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Mike Trudell, Los Angeles Lakers Sideline Reporter

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb
The Truth Network Radio
May 11, 2023 9:41 pm

Mike Trudell, Los Angeles Lakers Sideline Reporter

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb

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May 11, 2023 9:41 pm

Mike Trudell joined Zach to discuss the status of Anthony Davis for Game 6 and if LeBron James could put the Lakers on his back without AD. 


Mike, what's happening? Zach, how you doing man?

I'm doing fantastic. I know a scare last night with Anthony Davis, but it seems like all is okay and Anthony Davis is expected to play tomorrow. Yeah, that's what it looks like, right? We spoke to Darvin Ham at about three o'clock today. And obviously the first question, right?

What do you know about AD? And he said he's not in protocols. He's feeling much better. So of course, they're going to wait that, you know, for that final word to see to make sure that he's good to go tomorrow as the game approaches, but that probable tag certainly tells you a lot and you know, I think just that is the whole key, right? Like without Anthony Davis that it's just a entirely different team. He is not only the key defensively, but he's the first part of the scouting report on the other side of the court as well. I think that's what people don't realize that's been the shift this year from years past where LeBron occupies that top spot for most coaches and that's been the difference that AD has been doing it on both ends. And so the Lakers, you know, that completely changes the outlook of the game for them.

If he's on the court tomorrow night, full go that there won't be any restrictions or anything to really watch for with him. You would imagine? No, no. Yeah, exactly.

Yep. You said that Mike Trudell here with us when you look back at the game from last night. Hey, I was expecting the Warriors were going to win that one. But what was kind of the vibe around that team? Because once you lose that game up 3-1 and it gets to 3-2 then everyone starts talking about the time when LeBron was down 3-1 to the Warriors that came on back and now it's trying to happen from the reverse way. Yeah, you know that I get it right that in what FBI history has told us though is that like when the team is up 3-1 and if it's a road team, sometimes you're going to drop that game five if it's against a good team and Golden State absolutely. It's a good team like they're good enough where they could still win the title this year.

They won the title last year. It's a it's such a difficult thing to play against them because of how much they can spread you out and with Steph Curry. I do think that Davis is the best possible answer for defensive big and that's why the Lakers have won these three games in the series. But you know in terms of what like the whole the whole back and forth of NBA series. I was lucky enough to follow the Kobe Bryant years the 2008 to 2009 those back-to-back titles and you know that team is great as they were would often lose one of those games when they have the chance to close out. It's just it's the rhythm of a postseason where the other team counters after you win it and Golden State's been able to do that twice now, but this is all set up for the Lakers to go home for game six.

They've yet to lose in their building and their team that I think should have some of the adjustments in their favor heading into this one time. Yeah, it's so funny now how people talk about Lebron James Mike Trudell because we kind of seen a different Lebron now this year where he doesn't have to go score 40 45 points for the team to win with the role that he's playing this year. Just kind of give us the outlook and the view of Lebron from this season.

Yeah, so the way I would frame it like this. So first of all, there's only one other player in NBA history that he's even played meaningful postseason minutes in year 20 and that's Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and the ask on Kareem that year in his 20th season was nowhere near as significant as the ask on the Bronnett. And I think what when you watch him sometimes he is still the best player in the world on a given night. You're just not necessarily going to get that seven times out of seven games in a playoff series, but can you get it four times? So can you get it even three times or two and then have a player like AD or whoever else step up right?

It was Lonnie Walker the fourth. They got them that help them get the win in game four, but for me watching Lebron approach these games. He's like, how does how do I help the team get to four wins?

Is it by me playing a primary role on a given night? Is it by me playing a supportive role in a given night and I think that he saves the sort of desperation Lebron primary takeover role for games like this for games like game six when the Lakers do not want to go back to Golden State for game seven. So my expectation of Lebron is that he raises up an additional level from what you saw in game five and I don't think that's by accident. I think that's a player that has been through many many many playoff games in fact more than anybody else in NBA history, right? Like this is a guy he is actually played more playoff basketball than any player in the NBA and that's why I started the show tonight saying even though there was uncertainty right before we brought you on about Anthony Davis and now he is expected to play tomorrow night. We haven't seen Lebron go all bleep you mode.

