The Los Angeles Lakers added a couple more injuries to the list on Day 5 of training camp. Marcelo Huertas has a hamstring strain and is not expected to play in Sunday’s game against the Utah Jazz. Larry Nance finished practice early with back spasms and is questionable for the Lakers preseason opener.
Metta World Peace, who’s been dealing with a calf strain the past couple days, was able to participate in five-on-five scrimmaging, and Byron Scott said D’Angelo Russell looked like his old self after being able to participate in the competitive parts of practice on Saturday. Russell had been very limited in practice the past couple days, due to a bone bruise causing foot soreness, but said he was feeling just fine after participating in practice on Saturday.
Scott says he’s unsure what the starting line-up will be for the Lakers first preseason game, but Kobe Bryant says he will definitely be playing in it.
“I’m definitely playing,” Bryant said after practice. “[People] come all the way out here… you [are going] to sit there on the bench? That’s not cool.”
Bryant practiced without restrictions on Saturday, competed in the five-on-five scrimmages, and said he’s looking forward to playing off the ball alongside Jordan Clarkson and Russell, even scoffing at the idea that he wants to be more involved in facilitating the offense.
“I don’t understand why you guys can’t figure this out yet. I do not like setting up the offense. I hate it. Phil made me do it years ago and I had to learn how to do it years ago, to set up the triangle,” Bryant said in response to a question about whether having the ball in his hands less would effect his ability to get into a rhythm.
“I haven’t played with point guards that are playmakers at heart. D’Angelo is a ridiculous playmaker, man. I’d much rather catch and shoot. Or catch and one, two-dribble pull-ups, you guys know I like scoring the ball, why the hell would I like setting the offense up.”
Lou Williams recently said he was amazed by Russell’s leadership, and his readiness to take on the responsibility at such a young age.
Scott said he’s not surprised, at all, by Russell’s ability to lead, noting that the Lakers saw that in both of his pre-draft workouts and in Summer League. Expectations are high for Russell and he understands they need to temper them, but Scott still anticipates their No. 2 draft pick to have “more ups this year than downs” this season.
“[I’m] not surprised veterans are looking at him saying, ‘Man this kid is a natural born leader.'”
The Lakers kick off their preseason opener against the Utah Jazz at the University of Hawaii at 3:00 PM local time, and 6:00 PM PST.[divide]