Put this story on video: Bryant praises Bynum

Times Staff Writer

It was buried inside a week that seemed relatively routine and unremarkable for the Lakers, if such a thing actually exists for them this season.

Kobe Bryant, who chastised Andrew Bynum on an amateur parking-lot video over the summer, praised the Lakers’ 20-year-old center for the effort he has given this season.

“He’s working really hard in practice and before practice, and I see a lot of improvement in him,” Bryant said. “The more he plays, the more his feet get wet, the more he gets acclimated to the type of conditioning that he needs to play at this level, but he’s doing a fantastic job.”


Bryant, of course, derided the Lakers for not trading Bynum for New Jersey guard Jason Kidd before the trade deadline last February, declaring in the infamous video that Bynum should be shipped out.

Fast forward to Thursday, and Bryant was showing Bynum some post-up possibilities before practice.

“I was showing him some moves, some of that things that I’ve kind of learned that I think he could use,” Bryant said.

Bynum had 10 points and 10 rebounds against Minnesota on Friday, his season averages.

Coach Phil Jackson chose Bryant and Derek Fisher as team captains this season.

Despite Bryant’s demand to be traded, Jackson said it wasn’t a difficult decision.

“I was sitting on the john one day and I said, ‘That’s a good idea,’ ” Jackson said jokingly. “It wasn’t very much of a thought process. It was a pretty gut-level idea. Who’s the spokesman for this team, the guys that step up and lead this team as they do?”

Lamar Odom was not selected to be a captain, although Jackson said not to read too much into it.

“Titular or not, it doesn’t matter to me. He’s definitely a leader on the floor,” he said.

The way Odom tells it, it’s a good thing he didn’t sit out more than four games.

“It’s about time, right?” he said. “It’s not great for me to be sitting around. I need order. I need a schedule. It’s always tough to watch -- win, lose or draw.”


At the same time, he said not to expect too much right away.

“I’ve just got to take my time,” he said. “It won’t all come back in one day.”

Luke Walton struggled after being dropped to the second unit to make room for Odom’s insertion into the starting lineup.

Walton had four points on one-for-six shooting and an uncharacteristic six turnovers against Minnesota.

“He tried to do some things that I thought were a little bit risky,” Jackson said.