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Thread: Lakers 05 Preseason Press Conference

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    The Mad Titan    Contributor   
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    Lakers 05 Preseason Press Conference

    {{Intro: Mitch Kupcheck walks into the room followed by two players wearing Lakers practice jerseys fresh out of practice. One player is Iverson and the Other is Dirk. Kupcheck walks to the mic and begins to speak.}}}

    Mitch Kupcheck: Good morning everyone. First of all I want to thank everyone for coming out to the presser. Obviously, there’s be a lot that’s happened since we last met. We’re here to discuss a few things. One, talk about the draft and us selecting Delonte West. Two, Talk about our pre-free agency moves {{{Points to AI}}} and resigning this guy {{{Points to Dirk next to him}}}. Lastly we’ll discuss a lot of the deals we handed out and a projected starting lineup.

    Mitch Kupcheck: So to get on to our first topic with the draft. We had 3 picks to start the draft, but only ended up selecting one player. We do value the draft as much as it would seem differently, but we’re always looking for ways to compete. With the Magic pick we obviously decided to make a move to acquire who we think is a top flight superstar in this league. With the nets pick, we unfortunately painted ourselves into a corner with Eric Snow’s contract, who at this point is a great player, but we felt it was time to take a step in another direction and also got the opportunity to select a young defender in Artest. We didn’t feel like there was a ton of value out there with those two picks compared to what we received in return. Finally with our last pick we decided to take a combo guard out of St. Joe’s in Delonte West. We were very, very excited to grab him when we came up to pick. We think we will be able to get him some playing time at the back-up 1 and 2. His versatility will be a great help to our organization. Obviously we will give D Fish a chance to earn some playing time.

    Mitch Kupcheck: On to our next subject, Prefree-agency moves. We alluded to a few moves we made with our picks. We are very excited to introduce Mr. Allen Iverson. {{{Crowd claps}}}. AI we felt is a top 5 player in the league and arguably the best 2 in the league. We really felt after the last 2 years being focused on offense we needed to get back to our core and play D. With AI we felt like we could adjust our team to have more defenders and he would be able to pick up the scoring load by losing Stack and Mash while still fitting in our defensive mindset. Another huge part of our offseason and our long term future is having Dirk resign with us. We are very happy to have him here for the next 6 years. He’s a foundational piece for our franchise.

    Mitch Kupcheck: Last and definitely not least we feel like we had a near perfect free agency haul. We finally got the point guard we’ve been looking to aquire since Marbury was traded. We feel with J Will, we have a creative passer who can get a lot of guys involved and can get a little showtime back in our offense. We’re going to plug him in as our starting point, with Iverson next to him to fill our backcourt. We project AI to be our primary scorer with Dirk right behind him who will be starting at our 4 position. We’ll put Donyell, who really wanted to be in L.A. to compete for a championship, next to him at the 3. Donyell took a lot less money to be here, and we’re going to do our best to not let him down. At Center we will probably try a few things. Initially we’ll start Big Ben and see if we’re getting enough offensive production. We feel like if we let Dirk really focus on his offensive game and let Ben and Donyell who are two great rebounders and defenders.

    Mitch Kupcheck: Initially, we will try and have Othella Harrington come off the bench at the 4 and 5 spots and try to get him 25 MPG. We also want to try and develop Artest to see his future in the league to give him some minutes. In summary we see J Will, AI, Marshall, Dirk and Big ben with Othella, Quentin, and Delonte being our main cogs off the bench. We will now allow some time for questions. Please feel free.

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    -Garrus Vakarian- ItsPaulyP's Avatar
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    Mitch you have a lot of "diverse" personalities, some would say potentially distracting to team chemistry. How do you plan on keeping everyone happy?
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsPaulyP View Post
    Mitch you have a lot of "diverse" personalities, some would say potentially distracting to team chemistry. How do you plan on keeping everyone happy?
    Mitch Kupcheck: I hope you're not saying i've got multiple personalities because if so you've figured me out. On a serious note, you're absolutely right. The most polarizing personality we have is AI and I feel like he's been miscast by the media and public eye because of his tatoos and such. Allen Iverson is a good man, father and a player with the utmost passion for the game. i don't think anyone can question that. We've surrounded him with guys like him and even though they may display it in a different manner, we wanted to make sure we were surrounding him with players with the same goals.

