Around The World (Wide Web): Mike Brown’s Approach, Kobe’s Leadership, & Bench Play

Darius Soriano —  October 16, 2012

From Ramona Shelburne, ESPN Los AngelesDwight Howard had no idea how good he had it as he left Staples Center late Saturday night. “Day off tomorrow!” he said happily as he left the arena. After a long week of practice, three exhibition games, plus travel to Fresno and Ontario, it wasn’t surprising the Lakers would take Sunday off before starting a week in which they’ll practice every day, play three more exhibition games and travel to Anaheim and Las Vegas. It wasn’t surprising unless of course you spent any time around the team during Mike Brown’s first season as head coach. During the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season, the Lakers worked 19 straight days from the time training camp started on December 9, finally taking a day off on December 28 after opening the regular season with back-to-back-to-back games. Things didn’t get much easier from there, as Brown earned the nickname “All day, every day” from his players, many of whom chafed at the coach’s hard-driving style.

From Mark Medina, LA TimesOne key Lakers veteran has high expectations for something that hardly warranted praise in recent seasons. “I feel we can be one of the most dangerous benches in the league,” said Antawn Jamison. Despite the “Bench Mob” and “Killer Bees” nicknames in recent seasons, few would describe that unit in Jamison’s terms. Last season, the Lakers finished last in points (20.5), 28th in efficiency (27.2), 20th in shooting percentage (41.7%) and 28th in point differential (9.4). Coach Mike Brown played musical chairs in the bench rotation in hopes he’d find a sudden surprise. Even with Lamar Odom falling off the deep end in Dallas, his absence created an irreplaceable void as the team’s bench leader. The Lakers have made changes this off-season to address those problems. They added dependable secondary scoring (Jamison) and outside shooting (Jodie Meeks). They kept young talent (Devin Ebanks) and sudden surprises (Jordan Hill).

From Trevor Wong, Lakers.comA year ago, Metta World Peace conceded he was out of shape. His shot was off, he seemed to be a step slow defensively and his entire game was affected. “The lockout hurt me a lot, because last season going into the playoffs I had a nerve issue in my back,” he explained during his exit interview in May. “Once the lockout happened I wasn’t able to address it so all I could do was rest. It took me 2-3 months to get in shape.” During the first half of last season, World Peace shot only 33.5 percent from the field and 23.9 percent from the 3-point line, while averaging just 4.9 points.

From Brian Kamenetzky, ESPN Los AngelesKobe knows exactly how he prioritizes that sort of thing relative to winning. Over the course of now 17 seasons in L.A., the demands on Kobe as a leader have changed. Earlier in his career, Bryant’s role wasn’t as expansive. He didn’t so much lead (not in the way we traditionally think of the word, at least) as get out front in a very competitive environment and drag guys with him through will, stubbornness, and on-floor talent. In time, though, as more has been required Bryant has adjusted. He’s softened the edges, grown less insular, and learned you can’t be that guy all the time and expect people to follow. There is greater depth to his leadership, and never does he demand levels of hard work he’s himself unwilling to meet.

From Marc Stein, ESPN.comImportant update to our weekend report regarding the prospect of a return to the Los Angeles Lakers for veteran guard Derek Fisher. Sources briefed on the discussions told ESPN.com on Monday that Fisher has, indeed, been verified by the league office as eligible to re-sign with the Lakers since July 1, which runs counter to the widely held assumption that Fisher had to wait at least one year from the date that the Lakers dealt him to Houston in March before a reunion with Kobe Bryant would be permissible.

From Mike Trudell, Lakers.comLakers reserve forward Earl Clark strained his left groin and is out indefinitely. Clark, acquired in the Dwight Howard trade with Orlando, has played solid defense in training camp but is not expected to be in the regular bench rotation. In the regular season, the Lakers will most likely have Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol play center for the second unit, with Jordan Hill and Antawn Jamison getting the power forward minutes.

