At the Los Angeles Lakers practice facility in El Segundo on Saturday the team held their official Media Day. The in many cases new, injured, and contractually obligated players gathered in their home yellow jerseys at the Toyota Sports Center. The Houston Astros and Tampa Bay Rays would practically have to beg for local coverage and attention, despite being on opposite ends of the spectrum of actual results.
Bad? Good? We’re not sure what to make of the 2013-14 Lakers yet. We’re expecting much less than usual. But on the annual Media Day there is no begging for media attention. The players are friendly or tolerate the circus of people who make their living in association with these entertainers.
Granted the most access of that group is Time Warner Cable SportsNet. Each player joined the TWC SportsNet crew to answer a few questions with Chris McGee and James Worthy. This is the second year of the Lakers new big medial deal with the sophomore channel. The network has a few new hires, and will probably be a little smoother running in it’s second year of Lakers coverage.
The pair had a littany of questions for each player, most of them specifically tailored to each player. Like, this one directed at free agent azcquisition Chris Kaman.
‘Why number 9?’ to which Kaman dryly responded ‘It was the highest single digit number I could come up with.’
But the one question that they asked everyone, ad naseum, on the TWC Lakers Media Day special was — How important is it to have a training camp with coach Mike D’Antoni?
Of course last year Mike Brown was famously fired after only 5 games, and Mike D’Antoni was surprisingly hired rather than Phil Jackson. The stilted fans watched the team continue to struggle, narrowly qualifying for the playoffs. Rarely has training camp been so (seemingly) important.
If Allen Iverson wasn’t recently retired, he would be disgusted.
The new faces need to know what Mike D’Antoni wants to do on the floor. Cynically, I would tell Chris Kaman, Nick Young, Jordan Farmar, Wesley Johnson, and Jordan Hill (who both played for the Lakers and Mike D”Antoni with the Knicks previously) he wants to score the basketball. A lot.
Every player to a ‘T’ or Lakers’ ‘L’ crowed about the importance of training camp. I buy it. Just because NBA players are the most talented basketball players in the world doesn’t mean they also don’t work extremely hard to be at that level. This roster is mostly dedicated to players in a contract year with something eager to prove to General Manager Mitch Kupchak and GMs arounfd the league, the Lakers coaching staff, their teammates, and to themselves. This is not normally the case for a veteran Lakers team. So training camp seems more important.
The Lakers with something to prove will continue doing that at training camp in Hawaii. A very reliable source on both basketball and Mike D’Antoni, 2 time NBA MVP Steve Nash, told the LA Daily News‘ Mike Medina
We never really ran Mike’s system last year.
Sounds like it’s time to get to work at training camp then.