    Mitch Kupcheck: We plan on implementing "94 feet of hell" on the offense. And I think tenatious, can't quit guys like Iverson/ Artest/ Wallace/ Marshall/ and Q gives us an edge in the game that we haven't had in a long time.

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    TJ Simers here. Last year, everyone talked about the Clippers taking over LA. Do you feel like with the sudden departure of their GM and now the successful offseason your team has had, does LA belong to the Lakers again? Also, have you ever seen a better defensive roster than the guys you have now? I mean, come on, if your team doesn't lead the league in defense, wouldn't that be a huge disappointment?

    Emeka Okafor - Joe Smith - Carmelo Anthony - Manu Ginobili - Jason Williams

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    Rudy T: Do you feel like with the guys you have defensively, will that limit your trapping and pressing compared to last year's team?

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    Jimeert Freedet 4 Prez    Contributor   
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    Good Morning. Will Maukie from BucksNation.com. I'm doing a piece on the other 28 teams in the league and decided to make a nationwide roadtrip out of it. Gotta do some research for my boys!

    Anyway, outside of Dirk and a bench player or two, your team is completely new. We've seen you blow things up before with the Shaq and Hill trades, and it worked out for you the first time (and not so much the second time). To be honest, we (as NBA fans) were shocked that your team last year couldn't put together a better season than they did. But I think this blow up will be a little different.

    Do you forsee anyone on your team breaking out of nowhere and having a huge year?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pelicans78 View Post
    TJ Simers here. Last year, everyone talked about the Clippers taking over LA. Do you feel like with the sudden departure of their GM and now the successful offseason your team has had, does LA belong to the Lakers again? Also, have you ever seen a better defensive roster than the guys you have now? I mean, come on, if your team doesn't lead the league in defense, wouldn't that be a huge disappointment?
    Mitch Kupcheck: Hi TJ, thanks for the question. That's interesting because a lot of people are trying to build a rivalry and it certainly could be one with their core of Tracy McGrady, Randolph and D Wade. We think with that core, the Clippers are set to win easily what they won last year. So I wouldn't say it's a foregone conclusion. Really if you look at it, The Pacific is the most competitve division in the league with 6 of the 8 playoff teams coming from ourt division. There's obviously been a lot of shake-up that's gone there. You have the Blazers GM stepping down, The Clipper GM stepping down and now the Sonics GM really in limbo. So I think you'll see that continual ladder climb as you've seen before. To directly answer your question directly though, we never felt like we lost L.A.


    Mitch Kupcheck: To address your second question, first of all thank you for the compliment to be even compared to the greatest defenses at least personalle-wise. Clearly, we went into the offseason with the intention to improve defense. It's not like in previous seasons we didn't value defense, but we felt we'd seen a template and it wasn't working. We wanted to make sure we have players that make it hard on opponets. In the NBA theres a ton of great scorers so that's all you can really do. As far as us being one of the better defensesthat the sim league has seen, i think that would be a little premature. Obviously the guys have to jell and make sure we are putting in a good gameplan which will be up to coach, but we'd certainly be pleased if we could live up to those standards.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pelicans78 View Post
    Rudy T: Do you feel like with the guys you have defensively, will that limit your trapping and pressing compared to last year's team?
    Mitch Kupcheck: Rudy T. Great to see you here. You guys have put together a great young core in Houston and have my admiration. regarding our defense, we're going to see how things go. With the guys we have defenisvely we think it enables, not limits us to press and trap. As I said earlier, we expect the court to be 94 feet of hell for defenses and a lot of that is pressing from the inbound pass all the way down the court. We feel like if we can make the offense eat up 8 or 9 seconds getting up the court, then have to play against our set defense with a shortened clock, 13 or 14 seconds to get a shot up, then it's only going to make us tougher to score on. The big piece will be to make sure we secure defensive rebounds. Giving teams second chance points will not be accepted here and we don't want to bail out our opponets. Another big point will be to not let teams get out on the break on us. A big piece of that is having teams take the ball our of the bottom of the net as opposed to those long rebounds. We don't want to give away cheap points and any time our opponet doesnt have to score against our set defense, we feel like those are cheap points against us. So our defensive strategy will have to be in our offensive sets as well. Obviously with AI and Dirk, we feel like they can fill the bucket up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by IamQuailman View Post
    Good Morning. Will Maukie from BucksNation.com. I'm doing a piece on the other 28 teams in the league and decided to make a nationwide roadtrip out of it. Gotta do some research for my boys!

