The step back jumper and Nick Young’s acrobatic celebration afterwards looked familiar. The setting and circumstances in which “Swaggy P” provided more entertainment did not.
After providing doses of feel-good moments in the Lakers’ otherwise disastrous season with prolific scoring and an infectious personality, Young carried those qualities over to New York City in a pick-up basketball game. As shown above on his Instagram account, Young still wore street clothes in what he said involved an impromptu appearance.
“Lol surprise some lil hoopers while driving thru these NY streets,” Young wrote. “Decided to stop and join they 3 on 3 … I had to swag on them tho.”
For a player has won more championships than Kobe Bryant and every member of the Showtime Lakers, Robert Horry can be fairly choosy on which NBA title team he considers the most impressive.
Does Horry most marvel at the Lakers’ winning their third consecutive championship in 2002 partly because of his game winner in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals against the Sacramento Kings? Or does Horry mostly relish the Rockets’ 1995 championship team for repeating despite entering the playoffs as only a sixth seed?
Apparently neither. Among his seven NBA championships, Horry zeroed in on the Lakers’ 2001 championship squad that went 15-1 during the postseason. Then, the Lakers’ lone loss happened in Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the Philadelphia 76ers.
“That will never be accomplished again,” Horry said in a recent interview with Time Warner Cable SportsNet, where he serves as a studio analyst. You shoul dhave looked at us after we lost our first game in Philly. We were so disappointed that we couldn’t sweep everyone in the playoffs.
Steve Nash talks about the disappointing season and his future following his Lakers exit interview at their training facility in El Segundo, CA on Thursday, April 17, 2014. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze)
The question would seem preposterous under normal circumstances. Considering Steve Nash’s two NBA MVP’s, third place standing on the league’s all-time assists list and a sure lock for the Hall of Fame, why has a debate emerged on whether Nash should start during the 2014-15 season?
The answer is simple. Nash played in only 15 games last season amid persisting issues with his back and hamstrings, stemmed from a nerve root irritation that remains sensitive toward any awkward movement or contact. The Lakers say Nash has recovered considerably, but they acquired Jeremy Lin in a trade from Houston partly to provide reinforcements for a possibly limited Nash.
So how should the Lakers handle their point guard spot? In a recent appearance on Time Warner Cable SportsNet, host Chris McGee, analyst Dave Miller and I discussed that very topic in a video segment here.
The Lakers’ Ryan Kelly and Nick Young celebrate a shot late in the 4th quarter The Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Lakers 120 to 118 in a regular season NBA game at Staples Center. Los Angeles, CA January 14, 2014.(John McCoy/Los Angeles Daily News)
To think, just a year ago questions persisted on whether Ryan Kelly would actually land on a Lakers’ roster.
Kelly still faced a lengthy rehabilitation process on a right foot injury that sidelined him for the entire 2013 offseason and parts of training camp. With the Lakers selecting him 48th overall in the 2013 NBA draft, Kelly had a non-guaranteed contract. Yet, the Lakers’ overlapping injuries, Mike D’Antoni’s open-court offense and Kelly’s work ethic and smarts as a stretch forward led to a consistent spot on the rotation.
All of that spurred the Lakers to sign Kelly to a two-year deal worth around $3.5 million. But how will Kelly build on that foundation in his second season? Time Warner Cable Access SportsNet host Chris McGee, analyst Dave Miller and I addressed that subject during part of Wednesday’s show noting the Lakers’ various offseason developments.
Miller, who served as an assistant under Byron Scott with New Orleans from 2005 to 2007, mentioned that Scott’s Princeton-based offense will tap into Kelly’s strong principles in shooting, passing and cutting. I mentioned how Kelly could still encounter some challenges by virtue of a more loaded frontcourt that features Julius Randle, Jordan Hill, Carlos Boozer and Ed Davis. We both highlighted how Kelly’s efforts to improve his strength, including taking MMA training, could help bolster his physical presence inside.
Steve Nash arrives to talk about the disappointing season and his future following his Lakers exit interview at their training facility in El Segundo, CA on Thursday, April 17, 2014. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze)
Despite a tumultuous two-year stretch in which he has taken more visits to the trainer’s room than the basketball court, Steve Nash will remain on the Lakers’ roster. The deadline for the Lakers to use the so-called stretch provision passed over the weekend, ensuring that Nash will finish out the final year of his contract worth $9.7 million.
This development is hardly surprising. The Lakers leaned toward retaining Nash ever since last season, mindful that waiving him would compromise the team’s financial flexibility since it would owe a third of his salary for the following three seasons. The Lakers would have only gone down this route had they acquired LeBron James and/or Carmelo Anthony and would need to clear up immediate cap space. Despite Nash’s Hall-of-Fame credentials, he does not hold much trade value because of his tenuous health. Once it became official that James would go to Cleveland and Anthony would stay in New York, Nash’s future appeared cemented with the Lakers. Continue reading →
So much for all the talk that Kobe Bryant will play conservatively this season in hopes to delay Father Time. The NBA Live 15 trailer that was released on Tuesday showcases Bryant where he is aggressively driving to the basket. Bryant then makes a sweeping underhanded left-handed layup while drawing contact from his defenders, the kind of difficult shot that Bryant has continuously perfected.
