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Lakers’ camp is in full swing and while we still don’t know a lot, we are getting snippets of information about a variety of topics. Steve Nash and Pau Gasol are looking good. Jordan Farmar looks primed to excel in a system that is a better fit than the one he last played in while a Laker. Wes Johnson is also getting nice reviews, using his length and athleticism to flash some defensive potential while also knocking down his outside jumper.

To this point, however, these bits of news were all delivered via word of mouth from players or members of the coaching staff. What we haven’t had the chance to do is actually seeĀ any of these things happening. Well, that’s now changed. At least somewhat:

What we see in the video above is a brief clip of the Lakers scrimmaging in a recent practice. At certain points the team seems to be going three-quarter speed and all we really get are positive plays, but that doesn’t make footage like this entirely useless. In fact, some of the things we see can give us good hints into what the team will be doing in the pre-season.

A few notes:

*Nearly every half court set looks to involve at least one screen and roll as a way of initiating the offense. Even when the team runs a classic HORNS set (with both big men starting out at the elbows), Nash uses the set up to initiate a P&R with Kaman at the elbow rather than just entering the ball into the big man and starting the sequence of cuts and screens that would typically follow.

*We’re still seeing a lot of actions that lead to big men shooting jumpers out of half court sets. Kaman did a lot of floating around 15-18 feet away from the hoop and Pau did a lot of flashing into open spaces into the same areas. Both big men are capable of hitting shots from that distance, but both are also more than capable of doing work closer to the basket. I hope to see more of the latter during the pre-season.

*Speaking of the big men, Pau and Kaman were on the same team in the scrimmage action. I don’t think this is anything to be overly concerned about as D’Antoni has already said he thinks both bigs will share the floor during the season. That said, I still have my concerns about the team’s defense when those two share the floor.

*It’s easy to see some of the quickness the team has picked up with guys like Wes Johnson, Farmar, and Shawne Williams running around the perimeter and crashing into the paint. It remains to be seen if those players can make the same types of hustle plays against the caliber of athlete they’ll see on other teams (rather than some of the athletes they see in their own practice), but it’s nice to see guys getting to loose balls and creating positive plays through that hustle.

*All we saw were makes, but it sure is nice to see Nash, Pau, Kaman, Farmar, and others knock down some long jumpers. If the Lakers are going to be a top 10 offense this season (which they’ll need to be if they hope to compete for the playoffs), they’ll need their shooters to hit shots and create the spacing to help their teammates who work in the post and want to get into the lane off the dribble.

The point in all this isn’t to draw too many conclusions about what the team will do on either end of the floor. But, footage like what we saw above does offer some hints as to what this team will try to be. As they continue to evolve and incorporate their entire roster, we should see even more of what they’re capable of. But, even if it’s only in the form of a brief clip of a scrimmage, it’s nice to see the Lakers playing basketball again.

The Dark World

Ryan Cole —  August 6, 2013

Sometime as a fan you need some inspiration to get through a trying season. Injuries, losses, and free agency all seem to have taken its toll on Laker fans across the world, leaving some hopeless about the state of the Lakers franchise moving forward.

Check out this pretty cool Youtube video fromĀ LD2K. It entails the trials and tribulations of this past season, and the perceived dark times that the Lakers are now facing as they move on without Dwight Howard, and as Kobe Bryant recovers from surgery on his ruptured Achilles.

Without a doubt this clip will give you hope, and have you itching for the upcoming 2013-2014 season.

Clash of the Titans

Darius Soriano —  August 3, 2013

The Lakers have a proud history of employing the best big men the game has ever seen. Just look up into the rafters of the Staples Center and you’ll see the names Mikan, Wilt, Kareem, and Shaq; these are true titans of the game, the players whose size, strength, and skill made the Lakers one of the most winningest franchises in all of sports.

Wilt and Kareem, specifically, represent not only two of the players who greatly shaped the Lakers’ history, but the history of the league. Both are considered all time greats and their contributions and, thus, their names will live on forever when discussing the NBA. If you rewind to the 70’s, there was a time where those two titans squared off against each other. Kareem, the up and coming Buck and Wilt, the aging but still very effective Laker.

