He’s quieter. A lot quieter.
And he’s not big on dancing along the sidelines, or pounding his chest.
But as far as energy, rebounding, hustle and defense, the Lakers may just have found a pretty good replacement for Ronny Turiaf in the form of free agent forward Josh Powell.
Even coach Phil Jackson, who has never had much of a taste for bursts of excessive praise, seems impressed with the way the 6-foot-9 former Clipper has played during the first week of training camp.
“He seems to have an idea of what we’re trying to do even though he’s been here (this week). He seems relatively comfortable playing in our offense,” Jackson said this week. “He’s creating a lot of problems with our big guys. They know they’ve got a tiger down there after the rebound.”
Powell says he’s just playing the way he always has, and tried to downplay the comparisons to Turiaf, but outside of their personalities (Turiaf is one of the league’s loudest characters, Powell is decidedly more reserved), the similarities are striking … from their style of play, jersey number (No. 21) to their hair styles.
“I just try to work hard defensively, to rebound, hustle and do all the little things that make a different,” Powell said. “I’m not trying to be Ronny (who signed a four-year, $17 million contract with Golden State in the offseason). Ronny’s in a different area code now, a different place. I’m here and I’m just trying to be me.”
One thing that’s helped Powell make the quick transition is his familiarity with the triangle offense. He made a point of brushing up on it over the summer, sitting down with game tapes and studying them.
“I’ve been trying to get a feel of what’s needed from me,” Powell said. “It’s been going good. I think I’m picking it up quickly.”
Powell signed a partially-guaranteed contract in the offseason.