From Corey Hansford, Lakers Nation: With Kobe Bryant turning 35 tomorrow, this edition of Throwback Thursday will focus on the Mamba at a younger age. Throughout his career, Kobe has established himself as one of the premier clutch shooters in the history of the NBA. There are very few people who are more than willing to take and make the big shots when time is running down on the clock. Everyone remembers the 2000 playoffs for the Kobe to Shaq lob in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals that brought the Staples Center’s roof down. But it was a round earlier, against an upstart Phoenix Suns team, that young Kobe Bryant began to establish himself as a stone cold killer with the game on the line.
From Brett Pollakoff, Pro Basketball Talk: Jordan Hill provided a nice spark off the bench for the Lakers in the early part of last season, before suffering a torn labrum in his hip that sidelined him for 53 games. He was an energy player for a team that didn’t have many of them, and his hustle on the defensive end of the floor along with his rebounding earned him a fairly consistent 15.8 minutes per game. Following advice from Mike D’Antoni and Kobe Bryant, Hill has been spending his summer working on his outside shooting, to the point where he believes he’s a good shooter now. While the offensive impact should help him get into his coach’s good graces if he can fill the role of a stretch four that D’Antoni’s offense treasures, Hill is saying all the right things in terms of not letting his offense get in the way of doing the things that got him those minutes last season.
From Drew Garrison, Silver Screen & Roll: Nick Young is returning to Los Angeles to play for the Lakers this summer. The California native will be expected to fill out the Lakers wing rotation and is likely to see plenty of minutes at both small forward and shooting guard. His role will largely be dependent on Kobe Bryant’s recovery and how the other perimeter additions pan out. Mike D’Antoni will have to put Young in position to succeed and limit the amount of isolation opportunities he is allowed in order to bring the best out of Swaggy P.
From Eric Pincus, LA Times: Lakers guard Steve Blake has been named as a vice president on the National Basketball Players Assn. Executive Committee. Meeting in Las Vegas, the union voted Clippers all-star Chris Paul as president, replacing Derek Fisher of the Oklahoma City Thunder, whose term expired. Free agent Roger Mason was named first vice president. Blake joins Anthony Tolliver of the Charlotte Bobcats as the two new vice presidents. Fisher was president through the 2011 NBA lockout. Both the players and the owners can opt out of the current collective bargaining agreement after the 2016-17 season — making 2017 the next possibility for a lockout.In the meantime, the NBPA is still looking to replace former executive director Billy Hunter. When healthy, Blake averaged 7.3 points a game while shooting 42.1% from three-point range — but he missed 37 regular-season games to injury. Blake is in the final year of his deal with the Lakers, at $4 million for the 2013-14 season.