The Lakers had what Kurt Rambis called a “tedious” and “dry” practice Wednesday going over the terminology and basics of the triangle offense. Rambis doubted Phil Jackson would either enjoy or be able to stay awake if he watched the tape of practice, as the Lakers said would be available to the coach as he recovers from hip-replacement surgery.
Here’s the story for Wednesday. It’s worth remembering that the Lakers have almost $71 million invested in Lamar Odom and Vladimir Radmanovic being able to play together the next couple of seasons.
By Ross Siler
EL SEGUNDO–The rule was drilled into his head so many times last season – – “Dont leave Vladimir Radmanovic open, no matter what – – that Lakers forward Lamar Odom had no trouble recalling it in talking about his newest teammate Wednesday.
It also was easier said than done, as Odom learned, especially during a Feb. 24 game in which Radmanovic connected on five 3-pointers and scored 19 points against the Lakers.
The next time the Lakers played the Clippers, coach Phil Jackson abandoned the idea of having Odom cover Radmanovic altogether. Jackson started Luke Walton on Radmanovic and took his chances by matching up Odom against Elton Brand.
If Odom had trouble chasing Radmanovic all over the floor, Jackson reasoned, maybe he at least could make things a little difficult for Brand on the offensive end.
Six months later, the Lakers new problem is how best to integrate Odom and Radmanovic in a lineup. They have one of the leagues most dynamic players in Odom and one of the leagues most unstoppable shooters in Radmanovic.
The Lakers hope the mismatches Odom and Radmanovic create on offense – – with Odom capable of posting triple-doubles and Radmanovic capable of hitting any shot on the floor – – will compensate for the mismatches they will face on defense.
“Wherever he is, thats where Im going to drive the basketball, Odom said. “Hopefully, his man stays. If he doesnt, then Ill average two or three more assists with that guy on my team.
The problem with playing a lineup with Odom and Radmanovic comes on the defensive end, where one of the two would have to match up against a bigger power forward and the other against a faster small forward.
Radmanovic gained a reputation as a one-dimensional shooter at his previous NBA stops. But Radmanovic acquitted himself well on defense during the Lakers first training camp practice Tuesday, according to assistant Kurt Rambis.
He moved his feet well, used his size and was aggressive. Rambis added that he smiled after telling Radmanovic he gave him more than he expected as a defender. The coach worried Radmanovic might consider it an insult.
“He wants to be good, Rambis said. “You can tell that his mindset is to play offense, but he also understands that hes got a responsibility at the defensive end.
Radmanovic said: “Thats our focus right now. I think we all should concentrate on that. I know our offense is going to come with the triangle offense the coach wants us to run. But defense we have to get better in order to be a better team.
Odom, meanwhile, thrives by creating mismatches on offense. If he has a smaller player on him, Odom can use his size and go to work inside. If he has a bigger player on him, Odom can draw him out to the perimeter.
“Were going to apply a lot of pressure offensively, Odom said. “In this league, what youve seen with the Phoenix Suns, their offense is their defense.
The Lakers envision taking advantage of their versatility by playing lineups big and small, finding the mismatch on offense and switching regularly on defense. Odom talked Wednesday about a lineup with both Radmanovic and Brian Cook on the floor.
That would give the Lakers two shooting forwards that opposing teams would have to cover, leaving them less likely to commit a second defender to stopping Kobe Bryant.
With so many ball-handling guards on the roster, Odom wasnt sure if he would initiate the offense from the backcourt as much as he did last season. He added that his only worry in defending bigger forwards was picking up fouls.
Also: Jackson was released from the hospital Wednesday after having his right hip replaced the day before. . . . .Guard Smush Parker sat out practice after spraining his right shoulder in practice Tuesday.