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News 'n Views - Aug 2016: ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne Talks Expectations in LA (Video)

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News 'n Views - Aug 2016: ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne Talks Expectations in LA (Video) 
Author: lakersfreak 
Posted: 08/01 8:07 AM 
Remembering Kobe Bryant’s 2008 Olympic Gem (Video)
by Eric Yee -

The Olympics are just around the corner, so what better time to remember Lakers’ superstar, Kobe Bryant’s majestic performance in the Finals of the 2008 Olympics

Despite not having any Los Angeles Lakers on the actual Olympic team, the Purple and Gold were well represented by having three players — Julius Randle, D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram — serve as members of the USA Select Team.

That said, Kobe Bryant’s impressive performance during the 2008 Olympics in the Championship Game against Pau Gasol and Spain, still resonates to this day.

Hitting clutch shots throughout the game, none more impressive than his four-point play conversion over Rudy Fernandez, Kobe helped lead the USA back to the winner’s circle, a relief after a disappointing bronze medal finish in 2004.

Riding the momentum of his first and only MVP award the season prior, along with the added heartbreak of losing the NBA Finals to the Boston Celtics the year before, Kobe served as the vocal leader of the Redeem Team along with LeBron James.


Author: lakersfreak 
Posted: 08/01 8:09 AM 
Luke Walton Throws Out First Pitch At Dodgers Game (Video)
by Trevor Lane -

The Los Angeles Lakers were thrilled to bring Luke Walton on board this summer as their new head coach. Walton, who spent most of his playing days wearing a Lakers uniform, promises to bring an up-tempo style that will be based on the skills of young, talented played like D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, and Brandon Ingram.

After spending two seasons with the Golden State Warriors, Walton’s return to Los Angeles has helped to usher in a wave of optimism among Lakers fans. With that being the case, the Los Angeles Dodgers decided to invite Walton to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before their game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday (video courtesy mlb.comm):



Author: lakersfreak 
Posted: 08/01 8:10 AM 
Is Luol Deng The Lakers’ New Carlos Boozer?
by Hannah Kulik -

The Los Angeles Lakers’ biggest free agency signing this offseason was Luol Deng, who most recently played two years for the Miami Heat. Deng is joining the Lakers in his 15th NBA season, and recently he signed a contract which will reportedly pay him $72 million over four years. He is expected to begin the season as the team’s starter at the small forward position.

Two years ago, the Lakers signed another free agent forward whose background and experience were eerily similar to that of Deng. Like Deng, Carlos Boozer had long been rumored to be of interest to the Lakers’ front office, and in Boozer’s 13th NBA season, they were able to sign him. Like Deng, he joined the Lakers after playing for three other teams in his NBA career two of which were Chicago and Cleveland.

In his one season with the Lakers, Boozer’s salary was $16.8 million, very close to what Deng will be paid (although in Boozer’s case, his former team was required to pay most of that cost). Like Deng, Boozer was brought in to mentor younger players and to provide a calm, stabilizing influence in the locker room.


Author: lakersfreak 
Posted: 08/01 8:11 AM 
Higher Ceiling, Julius Randle or Larry Nance Jr?
by Eric Yee -

The Los Angeles Lakers’ young core is going to be a force to be reckoned with down the line, but which of their two impressive power forwards has the higher ceiling?

Heading into last season, this wasn’t an issue at all, but after Larry Nance Jr came in and greatly surprised Lakers’ fans and continued to improve this summer, questions of what will happen between him and Julius Randle are now a heated topic of debate.

Last year was technically both players’ rookie season — on account of Julius Randle missing year one with a broken leg — so the comparison is warranted in that sense.

Looking at the tale of the tape, though both standing 6’9, Randle is two years younger and 20 pounds heavier than his front court mate, Nance. In terms of measurables, at their Draft Combines Randle posted a 7-foot wingspan and 8′ 9.5″ standing reach while Nance recorded at 7′ 1.5″ and 9′ 0″ respectively.

Additionally, despite having the same no-step vertical of 29-inches, Nance also had a two inch advantage in the max vert category — 35.5″ to 37.5″ — though his max vertical during his pre-draft workout with the Lakers was actually much higher than that.

