On the Current Lakers and pre-season game vs. Golden State…
LN: Although the Lakers didn’t win against the Warriors Sunday night, tell me about the overall feel you got after game one.
RS: It was upsetting we didn’t win, but for me, that starting feeling and the feeling that “I’ve got on a Lakers uniform” is one of the greatest feelings I have had. There are no words. I looked around and saw who I was playing with and it was incredible. Indescribable really.
LN: Where do you see room for overall team improvement?
RS: Right now, everyone is getting used to playing with each other. This team has a core group. You’ve got guys from Orlando, young players, and older veterans. The chemistry will come with time, and that’s most important right now.
LN: Team chemistry has definitely been at the forefront of Laker talk this summer. What strengths did you see the Lakers team really exhibit?
RS: Overall, we have a good team with a chance to compete with other top teams in the league. But more specifically, coach Mike Brown really focuses on defense and takes pride in defense. He understands it to be a huge key for us to be successful. All of us are really doing a great job defensively.
LN: After Sunday’s game, how do you think you did?
RS: I think I did alright for the first game, but I can always get better. I have to take one step at a time. You can’t crawl and then expect to run. There are always those baby steps you have to take first. I need to ensure I keep getting better and keep working hard.
LN: You are on a roll with these analogies today! That’s great advice; patience with your basketball game and just working to improve the next step, instead of jumping ten steps, will be beneficial in the long run. But one of the things you have to look out for, especially in your position now, is the team competition. Can you tell me why do you deserve to make this Lakers squad?
RS: I’ve put the time in. I am a hard worker. If you look through my basketball career, I have won a lot of games in my life. I love to win. For this team, that’s what matters. That’s the mentality to have; I just have to show that in camp.
LN: Where do you see yourself fitting into this Lakers team?
RS: I see myself backing up Dwight and I have no problem doing that. He is the best big man in the world and I take great privilege in being behind him and doing it well. Although, I don’t look too much in the future because tomorrow is never guaranteed. I know I’ve said it before, but everything is going to come one day at a time.
LN: It must have been exciting playing with an MVP like Steve Nash. Can you tell me about that?
RS: Playing with everyone was exciting. I looked around when they called my name to start and was in awe. This is a dream come true to play with great guys like that; I’m playing with the best of the best. Think about it; this time last year, I was watching the Lakers on TV and now I’m on the court in the uniform. It was a surreal moment.
LN: Is there anyone on the team you are most excited about having the chance to play with?
RS: No question, Kobe Bryant. I’ve always been a big fan of his. But that’s a tough question to answer as everyone is an honor to play with. So far, there has been great chemistry between all the players. *Laughs* I mean, it’s the Lakers! I want to be part of a team like that! And I am so fortunate to be a part of this team right now.
LN: The Lakers seem to have a lot of characters this year. Who do you think has the biggest personality?
RS: Dwight. He’s definitely a big personality. But everyone is different, and comes from different places, bringing their own characters. For example, right now I am learning Spanish from Pau. I ask him for one phrase a day in Spanish and I attempt to learn it. You might as well learn some stuff while you are out here.
LN: That is awesome! How is he as a teacher?
RS: He’s great. But being from Canada sometimes I mix up my French vocabulary with the Spanish. Pau and I will be talking, and I will butcher sentences he gives me, and he’ll be like “what did you just say?” He always supports me while laughing off whatever I messed up.
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