SH Blog: Pau fits perfectly in new offense, Kobe blames last season’s offense to defend Pau

We all realize at this point that the Los Angeles Lakers have assembled a team to do some special things this season. There is an incredible amount of talent on the team from Steve Nash’s play-making abilities, Dwight Howard’s defensive presence, Kobe Bryant’s scoring prowess to Metta World Peace’s renewed focus. Then there is Pau Gasol, whose ability to be an all-around player for the team could be the x-factor to help carry the Lakers over the top. See why Gasol is the perfect fit for the Lakers’ new offense, along with why Bryant blamed Mike Brown’s offense for Gasol’s woes last season and more from Friday below.

  • The Lakers new offense could maximize the abilities of Pau Gasol, according to Mark Medina of Los Angeles Times: “He thrives on team play. Gasol often likes to react to how the defense plays him instead of overly forcing his will. His background in the triangle offense allows him to tap into the elements of the Princeton offense, including proper spacing, passing and cutting. “It’s going to be a lot of looks with the movement and the quality of the players that will be out there,” Gasol said. “That attracts a lot of attention. We’ll have opportunities regardless, no matter what …. No player is worried about that, even though we have players who have the ability to score easily.”
  • So what was the problem with Gasol last season? Kobe Bryant put the blame on Mike Brown’s offense, from Medina: “It’s a matter of the system versus having a traditional pro set,” Bryant said. “Last year, we made calls. We had to make calls. We ran down. Run a play for me. Run a play for Andrew. Run a play for Pau. It was tough to try to find that balance. In this type of system, you have ball movement and defense. That determines where the ball is going. You try to get the easiest shot possible. It enables us to be decision makers and play to our strengths.”
  • Metta World Peace was never concerned about being amnestied. Why? Because he’s too good, from Helene Elliott of Los Angeles Times: “I’m way too good of a basketball player to be amnestied,” he said. “I don’t mean that to be arrogant, but I’m on a team with arguably one of the greatest starting fives ever to step on the court, and I’m on that team. I’m blessed. I really thank God for that opportunity. But there’s got to be something I’m doing right. I’m with the Laker organization that makes the most money in the NBA and has won the second-most championships. Mitch Kupchak is one of the best general managers. Why else would I be here. “There’s no way I was being amnestied. A lot of people were talking. Totally false. A lot of media reported stuff. Totally inaccurate and impossible.”
  • Photo of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, via Jose3030

    Dwight Howard fired back at Shaquille O’Neal in a big way, from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports: “And so when word was passed onto Howard that O’Neal had compared him unfavorably to Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez, Howard did something long overdue: He stood up for himself and fired back at O’Neal. “Shaq played the game and he is done,” Howard told reporters on Thursday. “It’s time to move on. He hated the fact when he played that older guys were talking about him and how he played. Now he’s doing the exact same thing. Just let it go. There’s no sense for him to be talking trash to me. He did his thing in the league. Sit back and relax. “Your time is up.”