    Anyway, outside of Dirk and a bench player or two, your team is completely new. We've seen you blow things up before with the Shaq and Hill trades, and it worked out for you the first time (and not so much the second time). To be honest, we (as NBA fans) were shocked that your team last year couldn't put together a better season than they did. But I think this blow up will be a little different.

    Do you forsee anyone on your team breaking out of nowhere and having a huge year?
    Mitch Kupcheck: Good afternoon, Will. I hope you're enjoying the weather in L.A., I know you're not used to that up in Milwakee. You guys have a great core up in Milwakee and it will be interesting to see if you guys can take that next step. Regarding guys that may shock the media I think we're looking at 2 or 3 guys on our team that are going to be able to show their talents more than before. First, I'd bet for Ben Wallace. We've set a goal for Ben to be our Defensive Anchor and part of that we've told him we'd like to see him lead the league in rebounding. Ben does all of the small things in the game but it will make a big difference. I could envision Big Ben averaging something like 13-14 Rebounds per game if Donyell doesn't take too many from him.

    Mitch Kupcheck: The second guy I could see shocking you guys is Othella Harrington. We plan on giving him about 10 more MPG and this is a guy who does everything we ask of him well. Score, Play D and Rebound. We've set his goal to be the 6th man of the year and can envision him having a line like 10 and 8 a game. The last guy I think is going to coninue to grow is Q. Q was a guy who was a really strong spark off the bench, and since he's been here for a year, we think he's going to settle in and just get better. One of the reasons we feel like we've struggled in the last few years is not having a strong bench and really we think we have one of the better benches in the league. We'll have Delonte, Othella, Q and Artest getting major minutes. We're very excited for the season to start on Thursday.

  10. #10
    Sports Guy Bill Simmons here, I'm about to release the preseason power rankings in the next day or so. How important or unimportant do you think these preseason rankings are. Especially with a team that has had so much turnover do you think your guys pay attention to them?
    #FREEQUAIL

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    Mitch Kupcheck: Hi Bill, nice to see you again, and interesting question. We try not to play too much into the media certainly for the preseason type rankings since no one really knows how teams will jell on the floor. Take our team last year for instance. We looked like we had a great team on paper, but the pieces just didn't fit. I'll look at the power rankings from time to time, but mostly we're going to rely on our scouting team to give us basketball related data. If we need some locker room fodder or motivation sometimes we'll place it out there for the guys to see. We don't have too many young guys though so it'll be hard to trick this team into anything like that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BallSoHard View Post
    Mitch Kupcheck: Hi Bill, nice to see you again, and interesting question. We try not to play too much into the media certainly for the preseason type rankings since no one really knows how teams will jell on the floor. Take our team last year for instance. We looked like we had a great team on paper, but the pieces just didn't fit. I'll look at the power rankings from time to time, but mostly we're going to rely on our scouting team to give us basketball related data. If we need some locker room fodder or motivation sometimes we'll place it out there for the guys to see. We don't have too many young guys though so it'll be hard to trick this team into anything like that.
    (somewhere in the crowd, Will Maukie shouts out "JELL-O PUDDIN POPS" and sinks into the crowd not to be seen)

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    TJ again,

    Let's be honest about Iverson. He's a great scorer, but doesn't have a history of playing well with others. Also, isn't the best practice player and has a history of showing up late to practices. Plus, in Detroit, he didn't win much despite his scoring. Do you feel he could mess up the team chemistry on and off the court?

