From Mike Trudell, Basket Blog: The Lakers have become significantly less of an international team by personnel since the departures of Vladimir Radmanovic (Serbia), DJ Mbenga (Congo) and Sun Yue (China) from the 2008-09 training camp roster, leaving only Pau Gasol (Spain) and Sasha Vujacic (Slovenia) left in 2010-11. But if you’re looking for a roster full of New York – New Jersey metropolitan area hoopers, it’s not the Knicks or Nets, but the Los Angeles Lakers that carry the day. In fact, three Lakers – Lamar Odom, Ron Artest and Devin Ebanks – are all from the same borough of New York City (Queens), and have known one another for years. Odom and Artest played on the same AAU team as teenagers, while Ebanks grew up so close to Artest’s Queensbridge project that Artest knew of him by the time he was 10 years old. But that’s just New York. Over in New Jersey, Derrick Caracter (Fanwood, N.J.) and Andrew Bynum (Metuchen, N.J.) grew up in towns that are both about 30 miles away from NYC, and just nine miles away from one another.
From Brian Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: Luke Walton was on the floor again today after participating in both of Monday’s practice, a good sign regarding his still-questionable back. The difference between watching the first unit, filled with guys familiar with the system, and the seconds- today comprised of Shannon Brown, Steve Blake, Theo Ratliff, Matt Barnes, and Derrick Caracter- is profound. No surprise, the level of sophistication in the offense is far, far lower. Still, there are silver linings. Brown said after practice the process of playing with guys who don’t know the system as well is very constructive for him. Directing traffic reinforces and lengthens his understanding of what to do and where to go with the ball. Jim Cleamons spent a lot of time in Caracter’s ear, particularly on the defensive end. On the other side, Caracter was both a positive and negative force, nearly turning the ball over a few times, but also making good reads, crashing the boards, and showing some skill with a nice baseline drive and reverse layup.
From Andy Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: During our ESPN LA.com Media Day broadcast, there may have been no more interesting — and potentially controversial — exchange than one involving Andrew Bynum. By then, it was old news his offseason knee surgery revealed more damage than expected and his anticipated absence during the preseason could extend into the regular season. Bynum is targeting late-November for his return. Delaying surgery until mid-July to accommodate an overseas vacation was endorsed by Phil Jackson and the front office alike, as all signs pointed towards a relatively minor procedure and rehab.
From Rey Moralde, The No Look Pass: I’m not sure if David Stern is trying to turn his league into a robot league. Once again, the NBA is going to attempt to crack down on the complaining and whining of the players. They tried this once in 2005 and I remember Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley mocking this rule by yelling “THAT’S A TECHNICAL!” on every highlight. The policing slowly disappeared and it was back to where it was once again. I also remember the NBA when they said they would fine floppers during the 2008-09 season. Well, name me someone who was fined for flopping. Even if you did give me a name or two, that rule slowly disappeared, too… and everybody was back to falling on their backs even if no one made contact with them.
From Jeff Miller, OC Register: At 6-foot-9, he is the second heaviest Laker, his 265 pounds providing presence, which this team might need given what Andrew Bynum will be bringing. You know, absence? Coach Phil Jackson even noted Derrick Caracter’s offensive rebounding potential, his skill in terms of cleaning the glass. At the moment, however, Caracter is just cleaning. Empty water bottles. Discarded gum wrappers. Towels damp with someone else’s sweat. He is moving around the Lakers’ practice facility, picking up after teammates because that’s what rookies do, even this club’s preseason workouts ending with garbage time.
In continuing with our team previews series, below are the compiled links for the Pacific Division teams.
Recaps: All Previews