Lakers have much to address before season ends

first_imgNBA All-Star breaks used to be a relaxing time for Luke Walton.As a player, Walton often vacationed in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico to enjoy some sun and recharge in the middle of a physically taxing NBA season. As an NBA coach, his schedule is dramatically different.Before the Lakers (19-39) stopped the persistent losing simply because they temporarily had no more games to play, Walton said he planned to use part of the All-Star break comparing notes with his coaching staff. The Lakers resume practice Wednesday before their first post-break game at Oklahoma City Thunder (32-25) on Friday at Chesapeake Energy Arena.“It will be nice to have a day to reflect on everything with where we’re at,” Walton said. “I’ll sit down with all the coaches, talk to them and discuss where we want to go moving forward. What’s best for the guys development-wise? Who needs what?” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersBecause of the Lakers’ considerable issues (talent, consistency, defensive shortcomings), Walton might find himself in need of the kind of cocktails that flow freely in tropical vacation spots. But he has more responsibilities now. Instead, the first-year head coach planned to meet with GM Mitch Kupchak, vice president of player personnel Jim Buss and adviser Magic Johnson to swap report cards.Amid that backdrop loom two unanswered questions. Does the recent addition of Johnson suggest imminent changes within a front office that has overseen three coaching changes, three missed playoff appearances and franchise-worst records the last two seasons? Will the Lakers make any moves to upgrade their roster for the short and/or long term before Thursday’s trade deadline?The Lakers have remained quiet about Johnson’s advisory role, other than outlining he will report to president Jeanie Buss and assist in a variety of capacities pertaining to basketball and business manners. Still, many around the league expect changes will come at the expense of Jim Buss and Kupchak.The Lakers have been a bit more forthcoming about Thursday’s upcoming trade deadline.Kupchak does not consider anyone on this roster untouchable, which was the way the organization viewed Kobe Bryant for most of his 20-year NBA career. Still, Kupchak has acknowledged a reluctance to break up the team’s young core, both because of its talent and long-term potential. Several reports said the Lakers and Sacramento Kings ended discussions about a potential trade involving All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins on Sunday after the Lakers refused to include rookie forward Brandon Ingram. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img If the Lakers do make a deal, the most likely candidates to leave are two of their more productive offensive players: veteran guards Lou Williams, 30, and Nick Young, 31. Their play and relatively salary cap-friendly contracts could yield the most value from playoff contenders, while freeing up opportunities for the rest of a young roster to close out the 2016-17 season.“I’m a little old school in my approach,” Williams said last week regarding trade inquiries. “I play for a team that I have a jersey on for. I don’t really deal with hypotheticals. If something happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. Right now, I’m going to compete for the Lakers.”Young, who grew up a Lakers fan while playing for Cleveland High of Reseda and USC, also said he wants to compete for the Lakers. But he did not sound too upset about possibly being traded if it’s under the right conditions.“It’s either stay home,” Young said, “or hopefully go to somebody that’s making a push to the playoffs.”The Lakers will not be one of those teams.Technically, they are seven games behind the Denver Nuggets (25-31) for the Western Conference’s eighth and final playoff spot. But the Lakers are all but mathematically eliminated from postseason contention considering they have won consecutive games only three times this season. As Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell admitted, “I don’t think we’re judging the season on wins right now.”So even if Young echos the thoughts of teammates when he said he hopes the Lakers can reach the 30-win threshold, the Lakers will take stock in other areas. How much more growth and consistency will Russell, Ingram, Julius Randle, Ivica Zubac, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. show? Will they cut down on the losses that are a product of poor focus or effort? Which players will thrive in crunch time?Walton hasn’t hesitated to make lineup changes as he searches for the right combinations, and any further tinkering could depend on whether the Lakers make additional roster moves coming out of this week’s meetings.A week on a tropical beach sounds a lot more appealing than trying to make sense of these variables, but Walton and the front office know trying to resolve these issues and evaluate the players they have will help shape an offseason that figures to include a lot of significant decisions.LAKERS STATSRecord: 19-39Offensive Rating: 103.6 (24th in NBA)Defensive Rating: 110.4 (29th)Net Rating: -6.8 (29th)Assist percentage: 53.6 (26th)Assist-to-turnover ratio: 1.35 (28th)Blocked shots: 3.8 (29th)Opponents points off turnovers: 18.2 (28th)Opponents fast-break points: 15.5 (29th)Opponent points in the paint: 47.5 (27th)last_img read more

