PLAYERS: F-C Kwame Brown, F Vladimir Radmanovic, G Jordan Farmar, F Brian Cook,
C Chris Mihm
(7th in West) Points scored: 103.3 (5th in NBA) Points allowed: 103.4 (25th)
Coach: Phil Jackson (third season with Lakers)
bynum received one important stamp of approval during training camp. Pete
Newell, the ultimate big-man guru, praised the way the 7-footer played at the
beginning of last season and said that Bynum's performance tailed off only
because of withering criticism from Kobe Bryant. "I think he was a little
confused at the end because he was catching a little hell from Kobe,"
Newell told the Los Angeles Times. "They've got to make it clear to Kobe
that he's not the coach and he should be positive, not negative, when [ Bynum]
makes the mistakes that he made."
Bryant has since
professed support of Bynum, albeit in a vanilla manner, but his harsh words
last season--he was also caught on video in May ripping Bynum to two college
students--no doubt remain in the head of the impressionable Bynum, who just
The criticism was
not all unfounded, though. The conditioning and work ethic of the mild-mannered
Bynum, who was drafted four months before his 18th birthday, has been
questioned by others besides Bryant, including coach Phil Jackson. But Bynum,
entering his third year, says he spent considerable time in the weight room and
on the track this off-season and feels stronger and "better able to hold my
ground in the post."