From Dave McMenamin, ESPN Los Angeles: As a 34-year-old veteran about to embark on his 17th NBA season, Kobe Bryant knows that he’s much closer to the end of his career than he is to the beginning. That doesn’t mean, however, that he’s going to quietly fade into the background, even on a team that he described as “on its face, the best talent I’ve been around.” The Lakers might have added a three-time Defensive Player of the Year in Dwight Howard and a two-time MVP in Steve Nash since last season, but the No. 1 guy is still going to be No. 24 if he has anything to say about it.
From David Leon Moore, USA Today: Expectations are always high in Lakerland, but this year, with the addition of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash to go with established stars Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, the Los Angeles Lakers’ have inspired comparisons to the team’s last Big Four. That was in 2003-04, when Karl Malone and Gary Payton joined forces with Shaquille O’Neal and Bryant to forge a superstar-studded lineup that . . . oh yeah, didn’t win. Those Lakers endured chemistry issues all season, then Malone injured a knee and the Lakers were outplayed badly by the Detroit Pistons in the NBA Finals.
From Brian Kamenetzky, Land ‘O Lakers: The fine folks at ESPN Stats and Information have been digging for juicy little nuggets heading into Monday’s media day kickoff to the 2012-13 season, and were kind enough to send them along. Here are a few of the more interesting bits of information, along with milestones to watch for over the course of the year…
From Mark Medina, LA Times: Blake arrived at media day Monday at the team’s practice facility in El Segundo in full uniform — and wearing shoes. He didn’t show any limitation when he walked to the various photo shoots and interview sessions. Blake said doctors have cleared him for spot using drills. Nonetheless, Blake said that “cutting, anything that causes friction will open the wound up.” Hence, Blake will be limited for at least three weeks.
From Kevin Ding, OC Register: The guy really does love to make people smile. So in that sense, this is definitely Dwight Howard’s time. His arrival here – especially with news from Philadelphia that Andrew Bynum’s knee already hurts, a bone bruise contributing to him being sidelined three weeks – has people all around Howard in Southern California smiling simply upon seeing him. Howard knows he stumbled in Orlando as he tried to assume the weight of Disney World. The idea he is now free to be me – and meeting Ellen DeGeneres on her talk show after she voiced a character in Howard’s favorite movie “Finding Nemo” – makes this the undisputed happiest place on earth for him.
From Mike Trudell, Lakers.com: The type of media horde that assembled in El Segundo for Lakers media day on Monday morning usually only converges for the NBA Finals, but with Dwight Howard and Steve Nash joining Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol in their fresh purple and gold outfits, a massive contingent of journalists was to be expected. Yet with each one having been the media’s go-to guy on an NBA roster, being just one of four was a piece of cake, producing a bevy of interesting story lines. Here’s what stood out from our first chance to hear from the Lakers ahead of what promises to be an intriguing season:
Marc J. Spears, Yahoo Sports: Kobe Bryant won three NBA championships on Los Angeles Lakers teams with Shaquille O’Neal. The 2003-04 Lakers also had a talent-heavy roster that included Bryant, O’Neal, Karl Malone and Gary Payton, even though they lost in the NBA Finals. And Bryant’s last two titles came with Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum by his side. Yet, Bryant now looks around at his current teammates – a star-filled group that includes Gasol, Dwight Howard and Steve Nash – and calls this season’s Lakers his most talented supporting cast ever. “On its face, it’s the best talent I’ve been around,” Bryant said. “Whether that translates into winning a championship remains to be seen. But just on paper you’re talking Defensive Player of the Years, MVPs, and All-Stars. You’re talking about a myriad of things. Guys who are at the top of their position at one point or another. It’s pretty dope.”
Lastly, we leave you with two video clips. First, is Dwight Howard’s talk with TNT’s Craig Sager at yesterday’s media day. Dwight talks his health, his role, and more. Second, here is another installment of “Story time with Jalen Rose” where, this time, he talks the night Kobe went off for 81 points on him and his Raptors teammates. Good stuff here:
Ryan Cole says
CDR was added to the training camp roster, the coaching staff is hoping he’ll play for the Defenders.
Kenny T says
JRose’s video is pretty funny. I don’t think Mo Peterson ever recovered from that night when Kobe dropped 81…any time Mo faced Kobe after that, he had that “deer in the headlights” look!
Surviving Media day proves that this group of Lakers is mentally tough! (jk)
Agree with Kswagger8’s comment on the last thread that Andrew Bynum doesn’t look in the best of shape. It’s hard to be certain from video, but he looks heavier than he did at the end of last season. Good thing for him that Philly has a patient fan base. Not!
I am really looking forward to see which members of this new incarnation of the Lakers’ bench mob will emerge from the training camp scrums to become rotation-worthy. I’ve always liked Earl Clark. Also, I’m hoping that a solid backup for Steve Nash can be found among the mass of candidates. I have faith that the FO and coaching staff will separate the wheat from the chaff and have the team primed going into the regular season.
Best training camp out of Goudelock, Johnson-Odom and CDR should make the team. Gerald Green proved he can still play a bench role maybe CDR does the same.
Thanks for the CDR update. The Craig Sager interview link isn’t working. Maybe link to the youtube page
Kenny T says
Geo. Karl has been quoted as saying “I can’t deny I despise the Lakers.” He says The Show has beaten his teams too many times. And Ty Lawson has declared the Nuggets as the team to beat in the West. Oh well, talk is cheap.
Those comments, however, do serve to point out what the Lakers will be facing all year. Teams have already circled the games with the Lakers on their schedules. Traditionally, teams have always given a max effort against the P&G. Now, with all the media hype surrounding this new group of Lakers, expect the opposition to be even more intense and aggressive. The Lakers need to develop an “us-against-the-world” mentality ASAP.
Ryan Cole says
Dwight Howard and Craig Sager
The Jalen Rose video is pretty funny.
It will be interesting to see if one of the extra training camp players impress the coaching staff enough to make the team. CDR or Sacre maybe. Sacre is probably more likely.
LT mitchell says
When did Steve Nash turn into Martin Short?
@9: All Canadians do at some point.
Yeah, comparing Kobe’s team to that team he faced Toronto with…
1. Smush -> Nash
2. Kobe -> Kobe (some dropoff)
3. Luke -> Metta
4. Odom -> Pau
5. Kwame -> Dwight
The bit from Jalen’s video where he says Kobe dropping 81 is fine..not like Luke Walton dropped 20..is pretty darn funny.
Edwin Gueco says
Harold, it was just few years ago when Kobe almost run a muck with those teammates yet they almost beat the Suns. Luuuke, I miss cutie Luke, Smush and Kwame’s calves who were regarded as heroes to some old timers. I don’t know what basketball they were watching but I regard these players as a real waste of time on Kobe. He got old by the equivalent of five years from 2005-07 in carrying this team and the scrubs.
I won’t say they were wasted. Wasted in Kobe standards since they did not result in a championship or even championship contention, but that was the only way in which we would be able to witness 81 points.
81 points! or 62 in 3 quarters? or the string of 40, 50 point games in modern basketball?
Those things will be part of Kobe’s legacy that not many will even have a chance to match as stars today will prefer to play on loaded teams.