Posts Tagged ‘Los Angeles Lakers’

While Lonzo Ball won’t express it publicly, the Los Angeles Lakers rookie point guard is frustrated with the way his team is playing, according to his father.

“He’s very disgusted but won’t say anything because he’s not used to losing like this,” LaVar said of his 20-year-old son Wednesday on SiriusXM NBA Radio.

The Lakers have lost five straight games and sit 11th in the Western Conference. While they have the eighth-best defensive rating in the league, their offense ranks among the league’s worst.

LaVar believes their woes can be fixed easily if “everybody would just drop their egos and just listen” to what he’s saying, and called out the head coach specifically over his purported mismanagement of Lonzo’s minutes.

“Luke Walton is doing what he’s doing, just like playing Lonzo in and out,” LaVar said. “Playing him a few minutes here, they wonder why his legs are sore. ‘Cause they’re running him a hundred miles per hour and then they shut him down for 10 minutes.”

LaVar added he doesn’t understand why the No. 2 pick isn’t starting fourth quarters and sometimes even spends the entire final frame on the bench.

Of course, it’s not the first time the loquacious dad has criticized the Lakers, and specifically, Walton’s decisions. He previously said the team was “soft” and didn’t know how to coach Lonzo. More recently, he said Walton’s decision to burn a timeout late against the Golden State Warriors cost Los Angeles the game and wasn’t a “Big Baller move.”

Lonzo is averaging 8.7 points while shooting just 31.3 percent from the field and 25 percent from deep, to go along with seven assists, 6.9 rebounds, and 1.3 steals in 32.9 minutes per game for the Lakers, who are on pace to miss the playoffs for the fifth straight year.

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LaVar Ball says he knows what type of coaching his son, 20-year-old rookie point guard Lonzo Ball, needs to be successful in the NBA, but thinks that isn’t what the Los Angeles Lakers are currently providing him

“They’re soft. They don’t know how to coach my son. I know how to coach him,” LaVar said Friday after the Lakers fell to 6-10 with a 122-113 loss to the Phoenix Suns, according to Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus. “I tell him to go get the victory. Stop messing around.”

The head of Big Baller Brand added that he has no problem with Lakers head coach Luke Walton, but that he does with losing games.

After falling to the Suns, Walton said it’s important for his younger players to learn from their errors, and not to get too low each time they lose.

LaVar would apparently take a different approach with the impressionable roster, saying he would hold them more accountable for their mistakes.

“What I mean by babying (Lonzo), ‘He’ll figure it out,'” LaVar said. “It ain’t about that. ‘Be patient with him?’ Ain’t no patience if you’re winning.”

“They’re letting it go too easy, saying they’re a young team,” he added. “Forget about that. Put the (onus) on them. Say, ‘You guys need to win. You’ve got enough talent. Win some games.'”

LaVar added that losing at home “ain’t OK,” and said there aren’t any moral victories in a loss. “That’s why they’re so cool with losing by five or six, (to) say, ‘We was in the game.'”

Lonzo followed up his six-point performance against the Suns with his second triple-double of the 2017-18 campaign, ending Sunday’s 18-point blowout of the Denver Nuggets with 11 points, 16 rebounds, and 11 assists in just under 40 minutes of action.

He’s averaging 8.9 points, 7.1 rebounds, 7.1 assists, and 1.5 steals for the 7-10 Lakers, although his 31.3 field-goal percentage and his 22.8 3-point percentage has left a lot to be desired.

D’Angelo Russell had a rocky first two NBA seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers. One aspect of that was inconsistency on the court, while others – like his video scandal with Nick Young – were his own fault.

Yet, as Russell returned to L.A. Friday night as a member of the Brooklyn Nets, he said Kobe Bryant’s swan song season in 2015-16 was another challenge – one he commends himself for dealing with.

“I went through a lot,” Russell told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. “Kobe’s farewell, everything. I went through a lot, so, just to overcome that, I salute myself for that.”

Not that he’s saying Bryant didn’t deserve the season-long feting.

“He deserved the attention he got,” he said. “No matter how I played, none of that was relevant. Kobe’s a legend. If he came back today that’d be the biggest story in the world.”

Bryant’s final season – capped by a 60-point explosion in his last game – was the worst in Lakers history. Russell’s struggles in that, his rookie year, also included then-coach Byron Scott benching him, and the aforementioned surreptitious filming of Young.

Russell also admitted Friday that Magic Johnson’s post-trade comments about the Lakers needing a leader “ruffled a few feathers,” according to ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk.

Since being traded from one coastal metropolis to another, Russell is essentially the face of the Nets.

While not eligible for induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame until 2021, Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant already has a few high-profile names in mind for who he’d like to present him when he’s inevitably enshrined.

“For me it’s two people: Michael Jordan or Phil Jackson,” Bryant said to Complex’s Liz Levy. “They’ve been the greatest mentors, not only in my career as an athlete, but also as a person. And what I might say is just a lot of thank yous. ‘Cause I’ve had a lotta help along the way. A lotta lotta help.”

