans should care about is whether Bynum can bring 100% in June, which has yet to happen.

  3. I read somewhere that for the past few summers, Drew went back to Atlanta for his summer conditioning. That he stayed holed up in the basement of his trainer’s basement for a month so there wouldn’t be any distractions. The whole month he just worked hard on the program the trainer put together.

    If this is accurate, how come there isn’t more publicity about it? If true, to me that shows a really strong work ethic.

    Oh and anyone have thoughts on why Heat would pass on Dampier? I’d think he’s a more well rounded center than anyone they have on the roster. That his skillset matched what Heat needed.

  4. >>>The Lakers’ starting center said Saturday he won’t play until at least late November while recovering from surgery on his right knee.

  5. I think this delay of surgery is much better, but serves just about the same purpose as, Yao limiting his minutes per game.

    Yeah, optimistic I am 😉

  6. With Bynum being out a month and taking another month to get into the flow why not a Josh Boone signing. What’s wrong with picking up Bynum insurance? Theo will be the back up during the playoffs. Let Boone get some burn and see if he can be a Laker. He only has four years in the League so maybe we can make him a better free throw shooter. He’s a decent offense pick and roll scorer and can do the Bynum basics.

    Remember Boston is older but they did get bigger. Josh would be happy just to be on an NBA team. Veteran’s minimum anyone?

  7. Not the first time Drew’s delayed surgery – he also put if off during the playoffs, opting to gut it out, have the knee drained and give everything he had left to the team. I could care less if he misses camp, preseason or the start of regular season. It’s the end game that’s important.

  8. I’m also curious why the Heat passed on Dampier after working him out. He seemed like an ideal fit on paper. He cleans boards, sets good screens and plays very solid D inside, so what’s the problem?

  9. Apparently they’re satisfied with the 2-headed monster of Anthony and Ilgauskas.

  10. Not too happy about Drew being absent at the beginning of the season, but I want him to be healthy at the end. I cant be mad cause Drew punished himself in the playoffs putting team first( how quickly people seem to forget).

    On an off note Im surprised there isnt much chatter about the Nets acquiring C. Anthony for the likes of D. Favors, D. Harris, and Q. Ross. People believing C. Anthony is not a legit super star in the league have to go back and watch the tapes watch how many ways he can score. Although he leaves something to be desired on the defensive end, offensively he is top 5 in the league. The Nets will finally be relevant in the league if they can pull this off.

  11. Being a great scorer and nothing else does not make you a legit superstar.

  12. 11. Joel
    His defense is not that awful, when healthy the Nuggets had a good defensive team. Last year the Nuggets were hurt and couldnt get over the loss of G. Carl on the bench, so they had an off year. Before that C. Anthony was taking a team full of misfits and hot heads, besides C Billups, to the WCF.

  13. They didn’t have an off year. The year before was the ‘off year’, because it’s the only time they managed to get past the first round since Carmelo was drafted.

    Carmelo is probably the most complete scorer this side of Kobe, but what else does he excel at? Defense? Rebounding? Playmaking? If he had the kind of complete game that a real superstar has, he would have won more than 2 playoff series in 7 years. The teams he’s had haven’t been devoid of talent.

    Look, he’s obviously a damn good player, but I just don’t see him as a superstar. I don’t see him as the guy who carries a team to the limits of its potential. If this trade to the Nets goes through, they’ll still be a long way from being actual contenders.

  14. dave m ..,
    Don’t you mean “couldn’t care less”?

    Bynum’s absence will affect him and Gasol learning how to optimize their play together. On the other hand, I am hoping the coaching staff deliberately limits his PT this season (even if healthy), and this is a good start.

  15. So did the deal get done and is it still 4 teams? AK47 and Favors go to Denver along with a protected 1st round pick?

  16. ex,
    Stop correcting me or I’ll get out the job lasers!

  17. Joel,

    “Carmelo is probably the most complete scorer this side of Kobe”

    You’ve got Carmelo that high? Did LeBron and Kevin Durrant retire?

    Personally, I don’t think Carmelo is a superstar either. He just gets lumped into that category when we hear the talking heads talk about this mystical “Top 5 players in the league” list. The problem lies in that there are no names on that list and at any given moment, 10 people can be considered “Top 5” as far as these talking heads are concerned.

