Coby Karl Uses D-Fenders Experience at 2008 NBA Summer League

Coby Karl can’t walk into a gym anymore without being recognized. That’s what a year in the NBA, especially with the Los Angeles Lakers will do to you. He used to be able to play basketball without the whispers in the audience. With a year of NBA experience under his belt, people around the league are starting to notice “George’s son.”

Last year Coby Karl made the Lakers roster after impressive Summer League and training camp performances despite going undrafted out of Boise State. The Broncos all-time leader in games participated in 17 games with the Lakers during the 2007-08 season as well as appearing in 17 games with the D-Fenders. He also became the second NBA player in league history to play in a D-League and NBA game in the same day when he suited up against both the Tulsa 66ers and Atlanta Hawks on February 19th (fellow Lakers teammate Jordan Farmar achieved this feat during the 2006-07 season for the Lakers/D-Fenders). Karl knows that he is more prepared this time around thanks to his experience in the NBA and D-League. “Being in the NBA for a year, you get used to the speed of the game and you can see things and anticipate all different things whether it is offensively or defensively,” Karl explained after his Lakers team faced the Denver Nuggets on Saturday, July 19th at the 2008 NBA Summer League presented by EA Sports.

Being the coach’s son (Denver Nuggets Head Coach George Karl) that he is, Coby knows the importance of improving his game during the summer time. He has learned that this is the time when you get in the gym and work out some of the kinks in your game. He knows exactly what he needs to do to get better. “I am trying to improve the finer details. Passing skills, shooting, ball handling and my focus. I need to concentrate on taking better care of the ball,” he said.

As a second year member of the Lakers summer league team, Karl is the lone veteran on the roster with only a year of experience at the NBA level. That means on the offensive end he is the only one that has in game experience running Lakers head coach Phil Jackson’s “Triangle Offense” on a team that had minimal practice time to master the complex offense. Asked if he likes having to play the role of coach on the floor to his NBA Summer League teammates due to his knowledge of the triangle, Coby responded “I try not to be too overbearing because the coaches have to do their job and I have to do mine. If guys come to me with question, of course I am happy to help them out because I understand how difficult it can be, especially with pretty much only three (3) days to learn it. So I try to help as much as I can, but also I need to let the coaches do their job.”

Coby has had a quick turnaround since we last saw him and the Lakers in the NBA Finals last June. During that short time he has been keeping busy though. “I went to visit some friends in Boise and Denver, and then I came back to L.A. to workout. We didn’t really have a break in between so it seems like a pretty long process. A lot of basketball,” he said. Then he added with a smile, “but that’s basketball.”