June 23, 2021

Lakers encouraged by words from Pelinka

first_imgDENVER >> Rob Pelinka’s words left most of the Lakers players feeling empowered.The team’s new general manager Pelinka talked to the Lakers before Sunday’s game against Philadelphia at Staples Center, providing a short but important message that left those in the room encouraged.“He was just saying he wants to create the best environment for us,” third-year forward Julius Randle said before Monday’s game against the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center. “He’s seeing what’s working and trying to harp in on it so we can play to the best of our abilities. It shows that he cares. He looks at us as a service position more than a leadership position.”Pelinka also told the players that he and Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson will meet with them individually. During those discussions, the Lakers’ front office will provide feedback on their development as well as solicit their insight on the franchise’s direction. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with Packers“It makes you feel involved in everything,” rookie center Ivica Zubac said. “That’s what every player wants. They want us to know what their plan is for the future. Whatever we want to find out, good or bad things, we’ll find out when we speak to him. That’s really good we’re involved with him. That means a lot.”Zubac said those meetings are expected to take place after the regular season ends on April 12. All NBA teams typically have exit interviews, during which the team’s front office executives and head coach speak with each player about their performance and their plans for the offseason.In his introductory news conference last week, Pelinka had praise for the core of the roster, saying the Lakers boasted “some really, really strong young talent.” Yet, he expressed uncertainty on whether those pieces represented a championship foundation.“Developing those guys are key,” Pelinka said. “But we have to add significant players to that through free agency. That’s something we’ll work really, really hard to do.”Wish listcenter_img Lakers coach Luke Walton said he has intentionally limited the time second-year guard D’Angelo Russell and third-year guard Jordan Clarkson are on the court together.“It hasn’t been great, for whatever reason,” Walton said.Those in and outside of the organization have pointed to the team’s poor performances on defense and the fact Russell’s playmaking and Clarkson’s scoring mentality often don’t mesh well. But Russell expressed a wish to play with Clarkson with their roles reversed, a scenario that would have Clarkson assume ball-handling duties while Russell slides to shooting guard.“Just to see how we can play like that,” said Russell, who said he hasn’t practiced with Clarkson this season because they are on different units. “Usually, when we play the previous times, it’s me having the ball and him being the shooting guard or off the ball. I want to see how it is switched around and see how it goes.”last_img

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