Lakers look to Jason Kapono and Troy Murphy for outside help
In case it wasn’t obvious, the Lakers needed two major changes after their embarrassing four-game playoff sweep against Dallas.
Get faster. Get better three-point shooters.
They accomplished the former by trading for Chris Paul two weeks ago, but everyone knows how that turned out.
They tried to accomplish the latter by signing free-agent veterans Jason Kapono and Troy Murphy, shooters who didn’t do much last season but got another shot with the Lakers.
“This team has guys that can score and this team moves the ball very well,” Lakers Coach Mike Brown said. “The one thing I thought they did lack last year is a consistent threat from behind the three-point line.”
Did the Lakers actually miss Sasha Vujacic? They made only 15 of 76 three-point attempts in that Dallas series, a pathetic 19.7%.
Kapono, 30, is a career 43.7% shooter from three-point range, though he averaged only 0.7 points a game last season with Philadelphia.
Murphy, 31, is a career 38.9% shooter from three-point range, though he also had a ragged 2010-11 season, averaging 3.1 points and 3.2 rebounds for New Jersey and Boston. He averaged 14.4 points and 11 rebounds the previous two seasons with Indiana while shooting 41.8% from three-point range.
Murphy arrived for his first Lakers practice Sunday, working with the third unit and hoping last season was firmly in the past.
“It was a fiasco,” he said, recounting hamstring and groin injuries that slowed him considerably. “I never really got going.”
Murphy said he felt healthy now. Brown was impressed after watching him last week in an individual workout.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a power forward shoot the ball better than he did during his workout,” Brown said, hoping Kapono and Murphy could help unclog the lane for the Lakers.
Ideally, Brown said, “the floor is open that much more for guys to go to work.”
Kapono and Murphy each signed one-year contracts worth about $1.4 million.
The Lakers tried to make up for the loss of Lamar Odom by signing Murphy and Josh McRoberts, an energy type who can also handle the ball a little bit.
Brown remained hopeful even though it would be tough for either of them to approach the 14.4 points and 8.7 rebounds Odom averaged last season.
“Neither one of those guys is Lamar Odom and we don’t expect them to come in here and replace him,” Brown said. “But we feel … they both give us a different look. They’re two guys that aren’t similar at all in their game.”
Baron Davis is expected to sign with New York, becoming the second point guard in as many weeks to slip away from the Lakers. He was waived last week by Cleveland. ... Derek Fisher will sit out Monday’s exhibition opener against the Clippers at Staples Center, Brown said, in part to “let him get in playing shape for us.”
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