Knowing all of this, the question then remains, which player has the higher ceiling?


Author: pio2u 
Posted: 08/01 6:05 PM 


A first-round pick of the Atlanta Hawks in 1973, Jones would go on to play for his hometown Rockets, as well as the Bulls and Lakers. Jones retired in 1984 after playing 766 NBA regular season games, amassing career averages of 8.1 ppg and 5.9 rpg.
Jones was also known for his participation in the controversial 1972 Olympics Men’s Basketball finals, when Team USA lost (were cheated out of) the gold medal game in overtime against the Soviet Union.

Author: lakersfreak 
Posted: 08/02 8:10 AM 
History of Lakers In the Olympics
by Joey Ramirez -

Heading into the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, Jose Calderon and Marcelo Huertas will continue a legacy of Lakers performing on international basketball’s greatest stage.

While some had not yet played for the Lakers before participating in the Olympics (and thus not officially representing the purple and gold), many — including legends like Jerry West, Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant — made Los Angeles proud with their contributions at the Games.

Over the last 56 years, 10 different Lakers have played for their country in search for gold.

Jerry West — USA (Rome 1960)
Four months after being drafted by the Minneapolis Lakers, 22-year-old Jerry West became the franchise’s first Olympian before beginning his rookie season. Because only amateurs were allowed to compete at the time, West was eligible to represent West Virginia University, where he had just completed a two-time All-American career.

Selected as co-captain alongside Oscar Robertson, West averaged 14.3 points in Rome to help the Americans to an 8-0 record with an average margin of victory of 42.4. The team — which also featured Jerry Lucas and Walt Bellamy — was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame as a unit in 2010.

West — who had helped the USA to gold at the Pan American Games the year before — went on to forge his own Hall-worthy career in Los Angeles by earning 14 All-Star selections in as many seasons.

Walt Hazzard — USA (Tokyo 1964)
The Lakers made Walt Hazzard the No.1 pick of the 1964 NBA Draft, and he returned to Los Angeles with a gold medal six months later. Hazzard, who was coming off a championship and All-American season at UCLA, averaged only 3.8 points in Tokyo, never scoring more than seven.

However, he and his teammates — including Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown — enjoyed plenty of easy victories, including against Uruguay (83-28) and South Korea (116-50). In the gold-medal match, they defeated the previously unbeaten Soviet Union, 73-59.

Hazzard spent the first three seasons of his pro career in L.A., where he averaged 9.4 points before being selected by Seattle in the 1967 expansion draft.


Author: lakersfreak 
Posted: 08/02 8:11 AM 
The Mysterious Case Of Anthony Brown’s Disappearing Jumper
by Trevor Lane -

The Los Angeles Lakers were about to bow out of the Las Vegas Summer League with two consecutive defeats. Stuck in the consolation bracket after falling to the Cleveland Cavaliers, they were hoping to stage a massive comeback in the 4th quarter against the Utah Jazz so they could walk away with a win, but the odds were against them.

With the Lakers down three and only seconds left, the ball found it’s way to sophomore wing Anthony Brown. One step behind the arc on the left side, Brown snapped his wrist and let the ball fly.

It sailed about a foot over the basket, effectively ending the game.

The knee-jerk reaction is to dismiss the play. Brown had played well that game and actually connected on three of his five threes, which was a marked improvement. It was just one shot, taken under duress in a Summer League game, where wins and losses count only slightly more than a Brock Lesnar fight after the drug test comes in.

Still, there is something going on here beyond the small sample size, a nagging uneasiness that has become increasingly difficult to brush aside with each poor-shooting game. When he fires up a brick, there is now an audible rumbling of frustration from the crowd as hope for a turnaround dissipates.

This is not how this story was supposed to go. Brown was an excellent shooter in college, connecting on a very impressive 44 percent from three in his final season, and 45 percent the year before that. He was one of the top shooters in the 2015 draft, and many thought the Lakers got a steal when they selected him with the 34th pick out of Stanford.

Unfortunately, his marksmanship appears to have stayed at Stanford.


