Rider’s Timing Off, Jackson Points Out

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Isaiah Rider was late to a Laker practice this week--technically, at least--and it might have been on the same day he parked in King Coach Andy Murray’s well-marked spot. The Kings were out of town.

Phil Jackson revealed Rider’s transgression Tuesday afternoon, an hour before the Lakers boarded a charter flight to New Orleans, where they will play Charlotte tonight in an exhibition game.

Jackson mentioned it casually, almost mischievously, as he turned and disappeared into the locker room at the team’s El Segundo training facility.


“He’s a great shooter, he’s very competitive, defensively he likes to get out and play,” Jackson said of Rider. “He’s finding his way offensively. It’s going to be awhile for him to find all the nuances in this offense. But, we expected that. So that’s not a surprise.”

He paused.

“He’s only been late once. That’s the biggest surprise.”

With that, he left Rider all but alone on the practice court, shooting three-pointers. Rider has worked longer than his new teammates almost every afternoon, in part because he played almost no basketball after he was released by Atlanta in March. Now he’s been late once in eight days.

“You should talk to [Jackson] about that,” Rider said. “We’re supposed to be in the gym, shoes tied and ready to go. [Jackson and I] walked in together. My shoes weren’t tied. So, I was late.”

Rider smiled, but he was clearly unhappy with the nature of the questions, and perhaps not pleased that his new coach had chosen to go public. It is possible that Jackson exposed Rider as a warning that similar slip-ups, no matter how minor, will not be tolerated, and that Rider will be held accountable.

Rider held up his hands and said, “I’m the least of your worries. I’m fine.”

He has worked primarily with the second team. Jackson and assistant Tex Winter have noted Rider’s superior athletic ability and his willingness to learn the system, but have cautioned that he’ll need at least the exhibition season to become familiar with the triangle offense. It could take longer.

“I don’t have a problem with it,” Rider insisted. “We’re playing good. I’m getting one shot a scrimmage, but that’s all right. It should be fine.”



Guard Mike Penberthy, at 6 feet 3, is making a strong run to break camp as the replacement for injured Derek Fisher.

After graduating from The Master’s College in 1997, Penberthy played in the Continental Basketball Assn., Europe and South America.

A good shooter at The Master’s, where he averaged 27.5 points in his senior season, Penberthy scrimmaged Tuesday on the same unit as starters Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, Horace Grant and Rick Fox.

“It’s beyond my dreams,” he said. “It doesn’t get any better than this.”


Jackson expects to spread the minutes fairly evenly tonight in the first exhibition game. The Lakers traveled with 18 players, so a few won’t play. Charlotte’s big lineup--6-8 Jamal Mashburn could play guard--probably will allow Jackson to play a bigger five as well. He’ll get an early look at Robert Horry at small forward.