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The Lakers lost their opening day game against the Houston Rockets, 108-90. But something far worse had happened.

Julius Randle, the Lakers’ first round pick, seems to be done for the year with a broken leg. It seemed like a throwaway play after he was pushed to the floor (by Donatas Montiejunas). And then suddenly, we were getting the bad news about his leg. Looking at the replays, his leg was already dangling by the time he jumped off. It was bad news for the Lakers and especially bad for Julius Randle. I can hardly think of any worse starts to your NBA career than breaking your leg in your first game. Speedy recovery to Randle and hope that his career flourishes afterwards.

As for the game…

For the most part, it wasn’t pretty as the Rockets went at them to draw fouls and sank multiple three-pointers. We all know that new Laker coach Byron Scott seems to be allergic to three-pointers. I don’t know if he is trying to set the game back 30 years but the fact is that ignoring the three completely isn’t going to win you an NBA game in 2014.

Kobe Bryant (19 points), for the most part, looked like the Kobe of old (trying to be careful with my word usage here). He had his usual post game and was draining those midrange jumpers. But other than that, you’d be hard-pressed to find a Laker that played outstanding. Carlos Boozer made seven of his 13 field goal attempts but we know that he spends a lot more time working on his yelling game these days. Jordan Hill did have double-digit boards but he missed a few bunnies. Jeremy Lin was a turnover machine and the other guys like Wesley Johnson, Julius Randle, Xavier Henry, and Ronnie Price didn’t do much. Ed Davis had a decent game in the minutes he got but not enough to make a huge impact on the game.

The Lakers did try to attack the rim but with Dwight Howard inside, they couldn’t do much. They increasingly got tentative in the first half; possessions got longer and they didn’t seem to have much of a plan after getting stopped initially. The Lakers did cut the game down to single digits with Howard in foul trouble but James Harden (32 points) got more aggressive and started drawing fouls (questionable or not) to get to the stripe.

I mentioned the three-pointers. Rockets were making them as if they were going out of style while the Lakers almost treated the shots behind the arc like it was Ebola. The Rockets made 12 threes compared to the Lakers’ three. That’s a 27-point difference right there. Plus the Lakers only attempted nine threes. The Lakers don’t exactly have sharpshooters (Price comes to mind) but they should set it up where their best three-point shooters take the shot (Wesley shot 37 percent last season and Lin shot 36 percent). The Lakers and Rockets had a little drama in the fourth quarter when Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard exchanged words after a rebound. We were all jonesing to see a fight but, unfortunately, Randle’s injury really put a damper on everything.

It’s difficult for the Lakers (and the Lakers fans) to move on with this news. Nevertheless, they go to Phoenix to play another game tomorrow night.

Speedy recovery, Julius Randle. We’re all thinking of you.

After the Lakers lost to the Sixers at Summer League, 83-61, Jordan Clarkson stopped by for a conversation.

Clarkson was asked about his progression in the four Summer League games he’s played.

“I’m trying to get used to the pace of the game. Playing at different speeds.”

He was then asked if he’s shown enough to impress the Lakers front office.

“Yeah, I think so. I’m just coming out here to compete and work hard. I’m trying to do that every time I step on the court.”

Clarkson then talked about playing alongsite Kendall Marshall and was asked if he had to play both guard spots.

“It’s interchangeable. Sometimes, it’s what coach calls. We just kinda rotate on what’s going on the court.”

Jordan raved about his fellow rookie, Julius Randle.

“He’s versatile. He can put the ball on the ground. I don’t think too many 6’10” guys can stay in front of him. And he’s athletic enough to finish and make plays. The dude’s a beast.”

Did he have a preference on which guard spot to play?

“No preference for me. Just a playmaker trying to make plays. Just doing what I can to help the team.”

Clarkson was asked about the biggest adjustment he had to make from college to the professional level.

“Just the pace. Sometimes, I play a little but too fast; I need to slow down. I’m still a rookie. I’m just going to keep learning and make sure I learn fast.”

I asked him what he was working on the most about his game.

“Just everything. My all-around game. My team chemistry, being able to make shots, make plays, create for others… it’s really everything.”