Julius Randle in better shape — so might be the Lakers

first_imgAnytime Corey Brewer has gone to the gym this summer, he has taken shots from the perimeter. With the Lakers’ further quest to invest their progress on their young roster, Brewer enters his 11th NBA season hoping to bring some quantitative value that will ensure a role.“It’s feeling good. It’s a work in progress,” Brewer said of his shooting. “I feel like by the time the season starts next year, I’ll be ready to go.”The Lakers acquired Brewer in a mid-season trade from Houston, a move primarily made to open up more playing time with Lou Williams’ departure and collect the 28th pick that was later packed for the 30th and 42nd picks, respectively. The Lakers also liked Brewer’s positive and honest feedback with his younger teammates.“Last year, it wasn’t we weren’t trying to win. It was a different situation,” said Brewer, referring to the Lakers’ quest to develop younger players in a rebuilding season. “It was tough and a different situation. So we can start from scratch, start from zero, it’ll be great for me to teach these guys and help these guys try to win.”Brewer likes what he sees from both Lakers rookie point guard Lonzo Ball.“Lonzo makes the right play,” Brewer said. “He makes the right plays every time. He draws the defender and kicks it.”Brewer also called Lakers second-year forward Brandon Ingram “one of my favorites” because of his personality and quest for improvement.“When you have a good kid that works his butt off, how can you not like him?” Brewer said of Ingram. “There’s a lot of kids that are talented, but they may not work. He works. It’s all about working . He wants to be good. There’s a difference between being good and wanting to be good. Then he becomes great. I think he’s going to be great.” The game looked easy for Julius Randle, as he bullied his opponents both with drives to the basket and blocks at the rim.Granted, Randle performed these duties in recent pickup games at the Drew League, a local pro-am league that features various players from the NBA, overseas and college teams. After devoting his offseason on conditioning drills usually three times a day, though, Randle believes he can show the same kind of speed and mobility wearing a Lakers uniform.“I’ll be able to move and not have to think about it,” Randle said. “It will be effortless.”That’s because Randle said he currently weighs 243 pounds at 6 percent body fat after playing last season with a 258-pound frame at 13 percent body fat. Randle said he paid more focus on following through on the Lakers’ request to improve his conditioning than worrying about including him in offers in the failed Paul George trade proposals. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with Packers“That stuff is not in my control,” Randle said. “What happened and what didn’t, I don’t know. But at the end of the day, all I can control is just me working on my game and get prepared for the next season.”To do that, Randle teamed up personal trainer Amolia Cesar and “completely changed my lifestyle.” Randle respectfully declined to state his goals for his fourth NBA season, but he sounded optimistic because he’s “just locked in.”Randle, who started all of last season, also believed the Lakers can “do a lot of damage” with numerous options at the power forward spot. That includes Randle, third-year forward Larry Nance Jr., rookie forward Kyle Kuzma and possibly veteran forward Luol Deng.“Trying to play positionless basketball,” Randle said. “We’ll all be able to work together.”Practice makes perfectcenter_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