Yet, the conventional wisdom suggested Bryant would play differently after playing in only six games last season because of overlapping injuries to his left Achilles tendon and left ankle, Bryant will play heavily in the post where he can showcase his fundamentals. With the help of Lakers coach Byron Scott, Bryant will play far fewer minutes than the 38 minutes he had averaged in the two previous seasons before his injuries. Bryant will also become more of a facilitator both to ensure a balanced offense and to ease the burden.
Yet, Bryant may become both determined to score by attacking the basket. Both to prove he still has plenty left in the tank and to help his team win.
The Lakers brought in six-year veteran Michael Beasley for an individual workout this week at the team’s practice facility in El Segundo and could sign him, according to a source familiar with the situation.
Beasley had already worked out with the Lakers on July 30 and impressed the team enough for another look. As reported first by USA Today, the Lakers also hosted workouts for seven other players this week, including centers Dexter Pittman, Greg Stiemsma and Daniel Orton, and guards Bobby Brown, Ben Hansbrough, Toney Douglas and Malcolm Lee.
Beasley, the former No. 2 pick of the 2008 draft, averaged 7.8 points and 3.1 rebounds in 15 minutes per game last season with the Miami Heat. He played in only four of the Heat’s 20 postseason games, which ended with a five-game series loss to the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals. Beasley has already played for three different teams (Minnesota, Phoenix, Miami), averaging 13.2 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game.
Beasley would add depth to a small forward spot that solely features Wesley Johnson in his natural position. Kobe Bryant, Nick Young and Xavier Henry will likely play some minutes at the small forward position, though all three will also likely have shooting guard duties. The Lakers have shown interest in Beasley before, nearly acquiring him leading up to the 2012 trade deadline. But the deal fell apart just minutes before the deadline expired.
The Lakers already have 13 players under contract. They can field up to 20 players during training camp, but they have to narrow that list down to 15 for their season opener on Oct. 28 against the Houston Rockets at Staples Center.
After serving as an assistant coach for the Lakers’ Development League affiliate for two seasons years, Phil Hubbard will become the D-Fenders’ next head coach.
Hubbard’s other coaching stints have proven wide-ranging. He had assistant coaching gigs with with the Atlanta Hawks (1995-98), Golden State Warriors (1998-2003) and Washington Wizards (2003-09). Hubbard worked as a college scout for the New York Knicks (1990-95). He coached overseas in China and the Dominican Republic. And Hubbard had extensive ties to the D-League, including assistant coaching gigs with the Reno Bighorns (2010-11), D-Fenders (2011-2013) and the Santa Cruz Warriors (2013-14).
“We are excited to announce Phil Hubbard as the head coach of the D-Fenders,” D-Fenders president Joey Buss said in a statement. “Phil is an NBA veteran, consummate professional and has decades of coaching experience. His passion for basketball will inspire our players to develop both on and off the court while competing for a championship.”
Hubbard, the 15th pick of the 1979 NBA draft, also had a 10-year NBA career where he averaged 10.9 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 665 games with the Detroit Pistons (1979-82) and Cleveland Cavaliers (1982-89).
“During his previous tenure with the team, and throughout his career, Phil has proven to be exceptional at relating to players while preparing them for the next level,” D-Fenders general manager Nick Mazzella said in a statement. “Our team will benefit from his coaching acumen and experience as a professional athlete, as we continue to cultivate talent for the Lakers and the NBA.”
Someone might call you out of the blue, and it may not be a telemarketer trying to sell unwanted services. It might be Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
The Lakers legend has joined the “Together We Stand” cancer awareness initiative that will entail numerous celebrities calling fans from Sept. 5 through 7th about that very issue. The only things fan have to do involves sharing their email address at this Web site.
Abdul-Jabbar represents one of many celebrities that will appear on Stand Up to Cancer’s fourth biennial fundraising telecast on Feb. 5, which will be broadcast at 8 p.m. ET/PT from the Dolby Theatre on 31 broadcast and cable channels as well as on Hulu and Yahoo. Those channels include ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC, along with ABC Family, American Forces Network, Bravo, Cooking Channel, Discovery Fit & Health, E!, Encore, Encore Espanol, EPIX, ESPNEWS, FOX Sports 2, FXM, HBO, HBO Latino, ION Television, LMN, Logo TV, MLB Network, National Geographic Channel, Oxygen, Palladia, Pivot, SHOWTIME, Smithsonian Channel, Starz, TNT and VH1 Other celebrities include Gwyneth Paltrow, Reese Witherspoon, Pierce Brosnan, Jennifer Aniston, Halle Berry, Jon Hamm, Kiefer Sutherland, Ben Stiller, Will Ferrell, Mark Harmon, Rob Lowe, Eric Stonestreet and Danny McBride.
Abdul-Jabbar has a personal stake in this initiative. He was diagnosed in Nov. 2009 with a rare form with having a rare form of leukemia. In multiple interviews since then, Abdul-Jabbar has reported staying in good health because he consistently takes antibiotics and exercises.
Grab a seat and gather around Kobe Bryant. The Lakers’ star will answer any question posed by any of his fans in China. Really, anything.
Bryant held a fireside chat recently during his promotional Nike tour in that region, touching on everything. His mental focus. How he stays motivated. What moves he works on during the offseason. How he keeps his confidence. And, of course, how will he play in the 2013-14 season after appearing in only six games last year because of injuries to his left Achilles and left knee.
“I can say I want to be able to jump as high as I used to. I want to be as fast as I used to. But no; I don’t jump as high as I used to,” Bryant said. “That’s okay. I’m not as fast as I used to be. That’s okay, too. I’ll figure out another way to do it.”