Archives For Laker News

After Nick Young left Tuesday’s loss to the Pelicans with what was originally being called a strained achilles tendon, we have been waiting on this MRI results to get the official word. Those results are now in and, per the Lakers, Young has a strained calf muscle in his right leg and is out 2-4 weeks.

This is both a dose of good news and stroke of bad luck/timing that will be difficult to manage.

On the good side, whenever the words “achilles” are tied to an injury report and an MRI is needed, I have trepidations. I know full tears can usually be diagnosed without an MRI, but the possibility of a partial tear or damage to the achilles in general could have taken him out of the lineup for a lot longer than the 2-4 week estimate.

That said, the Lakers will now be without Young for upwards of a month which is a major blow to their lineup. As their starting shooting guard, Young plays 25 minutes a night and scores 13 points a game. Replacing those minutes and production is not a minor feat. Further, Young is one of the team’s best 3-point shooters, connecting on 41.8% of shots behind the arc while taking 6 attempts a night. And this says nothing of the fact that Young is often asked to guard the other team’s best wing scorer.

There’s simply no replacement on the roster who can step in and mirror Young’s skill set. (Imagine saying this two months ago! Life comes at you fast.)

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We already knew D’Angelo Russell, after missing Tuesday’s game against the Thunder, was ruled out for today’s game against the Warriors. It turns out, however, that he will be out longer than just those two games. According to the team, he received a PRP injection into his left knee and will be out a minimum of two weeks. He will be reevaluated after one week, likely to see how his knee has taken to the injection.

For those who are not familiar with PRP, it is similar to the treatments Kobe used to travel to Germany to treat his knee issues in the second half of his career. Per wikipedia, PRP “is blood plasma that has been enriched with platelets. As a concentrated source of autologous platelets, PRP contains several different growth factors and other cytokines that can stimulate healing of soft tissue.” In layman’s terms, they take some of Russell’s own blood, treat it in a way to concentrate the platelets (which promote healing), and then inject it back into the area which you want to feel better — in this case, Russell’s knee.

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The final roster construction is the main story of the day, with a 2pm Pacific Time deadline to get rosters down to the league maximum 15. The Lakers already made a move, granting Yi Jianlian his request by waiving him so he could explore alternatives.

With Yi moving on, it was assumed the final roster spot would come down to Thomas Robinson or Metta World Peace. It turns out that assumption may be wrong. From Tania Ganguli of the LA Times:

I did not see this coming, honestly. Brown, though only making $874K this season, has a guaranteed salary. And while he has not gotten a lot of opportunities to play in the preseason, his skill set and potential to develop into the coveted “3-and-D” player is something I thought the Lakers would value and want to hold onto.

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For nearly a week, Luke Walton has said he was unsure who would make the Lakers’ final roster. With 17 guys on the team and a deadline looming to cut at least two players, Walton said nice things about all the bubble players then pivoted to a need to watch some game tape then have conversations with his staff and Mitch Kupchak.

Before a final decision could be made, however, Yi Jianlian — one of the bubble players — intervened and made the decision easier. From ESPN’s Marc Stein:

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According to a press release, the Lakers have waived three players from their training camp roster. Foward/Center Zach Auguste, Guard Julian Jacobs, and Foward Travis Wear were all released on Wednesday. The Lakers roster now stands at 17.

These three were always long-shots to make the roster, though Auguste had the best chance considering his solid, if unspectacular play, for the team at the Las Vegas Summer League. The emergence of Thomas Robinson, however, has rendered that play moot.

Auguste and Jacobs could become “affiliate” players for the D-Fenders team should they clear waivers and accept designation down to the D-League. Both could get some valuable seasoning in the minor league, playing for Coby Karl, and trying to earn a call-up throughout the season. I would imagine the Lakers would very much like it of both accepted that designation and were able to get more acclimated to the system the team wants to run.

As for the remaining roster spots, the Lakers will need to make two more cuts before the start of the season to get their count down to 15. Reading the tea leaves, the last three players on the roster are Robinson, Metta World Peace, and Yi Jian Lian.

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On Wednesday the Lakers announced several hires to their training and analytics staffs for the 2016-17 season. From their press release:

The Los Angeles Lakers announced today the hirings of Jennifer Swanson as Head Physical Therapist, Stacey Robinson as Massage Therapist, and Sean Light as Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach. The trio will report to Head Athletic Trainer Marco Nuñez, joining Assistant Athletic Trainer Nina Hsieh, Strength and Conditioning Coach Tim DiFrancesco, and Equipment Manager Carlos Maples on the training staff.

The team has also hired Lorena Martin as Director of Sports Performance Analytics, reporting to Assistant General Manager Glenn Carraro and Jae Kim as Basketball Data Analyst, who will report to Director of Basketball Analytics Yuju Lee.

Not all of these names are “new” as we have already discussed the hiring of Swanson (and her replacing the departing Judy Seto) at length. And while at least one of the other hires (Stacey Robinson) is also filling a position which existed last year, it would seem — at least based on last season’s media guide — the other positions are either brand new or were not made public previously.

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We recently told you the Lakers had upped their training camp roster to 18 via the signing of 3 players. Well, their camp roster is now up to 20 after the additions of Metta World Peace and Thomas Robinson according to Shams Charania of  The Vertical.

Before we get to the merits of each player, I think the best way to look at both signings as a continuation of the major theme of the Summer. After Luke Walton was hired, almost every soundbite coming from him or his staff has been related back to two central themes — competition and culture.

Walton has openly discussed wanting to establish a culture where players wanted to come into the gym and work hard. He wants players to have fun, but he wants that fun to come out of competing every day and cultivating an environment where players can improve.

The Metta and Robinson signings are an extension of these ideas.

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With Lakers media day in exactly 10 days, training camp is right around the corner. The Lakers have had an eventful summer, swapping coaches, drafting a couple of players they have high hopes for, and adding new veterans to help on the court and in the locker room to help fill the leadership void created by Kobe Bryant’s retirement.

But training camp is not just the first step for the players who have secured a spot on the roster, it is also for fringe players to try and make their mark — not only on the Lakers, but to showcase their skill and work ethic in a way which might earn them a more permanent spot in the league should they not make LA’s roster. With that, the team has recently announced the signing of three players who are looking to take advantage of their time in the Lakers’ camp.

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