Purple & Bold: When LeBron wanted to do things the Hardaway

first_img“Penny was that point forward that I kind of resembled,” he said. “Wanted to be kind of flashy, and be able to handle at that size, and be able to post up smaller guards at that size.”If you look at James’ game now, obviously he can do many of the things Hardaway did and more. The court vision that made Hardaway an intimidating pairing with Shaq is also one of James’ gifts.It also seems telling that like James, who grew up in Akron, Hardaway had blue-collar roots. A native of Memphis who played college basketball here, the town has largely embraced his return to coaching his old program. When he was hired, LeBron tweeted his approval.Hardaway also employs former Grizzly Mike Miller, who played with James on a pair of Miami Heat title teams and remains a close personal friend. So James keeps tabs on the Tigers, in that sense, and would be able to get some insight on how Hardaway is influencing another generation of young ballers.“I think it’s great for the city that he’s back here, along with my very, very great dear friend Mike Miller,” James said. “It’s always great to see someone that you looked up to growing up.”NOBODY’S WINGMANLeBron said it himself after the Thursday win over the Rockets: Brandon Ingram isn’t his wingman: “He was special for our team. B.I.’s very special.”How special has he been? Over the last 13 games, here are some key numbers for Ingram: 20.9 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 3.2 apg, 54.3 field goal percentage. During that stretch, the Lakers scored 110.0 points per 100 possessions when Ingram was on the floor. When he’s off the floor, that dropped to 97.9. Not even LeBron has that profound of an on-/off-court effect on the offense.– Kyle GoonGet the Purple & Bold newsletter in your inbox: Sign up here.Memphis Hot Links AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersAsked about that exchange in Monday’s shootaround in Memphis, James revealed that before he wanted to be Like Mike, he wanted to be like Penny.“Penny was one of my favorite players growing up,” he said. “I kinda idolized Michael Jordan, but I wanted to be like Penny. I just didn’t think I could get to Michael Jordan’s heights.”The comparison makes a lot of sense if you’ve watched both players. Before injuries somewhat diminished his game, Hardaway was one of the most complete players in the NBA. He had three seasons in Orlando in which he averaged at least 20 points, 4 rebounds and 5.6 assists as a shooting guard/small forward.His 6-foot-7 frame made him unique at the time for his position. For a while, he was a fearsome dunker. His Nike commercials remain an NBA favorite.So while Michael was the idol, Penny was the blueprint. James thought he could play a little like Penny, who was one of the league’s young rising stars as James was learning the game. How do you know if you’ve never been there? – LeBron shows signs of concern as the Lakers falter in New Orleans.A New Orleans flop – Where things went wrong against the Pelicans.Maybe it isn’t tampering after all – Alvin Gentry has changed the tone of his judgement of LeBron’s comments on AD.Still on the wish list – Mark Heisler thinks the Lakers are still in position to get Anthony Davis in the end.Small ball lineup stands tall – The biggest endorsement of the small ball lineup came against the Rockets. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Editor’s note: This is the Monday, Feb. 25 Purple & Bold newsletter. To get the newsletter, written by Lakers beat writer Kyle Goon and NBA writer Mirjam Swanson, in your inbox, sign up here.The last time the Lakers were in Memphis was December. The team had a winning record, and they went on to blow out the Grizzlies at FedEx Forum.There was someone there LeBron James was excited to see: Penny Hardaway.The University of Memphis head coach sat courtside for the game, easily the most visible star of the evening. He and James had a moment, dapping each other up and exchanging beaming smiles.last_img read more

Kirk Cousins: I’m a .500 quarterback, ready to take game to ‘next level’