  • Kevin Durant has bulked up over the summer, according to Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman: “From his lower body, through his midsection on up to where it’s as clear as ever — his upper body — Durant has bulked up. As with everything else that defines his skills, Durant isn’t overly interested in discussing the matter. That he said as much as he did hints that he has indeed gotten stronger and is darn proud of it. “I hope so,” Durant said when told he looks bigger and asked if he got stronger over the offseason. “I guess we’ll know when we start banging during the season. But I feel a little bigger, and coach is going to put me down low a little bit more at the 4, so I’ve got to be stronger to guard those guys. I’m just looking forward to doing as much as I can to help this team.”
  • Marko Jaric wants to return to the NBA for personal reasons and hopes to catch on with the Bulls, according to Aggrey Sam of CSN Chicago: “It was very tough because I played two half seasons in Europe before that and I didn’t want to go back to Europe anymore. I had a couple of very good offers and it was a big decision for, but I needed to put my family before anything else because of my second child. We couldn’t just travel anymore from Europe to the States and I needed to make tough decisions, and refused pretty good offers from Europe in hopes that a good NBA team picks me up. Hopefully this year, that happens.”
  • Dirk Nowitzki thinks the new anti-flop rule is a bunch of crap, according to Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News: “I never looked at myself as a big flopper,” Nowitzki said Thursday after the Mavericks arrived in Germany for their preseason opener Saturday. “If you play me physical then, obviously, I’ve got to sell the call and get to the [free throw] line. That’s just part of the game. We’ll have to see how they enforce that. “I think it’s a bunch of crap to be honest with you. Are they going to come back after a game and fine you for flopping? That’s tough to do to me.”
  • Blake Griffin is not concerned about where ESPN ranked him, according to Broderick Turner of Los Angeles Times: “Still, Griffin was aware ESPN ranked him as the 14th best player in the NBA for the 2012-13 season, down from the 10th spot after his rookie year. “You can look at the list and you can make the case that anybody could be higher or lower,” Griffin said. “I know ‘CP’ [Chris Paul] was four” in the ESPN survey. “LeBron [James] one. KD [Durant] two. “But other than some of those guys, it’s a personal opinion. It’s who you see more. You could have seen 10 of my best games in my career and you could have seen 10 of LaMarcus Aldridge’s worst. It’s one of those things where you put one guy higher than the other.”
While its just preseason, @ lost in Turkey to Istanbul Fenerbahce Ulker, playing 4th game in 4 nights, 97-91. Sato & McCalebb had 45
Marc J. Spears
Holiday looks terrific in scrimmage. Thad Young sprained an ankle earlier, is day to day
Bob Cooney
  • Kurt Thomas turned 40 today, but he feels the same as 10 or 12 years ago, from Steve Popper of The Record: “I feel the same as yesterday,” Thomas said. “No difference. I was just out there having fun, running up and down the floor with my teammates, just trying to get in better shape each and every day. “I don’t think about it. I just go out there and play. I feel my game hasn’t changed in 10, 12 years. If you think I’m old, that’s fine. But when you get out there on the floor I don’t think you’d see that.”
  • Andrew Bogut looked pretty spry during his individual work, according to Tim Kawakami of Mercury News: “Andrew Bogut looked quite spry doing about 45 minutes of individual work after practice, including some of the first dunking since he broke his ankle last season. He ended one running drill by dunking twice one-handed and then throwing down a two-handed reverse slam at the conclusion. I note this because I asked him a couple weeks ago if he’d started dunking and he said that the explosive work was yet to come. Well, it’s here, and Bogut seemed fine doing it. Afterwards, he said he wanted me to keep the dunks quiet, but oops, I’d already Tweeted out the info. And now I’ve put it in a blog headline.”
  • Bogut hopes to bring some fight and mental toughness to the Warriors, from Scott Howard-Cooper of “If I can influence other people to step up their up games defensively, that’ll be mission accomplished for me,” he said. “I think I need to bring the same tenacity and the same defensive mindset I had in Milwaukee, but make it rub off on David Lee and Brandon Rush and Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, that we need to get stops to win games…”If there’s not one fight in practice during the season — you never want to fight just to fight — but if there’s not one little scuffle or one little verbal, something’s wrong. Guys aren’t competing, guys aren’t there for the right reason, guys are just punching the clock,” he said. “I guarantee you if you interview the Lakers and the Celtics with Paul Pierce and Garnett, there’s scuffles at practice, there’s physicality, elbows thrown.”
  • Jameer Nelson touched on the topic of Dwight Howard and discussed his new (bigger) role with the Magic, from John Denton of “On a more personal note, Nelson was bothered by Howard’s inference last season that the Magic would be better off making a run all-star point guards Chris Paul or Deron Williams instead of sticking with his fellow co-captain in Nelson… “It was just one of those things from (Howard) that I never did understand and I guess some things just aren’t meant for you to understand,’’ Nelson said… “I am going to step my game up in certain areas and try to bring guys along with me and make us better. The thing I’ve learned the last few years is that guys want to be led by a great leader and I’m a natural-born leader. “I feel more of a sense of relief now for whatever reason,’’ Nelson continued. “I guess it feels like I finally have more freedom.’’… More falls on me now, especially when you’ve got guys who are younger like we have now, and that’s just fine with me.”
  • Chris Kaman expects to return to action from his sprained back, according to Earl K. Sneed of
Chris Kaman (sprained lower back) says he went through every rep and fully expects to play Saturday.
Earl K. Sneed
  • Chauncey Billups went through contact drills for the first time since injuring his Achilles tendon and looked good doing it, according to Arash Markazi of ESPN Los Angeles: “Los Angeles Clippers guard Chauncey Billups didn’t anticipate he would be ready to return to the court until November when training camp started last week. But Billups participated in contact drills Thursday for the first time since he had season-ending surgery to repair a torn left Achilles tendon in February. “Chauncey practiced a little bit more today, which was good,” Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said. “He actually went through a couple of contact drills that we had. Not long, but more than in the past.”… “He feels good,” Del Negro said. “He’s moving good. You can be in condition but the body contact and the up and down things, he’s got to get in shape, but he’s got plenty of time. As long as he keeps on, not having any setbacks and keeps on working, as he’s been doing, he’s going to be in good shape.”
  • Is Grant Hill looking to become an analyst after his NBA career? Ric Bucher of ESPN hinted at the idea:
Happy 40th to @. Told me recently: "I thought I would've joined you on the dark side by now." Just a matter of time...
Ric Bucher
  • Brandon Jennings is looking to take a page out of Steve Nash’s game, and it has nothing to do with passing, according to Charles F. Gardner of The Journal Sentinel: “Brandon Jennings figures it doesn’t hurt to emulate a two-time NBA most valuable player. So the Milwaukee Bucks point guard has been practicing a shot made famous by Steve Nash, the former Phoenix Suns star who is now a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. “It’s the one-leg floater in the lane,” Jennings said. “When you play against a guy like that, you just see the different ways he can score. “It’s not easy what you can take from him. But if you put time into it, I really wanted to perfect some of the things he does. A lot of his buckets are easy. I’ve watched a lot of film on him and if I ever want to talk to him, I have that direct contact with him. “And the fact he’s 38 and playing is amazing.”
  • Royce White wants to travel to some games by private bus due to his anxiety issues, according to Myron Medcalf of ESPN: “Busing to games, he said, is a vital component in the treatment of his anxiety… “What it’s going to look like is every game that’s drivable, I’m going to get a bus for myself,” White said. “And I’m going to make that bus feel like home so that there’s a level of consistency in a job where inconsistency is very apparent because of the schedule. I’m going to try and level that out and make sure that my stress levels stay low and that my rest is regular and that my meals are regular and that as much as I can, draw consistency from a very inconsistent schedule. … “People with mental illness, one of the most important things is that they have that consistency and routine. The girth of (my request) was, ‘Can I travel by bus to close enough games?’ “
I hope Royce White gets help w/ his condition. Seems like a huge talent. But some1 is gonna get fired in org 4 giving the go ahead. IMO
Roy Hibbert
  • What kind of game does Nets forward Mirza Teletovic bring to the table? Michael Scotto of SNYNets explains in detail: “Teletovic is a 6-foot-9 power forward with NBA three-point range that will stretch opposing defenses. Last season, Teletovic shot 43 percent from beyond the arc for Caja Laboral (Spain) and has continued to shoot efficiently through the start of Nets training camp. Unlike most European big men, Teletovic is a versatile long-range shot maker. He can connect after curling off of a screen, pick-and-pop after setting a screen, or—thanks to his high release point—shoot over defenders. He’s also effective at creating space by using his jab step, as well as hitting off balance jumpers.”
  • Stephen Jackson hopes for an extension from the Spurs, from Mike Monroe of Express-News: “Only one thing could make Jackson’s professional life better: An extension of his contract, worth $10 million in its final season. “I want it, but I can’t control it,” Jackson said, toweling sweat off his face after Tuesday’s practice. “Every day when I walk in here I’m hoping they’ll call me in and say, ‘Jack, here’s your extension.’ “I think I deserve it, but at the end of the day I’m still happy to be here and all I can worry about is what I can control, and that’s my play.”
  • Iguodala is the veteran of a young 76ers squad.