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    Mitch Kupcheck: When acquiring Allen we knew what we were getting into and that some people view him as "eccentric". When we acquired Allen we had a long meeting of expectations and they're no secret. We expect him to come in and play within the system. We want him to give it all on the court, which is something i don't think anyone can question, and play defense every play. Allen will be our primary focus on offense and he knows that. This team is really built around he and Dirk allowing them to take the majority of the shots on offense and surrounding them with defenders. We don't feel like his previous teams were really built to compete outside of his first year. If you look at Detorit specifically, once they lost Fortson they dropped down a tier and then later Terrell Brandon who is maybe the best defensive point out there as far as creating turnovers. This team is built a lot differently. As far as chemistry, we think it will be great. Allen will lead by example on the court by giving his body to the game. That type of energy and sacrifice is contagious on the court.

  15. #15
    Sports Guy again, that Will is something else Jello puddin...are you not worried about your starting backcourt being a combined 12 feet tall? We've been hearing you preach defense, but with Dirk at the PF spot who is no defensive powerhouse and such a short backcourt, it seems to me you are putting a lot of pressure on Ben Wallace (who is a little on the short side himself) and Donyell Marshall to anchor the D.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HornetsFaninKY View Post
    Sports Guy again, that Will is something else Jello puddin...are you not worried about your starting backcourt being a combined 12 feet tall? We've been hearing you preach defense, but with Dirk at the PF spot who is no defensive powerhouse and such a short backcourt, it seems to me you are putting a lot of pressure on Ben Wallace (who is a little on the short side himself) and Donyell Marshall to anchor the D.
    Mitch Kupcheck: Technically speaking it's 12'1" {{{Smiles}}}, but Great question, and it was certainly a concern for us. We showed some interest in Jalen Rose at one point, but the bidding got much to rich for our blood. Really the onus falls on AI since he will be in the height mismatch a large portion of the time. Throughout his seasons since the redraft he's been in the top 10 in steals every year and all league defender twice, so we're certain he can man the station at the 2. Another part of it will be that we're expecting Allen to get his man into foul trouble trying to guard him, and if you can get the opposing team's starting 2 off the court, everything becomes a little easier.

    Mitch Kupcheck: As far as Dirk is concerned, you'll never find a great defense that relies on individual's defense. It'll be how we defend as a unit. At 7 feet and 6'9" Dirk and Donyell can provide some length, and a large part of defense is focusing on not allowing second chances. We're going to preach that until people are sick of hearing it. Really if you look at the numbers last year, as a rebounder Dirk averaged 12.3 rebounds per 36 which puts him on par with KG who averaged 12.2 in 37 MPG, Brand at 12.7 in 36 minutes per game, and Fortson with 12.3 in 33 MPG. Those are all guys who are known as benchmark, top 5-10 players at their craft at rebounding. You're right about us putting a lot on Ben Wallace, and as i stated earlier, he is our defensive anchor. We're asking him to dedicate 90% of his energy on that end, but we're fully confident that he can live up to our expectations. I appreciate the question Bill.

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    Jimeert Freedet 4 Prez    Contributor   
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    Quote Originally Posted by BallSoHard View Post
    Mitch Kupcheck: Technically speaking it's 12'1" {{{Smiles}}}, but Great question, and it was certainly a concern for us. We showed some interest in Jalen Rose at one point, but the bidding got much to rich for our blood. Really the onus falls on AI since he will be in the height mismatch a large portion of the time. Throughout his seasons since the redraft he's been in the top 10 in steals every year and all league defender twice, so we're certain he can man the station at the 2. Another part of it will be that we're expecting Allen to get his man into foul trouble trying to guard him, and if you can get the opposing team's starting 2 off the court, everything becomes a little easier.