Jordan Clarkson has been impressive in Summer League thus far. He has no fear when it comes to penetration and wreaks some havoc on both ends of the court. Here’s to hoping he carries it over to his first NBA regular season.

I actually don’t know what to say about this. Here’s Marc Stein from ESPN with this news:

I don’t get it.

The Lakers paid a LOT of money to keep Jordan Hill. They drafted a promising Julius Randle. Just yesterday, they claimed Ed Davis. And we all thought that it’s inevitable for Ryan Kelly to come back. I was looking forward to the Lakers developing these young players and seeing if Jordan Hill can be a 30-minute-per-game player.

This Carlos Boozer acquisition mucks it all up. I mean, what am I not seeing here that the Lakers are? Boozer is going to take away lots of minutes from the young guys. He’s a better fit for a contending team and we all know that the Lakers are far from that. Why stunt Randle’s development?

Boozer is pretty much all midrange jumpers at this point of his career. Your grandmother can play better defense than him and Boozer yells more than an intense Street Fighter II fight. I mean, I guess he can be the grizzled veteran that can mentor the kids here but I think I’m pushing it at this point.

Yeah. I’m not a fan of this transaction. And I’m actually NICER than a lot of people about Carlos Boozer.

The Lakers Summer League team hasn’t done well. They’re 1-3 thus far and lost to the Sixers SL team, 83-61, on Wednesday night. But we’re there to see how the Laker draft picks are performing.

Julius Randle has done pretty well thus far. Randle is averaging 12 points and four rebounds in three games he has played thus far. He has shown some flashes as an excellent player and has shown some versatility.

Randle was asked about him leading the break.

“It’s a part of my versatility. There are certain times you can do it. You just gotta read the defense and have a good feel for the game.”

Julius was asked about the transition to the NBA.

“I think it gets a lot easier, honestly. There’s more of a flow (in Summer League).”

When asked further about it…

“The spacing is way more because you just can’t collapse. Because if you do, somebody’s going to be wide open. What I’m seeing a lot is they’re either not collapsing, I got an open lane and they can’t guard me one-on-one or they’re collapsing and someone’s wide open and the passes are way easier. The spacing is the biggest difference from college to NBA.”

Julius was asked about his tendencies on the court.

“I like facing up first. A lot of times, guys are bigger, slower than me… not as athletic as me and I can use my athleticism and my skill set. So I like facing up whether it’s on the elbow, top of the key, block extended… that’s what I like doing. But I like grinding and being physical as well.”

He was then asked about his options when facing up.

“Honestly, it’s how the defense is playing me. If the guy wants to be physical, I’ll face him up. If it’s a smaller guy, I’m gonna take him to the post. The biggest difference from my first game and what I’m seeing now is I’m being more patient. I’m reading how the defenses are guarding me. From there, I’m able to operate and be more efficient.”

A lot of people have compared Randle’s game to Memphis power forward Zach Randolph. Randle seemed genuinely stunned and humbled by that comparison. I asked who he patterned his game after.

“Nobody. That’s very humbling, though. (Randolph) is a great player but I never compared or patterned my game after anybody.”

Randle was asked about how his experience with the Lakers fans in Summer League.

“It’s ridiculous. It’s kind of like Vegas is L.A. almost. So many people around everywhere I go whether it’s a cab or a restaurant, there’s Lakers fan and they know who you are. Obviously, you have the most fans here for the games. It’s kind of fun and ridiculous at the same time.

When asked if he was mentally prepared for the fans…

“I didn’t know it was going to be like this. Thought it was going to be JUST Summer League. I didn’t know that there were that many Laker fans out here in Vegas.”

Finally, he was asked about being drafted by the Lakers.

I know it’s the best possible place for me. I didn’t want to be anywhere else so I’m very happy that I was able to be chosen by the Lakers.”

And a lot of Laker fans are very happy that they got him with the 7th overall pick.

Well, the Lakers added another big man in the mix. Here’s Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:

It’s another cheap deal, just like the Lakers have been giving out throughout the offseason (except Swaggy P).

Davis was drafted 13th overall by the Toronto Raptors in 2010. He had a promising rookie season (averaging 7.7 points and 7.1 rebounds per game) before dropping off a bit. He was the supposed centerpiece of the Rudy Gay trade when Memphis acquired him but Lionel Hollins never gave him consistent minutes. He pretty much had the same role, too, when Dave Joerger took over. Davis only averaged 5.7 points and 4.1 rebounds per game in 15 minutes of play last season.