-Ryan Cole

Darius Soriano

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10 responses to Around The World (Wide Web): Mike Brown’s Approach, Kobe’s Leadership, & Bench Play

  1. I trust Fisher in the 4th quarter as much as anybody on the Lakers including Kobe but not over a whole season. The March date sounded much better. And the fact bringing back Fisher is even a discussion speaks to the trouble that lies ahead for this bench.

  2. #1. Not sure how you come to the conclusion that people saying Fisher can join the team (not implying he *should* join, mind you) spells trouble. Especially when we’re not hearing this from the perspective of what the Lakers’ want but from what’s possible from a CBA standpoint. Outside of Kobe endorsing Fisher as a player/teammate, have we even heard of any hints about Fisher coming back.

  3. Darius,

    I agree. This is some pretty cheap journalism from ESPN’s Marc Stein, creating a story literally out of nothing. And we have a major glut of guaranteed sub-par PGs. We don’t need another and no one in the admin could possibly have that delusion.

  4. Darius: Fisher was better than Blake and Sessions last postseason. And Fisher would have a legitimate shot at being Lakers backup pg if he was on the current roster. That’s spells trouble because he’s well into the twilight of his career and would be Lakers best option to backup Nash.

  5. Kareem, it is also possible that the DFish story might not have come ‘out of nothing’, but from Fish’s agents trying to fan some flames of support as he struggles to find a contract.

    Let me make it clear: I do NOT have this on any authority, I’m just saying there would be a motive for Fish’s agents to call a reporter and issue the correction as to Fish’s status.

    But you and Darius are both right of course that there’s no reason to believe there’s any interest from the Lakers (who have a glut of mediocre backup PGs as it is). I love Fish, but my eyes tell me Blake (and maybe even DJO) are better (as low as a bar that is).

  6. I’m sort of okay with a Fisher comeback, provided he averages about 5 minutes (or less) per game. Is his presence on the bench (and the locker room) worth enough for a roster spot? I’m inclined to say no.

    I like the idea of him being around for his grit (which, along with his relationship with Kobe, has kept him in the league for the past 5 years), he’s just become such a black hole of productivity that having him on the court in almost any situation would be a horrible mistake.

    As a 15th player, perhaps. But there’s enough intriguing youth in camp (CDR, DJO, even Reeves Nelson) that I’d hate to sacrifice one of those guys for him being there. It’s doubtful they’d carry 15 anyway, the salary penalties even for minimum players are getting harsh.

    But: As a junior member of the coaching staff? Yes please. He can scrimmage in practice with the guys, impart game knowledge to the youngsters, and travel with the team. And, as someone upthread or in the previous post mentioned, he’s one of about four people on the planet that Kobe listens to. It may be blunted a bit coming from Fisher as coach as opposed to Fisher the player, but he has much more to contribute as a coach at this stage of his career.

    Last, I think that the reason he isn’t getting a sniff around the league is 20% because he’s not a viable rotation player any more, and 80% that he’s a Laker for life, GSW/Utah/OKC flirtations aside. Even if another contending team (the Heat, for instance) offered him a ton of money, I really doubt he’d take it.

  7. Every time I write a long response, Darius. Every time. :P

  8. Darius –

    I’m not sure why you found the need to talk down to the first reply, when it in fact was a response to something you posted. It’s something i see quite a bit here, and it is not needed. Clearly, you will run your site as you see fit, but you would make yourself look better by taking the high road sometimes. Food for thought.

  9. #6. I understand what you mean there. I’m hoping the rotations and lineup constructions limit how much impact that would have. But, again, I do know what you’re saying.

    #11. My response was based off the notion that this even being discussed was foreshadowing of the bench being in trouble. And, in that regard, I question how a report from Stein implies this is coming from the Lakers’ side but more about a report speaking to what is technically possible. I meant nothing by it but to question that reasoning. Maybe I shouldn’t comment at all if I’m not supposed to discuss context.