The Lakers held their first two-a-day practices on Saturday. We had media access at the end of the morning session. The team was going to scrimmage when it reconvened in the evening. Assistant coach Kurt Rambis was encouraged about how the team looked going through a defensive drill built around standard NBA offensive sets.
“We got through that a lot faster than I thought we would,” Rambis said.
The most exciting thing we saw was a set of drills in which the guards, forwards and centers worked in groups. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had the centers doing a drill in which they would take up the ball on the left side with their left hands while holding a weighted ball in their right hands.
Then they would switch the weighted ball from their right to their left hands, catch the regular ball with their right hands and take it up on the right side. Repeat a couple of dozen times. It’s a test of coordination. With all the questions about his hands, Kwame Brown seemed to do it pretty well.
I posted a couple of weeks ago in response to a question about how many minutes Jordan Farmar will get as a rookie. It’s all up to how well Farmar plays and, especially, how he shoots. The over-under should be 11.6 minutes, which is the average for a rookie on a Phil Jackson-coached team.
By Ross Siler
EL SEGUNDO–After all his teammates had left for the afternoon, Lakers rookie guard Jordan Farmar stayed on the practice court Saturday taking one jumper after another.
Those extra 15 minutes of work were a sure sign of Farmars determination. Even though he had to be back for a scrimmage in only five hours, Farmar would not leave the gym without feeling good about his shot.
Only six months after leading UCLA to the NCAA championship game, Farmar is starting over as a 19-year-old in the NBA. He played beyond his years on the Lakers summer-league team but knows nothing is guaranteed as a rookie.
With three other ball-handling guards on the roster – - Smush Parker, Sasha Vujacic and Shammond Williams – - Farmar might get his minutes in the NBA Development League this season. He could find himself on the inactive list more nights than not.
He might also be able to challenge for a role, especially if he can knock down his jumper with consistency. Farmar summed up his expectations for the season as “just to be productive, whatever they need me for.
“If theyre not going to play me, to be a good teammate, he added. “If Im going to play, I want to contribute as much as I can. I definitely want to play, I want to be out here and compete and make the guys ahead of me better so that we can improve as a team.
“If Im pushing them and theyre pushing me, were going to improve along the way. Thats my goal is just to take it step by step and do what Im asked to do. Thats part of being a professional. You have a job to do.
Farmar said he struggled a little with his shot in the first week of training camp. He had to remind himself to slow down a couple of times and make good decisions.
The Lakers also have worked with Farmar to change how he shoots. Farmar has a tendency to lean back slightly, which leaves his jumper coming up short. Now he is making a point of going up straight or leaning forward when he shoots.
Since the change, Farmar said he has had more strength on his shot and greater accuracy.
“I still go back to my old way a lot, Farmar said. “Its just natural habit. I have to keep getting the repetitions and doing it over and over again.
Sure-handed: After a season of watching center Kwame Brown sometimes fumble away passes out of bounds, assistant coach Kurt Rambis comment Saturday came almost as a revelation.
“To be honest with you, I dont think that Ive noticed him dropping the ball in this training camp, Rambis said. “Which is good, considering that most of this is a hack-fest out there.
Brown said he is not as “wide-eyed as he was first coming to the Lakers. His biggest challenge comes not only in catching the ball, but in slowing down once he has it.
“You can think about the spot that youre supposed to be at all day long, Brown said, “and then you cant do nothing without the rock.
Injury report: Veteran guard Aaron McKie practiced after sitting out Friday with a sore back.