Lakers News, Rumors 2014: Latest on Kobe Bryant, Jeremy Lin, Steve Nash, Julius Randle, Nick Young
Another round of Los Angeles Lakers news and rumors have come out as the team gets ready for the upcoming season.
Check out the latest buzz below.
Kobe is Back
One of the top things gleaned from the Lakers first week of training camp and first preseason game is that Kobe Bryant is back.
Bryant is in great shape and looked good against the Denver Nuggets.
“He has been a vocal leader and has also set the tone by running hard and fast during grueling drills. With 18 seasons and countless injuries under his belt, the team’s franchise player seems to be reveling in the physical challenges,” said Bleacher Report.
“Bryant answered all questions early with an all-around game—facilitating, chasing down loose balls and scoring off signature spin moves and fadeaway jumpers. He finished with 13 points and five assists in 21 minutes, shooting an efficient 5-for-12. It’s good to have Kobe back.”
Lakers coach Byron Scott said after the game that Bryant, who played 21 minutes, will play limited minutes in the preseason. “As we get closer to the end of preseason, we’ll ratchet it up a little bit,” he said. The Lakers open the regular season on October 28 against the Houston Rockets.
Lin to Start Some Games
Scott revealed that Jeremy Lin will start some games.
Steve Nash appears to be penciled in as the starter but Scott clarified that Lin will start some games.
“We just don’t know, with Steve right now,” Scott told Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters.
“So, Jeremy every game he knows he’s probably going to play, but there’s going to be games where he starts and has to play a lot more minutes.”
Some fans believe that Lin, 26, who creates instant offense both through passing and shooting, should be starting over the aging Nash.
Lin and Davis Find Connection
Ed Davis, one of the Laker’s backup big men, only played 12 minutes in the team’s first preseason game but he found a connection with Lin.
“Jeremy found me on a lot of easy looks,” Davis told NBA.com. “I just had to lay the ball up. I caught it around the basket. But other than that, I’m happy that we got this win.”
Lin assisted on four of Davis’s buckets.
“(Davis) just did a great job of keeping it simple, reading the defense and making easy plays,” Lin said. “He’d catch it on the elbow and be able to just pace himself, and because people are scared to leave some of the shooters, the lane kind of opened up for him.”
Lin led all players with 10 assists.
Boozer Praises Nash
New Lakers forward Carlos Boozer, who appears to have snagged the starting power forward spot, praised Steve Nash after their first game together.
“Steve is amazing,” Boozer told the Los Angeles Times. “He’s really good, man. I enjoy playing with Steve. He makes the game really easy — great vision, great decision-making.”
Nash is coming off an injury-riddled season and at age 40 is the oldest player in the NBA.
“He creates a shot for you, so all you have to do is shoot it,” said Boozer, who’s 32, of Nash. “He does all your work for you.”
Boozer also said that he, Nash, and Kobe have “really good chemistry.”
Randle Needs to Improve Conditioning
Scott says that rookie Julius Randle, who could eventually work his way into the starting lineup, needs to improve his conditioning.
“He’s got to do a better job of setting screens. He’s got to do a better job of getting up and down the floor. He does that in spurts,” Scott told the Times after the 98-95 win over the Denver Nuggets.
“The biggest thing with him right now is that he has to get in better shape. He’s in good shape but he has to get in great shape.”
Randle said he felt comfortable in his first game, which he said was easier than training camp.
“Practice is way, way harder,” Randle said.
Scott to Make Young Work Hard
Scott says that he’ll make sure Nick Young gets in shape quickly when he returns to practice following a right thumb ligament tear. Young is expected to return in late November or early December but will be able to practice much sooner.
Scott tried forcing Young to participate this week in running drills but Young told Scott that Lakers trainer Gary Vitti has advised he sit out for now.
“I think he’s pretty happy about it,” Scott told the L.A. Daily News. “But in the long ruin, I’m going to get the last laugh. So it’s going to be happy days for me.”
But Young is slated to return to practice on Friday, with Scott planning to double his workload.
“We have to get him back in shape,” Scott said with a smile. “He’s missed a few days. I told him we can’t let him go backwards. We can’t let that stamina lose. We have to get it back.”