The Lakers continued to crank things up this afternoon in El Segundo, with a fairly lengthy practice capped with an active scrimmage, officiated by genuine referees. No real surprises, which is a good thing. After making his training camp debut last night, Kobe didn't practice today. Don't be alarmed- it was by design, as opposed to any unexpected issues with his surgically repaired right knee. "He looked good," said Phil Jackson. "He said he had no significant problem with it. A little swelling, obviously, but I think that's it."
A few observations:
Luke Walton was on the floor again today after participating in both of Monday's practices, a good sign regarding his still-questionable back.
The difference between watching the first unit, filled with guys familiar with the system, and the seconds- today comprised of Shannon Brown, Steve Blake, Theo Ratliff, Matt Barnes, and Derrick Caracter- is profound. No surprise, the level of sophistication in the offense is far, far lower. Still, there are silver linings. Brown said after practice the process of playing with guys who don't know the system as well is very constructive for him. Directing traffic reinforces and lengthens his understanding of what to do and where to go with the ball.
Jim Cleamons spent a lot of time in Caracter's ear, particularly on the defensive end. On the other side, Caracter was both a positive and negative force, nearly turning the ball over a few times, but also making good reads, crashing the boards, and showing some skill with a nice baseline drive and reverse layup.
Among those doing a little extra shooting after practice- Barnes and Lamar Odom.
Ron Artest, Devin Ebanks, and Caracter finished the day with a lengthy round robin one-on-one session. "They abused me," Artest said after. "I'm pissed off about that. But we'll worry about that another day. We'll get some rest, and then another time we'll get a chance to play some one-on-one." His explanation for getting lit up by a pair of rookies was simple. "They're young, I'm old."
As you'll see in the video, Artest also had a laugh at the expense of Sasha Vujacic. Informed The Machine has his own line of jeans with Rock and Republic, he smiled. "I'm sure they're tight. European style."
For more moving pictures, including Artest on Ebanks and P.J.'s take on the day's work, click below.