The epic two-day Lakers preseason schedule commenced Monday evening and concludes tonight. The package is fairly convenient – a mini-hallway series against the Clippers and an ironic way to introduce Chris Paul to Los Angeles. While there’s plenty of sound first impressions, don’t expect much from me. I thought there was some decent flow in the first half, the third quarter was just a mess and the starters came back in the fourth and attempted to restore order. As expected, there’s a fair amount of observation in the press about Mike Brown’s methodology and embryonic relationship with his new group. It’s just one of the storylines that will play out all season long:
Brian Kamenetzky from ESPN’s Land O’Lakers writes about Coach Brown’s willingness to jump on Kobe’s lapses, right off the bat. He also points out that Kobe doesn’t seem to mind.
Brian follows up with a piece about Gilbert Arenas, to which I can only say “just stop that. Right now.”
Mark Medina from the L.A. Times Lakers blog steers the conversation back to terra firma with more Brown and Bryant. The coach took a straight-forward approach with the media, “If I was afraid to coach this team, then I shouldn’t be here. It’s as simple as that.”
Dave McMenamin points out the bright spot of Darius Morris in his McTen piece (and Mike Brown’s “feast or famine” comment was pretty excellent by the way).
Janis Carr & Kevin Ding at the OC Register also cover Brown’s critique of Kobe’s defense, along with the Mamba’s relief to find that he’s not dealing with “a pushover”.
Wondahbap at Silver Screen and Roll went a different route, jumping on back court liabilities – an All-World legend, a 37 year old defensive liability, a current free agent bust, a one-dimensional shooter whose never clocked meaningful minutes for a good team, a 2nd-Round rookie, and three guys who’ll get cut. Ouch!
This links post wouldn’t be complete without some words about the other half of the preseason equation: Kevin Arnovitz at TrueHoop writes about the oddities of the new Clippers respect and the simple essential ingredient of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin wreaking havoc with the pick and roll.
Tonight could well give us the first game-time appearance of Derek Fisher this season and I just want to voice appreciation for his long hours and unflappable presence during the lockout. It was an untenable position and now he gets to go back into battle, fighting for minutes at what’s certainly the weakest position on the Lakers squad. Get ready for the end of preseason – the Christmas day countdown is now only five days away.
- Dave Murphy