Below is an analysis from Lakers development coach Phil Handy on how the starting lineup is progressing. We’ll have a rundown on the reserves at some point as well.
Kobe Bryant, shooting guard
Shooting drills: Shoots in five spots spread around the court, taking 10 shots in each area. The areas range from mid-range catch-and-shoot jumpers, three-pointers and postups. Bryant also works on footwork, pivot jabs and turnaround jumpers usually for 15 minutes. Handy said he’s only worked with him twice this season since Bryant already has a shooting routine down and doesn’t feel the need to alter it yet.
What he’s excelling at: “At this point in his career, he just tries to stay efficient. He’s been in the league for 16 years. He’s a sponge and willing to learn whatever will help him continue to be successful. But he has his staple of things that have led him to this point in his career in which he is just trying to perfect them.”
What he needs to improve: “It’s hard to critique his game because he’s so confident. Things that most players try to do, he does them without thought. The shots he takes are difficult shots that most players can’t take. ... But for him, those are everyday shots. Sometimes you like him to take balanced shots, but he practices shooting unbalanced shots.”
Andrew Bynum, center
Shooting drills: Lakers assistant coach Darvin Ham mostly works Bynum out, but Handy also had six workouts with him. Bynum often uses a medicine ball to help with his balance, power and controlling the ball.
What he’s excelling at: “We use the phrase with him ‘low and quick.’ That helps him to keep opponents off-balance. Some of the early workouts I gave him used counter moves, not just trying to overpower people. He’s done a tremendous job this year adapting and adding on those things.”
What he needs to improve: “The biggest thing he wants to work on is his jump shot. He wants to incorporate it. I don’t think it’s his threes. He wants to use a turnaround jump shot in the post to get a Patrick Ewing feel to his game mixed with his power.”
Shooting drills: He also takes shots in five spots spread around the court, taking five spots in each area. That includes elbow jumpers and turnaround jumpers and hooks in the post. Gasol also concentrates on his footwork. Handy said he’s had six private workouts with Gasol this season.
What he’s excelling at: “He’s the most skilled big man I had a chance to work with. He’s a great passer, can shoot the ball and can finish with either hand.”
What he needs to improve: “We’ve tried to help him sit down more in the post. He’s so tall and he does play standing straight up a lot. Myself, Darvin Ham and Coach Chuck Person try to get him to understand if he sits in the post, he’ll be a lot more effective and a lot quicker. ... If he can incorporate this offseason where he’s working on his base and being more comfortable sitting lower, it will help him handle his position in the post a lot better. He’ll be able to make more impact with his moves.”
Ramon Sessions, point guard
Shooting drills: Handy said he’s had one workout with Sessions since the Lakers acquired him from Cleveland before the March 15 trade deadline. Sessions adopted the five spots drill, including three-pointers and mid-range jumpers mostly on catch-and-shoot opportunities. Handy required Sessions to make at least 10 shots before attempting 14. Handy said Sessions successfully completed that exercise four out of five times.
What he’s excelling at: “He has game-changing speed and a great pick-and-roll player. He brings a different element to the team that makes Kobe’s life easier and the bigs’ life easier. We weren’t really a pick-and-roll team before his arrival. .. It makes our team a lot quicker.”
What he needs to improve: “He can tighten up his handle and his mid-range game. He can also shoot threes more efficiently. He does all those things well, but there’s room for improvement.”
Metta World Peace, small forward
Shooting drills: Handy said World Peace will run up and down the court and then pull up for three-pointers, mid-range shots, one-dribble pullups. He also works on his footwork, particularly from the elbows and in the post. Handy said he works out World Peace often.
What he’s excelling at: “Metta is one of the hardest working guys I’ve known. He’s tremendously dedicated to keeping himself in shape and putting in the time. ... On the defensive end of the floor, he’s an animal. We can put Metta on anybody, whether it’s Chris Paul or Blake Griffin. He can challenge that guy. He’s our enforcer. ... What he does on the offensive end is he’s smart. He understands how to play the game and he’s starting to make big shots with his threes and is dunking the ball.”
What he needs to improve: “The biggest thing I’ve stressed with Metta is making on-balanced moves and taking on-balanced shots. ... Early on he struggled with his shooting. He was out of shape, and he’ll admit that to you. A lot of his shots were very off-balanced. But he’s worked on it and made some corrections.”