Author: lakersfreak 
Posted: 08/03 3:03 PM 
Lakers young core ready to move past rough season

For the first time in years, the Lakers have given fans reason for excitement thanks to a young core that has shown flashes of brilliance paired with a young head coach in Luke Walton.

Add in newly-drafted Brandon Ingram to a group consisting of fellow lottery picks Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell and draft steals in Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance, Jr. and the next couple months will be dreadful for fans to wait through.

Nance himself added to the excitement after appearing on a podcast with Basketball Insiders’ Alex Kennedy on Tuesday.

On top of talking about his fit with Julius Randle and the change of culture within the Lakers, Nance also talked about the chemistry built among the young players.

After spending a season with the Lakers’ young core of Randle, Russell, Clarkson and Anthony Brown, Nance can foresee the Lakers being together, and being successful, for years to come.

On building chemistry with young guys:

“It’s a weird melding of guys. You got your McDonald’s All-Americans with Julius, D’Angelo and Brandon Ingram. Then you got the guys that went four years of college that are a little bit older. You know me, Anthony, Jordan Clarkson. It’s a weird kind of meshing of youth together, but we’ve really come together both on the court and off the court.

Just learning each other’s play type, playing pick-up games, two-on-two, one-on-one, three-on-three, just kind of getting a feel for each other this off-season. But I think off the court is really where we’ve improved. We do a lot of team dinners, team building, stuff like that to where I think all of us are comfortable enough to call another one and say ‘Let’s go grab something to eat’ or ‘Let’s go hit the golf course’ or just something like that.

It’s a very good relationship we all have with each other and I think we’re all gearing up to be around each other for the next couple years."

Part of the bonding experience for the Lakers comes from going through a rough season together. Nance pointed out that the young core was not only dissatisfied with last season, but eager to change it.


Author: lakersfreak 
Posted: 08/03 3:05 PM 
Nance pleased with Lakers’ performance, fans in Summer League

The Los Angeles Lakers had a mostly successful outing in Las Vegas earlier this offseason. Despite ultimately losing their final two games in Summer League, the young players on the team all showed some signs of developing into good or great players.

Perhaps the biggest star in Summer League was Larry Nance, Jr. who showed significant development and growth. His all-around game and vicious dunks had the predominately Lakers crowd chanting his name in Vegas.

That Lakers crowd was one of Nance’s main takeaways from the annual tournament. As he told Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders, Lakers Nation was in regular season form in Las Vegas:

Lakers Nation is nuts. But it’s really cool to where we can go to Vegas for Summer League and we were playing Philly and one of the first plays of the game, D’Angelo hit me with a bounce pass in a pick-and-roll and I just airballed a jumper. And they just started bellowing ‘Larry! Larry!’ It’s like ‘Man, these fans are awesome.’ Like, I just airballed and they still got my back? Normally it’s just like ‘Airball!’ and ‘This guy sucks.’ It was really good to see that.

Nance also spoke about Summer League as a whole and how the team fared. The sophomore power forward was pleased with the progress that the three returning members of the team (D’Angelo Russell, Anthony Brown, and himself) showed. Notably, he spoke about the trio’s success in Luke Walton’s (watered down) system:


Author: lakersfreak 
Posted: 08/03 3:07 PM 
Larry Nance, Jr. says he can play the ‘Draymond Green role’ for the Lakers
by Harrison Faigen -

He’s also eager to play alongside Los Angeles’ other young power forward in smaller lineups.

The Los Angeles Lakers are not going to be as good as the Golden State Warriors this year. This is hardly BREAKING NEWS, but given how often the two teams have been compared since Los Angeles hired Luke Walton as their new head coach, it feels like it needs to be said. There are some vague similarities between the two rosters for anyone squinting hard enough, though, and Larry Nance, Jr. certainly isn’t shying away from them.

"Definitely,” Nance, Jr. told Alex Kennedy on the Basketball Insiders podcast when asked if he could play the Draymond Green-role for the Lakers in Walton’s Warriors’ inspired offense. “That's kind of how I played this summer league. You know, just get the ball off the rim, take it myself, make decisions on the break, run that high pick-and-roll with D'Angelo, and when he drops it off to me, I turn into a point forward.”