  18. >>>I’m also curious why the Heat passed on Dampier after working him out.

    maybe we can sign Dampier for veteran minimum?

  19. If you guys want to see a website i made about the lakers then visit its real nice for a home page.

  20. 17.

    I think Carmelo has a more complete scoring arsenal than either of those 2 when you consider his ability to score from the post, the triple-threat position, on the break, etc. He doesn’t always make the right decision, but in terms of skill-set his only real weakness is his streaky outside shooting.

    LeBron has no post game, is a poor free-throw shooter, and generally needs a live dribble to get a good shot off. Clearly he is very good at what he does but he’s definitely not as versatile a scorer as Carmelo. Durant is a good shout but he doesn’t have Carmelo’s back-to-the-basket game.

  21. Joel – defintley agree ‘Melo doesn’t always make the right decsion.

    For example …

    If he wants to win (maybe he doesn’t) don’t see how him going to the Nets advances/would advance that agenda …

  22. Palani –

    In hindsight Dampier would make sense for vet min but at this point we’re carrying 14 contracts and I seriously doubt we’ll fill that 15th slot.

  23. Arhithia,
    Anthony does have a more complete offensive game than either Durant or Le BJ; he may not be as effective at scoring, but his game is more well-rounded.

  24. Seems to be a fair amount of chatter about Denver trying to find a better deal before closing with Jersey. Pretty hard to keep a 4-team swap in limbo.

    ex, click on my name for a Slava snicker.

  25. Melo is the same kind of ‘superstar’ that Amare is. That is not a compliment, btw.

  26. Being a superstar doesn’t necessarily mean that the player is an automatic ‘argument’ in the best player discussion.

    You can be a star if you are the focus of the team’s offense and thus marketing, and if that team happens to be exposed in the media a lot, and is winning more than losing, you can become a superstar, regardless of your actual prowess among players.

    Melo is a bit more than this, of course, being our focal point in international competitions and actually leading a team in scoring that was good enough to threaten us.

    On top of that, his name value from the college days and his association with LeBron and Wade due to the 2003 draft grants him even more exposure, and thus you have a superstar, who is recognizable to even casual fans.

    All of this, of course, doesn’t mean that he’ll be in the Hall of Fame or anything like that, but it adds to his marketing value and recognition, making him a deserved superstar.

    In a way, superstars are like ultra-hot babes in movies… they may sell their movie better than great actors, but doesn’t mean that they are better actors.

  27. Home court advantage against Heat, Celtics, Magic or whoever is always important. So shouldn’t we be annoyed that Drew is out for a month worth of games? Yeah, being healthy in June is vital, but it wouldn’t go astray to be healthy now also.

  28. It’s too bad about Andrew, but I think it’s a little harsh the way people are coming down on him. It’s not like he deliberately pushed his recovery date back (like a certain former Laker center did with his “company time”) – the extent of the damage (and recovery time) wasn’t really known until they got inside the knee, from all reports.

    If anything, that makes his effort at gritting through the playoffs last season all the more impressive, and certainly merits cutting the guy a month or two’s worth of slack.

  29. In a perfect world, of course he’d have had that surgery right away, which of course does not guarantee that he would have been ready now, but still probably would have had a better chance to have been ready.

    But the WC is once in every 4 years, and watching after you have positively contributed to winning a championship is probably once in a lifetime, even for somebody in the early 20s.

    He has also played through quite a bit of pain and discomfort, so psychologically, the kid was due a break, a well-deserving one at that. Knowing that he is still pretty much a kid, and probably expecting some sort of appreciation for what he did, I think it was wise for the Lakers not to push him to get surgery right away, robbing him of his WC experiences, and even wiser for supporting his decision, since now he will definitely feel more appreciated than before.

  30. The only Laker “smiling” in the corner of the room after hearing about Bynum’s recovery timetable must have been Caracter, who now will have ample opportunity to showcase his skills as the 3rd or 4th big man on the rotation.

    I just hate this annual question about Bynum’s future. The dude is always going to be hurt, and miss 20-25 games in the regular season, and will probably be hobbled for the playoffs. The REAL question will come when Bynum’s contract is up for extension. I would love to wait on Bynum to become the player we all know he can be, but I wouldn’t want to make that decision about locking him in down the road. One thing’s for sure, I’m definitely over any notion that Bynum will reign supreme “P.K.” (post-Kobe).