The Lakers had a long second practice of the season, and let me just say that in the action I saw at the end of practice, Ron Artest didnít exactly shut down Kobe Bryant.
Artest and Bryant were on the same scrimmage team Tuesday night, but they were on different units this time. Not too surprisingly, the purple-clad group of Pau Gasol, Luke Walton, Bryant and Derek Fisher emerged the champion among four practice teams. Bryant had his way with Artest in a key sequence, scoring twice inside, and then Fisher nailed the scrimmage-ending jump shot.
That will be Artest's biggest challenge which is to play within the system and trust his team.
I saw one game last year in Chicago where Artest simply took atleast 4 forced/ill advised shots in the last 3 mins, resulting to them giving up a nice lead and losing in the end. Albeit Yao was in foul trouble all game and T-Mac wasn't playing, I still saw a not so smart player in Artest that game.
Artest's shot selection has always been questionable and erratic. I hope he can tone those down a bit. I don't expect him to totally change his game bc that's almost impossible at this stage of his career. But he more than anyone will have to make the biggest adjustments. He is going to need to realize that ball movement is what makes this team go. And Phil has no problem sending you to the dog house if you displease him. Thats one thing I am glad about. Phil would have no problem sending him to the bench if he screws up