Nance, Jr. did seem to put more of an emphasis on doing all of those things during his time in Las Vegas, and it often led to good results for the Lakers, from igniting the break with his dribble or an outlet pass:


Author: lakersfreak 
Posted: 08/03 3:08 PM 
Video: Jordan Clarkson works on extending his three-point shooting range, nails 15 in a row
by Gary Kester -

NBA training camps are still about two months away from starting up, but while players are in the middle of the offseason, there is still plenty of work being done this summer.

The Los Angeles Lakers have to be excited about not only the core they have built, but also the fact that their young players appear to constantly work hard to improve. Of those players, Jordan Clarkson has made a strong case for having the best work ethic of the team. The 24-year-old has put in a ton of work this summer, even after netting a four-year, $50 million contract to stay in Los Angeles.

Clarkson saw his three-point field goal percentage increase from a 31.4 percent clip in his rookie season to 34.7 percent last year. Courtesy of video footage from Pure Sweat trainer Drew Hanlen, it looks like Clarkson is taking his three-point shooting to another level.


Author: lakersfreak 
Posted: 08/03 3:09 PM 
Kobe's Top Moments for the United States National Team
by Joey Ramirez -

For the first time since 2004, the United States National Team will make a run at Olympic gold without Kobe Bryant.

The legendary Laker retired in April, but not before collecting plenty of hardware for both club and country. Team USA went 26-0 during Bryant’s tenure, not to mention his unblemished record in exhibitions.

From scrimmages against teammates to gold-medal games, Bryant always seemed to step up when the red, white and blue needed him most.


Author: lakersfreak 
Posted: 08/04 7:43 AM 
Larry Nance, Jr. speaks about the Lakers’ change of culture
by Honi Ahmadian -

The Los Angeles Lakers are undergoing a huge change this offseason. The change began on the final day of the previous season, with Kobe Bryant’s departure signalling the official rebuild around a young core of players. Then came the firing of Byron Scott and the subsequent hiring of Luke Walton.

There is no doubt that the Lakers have changed their philosophy in the past few months. They seem ready to go all in on this youth movement, pinning their hopes on the backs of several talented, but ultimately raw young players. They chose the youngest head coach in the league to guide this group and grow with them. In effect, the Lakers have a new culture about them.

The word culture has been thrown around a lot lately in regards to the NBA. The San Antonio Spurs have always been the godfather of culture and its importance in organizations around The Association. The Warriors have become the heir apparent over the last few seasons.

And now, that same all important culture is seeping through the woodwork in Los Angeles.

While we as fans can speculate about that culture shift, there’s no telling how true it really has. But according to Larry Nance, Jr., it’s real and it’s coming fast.

The sophomore power forward made an appearance on the Basketball Insiders podcast with Alex Kennedy on Tuesday. He discussed a wide variety of topics but none were quite as interesting as the importance he put on the word “culture.”

Nance first brought up that word when discussing his and the team’s workout routines and focus this summer. After detailing what he himself has been working on, Nance had the following to say:

“Since Luke’s gotten here, the culture has kind of changed. Now he’s on the court working with us, and the assistants are on the court working with us. Kind of implementing in our game what they’d like to see in our offense.

Me and D’Angelo have worked on pick-and-rolls quite a bit. Anthony Brown has been working on being that knock-down, coming off screens, stuff like that. Julius has been working on the same thing. I know he’s been an absolute beast this offseason, just with his workouts and stuff like that.

So I’m excited to see everything that he’s improved upon. And then Jordan, as well. You know, Jordan’s in and out of the gym before we even get there in the morning. He’s a gym rat. I just know all of us have been working and are really excited.

And it’s just a whole new culture and a whole new feel around the gym and it’s really nice to see.”

Nance’s words about the coaching staff as a whole is certainly great to hear. The Lakers brought in a ton of young coaches to join Walton on the bench and it appears that that has been great for the young players thus far. Walton and the coaching staff have been hands-on, explicitly telling the players what they need to work on and (most importantly) helping them do it. When considering reports about the previous regime in Los Angeles, this is a huge shift in philosophy – and a crucial one.

