Los Angeles Lakers: New York City

Talking with: Devin Ebanks

October, 13, 2010
10/13/10
7:34
AM PT
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
Ever since our live show at Media Day, Brian and I have been tracking down the players who weren't directed to our table. First came Derrick Caracter. Then Shannon Brown. Our next victim... I mean, Laker? Rookie Devin Ebanks.

Question: What have the first couple of weeks in training camp been like?

Devin Ebanks: Pretty much a learning experience, really. Still trying to get the plays down. My defensive rotations. And just playing as hard as I can. Right now I'm just trying to do everything right and listen to the coaches.

Q: Phil Jackson mentioned that defensively you were up to speed, but the offense is something you're still trying to catch up to. Right now, are you playing as much on instincts as anything else?

DE: Pretty much. Just using every skill that I learned in college and bringing it to the NBA level. I played that kind of NBA defense in college, so I'm pretty much up to speed on that. Just learning the offense and get my footwork right.

Q: What about the triangle, in particular? Are there areas where you're still learning your spots?

DE: It's really just the footwork part. I think that's the toughest part. Knowing what footwork to use, and the defense to play. It's kind of tough. Everything else, I'm in the flow of it.

(Note: Because Ebanks wasn't initially specific about how footwork is crucial to the triangle, I caught up with him the next day for clarification. "There are certain ways you have to clear out or pivot to make certain things work, provided how the defense plays you," explained Ebanks. "Just using your footwork is important."

Ebanks has never played in a system so dependent on footwork before, but time spent watching a certain 12-time All-Star and listening to an eleven-ringed coach drives home the necessity.

"The prime example is Kobe Bryant. He's the best at it, and he shows it. If we watch film and you look at his footwork, you know why he's the best right now... Coach Jackson is real big on fundamentals, as far as passing and footwork. It's the little things. If you find that, you become a great player.")

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The roots of Ron Artest's defense

June, 6, 2010
6/06/10
11:58
AM PT
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
Ron Artest's defense has been described many ways over the years: Aggressive... physical... relentless... effective... intimidating... lockdown.

You can add another adjective to the list: Homegrown.

After a recent practice, Artest talked a few minutes with the media about the origins of his defensive mindset. It's a style owing debts to his father, the Big Apple and, indirectly, the City of Brotherly Love. And as is commonly the case with 2004's Defensive Player of the Year, Kobe Bryant's name pops up.

Q: You said from day one, you've been about defense. What started that? Where did that come from?
Ron Artest:
I guess it came from my dad. My dad used to throw me around on the floor playing basketball. Hit me going up for layups. You know, bruises and all kinds of things like that. He would score and I would get mad. That's where it started. I played the same way as my dad. I played in college the same way and in the NBA. I had to change up a little bit, a little too aggressive at times. But if you see my dad, he was a big man. But he definitely prepared me. And my neighborhood prepared me. I think that's what got it done.

Q: Was your dad a pretty good ball player?

Artest: He was pretty good. Pretty decent. Then he had me and he had to work.

Q: Do you remember your reaction the first time he knocked you down?
Artest: I probably cried the first time, and then I got up. Then he continued to do it, and then it was something that was normal, every day. Just normal to be hit. To play basketball, be hit and try to get stops.

And then the neighborhood. I grew up playing basketball on 12th Street. No crying, just play. I'm sure a lot of guys who've been like that. I'm probably not the only one in the NBA that grew up playing basketball like that. Definitely New York City basketball. Gotta give them a lot of credit. Playing able to play with men when you're young. That always helps.

Q: Where did your dad grow up?
Artest: Philly and New York. He's from Philly, so he's tough. Philly boys is tough. Kobe. Kobe's from Philly.

Q: Didn't he go to the same high school as Kobe's dad?
Artest:
Yeah my dad went to the same high school as Kobe's dad. So in a sense, I'm from Philly. I guess you've got two players from Philly coming on the Lakers.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Nick Young
PTS AST STL MIN
17.9 1.5 0.7 28.3
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Hill 7.4
AssistsK. Bryant 6.3
StealsK. Bryant 1.2
BlocksW. Johnson 1.0