After four days of training camp, things have gotten somewhat “testy,” according to Lamar Odom. There’s no time for individual play as the Lakers learn together on both ends of the floor. Odom described the process as being “systematic.”
“Guys get a little testy,” Odom said, “especially the one time they get the ball, they get fouled.”
Assistant coach Kurt Rambis said the fouling has been a problem. The Lakers are prone to it right now in their scrimmages because they are still finding their way on defense. One central principle is that a teammate always will be there to back you up. It takes time to develop that trust and avoid reaching and holding instead.
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The Lakers have talked about the need for better communication, and Odom seems to have taken it to heart. He called out every pick and every switch on defense when we watched the team scrimmage. Odom also was yelling “solo” when Kwame Brown had the chance to back down Mamadou N’Diaye and “finish” when Sasha Vujacic was leading the fast break and deciding what to do.
“It raises everybody’s awareness,” Odom said. “We have to work on our IQ as a basketball team.”
Odom was encouraged to take a greater leadership role with Kobe Bryant sidelined during camp as he recovers from knee surgery.
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Center Chris Mihm increased his interval running Friday as he continues to recover from ankle surgery. Mihm still is at least two weeks away from being able to practice. He said he wants to be ready to go on Oct. 31 and hoped to play in at least one exhibition game before the season opener.
What position he will play continues to be a subject of interest. Mihm has said that he likes playing center but could play power forward on the wing if the Lakers wanted to use Kwame Brown exclusively at center. Rambis said it would be ideal to have both big men be interchangeable at the two spots. However, Mihm and Brown both are better suited as centers.
Mihm has said he has the jumper to play on the wing. Rambis was asked if he agreed.
“What would make him a good wing player is being able to step out and shoot that ball,” Rambis said. “But hes got to be able to make passes, hes got to be able to put the ball down on the floor, hes got to be able to run the lanes. So theres more to it than just shooting jumpers.’
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Among the scrimmage highlights was Shammond Williams sending a perfect alley-oop pass to Vladimir Radmanovic for a layup.