That same marked change seems to have been a hallmark of the Lakers’ free agency strategy, at least according to Nance. In signing Timofey Mozgov and Luol Deng and trading for Jose Calderon, the Lakers added three veterans who have all had success at various points in their careers. Nance had more details about why that was important:


Author: lakersfreak 
Posted: 08/04 7:44 AM 
Larry Nance, Jr. is “looking forward to playing with Julius Randle in the same unit”
by Thai Luong -

The Lakers will be in a peculiar situation at their power forward position heading into training camp. They have two really good players that can easily make an impact in the starting line up in Julius Randle and Larry Nance, Jr. The latter proved to everyone that he has the necessary skills to thrive under Luke Walton’s system after an impressive performance in the summer league. It was a pleasant surprise for everyone to see him knocking down jumpers from deep and handling the ball in transition. Nance Jr.’s performance gave fans something interesting to ponder, should he start over Julius Randle?

Nance, Jr.’s performance shouldn’t be a threat to Randle’s role with the Lakers, but it should be an optimistic sign that the latter can improve just like the former had shown in summer league. The more interesting question when dealing with the two talented power forwards is whether or not they could play well together. A combination of the two on the court at the same time would pose an interesting dynamic in replicating the Warrior’s small ball line up.

In an interview with Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders Podcast, Nance, Jr. had some interesting proposals about him and Julius Randle.

“I think you’ll see me and Julius playing a lot of that Draymond Green type of role.” Nance, Jr. said. “That decision-making big. The one thing I hope and looking forward to doing is playing in the same unit as Julius.”

It wouldn’t be a bad idea to experiment with Nance, Jr. at the five and Randle at the four. They would offer the Lakers a lot of versatility on both sides of the ball. Nance, Jr. had proven that he can knock down shots from deep, shooting a modest 33 percent in summer league. Randle is known for his handle and brute strength in transition. The pairing would make an interesting dynamic for the Lakers.


Author: lakersfreak 
Posted: 08/04 7:46 AM 
Larry Nance, Jr. is impressed with Lakers rookies Brandon Ingram and Ivica Zubac
by Harrison Faigen -

His love for the rookies is not going to save them from at least a little hazing, though.

If one thing was made clear in Larry Nance, Jr.’s appearance on the Basketball Insiders podcast on Tuesday, it’s that the sophomore forward could not be more pleased with the Los Angeles Lakers’ offseason. He’s enjoying working with his fellow young players, the team’s new head coach and free agency additions, as well as being pretty high on the team’s new rookies, Brandon Ingram and Ivica Zubac.

"I'm really impressed with both of the guys,” Nance, Jr. told host Alex Kennedy. “I didn't get to see much of college basketball last year, but obviously Brandon is a terrific talent, and he can do it in so many different ways, whether it's shooting or driving he's just so versatile with his wingspan and the way he can move and stuff like that.”

All of those skills are enough to make Nance, Jr. think it’s a little strange how fixated people are on Ingram’s weight, or more accurately in the case of the skinny small forward who has an alarm on his phone reminding him to eat, lack thereof.

“I think people are going to be impressed. He's not a baby. He's not a baby,” Nance, Jr. repeated for emphasis. “He's stronger than he looks, and I think he's going to be really impressive, whether it's this year, next year, or two years down the line I don't know.”

Nance, Jr. knows Ingram is still just 18-years old, and while he may not think Ingram is a “baby,” he does think people should understand he still has plenty of growing to do.


Author: lakersfreak 
Posted: 08/04 7:47 AM 
Watch Tarik Black put in some late night work in the gym (Video)
by Honi Ahmadian -

The Los Angeles Lakers have found a solid, talented, young core to build around. While some of the players have higher ceilings to aspire to than the others, all of them can be at least good role players for the future.

One of those role players is Tarik Black who has made a name for himself with his energy and hustle. Back with the Lakers on a new deal, it appears that the Kansas product is not getting lazy just yet.

Black will be in open competition with a bevy of big men on the roster. Best suited to play the center position, Black will have to compete for minutes in a rotation including Timofey Mozgov, Ivica Zubac, and on occasion Julius Randle or Larry Nance, Jr.

Black certainly has a lot on his hands but he is not backing away from the challenge. Watch the video below in which Black works on his pick-and-roll dive man skills and even knocks down a long jumper.