    Mitch Kupcheck: As far as Dirk is concerned, you'll never find a great defense that relies on induvidual's defense. It'll be how we defend as a unit. At 7 feet and 6'9" Dirk and Donyell can provide some length, and a large part of defense is focusing on not allowing second chances. We're going to preach that until people are sick of hearing it. Really if you look at the numbers last year, as a rebounder Dirk averaged 12.3 rebounds per 36 which puts him on par with KG who averaged 12.2 in 37 MPG, Brand at 12.7 in 36 minutes per game, and Fortson with 12.3 in 33 MPG. Those are all guys who are known as benchmark, top 5-10 players at their craft at rebounding. You're right about us putting a lot on Ben Wallace, and as i stated earlier, he is our defensive anchor. We're asking him to dedicate 90% of his energy on that end, but we're fully confident that he can live up to our expectations. I appreciate the question Bill.
    (Will Maukie nudges another reporter: "Too rich? I thought this was a Lakers presser, not Clippers!")

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    Quote Originally Posted by IamQuailman View Post
    (Will Maukie nudges another reporter: "Too rich? I thought this was a Lakers presser, not Clippers!")

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    J. Felders, SI.com reporter here. First off, your stellar offseason seemed to be conducted with a clear focus on defensive prowess. As we've seen in other places such as Phoenix and New Jersey, primarily defensive teams have often underachieved. Did you consider that while assembling your new squad, and what will make this team different?

    Secondly, rumor has it that you were highly displeased with the level of turnovers from certain players last season. With the signing of Jason Williams, a player who has developed a small reputation for being too loose with the ball, and whose turnovers have increased over the last few seasons, how do you intend to help limit J-Will's turnovers and develop him into a reliable distributor?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xist2inspire View Post
    J. Felders, SI.com reporter here. First off, your stellar offseason seemed to be conducted with a clear focus on defensive prowess. As we've seen in other places such as Phoenix and New Jersey, primarily defensive teams have often underachieved. Did you consider that while assembling your new squad, and what will make this team different?

    Secondly, rumor has it that you were highly displeased with the level of turnovers from certain players last season. With the signing of Jason Williams, a player who has developed a small reputation for being too loose with the ball, and whose turnovers have increased over the last few seasons, how do you intend to help limit J-Will's turnovers and develop him into a reliable distributor?
    Mitch Kupcheck: Thanks J. for the question. That was an important conisderation for us. As far as comparisons to the suns I think there are similarities after we made the trade for Ron and Big Ben along with having and undersized backcourt. We feel like the comparisons stop there. While the Suns had a good scorer in Bibby who's really a 1 and was subbing as a 2, there really wasn't much else there in terms of a scorer and creator. With AI and Dirk we feel like we're starting off with 2 better scorers than what they had. We also put a big focus on our bench scoring drafting Delonte whos a good combo, Q who we think can start for a number of teams in this league and Othella. Othella is a guy who we rated VERY high when we ran his numbers and plan on getting him 20-30 MPG. I personally felt like if the Suns would have named one of those guys the future at the point and traded the other for a true scorer then they would have been on a better track. Lesson learned.

    Mitch Kupcheck: As far as the Nets are concerned, we have a different make-up then them. And while they lost their second best player they still have been making strides with their team. In short we feel like we have that right balance between offense and defense that those other teams haven't had.

    Mitch Kupcheck: Regarding Jason, we felt when we were evaluating him that in Cleveland he was forced to be a bit more of a creator on their offense than he would naturally be. The Cavs have been very reliant on Jason and Duncan over the past 4 seasons there to create shots and opportunities because others couldn't. I think you're completely on point about us needing to limit turnovers though. We want to force teams to have to go against our set defense every trip down the court. Our hope is with Jason playing next to AI and Dirk, guys who can create for themselves he won't feel the need to force the play.

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