You can always tell things are getting serious around Lakers camp when the size of the pack of reporters at the training facility swells from a manageable 8-10 to a madhouse 20-30, as there were today as the Lakers finished their final practice before tommorrow’s season opener against Portland.
Really though, things have been pretty serious for the last month or so as Phil Jackson put the team through one of its more rigorous training camps in recent memory. All told, the Lakers skipped just two scheduled practice sessions. They went through all six days of double-days, which is quite rare around the NBA. And on several occasions, spent extended time after practice doing extra conditioning or shooting.
Why the boot camp mentality?
“I think he (Phil Jackson) wanted to make sure that even though he anticipated we were going to be even hungrier to go this year, as a coach he has a responsibility and he wants to make sure we respect the fact that we’re not going to just walk back to the NBA Finals, we’re going to have to work to get there,” point guard Derek Fisher said.
“That’s the message to us. There really aren’t any days off in an NBA season. You can take a day off from practice, but there’s still have to mental and physical preparation off the court that’s necessary to remain at the top of your game.
“We don’t mind it. We want to be champions and we know that putting the work in is a part of it.”