Author: lakersfreak 
Posted: 08/04 7:48 AM 
Brandon Ingram To Be More Patient With Weight Gain
by Corey Hansford -

Throughout the entire draft process, and ever since he was chosen by the Los Angeles Lakers second overall, the main question surrounding Brandon Ingram has been about him putting on weight.

Ingram was reportedly around 190 pounds at the time of the draft but spoke about how he was constantly eating to put on more weight and muscle to deal with the physicality of the NBA.

Many people, however, believe that putting on a lot of weight quickly is a dangerous proposition. Famed trainer Tim Grover, who has worked with the likes of Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, says believes that quick weight gain can increase the risk of injury, via ESPN’s Baxter Holmes:

“There’s a lot of added pressure on your knees, on your hips, all that other stuff,” Grover says, “because you’re not accustomed to playing with all that weight.”

In his piece, Holmes speaks with numerous trainers and nutritionists who all seem to agree that a quick weight gain could potentially do more harm than good.

Ingram himself appears to have realized this as well as he told Holmes that he is no longer eating 5,000 calories a day and has changed his original weight gain goals:


Author: lakersfreak 
Posted: 08/05 2:46 PM 
Lakers will be bad again next season, and that’s fine
by Taylor Smith -

We’ve officially reached the dog days of the NBA calendar. The season is still just under three months away, but it’s never too early for everyone’s favorite offseason activity: random standings projections!

Last week, ESPN released its prognostications for how the Western Conference will shake out. Not only do they (unsurprisingly) expect the Los Angeles Lakers to miss the playoffs, but the Worldwide Leader has the Purple and Gold finishing dead last.

The West appears to have gotten tougher this summer. The conference as a whole was weaker last season than we’ve seen it in quite awhile, but as of now a legitimate playoff case can be made for at least 12 clubs heading into 2016-17. The Lakers, of course, aren’t one of them.

In spite of the projected last-place finish, ESPN does have the Lakers winning eight more games than they did a season ago and going a robust 25-57. The only Western team expected to see a greater improvement is the Timberwolves.

Frankly, it’d be nearly impossible for the Lakers to not improve coming off the worst season in franchise history. With Kobe Bryant no longer there to hijack the offense and Byron Scott having been fired into the sun, things should be a whole lot more pleasant in Laker Land. Yes, going from 17 to 25 wins is improvement, but it still puts you in the cellar of the league. And for this year’s Lakers, that’s fine.

The upcoming season isn’t about where they finish in the standings, anyway. It’s about Luke Walton finding his footing as a first-year head coach. It’s about D’Angelo Russell stepping into a leadership role as the new face of the franchise. It’s about Brandon Ingram making us buy into the idea that he’s the next Kevin Durant.


Author: lakersfreak 
Posted: 08/05 2:47 PM 
Jud Buechler: “It’s an exciting time for the Lakers”
by Honi Ahmadian -

The Lakers are soon to start a new era in their history. For the first time in 20 seasons, they will be without Kobe Bryant.

Instead, they will be rebuilding with a roster filled with young players. D’Angelo Russell and Brandon Ingram, among the multitude of other talented core members, are seen as the holders of the franchise’s future.

Since Luke Walton was hired as the head coach of the team, the key word being thrown around has been “development.” The Lakers seem content to ride with the young players, surround them with veteran mentors, and hope they develop into great pieces for a contending team sometime soon.

That same statement was echoed by Jud Buechler, one of the new assistants on Walton’s staff. Buechler spoke with the Southern California News Group at a beach volleyball tournament in Manhattan Beach. Most notably, he discussed the coaching staff’s goals and expectations in the post-Kobe era.


Author: lakersfreak 
Posted: 08/05 2:48 PM 
D’Angelo Russell: I want to dominate in the post
by Honi Ahmadian -

Among the chief storylines of the summer and next season for the Lakers is D’Angelo Russell’s development. Now in his second season, Russell is expected to take a leap in becoming one of the leaders of the team.

Russell had an up-and-down rookie year but the point guard seems ready to prove doubters wrong in his sophomore season. According to the 20-year-old himself (via TWC Sportsnet), that starts in the gym where Russell has been working to get stronger.

