It was an interesting day around the Lakers practice facility today. Everyone was pretty down, but with the way they were playing towards the end of the season, no one was particularly shocked at how the season finished up, just frustrated.
I’ll post more a little later tonight, but here’s a sampling of some of the guys reactions to the end of the season today.
I was disappointed because (the playoffs) are what we play the whole year for, it’s the best time of the year and to we weren’t playing at a level nearly as well as we could’ve or should’ve been playing and that’s frustrating as a player. You play this long together, with the same team and you can never really get the chemistry going with each win.
When I first got here, they had just got done winning championships then we hit rock bottom, everyone left and then we lost like 19 out of 22 games. Now I definitely feel that we’re going in the right direction again, but I don’t think we developed or advanced as much as we’d like to this year.
I think last year, at the end of the year we really had a lot to build on and early in the year, it looked like we had built, and we had gotten better as a team and we were going to be able to start competing for championships again. Then we kind of got hit by the injury bug and it was all downhill from there.
We’re definitely in the right direction, but it would’ve been nice if we’d made some bigger strides this year.
On Kobe’s frustration:
The thing with kobe, the thing that makes him so great, is that he’s the best competitor in the league. He won’t lose. He hates losing. It is frustrating, it’s frustrating for me, it’s frustrating for all the guys but. Kobe’s won those championships and it’s got to be that much harder for him. I guess it’s one of those things where, you know he’s pissed off a lot of times when he’s talking. But he knows that everyone is giving it his all and I don’t think he’s trying to be negative towards us, I think he just gets frustrated.
We got to get healthy for one. And we’ve got to play together better. I think in times of adversity we just split up. I think we’ve got to be more of a team unit and support everyone, not just think you’ve got to do it on your own.
My job is to get as healthy as possible and to get as healthy as possible to help the team. I don’t talk about making changes because when you start talking about that, you’re not a basketball player you’re a personnel guy.
Once I’m healthy I have confidence that we’re a better team and I’m a better player.
When you lose, like we have, there’s no right or wrong answer. Hindsight is 20/20. Every body is a genius after it’s over. Who knows? you can make changes and end up worse. But I think the longer you have guys in this system, and this is not an easy system to learn, the better its going to be.
I’m just focusing on me. I’m at the point where I got to get healthy. It’s definitely a critical summer for me with all the injuries I have, it being a contract year next year, I’ve definitely got to be really focused on this summer.
I think this team had a lot more to give and it just didn’t happen that way. I thought the guys were competitive in the last game, but I thought there was a lot more energy that was needed to be able to go out and beat those guys because obviously they come out with a lot of energy.
I felt like I could offer something to this team being out on the floor, but with me not being out on the floor, there was still more that I could do with the knowledge and experience I have of the game. I enjoyed my stay out here. I wish I could’ve added a little bit more to it and played a little bit more so I could’ve helped these guys out, but that wasn’t the case.
I thought I could’ve brought some experience to the floor and I think that goes a long way this time of the season.
I know what my interests are as an athlete and I’ll search for those situations in the offseason.
I need the opportunity to play, or to put myself in a positon where I can compete to play.
Defensively I was able to show what i was capable of doing. But offensively, I wasn’t able to show what I was capable of doing, other than shooting the basketball.
I guess once we started running the Phoenix offense and they turned me into Steve Blash, guys were like, `Oh my goodness..’
So it’s not that I wasn’t capable of doing it, it’s just you have to be in a situation where you’re comfortable and able show the talents you have.
On his lack of playing time this year:
Of course it was tough going up and down (minutes) and not knowing whether you were going to play … that’s tough because you’re a competitor. But I love the game of basketball and I respect the game of basketball and I wouldn’t carry myself or do anything that would disrespect myself or the game. The people who taught me how to play the game, my coach from high school, coach Smith, would’ve never allowed me to disrespect the game like that as well as I understood team. sometimes you have to take yourself out of the equation for the team. even though I knew I could help the team, if I wasn’t chosen to do that, I still came in an did what i needed to do.
MO EVANS: We underachieved obviously. We have a higher talent level than what translated in wins this year. You could say the injuries … but you can only use that excuse for so long.
Even when we finally did get back healthy, we still didn’t have enough fight or resolve to beat teams. When our playoff lives were at stake, we still dropped games to where we almost didn’t make the playoffs. For us to have the talent that we do and arguably the best player in the NBA, it shouldn’t have been that difficult in my opinion …
I think theres a sense of urgency, not necessarily because of age, but because you didn’t really get the result that you were looking for. The product we have right now isn’t a championship team.