The only reasonable hope for the Lakers this preseason is seeing progress as the exhibitions transition to the actual season. From that respect, though the team lost 117-114 in overtime to Jazz on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, the team is on the right path.

As we discussed in the game preview, the hope was to see some better offensive execution, a shift in the rotations, and, in general, getting the players more on the same page on both sides of the ball. For the most part, these things all occurred. It wasn’t perfect — far from it — but it was better. I’ll take better over the alternative any day of the week.

And now, some notes on the game…

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I’d say second verse, same as the first, but it’d only be because I really enjoy that line.

While there was plenty of hype and hoopla surrounding that first preseason game – and for good reason – the actual game was pretty bleh (technical term). he Lakers shot just 29% and while there were plenty of highlights, the Jazz pulled away late. To his credit, Byron Scott started with the lineup most fans anticipated, but the rotations were definitely worth questioning.

It is worth noting, though, that the lineup Scott started with is much more important moving forward than how he dolled out minutes in a preseason game. This isn’t remotely close.

From last game to Tuesday night, it’d be nice to see a little more mixture of the first and second units. Sunday night, thanks in part to injuries, the group off the bench had no one to create for others. When Marcelo Huertas is available (he’s out both thanks to a Visa and hamtring issue), that playmaker is there when all the starters are out. Basically, any lineup featuring both Lou Williams and Jabari Brown in the backcourt will struggle to find any kind of rhythm in half-court sets.

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Welcome back to our series at FB&G where we take one player on the Lakers’ roster and discuss one specific skill they possess. Sometimes it will be something very subtle, others it will be more straight forward. We’ll try to shed some light on how this skill can help the team in the coming season. Our previous entries can be found here. Today we look at Nick Young’s three point shooting.

There may not be a Lakers player who endeared himself to fans and then fell out of their good graces as quickly as Nick Young has. Coming off a summer that saw Dwight Howard depart in free agency, Young provided a season that saw him bring a fun energy and above expectations production while exuding his “love of being a Laker”. Fans ate it up.

Then came last season where a questionable contract, clashes with the coach and nagging injuries led to a dip in production, and it turned those initial feelings of joy sour. It got to the point where there were strong rumblings the team was trying to trade him while signing/drafting players that could be seen as redundant to his role. Add in Mitch Kupchak going on the record that Young had to “make our coach happy” and it’s not hard to wonder how Young fits in at all, much less how he can help the team with a (mostly) one-note skill set.

Yet, when reviewing the Lakers’ 1st preseason game, Young was again a staple of the team’s reserve unit and even earned the starting nod in the 2nd half when Kobe sat out to rest. Young did several things well during the game, including working hard defensively and making several good passes, one of which was a heads up read where he noticed the defense wasn’t organized and he threw a lob pass to Tarik Black who hit a nifty left handed hook.

Young taking forward strides by doing more of the little things will certainly put him back in the good graces of his coach. It will also likely lead to stability in his role and with playing time. But, let’s be honest, regardless of what Young does as a passer or a defender, those will always be secondary to what Young is really in the league for: getting buckets.

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As I wrote before the game, the preseason doesn’t carry a lot of meaning, but the Lakers were going to come out with their best foot forward by starting out well. And while it may not be reflected in the final score, the game did offer some good glimpses of what the team is hoping to be while also being reflective of what they currently are.

Some notes from the contest:

* Byron Scott treated this game almost like a scrimmage in how he did not mix his lineups much, instead giving both his 1st and 2nd units long runs together to start each quarter. The starting group of Russell, Clarkson, Kobe, Randle, and Hibbert played almost entirely together — save for Kobe (more on him in a minute) — giving them almost the entire 1st quarter and about half of the 3rd to find a rhythm together. Similarly, the 2nd unit of Lou Williams, Jabari Brown, Nick Young, Brandon Bass, and either Robert Sacre or Tarik Black played most of the rest of the game.

*No one shot well on the night which is reflected in the team shooting a very rough 26-90(!!!) from the field. Nick Young’s 4-10 from the field was easily the best shooting performance on the night, which basically says it all. Kobe went 1-5, Randle shot 2-10, Russell 2-8, and Clarkson 4-13. Off the bench, Lou Williams went 4-12 and Bass went 2-9. Jabari Brown gunned his way to a sad 1-6. Again, just horrid shooting.

