The rookies from last year are, well, no longer rookies anymore! We catch up with second-year players Darius Morris and Andrew Goudelock at Media Day yesterday about this upcoming year.
FORUM BLUE & GOLD: Different year! How does it feel right now?
DARIUS MORRIS: It feels good to just be back. Really blessed. Really excited about the new season. Not a rookie no more so that’ll be good!
FB&G: What do you feel your role is going to be? Steve Nash is here, Steve Blake, Chris Duhon… that’s a lot of competition.
DM: Darius Morris is here! *laughs* It’s gonna be good! It’s gonna be very competitive and whoever steps up will play and will do whatever’s best for the team. It’s a long season so a lot of us will get opportunities and we just have to capitalize when we do.
FB&G: I talked to (Asst. Coach) Chuck Person for a little bit. He said you needed to slow down a little bit. Do you agree with him?
DM: Yeah. Maturing my game on an NBA level. Especially here playing for the Lakers. There are a lot of veterans here so you have to learn very quickly. Slowing down just comes with being more comfortable, getting more minutes, and letting the game come to you. I think I started to do that already, especially in Summer League. And a full training camp will help as well.
FB&G: How was your offseason work?
DM: Just getting bigger and working on perimeter shooting. (I worked on) a little bit of everything, though. Watching a lot of film, learning how to make reads, and things that point guards gotta be able to do.
FB&G: How is Kobe as a teammate?
DM: Great! A lot of people have a lot of assumptions about him. He’s really a great individual. He’s someone that really cares about his teammates. Kobe’s just a competitor. He wears his heart on his sleeve, he works so hard. But he inspires his teammates. Definitely there off the court as well and we can talk about anything.
FORUM BLUE & GOLD: What was your “Welcome To The NBA” moment?
ANDREW GOUDELOCK: Probably my first game. I had a decent game against the Clippers. I know after that game, Mitch (Kupchak) said, “You paid your rent today. That’s the saying we have in the NBA.” At the time I didn’t know but when he told me that, I guess you can say that was kind of my moment.
FB&G: Did you expect to play point guard for the Lakers? You played the 2 in college.
AG: I’ve been playing the 2 my whole life. At the beginning, that’s what (the Lakers) wanted me to do but I wasn’t sure because they would let me play the 2. So I didn’t really know. But I think I’m more prepared for it now. I worked the whole summer on being a point guard and pick-and-roll situations. Having Steve Nash around is definitely gonna help. I’m looking forward to it. If they have me run point again, I’ll be ready.
FB&G: What did you feel were your weaknesses?
AG: Playing point. That was the biggest knock on me. I’m an undersized 2. I wasn’t really comfortable playing the point guard. And also defense was another big thing. Having to guard 2′s have been a match-up problem. I think me being a point guard being able to guard point guards will suit my physique. I’m not 6’5″ or 6’6″ like these guys are. If I play point guards, that will be a better chance for me on defense.
FB&G: Any individual goals?
AG: First and foremost, I wanna make the team. I want to earn some time on the court and I wanna be the best player I can be. I wanna be able to crack the rotation. Hopefully, for the whole year. It’s definitely tough with the guys we have now. Everything for me is a process. And the next step for me is training camp.
Another media member asked about the veterans and this is what Andrew had to say…
AG: We’ve been playing together for two weeks now. Antawn’s a heck of a player. Dwight is a goofball and he’s a heck of a player, too. We haven’t gotten to see him much because of his injury. The veterans? They’ve all been great. They’ve been more than helpful with the process on what to look for in an NBA career. I’m really growing to like everybody. This team is so much different from last year’s team; it’s like night and day. Everybody’s been good. Even with the rookies that we have and it feels good to say that. It’s not going to take long for the chemistry to kick in.