From Dave McMenamin, ESPN LA: Kobe Bryant’s absence from the court is immeasurable when it comes to the total package of the will and mental toughness he brings to the equation, but two tangible statistics help tell the story of his void that the Los Angeles Lakers are trying to fill: 38.6 minutes and 20.4 shot attempts per game. Those were Bryant’s averages last season. Nick Young has had no problem volunteering for the extra shot attempts, leading the Lakers with 80 shots through their first seven preseason games (18 more than the next closest Laker in Pau Gasol), but he also has spent most of his time playing small forward. And that’s still only 11.4 shots per game for Young, about half of Bryant’s total. As for Bryant’s minutes, will Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni simply spread them out to the rest of the roster? “Yeah,” D’Antoni said after L.A.’s 108-94 win over the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night at Staples Center, their best showing of the preseason. “Unless somebody grabs it. That could happen. We’ll just keep monitoring things. There’s a lot of guys that deserve to play.”
From Ramneet Singh, Lakers Nation: The Los Angeles Lakers brought back Jordan Farmar over the summer as a reliable point guard that helped them win two consecutive titles in 2009 and 2010. Farmar took a brief hiatus from the NBA by playing overseas, and now the guard has returned to the league better than ever. Farmar will be backing up Steve Nash this upcoming season, and the Lakers will surely benefit from his young legs and explosiveness. The Lakers are a fairly old team, and they will be using Farmar very often when playing some of the tougher teams in the Western Conference. Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters spoke to the former UCLA Bruin about how much he grew as a player after staying overseas (video below).
From Kurt Helin, Pro Basketball Talk: Lakers fans could have watched their team’s preseason win over Utah Tuesday night with a sense of optimism. Jordan Farmar looked good in the second half running the offense, Wes Johnsonlooked comfortable in the system on his way to 14 points, Xavier Henry was attacking, Jordan Hilllooked solid in the paint. You could extrapolate out from that things aren’t as bad as some pundits predict for the Lakers. That’s not what Tracy McGrady saw.
From Ben Bolch, LA Times: Kobe Bryant didn’t join his teammates on the bench Tuesday night, preferring the sanctity of theLakers’ locker room to courtside at Staples Center. It was impossible to tell if he was stewing after NBA general managers knocked him down a notch in their assessment of the league’s top shooting guards, but it’s not out of the question given his recent reaction to other perceived slights. Bryant changed his Twitter avatar to “1225,” presumably in response to ESPN ranking the Lakers as the 12th-best team in the Western Conference and Bryant as the 25th-best player in the NBA. What’s another jab, besides extra inspiration? “I like it because Kobe always finds ways to motivate himself and to keep those things in mind,” Lakers center Pau Gasol said after the Lakers’ 108-94 exhibition victory over the Utah Jazz, “so it kind of pushes him to push himself harder and be better.”