first_imgKirk Cousins knows better than anyone that offense doesn’t always win games.While speaking Wednesday at Minnesota’s mandatory minicamp, the Vikings quarterback admitted his place in the NFL landscape isn’t the strongest and reiterated the need to change that in 2019 if the team hopes to improve its position in the brutal NFC North. “As a quarterback, you have to be bringing others along so that isn’t a point you’re making at the end of a practice or a game. That’s really what it’s all about.”Cousins, who signed a three-year deal worth $84 million with Minnesota last March after finishing his tenure in Washington, has gone 32-30-2 with the Redskins and Vikings since becoming a full-time starter in 2015.He is 34-37-2 overall as a starter since entering the league. Titans to retire Steve McNair, Eddie George uniform numbers “I think the next level, really, is all about winning,” Cousins told reporters. “I’m pretty much a .500 quarterback in my career so far and I don’t think that’s where you want to be and that’s not why you are brought in or people are excited about you.”If I don’t play well, if I don’t have gaudy statistics but we win multiple playoff games this year, the narrative will be I went to the next level and I may not walk off the field every day feeling like I did but if we win, that’s the life of a quarterback, you are at the next level. If I have my best year yet in 2018 but we’re 8-8, I didn’t go to the next level. That’s the reality of it.” Related News Bears waive Chris Blewitt, leaving number of kickers at 2 Cousins had a career season in 2018 as he posted his highest completion percentage (70.1) and his second highest total in passing yards (4,298) while throwing more touchdowns (30) than he has ever had since being drafted by the Redskins in 2012. Still, it wasn’t enough to help the Vikings as Minnesota finished 8-7-1 and missed the playoffs after making it to the NFC title game the year before.This time around, however, Cousins is hopeful for a different outcome.”I’m going to do all I can, control what I can control,” Cousins said. “And I think one thing I can do beyond just playing the best I can is to start really coaching and leading other people so that I can never walk off the field saying, ‘Hey, I did my part but so-and-so didn’t,’ that can’t happen. JuJu Smith-Schuster says he has no beef with Antonio Brownlast_img read more

NBA trade rumors: Timberwolves actively looking to move Andrew Wiggins’ contract

first_imgThough the report is honest in saying that is going to be a very tough task.With Minnesota moving up to No. 6, it should also be noted the Timberwolves have been actively exploring options to move off Andrew Wiggins’ contract, per league sources. Although that will prove a difficult task.— Jake Fischer (@JakeLFischer) June 20, 2019Wiggins’ five-year, $147 million extension kicked in last season. Related News Minnesota owes him about $27 million in 2019-20, $29 million in ’20-21, $31 million in ’21-22 and $33 million in ’22-23.Wiggins is coming off of two of his worst years statistically averaging 17.7 points in 2017-18 and 18.1 in 2018-19.He shot a career-worst 41.2 percent from the field last season. Minnesota picked up the No. 6 pick in the draft on Thursday for the No. 12 pick and Dario Saric.It is unclear who it will pick but North Carolina guard Coby White is likely to be available as is Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver who could serve as Wiggins’ replacement.Culver also could present a good compliment to Wiggins if the team cannot move him. He would give the Timberwolves a good defensive guard alongside Wiggins, who is solid defensively. NBA Draft 2019 rumors: Timberwolves move up to No. 6, send No. 11, Dario Saric to Suns The Timberwolves don’t want anything more to do with Andrew Wiggins’ contract.Minnesota is actively looking to move the 6-8 wing and his massive deal, according to Sports Illustrated.last_img read more

Toronto mayor begs Raptors fans to leave Kawhi Leonard alone ahead of free agency

first_img Kawhi Leonard shows he’s a ‘fun guy’ at Raptors parade Related News Raptors players discuss Kawhi Leonard’s impending free agency Toronto Mayor John Tory took a rather rare approach in asking fans to respect Raptors’ Kawhi Leonard ahead of the star’s pending free-agency decision. During a press conference Saturday, Tory and Raptors superfan Nav Bhatia asked for Raptors fans and people in the city to let Leonard enjoy his down time. They also requested for fans to stop “harassing” him and to give him some space. “I want to put a request in the media right now because our superstar, Kawhi Leonard, he’s going out in the city and he’s being, like, paparazzi, he’s being harassed. You know, followed. We’re not giving him the space, which he deserves to have the space. We have won the championship. NBA champions, we are. Let him enjoy the city right now, let him enjoy his privacy right now with his family. Just leave him alone, let him enjoy the city,” Bhatia said.“Please, when you see him somewhere, don’t run after him for the pictures or anything. Just say thank you to him for getting us the championship, being part of the team which got us the championship. Because you all fans, you were also a part of getting the championship, you played a big role. But right now, I want you to play a bigger role.” Kawhi Leonard free agency rumors: Raptors star more interested in Clippers than Lakers John Tory and #Raptors superfan Nav Bhatia ask Toronto fans to give Kawhi Leonard space— Global News Toronto (@globalnewsto) June 22, 2019Tory and Bhatia came up with a plan to give Leonard space by creating a website called . It allows fans to sign a petition and leave the NBA Finals MVP a message without bothering him in public.“You know what this represents for people? This represents a way in which we can be passionate about getting Kawhi Leonard to stay in Toronto, but to do it in the Toronto way,” Tory said. “The Toronto way says we do it quietly, we do it in a determined way, but we make sure made our voice is heard through something like a petition, so he can enjoy the city.”Leonard led the Raptors to their first NBA championship in franchise history this past season after defeating the Warriors in six games in the NBA Finals. The three-time All-Star played an integral role, averaging 30.5 points with 9.1 assists per game during the postseason.last_img read more