I'm still the best player on the planet and you know, he still has that in him. Like I don't think anyone be surprised if Anthony Davis. Let's say didn't play tomorrow and Lebron goes out there and scores 40 something points and closes out this series. You know, so he so Lebron brought that type of energy in game six against Memphis.

It's just that he didn't have to play in the fourth quarter because the Lakers rough by 40, you know, so it's now I don't think that's going to happen against Golden State. Like I do think that like if I do think if the Lakers play their a-game and they punch first and they limit Draymond and Wiggins to an extent sure that like they could build a lead like that, but Steph Curry still over there and you know, he's not laying down, you know that he's going to still hit shots. So I think that they were confident if they brought their that's that fastball right straight up to Memphis. They were confident. They were going to be able to build a lead and run out like that. I think that there's an appropriate fear and respect for this Warriors team where you know, the Lakers they know that even if they put their foot on the pedal, it's going to take a lot to be the Warriors but they should have a certain amount of confidence that knowing that their a-game so far has been better than anybody else's a-game that they face so far this postseason Mike Trudell.

I feel like from a national standpoint. We always talk about LeBron. We always talk about Anthony Davis to an extent a little bit of Darwin ham this year just because he's a new head coach and especially with the place that that he's becoming a first-time head coach in but I'll tell you Rob Polinka. He's getting some some credit now because a lot of people thought this team wasn't capable of going on a run and the moves that he kind of made towards the deadline have worked out brilliantly for them.

Yeah, so both things are true, right? They were not capable of going on the run with the old roster and I think going into the season if for those of us that are covered the team day-to-day and of course when you're doing it, naturally, you got to cover everybody is a little bit harder to see that whole picture but there was always going to be a trade to be made to find it to try and find a better fit in terms of Westbrook alongside the Brown and AD and guess what the Lakers had that kind of fit when they won the title in 1920. They may have repeated or at least gotten back to the finals the next year if ad didn't go down in game for they were up to one on Phoenix who of course went on to go to the finals that team. I called it that I call it the bubble tax where they basically they had literally one and a half months in the offseason to get ready for the next season and it wasn't just ad that broke down Caruso was banged up Kuzma was banged up KCP was banged up like the whole team of these players that have gone on to have success elsewhere like that team was loaded and I didn't feel like people quite realize how good they were even when they won the title in the bubble. So then after that year, they make the trade for Westbrook and all of a sudden you don't have the same type of supportive talent around this LeBron ad ecosystem and it doesn't go well. Well once they made those trades and not it's not just the one for Westbrook going out, right? It was also Rui Hachimura for some second round picks along with Kendrick Nunn. Obviously a great trade now that we look back on in hindsight like those moves have just restored the type of surrounding talent that LeBron and ad need albeit Zach a little bit different like the team was bigger a little bit more rugged in 1920 this year.

There's a little more skill. I'm you see not just with Russell out there but also promoting Austin Reeves into the starting lineup. So yeah, it's just it's something that link in his staff, you know do get the credit for and and that like they are now in position again a home game to get to the conference finals. They were the 13th seed in the middle of February Mike Trujell. What has it been like to see about this breakout story of Austin Reeves and then also the return of D'Angelo Russell to the Lakers. So Reeves, I think right from the start and I was lucky enough to go and watch them play and not just Summer League, but the California classic which is like the pre-summer Summer League where it's the Lakers and the Warriors and the Kings and for whatever reason the Miami Heat. I think it's because Pat Riley likes to come out to Cali in the summer and I mean it is hot in Florida like we get it.

So they so I go up there and it's okay. Wait, I don't watch much college basketball Zach. I don't know about you. And so I hadn't seen much of Reeves, but the Lakers scouts had told me. Hey, this dude's a player like we have them with potential first-round grades. We don't think he's going to go in the first round and we think that if he can kind of convince folks, maybe don't draft him in those later spots that he might walk in here knowing that there's going to be an opportunity to play because of what the roster situation was all the money that was going out to not just LeBron and AD but Westbrook.

So they thought there was that was going to be an opportunity where he could play. So he comes into the preseason and literally from game one LeBron looks over there and he's like, oh, yeah, this is like this dude knows how to ball and it is not just what you would think. It is with all the skill like he is better defensively than you feel like he should be. He's just a super smart player and a very skilled player.

