(Incase you all haven't had a chance to read this article seems like our guys are pumped up and ready to go)
Los Angeles Lakers
Posted by Chris Mihm on Oct. 2, 2006 at 6:46 p.m. ET
Honestly, it was kind of a tough summer for me. I tore up my ankle pretty bad at the end of last season. I took a little time off right after the season, about 3-to-4 weeks, and then came back in June and tried to really rehab it and get it strong and it ended up that I had to go in and have surgery. So, it was a new experience to have a surgery and rehab for most of the summer and try to get this healthy for camp now. With the surgery there was a lot of stuff that needed to be cleaned up and it worked out. But, you know, I feel good now and you know, ready to work myself back in here in training camp and get it back to 100 percent.
I just want to keep building. When I came out to L.A., I looked at it as kind of a new birth to my career after a start that I wasnít too happy about for a lot of reasons. Iíve improved and increased my output over the last two years and this year I really wanted to keep the improvement up, to keep the consistency up, to be a guy that goes out there that my teammates can depend on. They can depend on me to play defense the whole night, to cover the basket and be our last line of defense and also someone thatís going to be there to be a consistent scorer night in and night out.
Last year was a tough way to end the season, but we really grew as a team as the year went on. I think a lot of people saw that. Going into the season, we were counted out in every single poll and said that we were going to finish at the bottom of the pack in the West. And in a tough conference, we came on and due to some bad breaks toward the end of the year, and unfortunately I wasnít able to be with the team in the playoffs, and then just a couple bad bounces in the playoffs and these guys would have moved on to the second round. Who knows what happens from there. So, it was a great building block last year and this year, I expect more from us. I look for us to take the next step, to move on in the playoffs and be a real contender this year.
Our management and coaching staff did a great job of putting together some more pieces with this team thatís really going to help us. Vladimir is an outstanding shooter and I think he is going to provide a real punch for us from behind the three-point arch that we really didnít have consistently last year. Jordan is a gym-rat type player. He is always in there, always working and eager to do what he can to be a productive member on this team so thatís always something what you want to see in a teammate.
I just saw Kobe for the first time since both of our surgeries this afternoon and he looks good. He looks good and he is in good spirits. We were both talking about how excited we are for this upcoming season so I think we are both on the same page and ready to get back on that court together.
Posted by Kwame Brown on Oct. 2, 2006 at 7:12 p.m. ET
After the first round exit I wanted to go hide under a rock somewhere. You know, I was so disappointed about that loss that I kind of didnít do anything for a couple of days. I just watched TV and I watched that tape over and over again Öone rebound from clinching and moving on. So, itís a very tough loss, especially when you have fans that keep mentioning it when youíre out in public. My brothers and all my family was here for that game, so, it was a very tough loss. Itís still not behind me, but I think we can use that as motivation to go further this year.
With the unfortunate injury of Chris, it allowed me some more time at the center spot. We kind of split the time at the center spot. At the beginning of the year, he carried the bulk load or the work load of the minutes at the center and I would play the 4 and then when he would go out, I would slide over to the center. That was the only time I really would score, when I was at the center spot. With the injury of Chris, I worked on my low-post game and I came in ready. It was an unfortunate injury for him, but I was fortunate enough to be ready and thatís the nature of the business. Heís still not 100 percent, but Iím looking forward to getting in and mixing it up with him and Andrew with some good, healthy competition and try to get this center spot locked up.
I ran stairs, I added something new this summer, I ran stairs for the most part. My legs are a lot bigger than they were last year and my upper body is a lot bigger. I tried to come in bigger to camp as far as my legs and my arms because I lose so much weight during camp. I just wanted to start out bigger and hopefully my legs can hold up from all the stair work Iíve been doing and you know, my quads got much bigger, so hopefully when I run and lose some weight I can still have that same strength in my legs that I did at the beginning of last year.
Our team goals, is to first, and Kobe said it the best today, ĎLets take it day by day.í We still got a lot to prove, weíre still going to have naysayers as soon as we tip the ball off. We have a very young team, so we canít hang our hat on fighting and battling the Phoenix Suns. We have to go out and start clean. Itís a clean slate and go out and play hard and earn everything we get.
I got to spend a little bit of time with Jordan [Farmar], we went bowling. He is a guy with a lot of energy. Love his energy. I already knew what Vlady could do because I worked out against him when I first came in the league. But you know, the shooting exposition he just put on here the other day Ö I mean, he must have made about 200 shots. Iím looking forward to getting the ball in the post and kicking it out to him and have him hitting a couple shots and opening it up for me, and Lamar and Kobe. With him out on the floor, I donít know how many guys are going to come off of him at the three-point line. So, hopefully weíll have a little more room to operate.
It amazes me how much bigger Iím getting. Every year I just keep getting bigger and bigger. Iím happy. Iím at peace. Unfortunately, this is a business where you donít have time Ö time doesnít wait on anyone here because there are always so many fresh and new-willing bodies. So, Iím conscious of that. Itís a business and I think Iím better equipped and knowledgeable about it. Iím just coming in with the open mind of, ĎYeah, I love my teammates,í but at the same time, itís a business and I want to taste that playoff run again and be a part of it instead of sitting on the bench.