Giannis Antetokounmpo says he’s only reached ’60 percent’ of his potential after MVP season

first_imgThe Bucks were eliminated from the playoffs when they fell to the Raptors in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals.Despite the disappointing exit, the 24-year-old forward made a strong case for himself when he helped Milwaukee to the NBA’s best record at 60-22. He averaged 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists, and 1.5 blocks per game.He shot 57.8 percent from the field but just 25.6 percent from behind the arc in the regular season. Giannis Antetokounmpo had an impressive season leading the Bucks. He capped off his sixth-year with MVP honors, but the Milwaukee star says he has yet to reach his full potential. “There’s a lot of things I can improve on,” Antetokounmpo told ESPN over the weekend. “First of all, [I have to] look at myself before I look at anybody else. Try to self-improve as much as possible. There are a lot of things that I got to work on in my game.”A lot of people say, ‘You are the MVP, you are one of the best players in the league, you are so dominant. But I think I can get better. I think I am at 60 percent of my potential, as good as I can be. I just want to be better. If I am in the same situation again [in the conference finals], react better, play the game better, play better, execute better.” Related News NBA awards 2019: Giannis Antetokounmpo emotional after winning MVP Antetokounmpo nearly bested his regular-season averages in the playoffs, recording 25.5 points and 12.3 rebounds throughout the postseason for the Bucks. But he struggled at times as Toronto zeroed in on him during the conference finals.”We’re going to get better,” he said in May. “We’re going to come back next year and believe in who we are, believe in what we’ve built this year, and hopefully we can be in the same situation and be the ones moving forward.” Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo on roster changes around the NBA: ‘It’s insane’ Giannis Antetokounmpo addresses loss to Raptors, says Bucks will ‘be back stronger and better’last_img read more

College football rankings 2019: Clemson edges Alabama in composite preseason top 25 poll

first_imgPreseason polls for the 2019 college football season are being released as camps open this weekend. Spoiler alert: Either Clemson or Alabama will be No. 1 in all of them.  The result? Clemson has one more vote than Alabama across those sites. Here’s how that shook out (25 points given for a No. 1 ranking, down to one point for a No. 25 ranking). Ties are broken by the team ranked highest in the SN preseason top 25.Composite top 25 college football rankings NORANKTOTAL1Clemson1722Alabama1713Georgia1614Oklahoma1515Ohio State1476LSU1357Michigan130T-8Texas122T-8Florida12210Notre Dame12111Texas A&M9912Oregon9813Washington9414Utah8315Penn State7616Auburn6817UCF52.518Wisconsin46.519Iowa3720Michigan State3521Syracuse3222Iowa State2923Nebraska2324Stanford15T-25Mississippi State13T-25Army13Others receiving votes: Washington State 8, Virginia 6, Virginia Tech 4, Missouri 4, Miami 3, Northwestern 1, Oklahoma State 1 Comparing top 25 college football rankings RANKSNCOACHESATHLONCBSSIESPNAPTOTALClemson24252425242525172Alabama25242524252424171Georgia23232323232323161Oklahoma21222022222222151Ohio State22212121202121147LSU19201920181920135Michigan16192219152019130Texas20161518211616122Florida18181817161718122Notre Dame17171716191817121Texas A&M1515161213141499Oregon1313111417151598Washington1214141514121394Utah911131312131283Penn State14121279111176Auburn111061110101068UCF28.549119952.5Wisconsin58.57874746.5Iowa–78–88637Michigan State–610452835Syracuse8456–5432Iowa State6221031529Nebraska1–9227223Stanford43—-16115Mississippi State7——6—-13Army10——–3–13Washington State35——–311Virginia—-15——6Virginia Tech——–4—-4Missouri—-3——–3Miami——3——3Northwestern–1 MORE: 19 predictions for 2019 seasonSporting News released its Preseason Top 25 this week, too, but we like looking around other polls to see what a consensus might look like. We factored in Athlon, the AMWAY Coaches Poll, Sports Illustrated,, and the AP Top 25. center_img ——–1Oklahoma State——1——1last_img read more