And so he's been an ideal fit. I think the next step for him will be this offseason as he continues to kind of, you know, get stronger and get his body up to that that NBA level frame of having a being able to play 35 minutes night to night to night against the best best athletes in the world, but I thought that he's been great the last two games, especially that's a good question by you and you also asked about Delo, you know, that that's a very nice redemption story in its own, right? He's just a different guy like he was 19 when he was with the Lakers and Kobe was there, you know, that's a and people expected him to be the number two pick to be great right away.

That's a tough ask, right? And and he's got his ups and downs in different spots. But the reason that he fits well here is because of the specific skills dribbling passing shooting it. It seems like basic but that's a better fit next to LeBron and AD then that, you know, for example, then the type of player that rushes or other players like that that are more of a hammer kind of blunt force object and that's been a nice fit so far for sure on the way out with Mike Trudell. I know it's always tough to give the coach credit when LeBron is on the team.

It's just the way that this works. But what is Darwin ham brought to this Lakers team this year? Yeah, I think that so the thing that Darwin is great at and I had an idea this before he became the head coach, right? Because he was an assistant coach on the Mike Brown staff back when I was covering the team, you know, what was that 10 years ago now 10 10 11 years ago now and everybody in the NBA like Darwin players coaches referees. He's just got this force of personality and that right there.

It's not it's not in the way that it doesn't bring respect also though because part of it is just his he's imposing as a figure but then he's got a real easy and quick lap. So I think that's one like you I think that you can either have two things you can for you can have ultimate X's and O's brain think of like a spoiler or something like that or you can have this just magnetism about you as a head coach and I think that the X's and O's have been good too, but those you just need reps like in an actual NBA playoff series and as the series is have gone on this and now this one I think that Darwin's chops are showing more and more there but the thing that it was there from the beginning with the personal side of things and that's you know, what gets guys will get players to buy in and that's an important value to have to me as an NBA head coach. Last one for Mike Trudell. You can follow him on Twitter at Lakers reporter and I see in one of your profile pictures. It's you interviewing the late great Kobe Bryant. It's still surreal that we have to talk about Kobe in the past tense.

Just all your years covering the team. What was one of your favorite Kobe Bryant memories? Oh man, so from a from a personal standpoint the story that I that I tell a lot is like Kobe Kobe found out that there wasn't there wasn't anything for us on the traveling party for us Thanksgiving that we happen to be in Detroit. And so he rented out the ballroom of the lobby and and it basically you know catered this full Thanksgiving meal and there was a ping pong table there and some of the players are playing I end up playing with a guy don't remember a player named Shawn Williams and you know, I'm I'm beating Sean and Sean probably isn't isn't thrilled about it because I'm just a sideline reporter and so Kobe starts razzing Shawn Williams about it starts talking trash to him and oh, yeah, you're going to lose to the reporter, you know, blah blah blah. And so I said Kobe at first I was being facetious thinking you wouldn't want I was like you want them to copy and he's like, yep. So I'm like, all right.

So what did I get myself into here? And it turns out the Kobe gets up there and you know, he's 6'6. He's got the reach.

He's got the range. He's got the eye the hand-eye coordination, but I can tell right away that he hadn't played as much ping-pong as me. So I actually end up getting him a couple times. But the second game which this is what impressed me about Kobe and sort of was the metaphor for why he wasn't he was he literally got better from game one to game two, you know, usually when you just play somebody in anything pick up whatever like go play pool go play pick up basketball. You kind of just play again and now he was he was studying what I was doing to him and I was kind of pounding on his backhand. So we adjusted where he was standing just just little stuff like that and he's he's talking trash but more to himself, you know, and not to me like you're better than this and so after I beat him he was classy about it. He wasn't like mad that he lost to me specifically. He was just mad that he lost and I heard him I heard later that he asked his security guy. Basically, how can I get a ping-pong table order to the house because I don't think he was trying to lose to anybody later on and that's where we get to the first part of what you said. I've just you know, we'll be forever bummed that he never got to kick my ass later on which certainly would have happened. I'm sure as he evolved so that's just told me kind of part even even against me and the ping-pong that was Kobe the competitor. That's just absolutely awesome.

Mike Trudell. Enjoy game six coming up tomorrow night. Appreciate the time as always. I've been have a good one.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-11 22:47:15 / 2023-05-11 22:54:40 / 7

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