    George Karl believes Andre Iguodala is a defensive stopper, from Benjamin Hochman of The Denver Post: “But coach George Karl believes the Nuggets’ overall defense can improve, so he got himself a differential difference maker. “With Andre Iguodala, I think we have a stopper,” Karl said of his new starting shooting guard, an all-star last season. “I don’t think we’re going to be statistically high in a lot of traditional defensive categories. But I think differential is the key for us — field-goal differential, points differential, turnover differential. How we control the other team. Can we have moments of defensive momentum rather than offensive momentum? Can we have moments when we intimidate with our presence on the defensive end on the court?”

  • Kevin Love just wants to win and is looking forward to being a facilitator, even if his numbers drop. Ray Richardson of Pioneer Press has the story: “As much as Love appreciates the hype, he would gladly exchange some of the individual success for a trip to the Western Conference playoffs, which he promised the Wolves will make happen this season. The trade-off is part of the leadership and maturation process for Love as he enters his fifth NBA season with a revamped team. “I’ve already had that thought process that my numbers might go down,” he said Thursday, Oct. 4. “I will always be productive in whatever system I play in, but it feels great to have other options now. I’m ready to do whatever it takes for us to win games.”… “It feels good to be a setup man,” Love said. “I’ve been finding guys all week in camp. You might see a drop in points because of the guys we have now, but you might see a spike in my assists. I’ll be in the giving mood this season.”

NBA players react to anti-flop rule 

Shaquille O’Neal prefers Brook Lopez over Dwight Howard

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