“I feel like offseason is really based on chemistry, getting to know guys you really have no idea about, and I’ve been in the weight room a ton. That’s really my main focus. Last year, coming in you didn’t have a clue what you were getting yourself into, you just knew what you’ve seen, but actually playing is a process. I’m just trying to get prepared as best I can.”

That’s an expected answer. Most players are not ready for the size and brutality of the NBA when they are first drafted.

The added strength from Russell will be especially notable in one specific part of his skillset. D’Angelo’ post-up game was far ahead of what was expected from him last season. The new coaching staff has already emphasized that Russell will have opportunities in the post this year.

The young point guard spoke about the importance of improving that post game even more, as it will allow him to “dominate.”

“In this league everybody’s different. You’ve got small guards that dominate the game, you’ve got athletic guards that dominate the game, you’ve got shooting guards that dominate the game, and the post is slowling disappearing with guards. There’s a few guards that still post up, like Westbrook, or Chris Paul a little bit. I just want to be one of those guys, Shaun Livingston, one of those guys that can dominate the game at any time in the post.”

Russell’s size and ability out of the post should allow him to dominate as both a scorer and a facilitator. Of course, that requires him to learn a difficult balance between both roles. Russell, speaking like a veteran, discussed that challenge:


Author: lakersfreak 
Posted: 08/05 2:50 PM 
Larry Nance, Jr. to be ‘fully recovered’ in two weeks
by Harrison Faigen -

Good news on the young power forward’s health.

After a promising first three games of Las Vegas Summer League, the Los Angeles Lakers’ fourth contest ended on an unfortunate note. The team was dealt a surprising loss by the Cleveland Cavaliers, and adding injury to insult, second-year power forward Larry Nance, Jr. was forced to leave the game early after collapsing with a wrist injury.

Nance, Jr.’s wrist was fortunately found to be what the power forward himself called a “gnarly” sprain on the Basketball Insiders podcast, rather than the break that was initially reported, and on Thursday the Lakers revealed more good news on the promising player’s health.

Mike Trudell of reported on Twitter that “the Lakers say Larry Nance, Jr. is doing well after completing two weeks of therapy, and is expected to be fully recovered in about two weeks.” That is a similar timeline to what Nance, Jr. himself projected in his podcast appearance, saying he was hoping to be back on the court in about a week or so.


Author: lakersfreak 
Posted: 08/05 2:51 PM 
Lakers vote Brandon Bass “Teammate of the Year”
by Harrison Faigen -

Anyone looking for bad vibes from Bass can go fish.

His teammates voted Brandon Bass as the “Teammate of the Year” Award winner for the Los Angeles Lakers, according to the NBA Player’s association. In a year in which the Lakers 17-65 record stood as the second-worst in the entire league, Bass (now with the Los Angeles Clippers) provided a solid veteran presence that helped keep the locker room from fracturing.

In addition to being one of the Lakers’ most helpful players on the court, with the team only being outscored by 2.6 points per 100 possessions during his minutes, Bass was also a mentor for the team’s younger players off of it. Following the season, Larry Nance, Jr. raved about Bass’ impact during an appearance on the Land O’ Lakers podcast with Andy and Brian Kamenetzky.

"I think I might have learned more from playing in the second unit with Brandon Bass than I did from anybody else this year," Nance, Jr. said while explaining the value of veterans for a young team. "He's just a pro, in every sense of the word, he's just a pro. He carries himself the right way, knows how to handle postgame interviews.

"He's just really diligent with his work and stuff like that. To see somebody that's been so successful in the league do all the stuff, and you're younger than him, it's just kind of like 'I'd better whip it into shape,' because if he's 29, and I'm 22, why shouldn't I be doing that too?"


Author: lakersfreak 
Posted: 08/05 2:53 PM 
Ivica Zubac meets Magic Johnson, trains at Lakers’ practice facility
by Harrison Faigen -


Ivica Zubac has returned to Los Angeles, and he took the time to take a picture with a fan on Thursday:

#NBA #GenerationNext

— Ivica Zubac (@ivicazubac) August 5, 2016

All kidding aside, it’s not every day you get to see the greatest player in Lakers history and Magic Johnson in the same picture.