In the video below does a great job of capturing some of those battles. A couple of things that stand out are how skilled Kareem was and how fluid his movements were. He moved like a seven foot gazelle, yet still had the ability to throw down the hammer when needed. Wilt, meanwhile, comes off less polished, but much more powerful. Wilt would bulldoze his man, though he too could slither around the baseline and play a finesse game when needed.

That contrast in style made for some epic battles. Hope you enjoy the clip.

Terry Teagle hit a turnaround jumper from the right baseline and became the answer to a trivia question. It was Teagle’s jumper that propelled Magic Johnson past Oscar Robertson as the all-time assist leader at 9,888 total assists. Since that fateful day in 1991, that number has been passed multiple times and Magic no longer holds the all-time record. That honor goes to John Stockton. Magic, meanwhile, sits 5th on the all-time list behind Stock, Jason Kidd, Steve Nash and Mark Jackson.

But where Magic sits on the all time list now doesn’t matter much. He was easily the best passer many people (including me) ever saw. Just as some scorers have every type of shot imaginable in their arsenal, Magic could throw any type of pass. He hit players in stride streaking to the hoop and led them to the open spot. He rocketed one handed bullet passes, scooped underhanded outlet passes, and bounced passes through traffic. He saw things other players didn’t and put the ball into places that didn’t seem possible. He made his teammates better by making the game easier for them.

That April night started with Magic needing 9 assists to overtake the Big O. Magic got to 9 before the first half was over and did so in classic Magic form. He ran the break, directed the half court offense, accepted double teams, and just continued to hit the open man. He made the complex play just as easy as the simple one and blended the spectacular with the routine.

Some players are once in a generation talents. Magic, though, was a once in a lifetime one. I simply don’t believe we’ll ever see another like him.

Kobe Bryant, Over Time

Darius Soriano —  June 18, 2013

(h/t to Matt Burd for the video)

Kobe has dubbed his comeback from a torn achilles tendon “the last chapter” of his career. In the video above, however, we see that all the chapters which have come before have been pretty special.

For Lakers’ fans, the slogan he’s adopted in his comeback a reminder that Kobe is near the end of his career. But we can only hope he has a few more moments like the ones that have made him into the special player he’s been for the 17 previous years.

“I’ll push myself to exhaustion.”

If there’s one characteristic that defines Kobe Bryant’s career it is the work he has put in to become the player he is. As much as he’s been gifted his physical characteristics and that innate feel for the game that all the greats have, he’s also honed his skills through thousands of hours of hard work and made himself into the player he is. In a way, it’s that drive to be the best and the subsequent work it has inspired that has separated him from many of his contemporaries.

Kobe will need to call on that ethic now more than ever in staring down his latest challenge. His rehabilitation from his torn achilles tendon is the one of, if not the, biggest obstacles he’s faced in his career and in order to come back anywhere near the player he was before before the injury, he’ll need to push himself to levels that I can’t even imagine. Whether he can actually achieve this goal remains an open question, but if there’s one player who we can’t doubt will push himself that extra mile it is Kobe.

After all, his career has been built on putting in that extra time and, as the video shows above, vigorously working to become the player we’ve seen for 17 years.

If you’ve followed the Lakers at all over the course of Kobe Bryant’s career, one theme that is revisited often relates to the stagnation of the Lakers’ offense and how that relates to Kobe’s shot volume.

On one side of the coin is the argument that Kobe shoots a lot because his teammates stop moving, instead choosing to watch him work with the ball in isolation. Kobe’s a gifted scorer in these situations, and the argument says when he gets the ball it’s easy to sit back and hope that he can do something positive with it.

Continue Reading…

I don’t know about you, but it just got a little dusty in here. Hold on, I have something in my eye. Okay, I’m better now.

A few days after Kobe was injured, Nike put out an ad listing many of the things he “showed us” throughout his career. At the end, Nike implores Kobe to show us again. Through the glory of youtube, the video above puts clips of Kobe’s career to Nike’s words and the result is fantastic.

No one knows when Kobe will return or what type of player he will be when he does. But, based off what we know of Kobe, he’ll want to prove to everyone he can be the player he was before and “show us again”.