From Mike Trudell, Basket Blog: The Lakers have become significantly less of an international team by personnel since the departures of Vladimir Radmanovic (Serbia), DJ Mbenga (Congo) and Sun Yue (China) from the 2008-09 training camp roster, leaving only Pau Gasol (Spain) and Sasha Vujacic (Slovenia) left in 2010-11. But if you’re looking for a roster full of New York – New Jersey metropolitan area hoopers, it’s not the Knicks or Nets, but the Los Angeles Lakers that carry the day. In fact, three Lakers – Lamar Odom, Ron Artest and Devin Ebanks – are all from the same borough of New York City (Queens), and have known one another for years. Odom and Artest played on the same AAU team as teenagers, while Ebanks grew up so close to Artest’s Queensbridge project that Artest knew of him by the time he was 10 years old. But that’s just New York. Over in New Jersey, Derrick Caracter (Fanwood, N.J.) and Andrew Bynum (Metuchen, N.J.) grew up in towns that are both about 30 miles away from NYC, and just nine miles away from one another.
From Brian Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: Luke Walton was on the floor again today after participating in both of Monday’s practice, a good sign regarding his still-questionable back. The difference between watching the first unit, filled with guys familiar with the system, and the seconds- today comprised of Shannon Brown, Steve Blake, Theo Ratliff, Matt Barnes, and Derrick Caracter- is profound. No surprise, the level of sophistication in the offense is far, far lower. Still, there are silver linings. Brown said after practice the process of playing with guys who don’t know the system as well is very constructive for him. Directing traffic reinforces and lengthens his understanding of what to do and where to go with the ball. Jim Cleamons spent a lot of time in Caracter’s ear, particularly on the defensive end. On the other side, Caracter was both a positive and negative force, nearly turning the ball over a few times, but also making good reads, crashing the boards, and showing some skill with a nice baseline drive and reverse layup.
From Andy Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: During our ESPN LA.com Media Day broadcast, there may have been no more interesting — and potentially controversial — exchange than one involving Andrew Bynum. By then, it was old news his offseason knee surgery revealed more damage than expected and his anticipated absence during the preseason could extend into the regular season. Bynum is targeting late-November for his return. Delaying surgery until mid-July to accommodate an overseas vacation was endorsed by Phil Jackson and the front office alike, as all signs pointed towards a relatively minor procedure and rehab.
From Rey Moralde, The No Look Pass: I’m not sure if David Stern is trying to turn his league into a robot league. Once again, the NBA is going to attempt to crack down on the complaining and whining of the players. They tried this once in 2005 and I remember Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley mocking this rule by yelling “THAT’S A TECHNICAL!” on every highlight. The policing slowly disappeared and it was back to where it was once again. I also remember the NBA when they said they would fine floppers during the 2008-09 season. Well, name me someone who was fined for flopping. Even if you did give me a name or two, that rule slowly disappeared, too… and everybody was back to falling on their backs even if no one made contact with them.
From Jeff Miller, OC Register: At 6-foot-9, he is the second heaviest Laker, his 265 pounds providing presence, which this team might need given what Andrew Bynum will be bringing. You know, absence? Coach Phil Jackson even noted Derrick Caracter’s offensive rebounding potential, his skill in terms of cleaning the glass. At the moment, however, Caracter is just cleaning. Empty water bottles. Discarded gum wrappers. Towels damp with someone else’s sweat. He is moving around the Lakers’ practice facility, picking up after teammates because that’s what rookies do, even this club’s preseason workouts ending with garbage time.
In continuing with our team previews series, below are the compiled links for the Pacific Division teams.
Clippers: Clips Nation | SBNation Recap
Kings: Sactown Royalty | Cowbell Kingdom | SBNation Recap
Lakers: Silver Screen and Roll | Forum Blue & Gold | NBAtipoff | SBNation Recap
Suns: Bright Side Of The Sun | SB Nation Arizona | ValleyoftheSuns | SBNation Recap
Warriors: Golden State of Mind | SBNation Recap
Recaps: All Previews
The Lakers are featured on “NBA Real Training Camp” on NBA TV, and on Monday the hosts sat with Kupchak and asked him about Bynum and his torn meniscus:
“When the surgery rolled around in mid-July, we anticipated that it would be taken out, and that’s normally 6 or 7 weeks in terms of recovery. Once the doctor goes in, he does what he thinks is best once the surgery is in progress, and he chose to sew it back in place — which is better for the player in the long run because he is not missing cartilage, it’s better for his career, and it’s better for his life down the road.
The downside of doing that — you know when you sew it in, because of the blood and there’s not as much circulation in cartilage — it takes a real long, long time to heal. So, something we thought would be 6 weeks now goes to 10 to 12 weeks.”
Another thing about the Bynum surgery that people forget about it is how a lot of the fans wanted Bynum to do the “minor” surgery before the Utah series. Lots of noise at the time how he’d be back in a couple of weeks.
Funny looking back now how many of those people were wrong. Bynum and the organization was right in having him fight through it. If he had the surgery, he would have been out the rest of the playoffs and Lakers possibly don’t win the chip.
Sometimes things just happen. Bynum and Lakers made the best decision they could at the time and thought he’d be ready by training camp.
Funny how the decrease in international players coincided with the Lakers becoming a “tougher team.” Haha, I kid.
There is more to the issue than Bynum being healthy and in shape when the playoffs start. Bynum and the Lakers still have not figured out the optimum way to work him into the offensive and defensive and systems, particularly in relation to Gasol. Missing training camp and preseason will further delay this; there just isn’t the practice time available during the regular season to work on the nuances of the game.
haha, but seriously
lil' pau says
Least important question in the world, but i’m curious:
Does anyone know if the Lakers will fly their charter to London? If so, there must be at least one refueling stop along the way, right? Or will they fly commercially for such a long trip and leave the plane at home? I know one can also ‘rent’ a plane from a major airline– another possibility, i suppose… I’m pretty sure the Lakers plane is a 737– no way that’s going Santa Monica nonstop to Heathrow!
@#6 lil pau, maybe as the defending champions Lakers obtained clearance for mid air refueling, LOL!
I’m not sure if it has been mentioned on the site, but the Lakers’ training session is on NBA TV right now. From 2:00 to 5:00.
I think it’s from the 27th. So if you haven’t seen it (I haven’t), check it out.
ya its also on nba.com so you can watch it whenever
The Caracter link was fun reading, though I don’t like the writing style. Wonder if he’ll develop into something, or even stay with our team until our current starters’ contracts expire.