The Lakers have a long way to go before Byron Scott settles on his lineups, but the coach offered a peek Wednesday, the second day of training camp in Hawaii, of what he has in mind. Considering it took a team with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden a couple of seasons to really gel and get acclimated to the National Basketball Association, I don’t think the Lakers have a shot at being relevant until the 2017-18 season at best unless they miraculously sign two max players to pair with Bryant in the 2016 offseason. The Lakers’ star already completed his own before anyone else. “I saw that this morning and D’Angelo is one of those guys that is a sponge”.
The Lakers evening practice will focus on more technical aspects of the game and implementing their offense.
Yet, the Lakers feel convinced their No. 2 pick is a victor after falling in love with his confidence and playmaking.
The Lakers hadn’t been to Hawaii since 2007, prompting Bryant to say, “All my teammates that were here before, they’re all now either retired or coaching. I trust that whatever challenges are presented to him, he’ll figure them out”.
If Bryant isn’t going to end his playing days until he’s able to remain healthy for close to a full season, at around 35 minutes per game, he may play until the day he dies.
You go from there and wonder: is Bryant at a place in his career where he wants to be a mentor and care more about helping this organization grow than chasing championship number six? In the twilight of his career, it might make sense.
Julius Randle is a lock for one of the power forward spots, but he has a great deal to prove after missing virtually all of last season. Not Nick, Nicholas – which is quirky in a way that only Young can make quirky.
“Nick always talks”, Scott said. He added, “That kind of tells you about the character of the kid, too”. “He’s pretty much on an even keel”.
Speaking on why Russell under-performed during the summer league, Scott said that the rookie was not 100 percent during that time and explained, “He let us know later that he had an ankle and a knee problem that was bothering him that he just never got treatment on because he wanted to play so bad”. “And then whether you want to scale back or I can’t play, we’ll figure it out when the time comes”. “That’s all anybody can ask for, but most importantly, keep representing the flag and keep playing”.
I think the other major factor in Bryant not retiring is how much he feels he has left in the tank. With D’Angelo and Jordan, these guys can handle the ball, make incredible decisions and make plays. “Makes it a lot easier”.
He said having Russell and Clarkson on the court makes his job simpler. And Russell has emulated Bryant’s approach on arriving to the gym early.