Bryant is widely considered to be the second-greatest shooting guard in NBA history behind Jordan, in whom he modeled a great deal of his own game after. He’s openly admitted to emulating No. 23’s style, telling Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck back in April he copied “damn near 100 percent” of Jordan’s technique.

Jackson, of course, coached Bryant for his five career championships, three of which came with Shaquille O’Neal (2000-02), and the other two with Pau Gasol (2009-10). Their relationship over the years had its ups and downs, though, with Jackson suggesting at one point that Bryant was “uncoachable,” and that he could “feel his hatred” from time to time.

Bryant will have both his No. 8 and 24 immortalized Dec. 18 when the Lakers host the reigning champion Golden State Warriors at Staples Center.

Portland Trail Blazers v Los Angeles Lakers

Were he still an active competitor in the NBA, former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant knows exactly how he’d act during the playing of the national anthem at a time when athletes are using the occasion to protest social issues.

Bryant said during a recent appearance on The Hollywood Reporter’s “Awards Chatter” podcast that he’d take a knee during “The Star-Spangled Banner,” according to ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk.

He was then asked what he would convey to President Donald Trump if he had the opportunity to speak with him one on one.

“Focus on serving, not leading,” said Bryant.

When Trump made waves after uninviting Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry to the White House, Bryant joined a number of other basketball stars in openly criticizing the POTUS.

Months earlier, Bryant mentioned he’d probably pay the White House a visit, as it’s less about the administration and more about teammates, love for the country, and the children who look up to professional athletes.

This year’s Lakers squad intends to lock arms during the anthem throughout the upcoming regular season, with head coach Luke Walton saying it will display unity within the organization, while also showing respect for the country.

The league has strict rules in place prohibiting kneeling, reminding players and coaches that they’re required to stand in a recent memo.

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Lamar Odom is doing well these days, and on Wednesday he appeared on an episode of Complex’s “Everyday Struggle” to discuss everything under the sun.

When it came to the Los Angeles Lakers‘ off-court fiasco from two seasons ago when D’Angelo Russell surreptitiously recorded and broadcast video of Nick Young talking about a woman who wasn’t his girlfriend, he said Young didn’t go far enough in administering punishment.

“If I was Nick Young, I would’ve put my hands on him,” Odom said. “And I was expecting motherfuckers on the team to put their hands on him. That would’ve showed camaraderie.”

These were the Bryon Scott-coached 2015-16 Lakers of Kobe Bryant’s swan song, youthful pieces like Russell, and jokester journeymen like Young. They finished 17-65, the worst record in franchise history.

“Maybe they would have won a couple more games,” Odom added.

When asked about another Lakers scandal, Odom said Shaquille O’Neal also should’ve roughed up Bryant after he reportedly discussed O’Neal’s alleged extramarital activities during his 2003 sexual assault case.

Odom was traded by the Miami Heat to the Lakers for O’Neal in 2004, and played seven seasons with Bryant. Russell and Young no longer play for the Lakers.

The 37-year-old Odom, who is approaching the second anniversary of nearly dying from a drug overdose, said he wishes nothing but the best to ex-wife Khloe Kardashian – now reportedly pregnant with the child of Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson.

“From a distance I wish her well,” he said. “Still got love for her.”

Portland Trail Blazers v Los Angeles Lakers

For the first time in NBA history, a franchise will be raising two different numbers to the rafters for one player, with Kobe Bryant having his Nos. 8 and 24 immortalized by the Los Angeles Lakers.

“As a kid growing up in Italy, I always dreamed of my jersey hanging in the Lakers rafters, but I certainly never imagined two of them,” said Bryant in an official statement. “The Lakers have bestowed a huge honor on me and I’m grateful for the fans’ enthusiasm around this game.”

The Black Mamba becomes the 10th Lakers player to have his number(s) retired, joining Wilt Chamberlain (13), Elgin Baylor (22), Gail Goodrich (25), Magic Johnson (32), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (33), Shaquille O’Neal (34), James Worthy (42), Jerry West (44), and Jamaal Wilkes (52).

“This honor is very well deserved,” Lakers president of basketball operations Johnson said. “Kobe was one of the greatest Lakers and NBA players of all time and he’s definitely on my Mount Rushmore. I look forward to seeing both of his jerseys be retired and celebrating this special day with Kobe and his family.”

Bryant donned No. 8 until 2006 when he made the switch to No. 24, which was his original number competing at Lower Merion High School. He then wore No. 33 prior to entering the league, but since No. 33 had already been retired, and No. 24 was taken by a teammate, Bryant decided to wear No. 8.

During his legendary 20-year stint in purple and gold, Bryant won five championships with a pair of Finals MVPs, was an 18-time All-Star, and earned a spot on 11 All-NBA First Teams. He’s also the Lakers’ all-time leading scorer with 33,643 points, which is the third-highest point total of any player ever.

Bryant’s numbers will be officially retired in a ceremony at halftime on Dec. 18 when the Lakers host the visiting Golden State Warriors.