The Lakers introduced their three summer acquisitions — Roy Hibbert, Brandon Bass and Lou Williams — on Wednesday and the press conference was captivating…okay, not so much. But, seriously, when looking past the now infamous “silent treatment” and the disappointing fact that Bynum’s jersey number has yet to be retired (Damn you, Hibbert.), there are some real takeaways that can emerge from these traditionally cliché pressers.
For the Lakers, the biggest observation (pun intended) was some of the revealing quotes from Roy Hibbert both during the presser and afterwards with individual reporters. To provide some insight into Hibbert’s presser we’ve collected bits from a few articles on it over the web and ordered them in a cohesive manner. Read away:
Former Indiana Pacer Roy Hibbert was introduced as the newest member of the Los Angles Lakers on Wednesday and seemed eager for a fresh start.
The center said it was a “no-brainer” to waive his no-trade clause with the Pacers — reportedly sacrificing $2.2 million — to play in Los Angeles and acknowledged Indiana’s plan to go younger and play faster played a role in his decision.
“You have to embrace change,” Hibbert said. “They wanted to go in a different direction. It’s a business and you have to understand that.”
To Larry Bird and others in charge in Indiana, Roy Hibbert was a lost cause. A lumbering center with little offensive game and a disinterested temperament, they were happy pawning him off for nothing more than a future second-round draft pick.
The Lakers, however, view Hibbert as a player who can not only regain his standing as an All-Star big man, but anchor their anemic defense, which last year ranked second-worst in the NBA.
“I expect to play at an All-Star defensive level, and everything else will come,” Hibbert said Wednesday.
Smart thinking by Hibbert, who was an All-Star in the 2013-2014 season, but he may have a tough time becoming an All-Star in the West as players like Marc Gasol, DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis seem entrenched at the big man spots. However, Hibbert should excel with the Lakers, improving their low-ranking defense.
“Kareem reaches out to me, comes to watch my workouts and we stay in touch for the most part,” Hibbert said. “He gives me little tidbits, I worked with him a lot last year during the summer and he keeps up with me. So, he always gives me some advice, gives me some things to work on and I always ask him questions.”
It seems a stretch to say that Hibbert will suddenly unleash Abdul-Jabbar’s skyhook. Hibbert has averaged 11.1 points through seven NBA seasons in Indiana.
Yet, Hibbert credited Abdul-Jabbar for teaching him various techniques regarding his spacing, defensive presence, mental preparation and off-court issues.
If those didn’t leave you feeling encouraged enough about LA’s newest big man, we are doubling down on Hibbert news because, upon doing some research, I discovered a blog post from 2008 that examined the Georgetown offense, anchored by none other than Roy Hibbert.
The piece is worthwhile because Georgetown ran a similar variation of the Princeton Motion Offense that the Lakers plan to implement this upcoming season. And, even better, Hibbert was able to thrive in the system:
Most people when they think of a Princeton offense usually think of it being used by an under-sized and slower team that lacks talent. What would happen if a team with good size combined with great team speed and talent ran a Princeton-styled offense? Well, this year, you can watch Georgetown to see an elite team run a Princeton style offense, and the results speak for themselves.
The only real difference between Georgetown’s offense and a traditional Princeton offense is that Roy Hibbert is usually posted up down low, so they usually show a 4-out look as opposed to a 5-out look. But they do go 5-out on occasion as you’ll see in the video, but they are primarily in a 4-out set. […]
I’ve written about Navy’s Princeton offense before, which is much more of a pure Princeton-based offense with the 5-out look. Georgetown’s offense doesn’t use as many give and go plays, but they use the backdoor cut extensively and upscreens for Hibbert to post-up down low.
(So Hibbert loses weight, waives his trade kicker and works well in the Princeton Offense? What is there not to love??)
The post goes on to break down respective play sets and examine what was most effective. If interested in learning more about the offense in general, it is certainly worth your time.
Sticking with the theme of Laker big men, fan-favorite Robert Upshaw has yet to officially sign his deal with the team. Drew Garrison of Silver Screen and Roll examined Upshaw’s situation and how the Lakers plan to address their lone roster spot:
The Los Angeles Lakers sit at 14 signed players, leaving them a single spot to fill out before locking in their roster for the season. Their depth chart is currently a mix-and-match of veterans, fresh talent and prospects that are left over from the previous three seasons. Despite the team still having a handful of veteran’s minimum players, their flexibility is now compromised by the number of young players they’ve compiled…
Upshaw makes a great deal of sense as the final prospect for the Lakers, and he’s coming off what was a successful Las Vegas Summer League run. He’s still very much a project player, but he’s the kind that’s worth the attention of a franchise. […] There are red flags regarding Robert’s off-court decisions, though, which will continue to be an asterisk in any conversation about his place in the NBA.
[…] Mitch has to proceed cautiously and doesn’t appear to be taking Upshaw’s previous transgressions lightly.
So, what appeared to be a done deal a couple weeks ago now seems up in the air. And, as our own Darius Soriano pointed out earlier this week, there are still a few holes to fill on the roster, which could also contribute to the team’s hesitation on Upshaw. It will be a situation worth watching as the offseason continues.
One of the other Laker acquisitions this offseason, Lou Williams, has been met equally with excitement and trepadation. The reigning Sixth Man of the Year is unquestionably talented but with a similar-minded player in Nick Young also on the roster, how will the two mesh? In a piece by Mark Medina, he notes that Williams is optimistic about being able to co-exist:
Yes, Williams and Young have cemented reputations as looking to score first, pass second and defend never. Before signing a three-year deal worth $21 million with the Lakers this offseason, Williams has averaged 11.9 points and 2.9 assists through his 10-year NBA career [and] Young has averaged 12.3 points and 1.1 assists through his 8-year NBA career […]
Yet, Williams expressed optimism he and Young will co-exist. The Lakers plan to bring Williams off the bench as a shooting guard, while Young will play as a reserve small forward. Williams also cited his past experience playing with other high-volume scorers, including Allen Iverson.
“I’ve played in systems with multiple guards where we had two or three guards on the court at the same time,” said Williams, who will also share scoring duties with Kobe Bryant. “The most important thing is to not pin Nick and I against each other. We’re teammates now. We both have similar games. We both like to score the basketball, that’s been one of our strong suits. That’s what we hang our hats on. But once we’re on the court, I like to play team basketball. If I’m in an iso situation, that when I try to score the ball. Other than that, I just try to make plays whether it’s for myself or my teammates.”
Lastly, news on the Lakers’ other signee, Brandon Bass, was relatively quiet after Wednesday’s presser, but here’s some of what he said, per a release from Lakers.com:
“My plan is to be a two-way presence on both ends of the court,” Bass said. “To help my teammates anyway I can; do all the little things out there — set picks, run the floor, rebound and communicate on defense. (I’m) trying to lead by example.”
In trying to lead, Bass will be following the guidance of a familiar face in head coach Byron Scott. The pair were together for Bass’ first two seasons in the NBA, from 2005 to 2007 with the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets.
Bass recalls Scott being driving force during his early years in the league.
“My first two (years), I didn’t play as much,” Bass said. “Just a lot of motivation. I knew I had to get in the gym and get my grind on.”
The first part of the quote is encouraging and certainly what you’d want to hear from a 10-year veteran. The latter, however, is quite interesting. Remember a while back when coach Scott asserted that guys had formally expressed interest in playing for LA? Well, it’s quite possible Bass was that guy(s). Of course, whether this is true or not is entirely trivial at this point, but, hey, conspiracies are fun!