Ed Davis’s game isn’t the greatest offensively. He doesn’t have much going on in the post. However, on the defensive end, he’s been a pretty good rim protector and tends to affect a lot of shots inside. His athleticism is salivating but, unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to have improved much since he first got drafted due to not playing consistently.

Low-risk, high-reward. We’ll see how Ed Davis does with L.A.

Assistant coach Mark Madsen is coaching the Lakers Summer League team. We caught up with him after their thrilling win last night against the Warriors.

FORUM BLUE & GOLD: There’s no head coach yet. Thre’s really no system in place. What do you tell the guys out there?

MM: Well, we’re trying to run a lot of generic NBA sets more than anything. We’re trying to help guys learn the basics of the NBA. So right now a lot of stuff we put in, if the new head coach wants to use it, he can because it’s generic sets out of the NBA.

FB&G: Who’s impressed you the most thus far?

MM: A lot of guys impress me. Kendall Marshall, with the stabilizing influence. Julius Randle played a great game. He was aggressive, he attacked… he gave multiple efforts. DeAndre Kane had a big-time effort off the bench. Quinton Ross, who hadn’t played for a couple of camps, went out there and did a great job.

FB&G: The Lakers went through their worst season in forever. What have you, as an assistant coach, learned from this?

MM: You learn that you always keep working and you always keep trying. No matter how bad it looks, you have to continue onward, knowing that things can always change later.

FB&G: So why not you as head coach?

MM: *laughs* I don’t have the experience. Hopefully in five years, that’ll be a conversation we can have.

FB&G: That’s a long wait, man.

MM: Look, man. You gotta be patient.

We’d like to thank the always-awesome Mark Madsen for stopping by.

Kendall Marshall has an unguaranteed contract going into next season. He’s on the Lakers Summer League team and is averaging 8.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 3.7 assists in three games. He stopped by to answer a few questions.

FORUM BLUE & GOLD: You were out of the league for a bit before catching on with the Lakers. What did you learn from being out?

KENDALL MARSHALL: You can’t take this opportunity for granted. It was something that made me appreciate what I did have. And when it was taken from me… basketball, to me, is my life. So I felt like a big part of me was taken away. I’m extremely blessed to be in this situation I’m in now and I just want to take full advantage of it.

FB&G: What did Coach Madsen tell you to run out there? Or are they just letting you freestyle?

KM: We definitely have sets, plays that we call… things that we’ve been working on in practice. It’s a different offense than what I learned last year… I’m still learning.

FB&G: What do you intend to improve on for next season?

KM: One thing is remaining aggressive from the point guard position… not having them guard us four-on-five as well as just mastering the pace of the game and mastering getting guys open shots. And defensively, keeping point guards in front of me.

FB&G: What do you say to people who remark about your set shot?

KM: Look at guys that have been successful that have set shots. Guys like Andre Miller. It’s not all about shooting jumpshots. There’s a thousand ways to score a basketball. Guys like Mark Jackson. Guys that have been successful that didn’t jump 20 feet on jumpshots.

Much thanks to Kendall Marshall for a few minutes of his time.

Another Laker is staying with the team. Here is Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports with the report.

My reaction? That’s a lot of money. Now I will never criticize players for getting as much paper as they can but this seems like a bunch of cash.

Maybe we can hope for increased production, considering the Lakers really don’t have any bigs beyond Robert Sacre and rookie Julius Randle. Hill averaged 9.7 points and 7.4 rebounds in under 21 minutes per game, all career-bests. While we love Hill’s motor, he tends to run out of gas pretty quickly since he doesn’t seem to pace himself very well.

Nevertheless, maybe he’ll learn to pace himself on an increased role. There were times where he looked absolutely brilliant, having a few 20-15 games under his belt last season. But he also got inconsistent playing time last season with Mike D’Antoni. Maybe he’ll get a lot of PT under the new coach, who we STILL don’t know as of this writing.

But, hey, we’re getting some semblance of a team now. Good for Jordan Hill on securing a job and getting that pay raise.