Carli Lloyd makes some impressive field goals at Eagles practice

first_imgThe 37-year-old nailed multiple field goal attempts on NFL uprights with plenty of room to spare on each attempt.Now, Bleacher Report called this a 55-yard field goal — and she may very well have made one from that distance — but this one was from 32 yards. Again, though, she kicked it through with plenty of room to spare. Related News Women’s World Cup 2019: USWNT vet Carli Lloyd hints at retirement after winning 2nd title Carli Lloyd could have a job waiting for her in the NFL if she wants it.The United States women’s national team midfielder stopped by Eagles practice Tuesday and showed off some impressive leg strength. And to her credit, she did not hit an upright, which is more than many NFL kickers can say.Watch her session here:Have the @Eagles signed a new kicker? Not exactly, but world champion soccer player @CarliLloyd stopped by the Birds’ practice and showed off her leg with some impressive field goals. More coverage from camp –>— NBC10 Philadelphia (@NBCPhiladelphia) August 20, 2019Thank you to the @Eagles for having me out! Thanks to @JustinTuck @jake_elliott22 @MayorRandyBrown for the good time and tips! 🏈 🎯 #55yd— Carli Lloyd (@CarliLloyd) August 20, 2019The Eagles released video of the actual 55-yarder later in the day.Now that we have your attention, here’s a 55-yarder!— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) August 20, 2019Lloyd, who also plays midfield for Sky Blue FC of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) spoke about her experience after practice.center_img Women’s World Cup 2019: Carli Lloyd claps back at critics “I’m really impressed with all these guys,” she said in a video on Twitter. “It’s awesome to be here, looking forward to the season and fly Eagles fly!”#FlyEaglesFly at the @USWNT parade#FlyEaglesFly at today’s practice@CarliLloyd knows— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) August 20, 2019Lloyd is a two-time World Cup champion, a three-time Olympian and two-time Olympic gold medalist. She’s also a three-time FIFA Player of the Year.last_img read more

Match Jedinstvo – Orašje 3:0

first_img1. Sloboda 28 21 2 5 55:16 652. Jedinstvo 28 19 6 3 44:10 633. Bratstvo 28 16 5 7 53:26 534. Rudar 28 16 2 10 35:18 505. Orašje 28 13 3 12 42:38 426. Mladost 28 12 4 12 37:34 407. Gradina 28 12 4 12 29:27 408. GOŠK 28 10 9 9 38:30 399. Branitelj 28 10 6 12 36:28 3610. Radnički 28 10 6 12 35:27 3611. Budućnost 28 11 3 14 39:37 3612. Čapljina 28 11 3 14 33:33 3613. Igman 28 11 3 14 35:49 3614. Podgrmeč 28 11 3 14 34:56 3615. Iskra 28 8 3 17 20:52 2716. Troglav 28 1 2 25 8:92 5 Commission for competition of Football association of Federation B&H registered the match Jedinstvo – Orašje, with the official result of 3:0.The match was not played due to the absence of the visiting team.Table: (Source: Fena)last_img read more