OKAY, fine, all kidding really aside, Zubac did have an unexpectedly great showing in Las Vegas Summer League, but we’ll concede Magic did have the better career. Ivica does have Magic beat on Twitter so far, however. And before [dumb] people inevitably tell him he should be in the gym instead of pulling a Draymond Green and taking a picture with his Johnson, Zubac took some time to practice at the Lakers’ facility today too:


Author: lakersfreak 
Posted: 08/05 2:55 PM 
Roy Hibbert tells funny story about Kobe Bryant
by Honi Ahmadian -

The 2015-16 Lakers were not the most enjoyable basketball ticket in the NBA. 17 wins, isolation basketball, and plenty of rookie mistakes made for an often excruciating brand of hoops in Los Angeles.

Despite their on-court issues, the Lakers had plenty of storylines surrounding them. The biggest of these stories by far was that of Kobe Bryant’s farewell tour and subsequent retirement. All eyes were on the Lakers legend as he prepared to step away from basketball after twenty years in the Purple and Gold.

Bryant’s demeanor, attitude, and greatness have made him the subject of numerous great stories. Roy Hibbert, now with the Charlotte Hornets, appeared on The Ringer NBA show to discuss a variety of topics. Chief among them: a hilarious story about Bryant in Hibbert’s lone season in Los Angeles:

“We had practice at 11; say 11 to 12:30. And then 2:00 we gotta be on the plane. So we’re all on the plane, all the guys but Kob’. Usually if you don’t make it to the plane, you get fined and then they leave you so it’s up to you to get to the city.

But it’s different for some people. […] 2:00, we’re supposed to take off. 2:15 we’re sitting on the plane still. 2:30, we’re like “what the hell?” Sometimes, Kob’ will just meet us in whatever city. […] So our plane is sitting there, and then all of a sudden we see Kobe’s helicopter about 50 yards away."


Author: lakersfreak 
Posted: 08/05 2:56 PM 
How Russell Westbrook’s contract extension impacts the Lakers’ potential pursuit of him
by Gary Kester -

Every summer since the conclusion of the dreadful 2012-13 campaign that was for the Los Angeles Lakers, the team has experienced similar misfortune on the free agent market.

Dwight Howard left the Lakers in 2013 for the Houston Rockets, although you could certainly argue that both parties ended up being better off than committing the next four or five years to one another. At the time, though, Howard’s departure crushed just about any chance the Lakers had at being competitive the following season, especially with Kobe Bryant coming back from a ruptured Achilles tendon at age 35.

In the summer of 2014, the Lakers had their sights set on LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. While they appeared to at least be in the running for Anthony, the possibility of James donning a purple and gold uniform never came close to fruition. In the end, Anthony re-signed with the New York Knicks, which left Los Angeles empty handed again.

Then of course, the Lakers reportedly botched their initial meeting with LaMarcus Aldridge in 2015, and a follow-up meeting wasn’t enough to keep him from joining the San Antonio Spurs.

Despite the recurring free agency struggles, a few positives did materialize in the form of draft picks that landed the Lakers one of the most promising, young cores in the NBA. The addition of No. 2 overall pick Brandon Ingram combined with enough salary cap space to offer two max contracts had fans optimistic that the team could finally change their luck on the free agent market this summer. Instead, they ended up with Timofey Mozgov and Luol Deng both on lucrative four-year contracts.

With this year’s free agency period virtually complete, fans began looking ahead to next summer, considering another salary cap increase is on the horizon and the Lakers could have enough space to offer a max deal in 2017.

All eyes were on one man: Russell Westbrook. The former UCLA Bruin and Southern California native was set to become an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of next season, and many started to speculate whether he would be interested in returning to Los Angeles to join the likes of Ingram, D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle and Larry Nance, Jr. with new head coach Luke Walton in the fold.

On Thursday, however, the idea of Westbrook signing with the Lakers in 2017 was eradicated when he put pen to paper and signed a three-year contract extension with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

How does Westbrook’s extension impact the Lakers’ potential pursuit of him? The landscape has been altered, but the possibility may present itself again later on.


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