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I had an interesting chat with Tex Winter today, who has spent time working with the team recently.
He was excited about the Lakers owning and controlling a Development League team. The primary purpose, he said, will be to develop young players who understand the triangle offense and get playing time in the system. Right now, the Lakers have a problem because there are so few players in the NBA with experience in the triangle. He agreed with Brian Shaw that one of the big problems this year for the team was trying to develop young players who had almost no experience in the offense. It made the learning curve much steeper. And it seemed to take forever just to get the younger players to learn simple elements of the system.
However, Tex said the coaching staff continues to marvel at the late-season development of young players, that the pay-off for all the work by the coaching staff and the players has been their surprising improvement.
Tex's comments on key players:
Luke Walton has worked extremely hard on his shot lately. As a result, he's playing with more confidence. His move into the starting lineup and his recent solid performances have only boosted his confidence. His play has brought a huge improvement in the team. He still does some wacky things, Tex says, but Luke is a key to this team in the playoffs. His play has been nothing short of outstanding.
Kwame Brown: At first, Tex wasn't sure Kwame had the work ethic to make it in the NBA, despite his physical gifts. But Kwame has made believers out of Tex and others on the coaching staff. Kwame has established that he is a center and not a power forward (he doesn't have the offensive skills to be a power forward). He has a chance, if he really works hard, to be one of the best centers in the league in a year or two.
Chris Mihm is a question mark. Tex said the coaches are concerned that Mihm's return from a sprained ankle that has benched him most of the past month might have a negative impact on Kwame's development. Mihm clearly is no power forward. His playing center might have an effect on Kwame's somewhat fragile nature. The coaches want to make sure that team chemistry, which has been outstanding down the stretch this spring, doesn't shift for the playoffs.
Smush Parker: He has incredible athletics abilities, although his play has been inconsistent of late. Parker is essentially a rookie (who played little college ball) and has played more games this season than he has ever played in his life. He may have hit the proverbial wall a bit. He has been a huge find for the Lakers.
Lamar Odom: Winter likes to closely observe players as people, how they act on and off the court. He says Odom may be one of the finest, most decent humans he's encountered in a half century of coaching. Odom, Tex says, has that rare combination of athletic confidence and genuine humility. That may work against him on occasion, if he gets too nice. But Odom has grown into the triangle and has shown in recent games that he is capable of amazing things on the court. His great nature makes it easy to cheer for Lamar Odom.
Kobe: Tex says Kobe has stunned him with his play this season, that he has clearly exceeded Jordan as a shot-maker. Kobe still has some trouble with the team game, with involving his teammates. That's not because he doesn't understand. Kobe has long understood every facet of the triangle offense. Kobe wants to do the right thing every time. But he's just so impulsive, Winter said, that Kobe will sometimes do the wrong thing out of impulse.
Phil Jackson and his staff: Their work, especially Phil's rescue work with Kwame Brown is one of the finest reclamation jobs on a player thought to be a complete bust. Jackson has never done a finer coaching job, Tex said.
The bottom line? The Lakers are a fun team to watch, to coach, to be around. The mental framework is excellent heading into the playoffs.

Roland Lazenby, LA TIMES
author of The Show
 

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I agree, great find Sean! Thanks!
 

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Sean said:
Tex's comments on key players:
Luke Walton has worked extremely hard on his shot lately. As a result, he's playing with more confidence. His move into the starting lineup and his recent solid performances have only boosted his confidence. His play has brought a huge improvement in the team. He still does some wacky things,

Roland Lazenby, LA TIMES
author of The Show
LMAO :rofl:
 

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thats good stuff..

but if Kwame really is to improve as a center in the league and if we have bynum who is supposed to be our center of the future and also Mihm who probably wont get much better but is our best option at center dont we have somebody we should probably trade???

i think next year Bynum will emerge as a solid back up... and hes gonna need those back up minutes in order to improve to be where he should be at in year 3 or 4...

with that in mind, do we trade either Mihm or Kwame... id trade Mihm probably sometime next year if Kwame continues to show the promise he has in the past month...
 

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If Kwame really does develop into one of hte leagues best centers, where does that leave Bynum? If he doesn't quite pan out, I think drafting him over Jarrett Jack would be regrettable. It would have gotten the Lakers ahead of their rebuilding schedule by fixing point guard problems which Smush Parker is not hte answer to.

But hey, the Blazers are overloaded at the PG spot with Telfair, Jack and Blake, maybe he get be a Laker through a trade. I'm still convinced that hes hte type of PG this team needs.

Whatever the case, the Lakers have potential, if they keep progressing at the rate they are now and maintain consistency, a year from now, no one is going want to deal with them.
 
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