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February 27, 2015 Updates

"If you ask the analytics people who work in the NBA, 'Who does work for the Lakers?' Nobody knows," said Ben Alamar, director of production analytics at ESPN and a former analytics official for multiple NBA teams, including the Oklahoma City Thunder and Cleveland Cavaliers. "It could be that they're being really secretive and that they're really good at being secretive. But they haven't hired anybody that anybody has respect for in the analytics community." ESPN.com

Lakers assistant coach Mark Madsen acts as a liaison between the coaches and analytics crew. When asked how the Lakers' analytics operation compares to others from around the league, a smile spreads across his face. "All I can say is this operation here is second to none," Madsen said. ESPN.com

Despite Madsen's enthusiasm for the numbers, one analytics official familiar with the Lakers' operation said that Madsen's work is "not well-received" by Scott and the other coaches, and that any advanced stats the Lakers are using are "really, really basic." For instance, although Scott cited how analytics revealed that Bryant's performance suffered after reaching a certain minute mark, he noted it only after Bryant was so fatigued that he had started to miss games. It wasn't long until Bryant was lost for the season to a shoulder injury. ESPN.com

February 26, 2015 Updates

Kobe Bryant: But the facts are facts. The salary cap is the salary cap. Players aren't going to leave millions and millions of dollars on the table twice to come here and play. It's just not realistic. Wanting LeBron (James) to come here and take a massive pay cut again (last summer), after taking a big one to go to Miami, is not realistic. Melo (Carmelo Anthony) leaving $15-20 (million) on the table to come here is not realistic. So we have certain restrictions, but we'll figure it out. USA Today Sports

Q: You and I talked earlier this season about that concept, the fact that so many people kept assuming you'd want out at some point because of how bad things had gotten (with the present-day Lakers). A: That's not what I do, man. I've got to take the good times with the bad, man. You can't ask to be the leader of the franchise, and then when the franchise hits rough times, you say, "All right, thank you. Peace." USA Today Sports

Kobe Bryant: I tried teaching Dwight. I tried showing him. But the reality is that when you have a perception of what it is to win a championship — and most perceptions of what it's like to win are a very outgoing, very gregarious locker room where you pick each other up and you're friends all the time. That's the perception. And I think that's what his perception was of what the idea is. But when he saw the reality of it, it made him uncomfortable. And it's very tough to be able to fight through that, to deal with that challenge. And I don't think he was willing to deal with that uncomfortable and combative nature. USA Today Sports

Another out-of-left-field one for ya, but have you talked to Lamar Odom lately? Kobe: I have. Q: How is he? Kobe: He's doing good. He's doing good, man. I've talked to him during some of the low times for him, and I think during those moments it's funny how sports can be really impactful because I used what we did as a team, and the toughness and the mental fortitude and shared some stories to kind of remind him of that journey, right? And to take him back to that place, to hopefully get him to find that place again and get himself out of this thing. USA Today Sports

Q: You've talked about how that should even be the case at All-Star Games, where you'd still go after guys. Kobe: Go back and watch the 1988 All-Star game, the '89 All Star game. Those guys competed. They were trying to win, man. And I always tried to do the same thing. ... You understand, when I'm matching up with Vince (Carter) in the All-Star Game, or matching up with Dwyane (Wade) in the All-Star Game, they know I'm coming. Hopefully All-Star Games will get back to that. USA Today Sports

To say the Lakers could maybe use a player like Towns is to say they've had a good big man or two in their past. They currently own the NBA's fourth-worst record and are on pace to keep the top-five protected pick they owe Philadelphia via Phoenix, though nothing is set in stone until the May 19 lottery. While teammate Willie Cauley-Stein gets all the national highlight attention for his dramatic array of dunks, Towns is more apt to score on an eight-foot hook shot. With either hand. Or a mid-range jumper. Or set up a teammate with a sharp pass from the post. He doesn't project to make the immediate pro splash of Okafor but he'll eventually make someone happy. "He's the one to take for three years from now," said an NBA front-office official who requested anonymity. Los Angeles Times

There were 11th-hour edits to make on his new film, a months-long media tour to complete and inspiration to be shared by way of his 90-minute Showtime documentary titled Muse. Kobe being Kobe, he played on — albeit in gray Nike sweats and a black "Kobe" T-shirt. "I've played with a torn shoulder, man," he told USA TODAY Sports this week while sitting inside this second-story bayside suite in which the documentary about his life, premiering Saturday, was mostly produced. "I've played with the flu before, so it's nothing. I'm loaded on medicine ..." USA Today Sports

As Bryant saw it at the time, the story was too safe. Too predictable, like a collection of Wikipedia facts that the world already knew compiled in cinematic form. Thus, Take Two. He scrapped the completed version and they all started anew. "It was finished," Bryant says of the first version of the movie. "And we just shelved it. (Bryant and Chopra) went into the (Showtime) office and said…, 'This is the vision. This is what I want to do with it.' And (they) said, 'all right, go for it.' And we did." USA Today Sports

"I was in Milan, and I had lunch with Giorgio Armani," Bryant says. "I was curious with how he built his company, and his whole process. And he told me he started Armani when he was 40, and for me it scared the (expletive) out of me, because I understood that a basketball careers typically end around 35, 36 if you're lucky. And I'm going to play a long time, but then what am I going to do? "From that point, I really started thinking about what it is that I really wanted to do, and I started being more active to understand storytelling. Maybe I wanted to be a copy writer, maybe I want to be an art director. Maybe I want to experiment with these things. And it took me 15 years to figure out what it is I want to do." USA Today Sports

February 25, 2015 Updates
 

THE TOP 50 PLAYERS IN LAKERS HISTORY

Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson headline a fantastic list that includes up to 33 NBA champions.

   

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