Tag: Los Angeles Lakers


D’Angelo Russell hasn’t called Kobe Bryant yet, doesn’t want to bug him


Kobe Bryant is busy these days. He works out, takes trips to China to sell shoes, hits the gym, spends time with his family, goes to a court to get up a bunch of shots, swings by a Taylor Swift concert, and then at some point works out a little.

The Lakers new star rookie, No. 2 pick D’Angelo Russell, would like to pencil himself into one of those windows. Probably during a workout.

But he hasn’t done so yet because you don’t tug on Superman’s cape, he told Mike Trudell of ESPN Radio in Los Angeles, as reported by Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report.

It’s okay D’Angelo, text Kobe and say you want to work out with him. He’ll likely text back to come over right now, he’s already been in the gym for an hour.

Here are some other highlights from the interview, via Serena Winters of Lakers Nation.

Watch Russell Westbrook rock out at a Taylor Swift concert

Spike TV's "Guys Choice 2015" - Arrivals


A video posted by Russell Westbrook (@russwest44) on

Turns out Jimmy Butler is not the only NBA star who loves him some Taylor Swift.

Add Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook to the list — he was rockin’ out to her Tuesday night.

We can also add Kobe Bryant to the list — he came out on stage in Los Angeles and presented her with one of those cheesy sellout banners that hang in arenas (I’m not a fan of those banners on principle).

There are probably others, but that’s enough for now.

Why is Carlos Boozer still available? One exec says think defense.

Carlos Boozer

Last season, Carlos Boozer averaged 11.8 points a game and shot 49.9 percent from the floor for the Lakers. He added 6.8 rebounds a night. He had a PER of 16.8, above the league average. His numbers are not gaudy, but you can see him as a scoring big off the bench who can run the pick-and-pop well.

So why is he still available as a free agent late in August? Defense, one exec told Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops.

“What Boozer scores on the offensive end, he quickly gives back on defense,” one NBA general manager told SheridanHoops.

No doubt. Boozer’s defensive lapses are obvious and frustrated Tom Thibodeau to no end, then had Byron Scott shaking his head at points last season in LA (of course, a lot of things with those Lakers should have had Scott shaking his head).

However, if a team can get Boozer for the bi-annual exception ($2.8 million) and use him as a scoring big man off the bench, isn’t he better than a lot of guys who have already inked deals? The guy can put up points.

Which is to say, if he stays in shape someone is going to come calling, likely early in training camp if not before. Of course, if he’s waiting for a contender, or even a playoff team, to call, he needs to be patient. Maybe very patient.

If not, there’s always China.

Lakers’ coaches liked how D’Angelo Russell handled himself, pressure in Summer League

2015 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot

Nobody was under the pressure D’Angelo Russell was in Las Vegas at the NBA Summer League. Not Karl-Anthony Towns, not Kristaps Porzingis, not anybody. It comes with being the highest Lakers’ draft pick since James Worthy — in Russell’s first game, they had to open the top level of the Thomas & Mack Center for the first time in Summer League history (the Lakers were playing Towns’ Timberwolves, but this was a Lakers’ crowd). The crowds for Lakers games were huge all through Summer League, plus camera crews were popping up around Russell off the court as well. Welcome to the Lakers’ spotlight.

Which made his struggles at Summer League seem more pronounced. He looked slow while the game was moving fast. He averaged 11.8 points per game on 37.7 percent shooting, 11.8 percent from three. He had 3.2 assists and 5.2 turnovers per game. The fact this is that Summer League should be about learning — you can’t read much into his numbers, it’s about development — seemed lost on people. Lakers’ nation is not known for its patience.

But the Lakers’ coaching staff liked the big picture things they saw, Holly McKenzie wrote for Complex Magazine.

The biggest positive that the Lakers coaching staff took from his experience in Vegas was watching how he reacted to adversity. Rather than getting flustered or frustrated with those around him, he paid attention to things he needed to improve on as well as the ways the NBA game is different than college. Russell was the same player to his teammates during practice sessions whether the team had won or lost its previous game.

“It is rare any time you have a rookie [with] so much confidence,” Madsen says. “Most rookies enter the league so timid, really nervous. They were ‘the man’ in college and now going to the NBA, you’re dealing with grown men, you’re dealing with superstars. You’re dealing with financial endorsements that are massive. The pressure is that much higher. D’Angelo’s confidence never wavered and his love of the game never wavered.”

That is a good sign. When I spoke about Russell’s play with someone who saw a lot of him in college, he talked about how Russell took a little bit to adjust to the speed of the collegiate game as well. But once he got his mind around it, he played well enough to get drafted No. 2 — the lesson was to give him time.

The Lakers will do just that. They will sell the Kobe Bryant farewell tour (maybe) this season as the young potential future core — Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle — start to adapt to the NBA game. They will have good veteran mentors like Kobe, Brandon Bass, and Lou Williams.

What should matter more Lakers fans is how Russell looks next summer in Las Vegas — has he improved dramatically, has his mind and body caught up with the speed of the game? If Russell is still struggling a year from now, then there should be concern. Right now, he looks like a player learning, sometimes the hard way.

Philippines claims Jordan Clarkson as natural-born player

Los Angeles Lakers v Utah Jazz

The Philippines made Andray Blatche a citizen so he could play for the country’s basketball team

The nation says it won’t have to go to such trouble for Jordan Clarkson, who was born in Florida to a Filipino mother.

Naveen Ganglani of Rappler:

The state of the Philippine national basketball team took an unexpected turn on Monday, August 24, when it was revealed that Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson actually acquired a Philippine passport before turning 16-years-old, making him eligible to suit up for Gilas Pilipinas.

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas Director Sonny Barrios told Rappler on Monday in a phone call that reports of Clarkson’s eligibility to play as a “natural born” Filipino player were true.

“He’s submitted his documents,” Barrios said. “It has been submitted to FIBA, who’s asking for supporting documents. As we speak, those are being submitted to them.”

“It’s a process that we have to request and honor,” said Barrios, who is still unsure if Clarkson will get to suit up for Gilas in the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship as they await FIBA approval. “We have to be patient, and we go by FIBA’s process.”

We’ll see what FIBA says, but Clarkson could be huge for the Philippines. They placed second in 2013 FIBA Asia Championship. A victory in this year’s edition would secure a trip to the 2016 Olympics. Finishing second through fourth would at least send the team to the Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

Basketball has become immensely popular in the Philippines. Stars like LeBron James market themselves there, and Kobe Bryant is revered there.

If Clarkson leads the country to the Olympics, he’ll gain ground on his Lakers teammate. The country is starving for a homegrown star.