Lakers media day: Kobe Bryant coy about this being his last season
The Lakers’ season officially starts today, with the entire team gathering for media day in El Segundo, where they talked about their hopes and dreams for 2015-16.
The last time we saw the Lakers, they had just finished with a 21-61 record and hurried into the off-season to lick their wounds.
Training camp begins Tuesday in Honolulu. In the meantime, Times Lakers reporter Mike Bresnahan has prepared a list of five questions the Lakers need to answer before their first game (Oct. 28 against Minnesota), including whether this will be Kobe Bryant’s final season with the team.
The always entertaining Nick Young spoke for a few minutes:
Young agreed with a reporter that this year is the “redemption of Swaggy P.” Says he’s fully healthy after some knee troubles.
On Iggy Azalea expecting big things out of him this year: “I’ll let her focus on music...let me do me over here.”
Predictions for Kobe Bryant: “I think he’ll play a full season. I know it’s been tough on him.”
He joked that Kobe must be excited to be back because “I’ve seen him go to each booth here [at media day]; he usually skips out after a few minutes.”
Here’s your non-sports related update: Young says he and Azalea will be married sometime next year, but no date is finalized. He’s mostly concerned about limiting the amount of Australian food at the wedding, because he’s not a fan.
Jordan Clarkson is up.
Clarkson complimented Kobe Bryant, saying he’s a basketball genius.
At this time last year, Clarkson said he didn’t know if he’d even make the team or not. Much has changed since then.
“Last year wasn’t fun, but at the same time we learned a lot,” Clarkson said.
Clarkson, like rookie D’Angelo Russell, felt like the two bonded well on and off the court this summer.
Rookie D’Angelo Russell took on the crowd after Hibbert.
“I feel like it starts off the court,” Russell says of his bond with Jordan Clarkson. Says they got to know each other over the summer
He pointed to the veterans -- Bryant, Bass, Lou Williams, Hibbert and Metta World Peace -- as guys he can go to when he needs advice.
“It’s pressure but it’s good pressure,” Russell said about his rookie season as the second overall pick.
Russell admits he doesn’t know what it takes to make the playoffs but believes this team has all the pieces to compete.
Roy Hibbert follows up Kobe looking noticeably slimmer.
Hibbert focused on his diet this offseason and says he lost some weight. Admits he wants a bite of a red velvet cake right now but is staying strong.
On Metta World Peace: He plays old school rules in pickup where a foul is not a foul, but that’s good for the young guys.
Says D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle can do some crazy things on the court, which we’ll see this year.
Lakers Media Day
Video: Kobe Bryant talks about his health and future
Meet D'Angelo Russell, the No. 2 pick in the draft by the Lakers
Video: Kobe Bryant at Lakers media day
Metta World Peace talks about his Lakers return
Video: Kobe Bryant on Lakers season and his future
Kobe Bryant is up.
“Not sure” was the start of Bryant’s response when asked what he expects out of this team. Later, he responded to another question about expectations by confirming that he’s never gone into a season with this much unknown. He pointed to the Lakers’ young guys who will play big roles this season as the reason behind that.
“It’s patience but an aggressive patience, Bryant said. “We want to make sure we’re pushing and pushing.”
Bryant said he is excited World Peace is back and the toughness he brings
Says the idea of changing his role is a media conversation. He’ll do what the team asks.
On Phil Jackson’s recent comments that this would be Bryant’s last season in a Lakers uniform, but not playing: “Everybody’s going to have opinions, I can’t comment on all of them.”
Bryant is coy as always about whether this is his last season. No updates on that.
Byron Scott has joined the media scrum.
On Julius Randle: “Even though he didn’t play last year, he gained lots of experience.” Says he’s shaking off rust but is playing normally.
Lakers may have won 21 games last season, but Scott -- as you’d expect -- says the goal is always to win a championship.
“I expect Kobe [Bryant] to play great ... the heart is still there and the passion is still there,” Scott says.
Scott believes Bryant is still the smartest player in the league. He’ll micro manage Kobe’s minutes this year.
When asked about Clarkson and Russell, Scott says he hasn’t decided on a starting backcourt yet.
Metta World Peace
Metta World Peace is up next wearing number 37.
Says he would text Kobe a little bit about basketball while playing in China but didn’t talk about the Lakers.
Metta wants to use his experiences to “give back to the young fellas”
Theme for World Peace is “keeping it simple.” He’s said some variation of that at least four times when talking about staying in shape and making the final roster.
“I’m very excited to put the jersey back on. I’m not from Los Angeles but it’s definitely home.”
He says he’s is ok with being called “Panda” this season.
Julius Randle is the first to talk to the media.
“I’ve done everything I can do be ready for this season ... going through last year was extremely hard,” Randle said.
Says he feels more explosive and more generally, “amazing” when asked about his health.
“I’m just a lot more comfortable than I was last year,” Randle says.
Doesn’t know whether he’ll start. Says that’s up to Coach Byron Scott.
Randle has been working out with new teammate Metta World Peace all summer. “It’s been fun to pick his brain,” Randle said.
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