By Craig Kwasniewski
The Lakers held an open practice session for season ticket holders on Tuesday around lunchtime. So, suddenly I had a dentist appointment and had to leave work for a few hours. Here's some highlights from the event:
-This was a real practice session, not some bullshit pep rally with mascots and contests. They opened with warm-up drills and spent most of practice working on the Triangle Offense and some of its "wrinkles." There were a lot of full court offensive transition drills. According to the local media, the Lakers have spent a lot of the preseason working on defense. Not the case today as Phil Jackson was running the entire session, despite recovering from hip replacement surgery. He was walking around with a cane and moved around slowly.
-Kobe Bryant's knee is not healed. He went through most of the session but moved very gingerly. He was definitely pacing himself as he maintained a low-key approach electing to pass up most shots on offense. On the defensive end, he was getting beat by his man many times. After practice he had a huge ball of ice taped all around the knee. Right now, I can't see him playing on opening day.
-Sasha Vujacic is a douche! He was one of the few who didn't give much of an effort, trailing on drills, throwing lazy passes and disputing with a few coaches. He's making mistakes running the Triangle, even rookie Jordan Farmar was telling him where to go. Vujacic's shooting skills are all that's keeping him with the Lakers these days, and based on what he did last postseason, he's on his last days as a Laker... hopefully.
(Hey Mitch, I saw you there! You know this guy sucks and there's no reason to keep him. After 2-plus seasons, there's no surprise to what your getting here... cut his ass!!!)
-Speaking of Farmar, his teammates really seem to like him. You can tell by the way they gather around him and talk smack during deadball situations. I'm guessing he blew the Lakers away in the draft interview sessions... he exudes a good amount of on-court confidence. Originally I wasn't pleased with the local pick, but I like what I see so far. He's got a great defensive knack for the ball, especially right off the pass. There were a few steals off the Laker veterans like Parker and Vujacic.
-I never noticed this, but Lamar Odom has good low-post footwork. Known as a point-foward with above-average passing skills, I've never focused on his inside game. The drop-step, pivots and power dribbles are all textbook and consistent in both scrimmages and drills. Now if only Bynum could learn from this guy.
-The slowly rotting corpse that is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was there. He literally did nothing. The entire 2-hour practice he stood under one hoop trying to look like he's coaching. Dare I say, the Art Shell of the NBA?
-Rookie hazing was going on. The rookies had to always collect the balls throughout practice and had to pick up the trash after the session.
-Very unusual for the Laker brass to do anything for the season ticket holders. Usually the front office has an "I'm Keith Hernandez" attitude and does nothing, knowing that there's a 98% renewal rate along with a long waiting list. I guess fading from being title contenders and becoming the second best team in LA might have a little to do with the new attitude.
Finally, below is a one minute clip of Jackson going over the Triangle with the team, Brian Shaw tries to translate afterwards. (The quality is not a good as I hoped, but worth looking into if your a Jackson fan.)