In the next wave of Laker interviews at Media Day, we talked to a couple more new Lakers. Darius Johnson-Odom was drafted in the second round by the Dallas Mavericks before he was moved to the Lakers almost immediately. He’s trying to make the main roster. And the other Laker is Jodie Meeks, who came over here from Philadelphia as a free agent. Meeks is very much expected to back up Kobe Bryant on the 2-guard spot.
Let’s get to know them a little bit more.
FORUM BLUE & GOLD: How does it feel to be a Laker?
DARIUS JOHNSON-ODOM: It’s a surreal moment. I’ve always been a Laker fan. To be in this jersey right now and to be in this moment, it’s a surreal moment like I said. I’m just happy to be here.
FB&G: What do you feel your role is going to be?
DJO: I just wanna help the team as much as possible. Be that defensive stopper for the perimeter. Make open shots. If I’m able to do that, then I help the team tremendously.
FB&G: Who was your favorite Laker growing up?
DJO: I’ve always been a Kobe Bryant fan. So it was kinda weird to walk right past by him and talk to him.
FB&G: When you were drafted (there was no Howard/Nash), what did you think when you heard the news?
DJO: After I heard my last name, I just ran over and hugged my family. I didn’t even hear the team. I was just happy, being from North Carolina and being through all these tribulations as far as working hard, trying to get another school, trying to get to Marquette… it was just a surreal moment for me and I was just happy.
FB&G: We saw your between-the-legs dunk on Twitter recently. Do you consider yourself the best dunker on the Lakers?
DJO: Definitely. Hands down.
FB&G: Better than Dwight? Better than prime Kobe?
DJO: Prime Kobe? That’s a little different. Better than Dwight? I would say so.
FORUM BLUE & GOLD: You chose the Lakers. Was it a hard choice?
JODIE MEEKS: It wasn’t hard at all. I was just waiting for the right opportunity for myself. Once they called, I was ready to go.
FB&G: It wasn’t about the money…
JM: No, not at all. I could’ve signed for more money but money’s not everything to me. I would rather win and compete for a championship. I wanna learn from the best in the game: Kobe, Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard, Antawn Jamison, Metta World Peace or Ron Artest, whatever you wanna call him… I’m looking forward to it.
FB&G: Who else was going after you during the summer?
JM: It was a lot of teams. The Wizards, Golden State, Chicago, Houston… but for me, this is the best fit for myself.
FB&G: Any extra pressure performing here under the L.A. bright lights?
JM: Not extra pressure. It’s motivation. We’re going to be everybody’s big game. There’s really not a game where we can just say, “Maybe we can just relax tonight.” No, everybody’s going to try to beat us. We can’t go 82-0. But we wanna give a good effort every time.
FB&G: You’re known as a 3-pt shooter. Anything else you worked on during the summer?
JM: Pretty much everything. Ballhandling. Come off pick-and-rolls. Come off screens. I think of myself as more than a spot-up shooter but I do that because that’s my role.
FB&G: Lastly, has Kobe given you a hard time so far?
JM: Not yet! Today was the first day I met him. But as the season goes along and I get to know him better, I’ll pick his brain and try to learn as much as I can from him.
FB&G: Good luck in the season!
LT mitchell says
I’m fairly confident DJO will make the team. He’s everything this team needs, young, athletic, a defensive stopper, and can hit the open shot (hopefully). Lack of team speed and PG defense may become the biggest issues for this team in the next few seasons, and DJO has a chance to address those needs.
If DJO makes the team that would give us 5 pgs on the roster with only 2 SFs
we need either a tall SG or legitamate SF as even Jodie at the 2 is still kind of small at 6’4
I agree with LT Mitchell – DJO is prolly going to make the team. Else, we just threw 500K down the drain 🙂
don ford says
Between draft time and this interview, I’ve read maybe 10 sentences out of DJOs mouth. And yet, silly as it may sound, they are enmough to make me think he’s got the attitude to get somewhere in this league (ie “worth keeping” etc. )
(Of course I remember having the very same t sort of thought about doug christie of all people, which was/wasnt astute of me, so ya never know!)
Good stuff over at http://blog.lakers.com/lakers/. Mike Trudell has interviewed LA assistent Eddie Jordan, and gets an interesting answer when he asked about Ron Artest:
MT: With so much focus on L.A.’s top four players, some might forget that Metta World Peace is coming into camp in fantastic shape, and can pose a lot of problems for opponents…
Jordan: Metta World Peace is the prototypical forward in this offense. He can make perimeter shots, he’s a slasher, he’s a willing passer and he can post up. And when he’s doing that action, maybe Kobe or Steve is getting a flare. Maybe Dwight’s rolling in on the other box. All the misdirection in the offense is supposed to benefit there. He’s tailor made more than anybody there is on the team. Kobe’s tailor made for any offense and Nash can run any offense, but it’s made for a guy like Metta. He’s the guy that can play with everybody. His physicality on cutting and slashing should get him a lot of easy chances. That’s why you don’t want to only run pick and rolls, because you want a more balanced offense, and you get better chemistry when everyone is a part of the success. And that makes them play harder on D.
Gotta like DJO’s moxie. Not sure if he’ll contribute this year, but we’ll see. As far as my last post on Duhon, I actually think he could end up contributing, more than Clark. As bad as he’s been, Duhon has shown glimpses of some NBA skills (defense, shooting) whereas Clark has shown nothing but rawness. We shouldn’t read too much into 1 quote, but Rey’s interview does kind of reveal a lackadaisical side to Clark that makes me question if he’ll make it inn the league.
Edwin Gueco says
Thanks Rey and FBG for the player interviews in getting to familiarize with our new Lakers. Hopefully, as we go farther in the future we can go on in depth with the new starters. Be more insightful and forthright challenging with their life philosophies, I think that is where you get to know more about themselves outside of basketball. Like for example in the case of Pau, if he were not playing, he could have been in the medical field. When you try to deal on basketball related questions, you get canned answers to please the interviewer and shallow fanatics. Let them know that they are in a new territory with regards to work ethics. No matter how great they are or profess to be, if fans here sense lackadaisical efforts in their games, they’ll get booed. Laker nation is a tough place to play because they are all surrounded by stars on court side seats. It is not just winning majority of the games but dominating the opponents in all games.
Well, JDO was acquired by the Lakers in the late draft and Mitch has to shell out half million as a form of guaranteed acquisition. There must be a diamond in JDO out there. The name alone is scary. I wish he would learn more while playing with Steve Nash than Kobe. Dunking is great for a PG but height is limited in the long run he’ll get block on his way up. PG’s should delve more on their BBIQ as game operators, court general and knowing the favorite spots and creating openings. Give the ball to Meeks, to Antawn Jamison, to Blake because that is what they are paid to do.
I’m curious how many of these borderline players are doing serious preparation for life after basketball. Anyone have a feel for that? It seems like most of the post-basketball stories you hear are negative; is that due to the media’s (not including the writers here) tendency to over-emphasize the negative, because it sells more, or is that because that’s the reality?
Dave M. says
Weds links up, fyi. http://www.forumblueandgold.com/2012/10/03/wednesday-storylines-38/
Dave M. says
ex, it’s hard to really quantify and only time will tell, but my sense is that there is more preparation going on now and that much of that comes from made players in the league emphasizing the business aspect of the game, and business in general. I hope I’m right.