Lakers coach Phil Jackson launched into a lengthy answer Monday to the question about whether the perception is reality when it comes to his displeasure at playing rookies. He was talking about guard Jordan Farmar, who is earning minutes, but was notable for the comment Jackson made about former Laker Kareem Rush.
“It’s just all lies. It’s not overblown. They’re just lies,” Jackson said. “When you have teams that have finished (with the best record) as many times as we had in Chicago – – we haven’t finished (with the best record) in L.A. since the very initial year – – you end up getting draft picks that are basically one pick above the second round.
“You don’t have those top five or 10 or 15 picks that you have the same opportunity. But even with that, I look at a guy like (Mark) Madsen as a product that we used and explored and got experience and has had a lengthy career now as an NBA player, as a person that we brought along because he was a worker and talented enough to play.
“We look at a guy like Kareem Rush as a disappointment, as a guy that we would have liked to have seen have a career and did relatively well with us here but has floundered since that time.
“I always look at that as limited information that people have. I look at guys that I’ve had that I’ve felt really happy about since I’ve been a Laker with kind of a father’s pride.”
Rush spent two seasons in Charlotte but was released April 1 with the Bobcats saying Rush was about neither hard work nor maximum effort. Rush signed with Seattle and made their 15-man roster despite suffering a groin injury in training camp. But the Sonics released him and signed center Andreas Glyniadakis.
That leaves Rush out of the NBA for the time being. He is still close to a number of Lakers, including Luke Walton and Brian Cook.
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Looking forward to watching Andrew Bynum battle Andrew Bogut in Tuesday night’s game. The only three certainties in life are death, taxes and the Lakers beating the Milwaukee Bucks, something they’ve done the last 10 times they’ve played.
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Kobe Bryant said after Sunday’s game that he channeled his inner Michael Jordan and Joe Dumars when locking in on defense against Vince Carter. Those players prided themselves on playing at both ends, Bryant said, in contrast to today’s NBA where each team has a defensive specialist along the lines of Bruce Bowen.
Bryant will get a chance to shut down one of the league’s leading scorers in Milwaukee’s Michael Redd, who had 57 points in a game against Utah earlier this season.
Here are the notes from Monday:
By Ross Siler
EL SEGUNDO–Upon further review, Lakers coach Phil Jackson will keep Andrew Bynum in the starting lineup. Jackson also made clear to his players in a film session Monday that he wants to see them get the ball to the 19-year-old center.
Bynum has had three straight lackluster games – – averaging 4.3 points and 4.3 rebounds while making 3 of 12 shots – – and Jackson was left considering his options after Sundays victory over New Jersey.
Jackson wondered aloud if Bynum would benefit from playing with a group of reserves more committed to team play than the starting five. He backtracked from that Monday, leaving Bynum in the starting five and Kwame Brown coming off the bench.
“Im only serious about it if that first units not going to use him, theyre not going to throw the ball in to him, Jackson said. “We took a little film session with the first unit about how we have to get the ball in there.
The Nets fronted Bynum on defense with center Nenad Krstic. Jackson thought the Lakers “didnt spend enough time looking at ways to develop that, specifically to free the backside and lob passes over the top.
Bynum didnt have an answer for why his teammates have been reluctant to throw him the ball.
“I dont know exactly what it is, Bynum said. “Kwame and myself have been told just to run down the middle of the floor and post up low. They are looking at us. The way you have to enter the ball into the post, it just takes practice.
Brown was not at practice Monday for personal reasons but is expected to play tonight against Milwaukee.
Kid games: As he turns 20 this week, Jordan Farmar can say that he ranks a little higher than whale you-know-what, Jacksons favorite description for first-year players.
Never fond of playing rookies, Jackson did not shy away from using Farmar for 16 minutes Sunday in his first game back from a sprained ankle. Farmar finished with 11 points and hit three 3-pointers.
“A coach is a pragmatist for the most part, Jackson said. “If a kids going to go out there in that unit and survives or plays well, theyre going to stick with it. They like to win.
The most any rookie has played on a Jackson-coached Lakers team was Kareem Rush, who averaged 11.5 minutes in 76 games in 2002-03. So far this season, Farmar is averaging 5.5 points in 16.1 minutes.
Jackson was especially pleased with how Farmar defended New Jerseys Marcus Williams, who had 14 points in the first half but was shut out in the second half.
“He was getting 15-foot jump shots. For an NBA player, thats a layup, Farmar said. “Just made an emphasis not to get screened and keep the pressure on the ball so he wouldnt be able to get in his rhythm.
Opening act: After nine home games, Farmar already has a tradition all his own. He settles into a courtside seat, rubbing shoulders with the fans, to watch the video highlights before player introductions.
“I know some people over there, said Farmar, who has a connection to the family of season-ticket holder Steve Jackson, “so I hang out with the fans, make them feel part of the game.