The Los Angeles Lakers returned to the practice floor on Monday, after having some time off to recuperate from back-to-back losses to the San Antonio Spurs and Portland Trail Blazers. It was reported that Kobe Bryant ripped into the team after their 37th loss on Saturday night, taking particular aim at D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle.
While neither were made available after today’s practice, head coach Byron Scott, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance, Jr. and Brandon Bass addressed Bryant’s message to the team.
“I think the biggest thing that I got from all the comments that he made was: Don’t blame it on anybody else, you can’t blame it on the schemes, or you’re not getting your minutes or your touches or anything like that,” Scott said after practice. “His message was basically you’ve got to come to compete every night… like he did when he was 18, 19 years old, until he’s 37 years old so, I think our guys, they took it the right way and I think they understand that they do have to work harder.”
Veteran Brandon Bass was surprised the media found out about Bryant privately addressing the team, but said he was “cool with it.” As far as how to get the most out of the younger players, Bass offered up these words of advice:
“I think for the young guys, the constant thing you’ve got to focus on, day in and day out is not being so focused on everything, but be focused on small detailed things every day to improve on.”
Nance Jr. referred to Bryant addressing the team as a “heartfelt, passionate speech.”
“I just really think everybody kind of took away the same message, 9-37 isn’t alright, we’ve got to do what we can to change that and I think things started today,” Nance said after practice.
Clarkson offered a perspective that Bryant’s message to the team was equally about the future as it was about the present.
“I think a lot of guys are frustrated,” Clarkson said. “We’ve lost a lot, so that’s definitely frustrating, but you’ve got to want to change it. And that’s one of the big messages. If you want to carry this franchise you’ve got to figure out how to change it right now.”
How have players responded to Kobe’s tough love?
“Some guys shut down, some guys come in here and they work, it’s a two-way street,” Clarkson said. “It’s which one are you going to pick — are you going to shut down or are you going to come in and work?”
The Lakers have a tough matchup on Tuesday night, as the Dallas Mavericks come into Staples Center. It appears the Lakers will have Nance, Jr. back in the starting lineup, as he’s sat out the past four games with a sore knee. Bass was able to do a few things at practice, though he mostly received treatment. Scott is hopeful that he will be available tomorrow night. Though Bryant did not practice on Monday, Scott expects him to try to play on Tuesday.