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Basketball, even if only preseason, is back. After nearly a week of dealing with a certain type of hell in paradise — Byron Scott has certainly lived up to his reputation of running a hard training camp, but at least it’s in Hawaii! — the Lakers finally get to take the court in game action when the Jazz join them in Oahu.

I’ve often said that preseason basketball has little meaning. I truly do believe this, but as with anything else, speaking in absolutes rarely tells the full story. The Lakers are a team in transition and have nearly a roster full of players who have something to prove individually. As a group, too, they are hoping to make more of a push than pundits believe they are capable. This all brings more meaning to this season in general, some of which transfers to the preseason simply because you have to start this path somewhere.

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Earlier in the week it was D’Angelo Russell’s foot which limited him in practice. We have also recently learned that Metta World Peace has been dealing with a calf issue which kept him out of a couple of practices too. Now, for Saturday’s session, it’s two rookies who are banged up and sitting out:

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A Few Pre-Preseason Notes

Anthony Irwin —  October 3, 2015 — 7 Comments

Well, here we are. The offseason has finally passed (kind of) and the Lakers finally play their first live basketball since the summer league. All the pieces we’ve hypothetically pieced together will share a court at last, so here are some things I’ll be looking for.


If you’ve followed my tweets at all, I’ve been skeptical of how Byron’s run camp thus far. In my opinion, with the mixture of veterans and youth all trying to learn the system together with little to no actual expectations this season, I don’t understand the need to extend practices for any reason. Strategically, there’s no need to squeeze extra sets in before the first of several meaningless games. In terms of conditioning, that tends to come as an 82-game season rolls along.

So you can imagine my distaste as we heard D’Angelo Russell gave it a go in the second practice in the same day after limping off the court only hours prior. I just don’t understand the necessity to get back on the court so quickly given (a) recent history and (b) how many hours will be spent in the gym in the coming months, anyway.

Back to the point at hand, though.

I’ll be interested to see how minutes are dolled out in this first game simply out of curiosity for whatever precedent might be set Sunday. There’s no reason to play to win, so veterans shouldn’t get extended minutes and younger players who know they have a spot on the roster should be played conservatively as well, in my opinion. This first game should be used to see what guys at the end of the roster offer, with cuts coming soon.

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As is his norm, Byron Scott has been putting the Lakers through rigorous training camps in these opening days. The first practice of camp when over three hours while days two and three both offered two workouts each. The team seems to be responding well, drawing praise from Scott after all the sessions for their “spirit” and competitiveness, but it nonetheless can get grueling.

Part of putting in this much work is that the nicks and bruises can start to take hold. D’Angelo Russell is finding this out after dealing with a “minor” (his words) bone bruise in his foot towards the end of Thursday’s first practice session. From Mike Trudell at

Lakers No. 2 overall pick D’Angelo Russell sat out the final few minutes of Thursday’s practice due to a bone bruise in his right foot, an injury he believes to be minor enough that he may play in the team’s second practice on Thursday evening.

“I feel fine,” Russell said. “It’s just a little bruise.”

The 19-year-old suggested that he needs to take better care to ice his foot, and hopes it’s just a small flare up due in part to all of the running the team’s been doing for the first three days of Byron Scott’s training camp.

“We’ll see how he feels later on tonight, see if he can go tonight,” said Scott. “And if not – if he has pain there – we’ll sit him down for precautionary reasons and we’ll get him ready for tomorrow. But right now he’s not ruled out for tonight’s practice.”

The Lakers are right to be cautious with Russell — they’re right to be with any player, really — who is just beginning his professional career. Even if he says he’s fine. After all, if he really is the gym rat he’s said to be, he’ll typically try to find his way onto the court. It’s important, then, that all sides be on the same page and, with Scott’s comments, it seems everyone is taking the proper approach here.

The good news, however, is that Russell does seem to be fine, especially if the standard is whether he returned to practice for Thursday night’s session:

Again, the Lakers can’t be too cautious with their prized rookie, but they also can’t treat him with kid gloves. If he says he’s pain free and the doctors check him out deem him good to go, getting out on the floor should be fine. The team will surely continue to monitor him and if any pain returns they can sit him down similar to how they did in the day’s earlier session.