Cap's Corner - 3/23/10

Cap's Corner by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Andrew Bynum's performance:
Laker fans are justifiably pleased with the recent play of Andrew Bynum. His improvement and consistency has made it impossible for Laker opponents to ignore defending the paint with just one player. By shooting such a high percentage so close to the basket he has forced the defenses to play closer to the three second area, and that in turn has given our perimeter players more time and space to do their thing. Andrew and Pau Gasol are both putting up great numbers as scorers and rebounders. They often get double teamed but by finding the open shooters on the perimeter they are making the defenders pay for their attempts at double teaming.

Kobe's leadership:
There was some concern when the Lakers lost consecutive games on the road but their more recent surge of victories has shown that the Lakers can find their edge when they are healthy and focused. The leadership of Kobe Bryant, broken finger and all, is something Laker fans should cheer. It is hard for any of his teammates to slack off in the presence of such dedication.

Attacking a defender:
Defensive players are trying to get a low center of gravity and use that to leverage Andrew out of good position in the pivot. This can be overcome by simply faking a direct pass into the pivot and then having Andrew spin into the lane for a lob pass. After a few successful executions of this play the defenses will return to playing Andrew more honestly. The height advantage the Lakers enjoy will continue to be a plus for our team.

Toughest defender?
That would have to be Nate Thurmond. Nate had the height and agility along with the defensive tenacity to compete with me. Alot of guys would beat on me and claim they had played great defense but Nate actually would play me tough within the rules. Its a shame that he never got to play on a team that had championship potential and display his superb defensive skills in front of a larger audience.

Shot-blocker's mindset:
Someone with shot blocking skills should focus on consistently eliminating as many lay ups available to the opposition. By reducing easy lay up opportunities for the opposition you force them to take lower percentage shots on the perimeter. The lay up is the most accurate shot in the game and professional players make close to 100% of their lay up opportunities. By eliminating this high percentage shot you greatly increase the chances for your team to win. Bill Russell was the best center of his era because he consistently reduced the efficiency of the Celtics opponents. Any team that forces their opponents to rely on outside shooting will always have a great advantage and should be winners.

People ask me what type of music I listened to on my tape player before games. On my tape player I listened to alot of jazz that I recorded from my album collection. Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Bobby Hutcherson, Joe Henderson, Sonny Rollins and Chick Corea were all some of my favorites. The music of these gentlemen was what was running through my head while I was on the court and helped me maintain my focus while at the same time playing in a relaxed manner.

Today's training regiment:
I think the the training regiments that today's teams use are very effective. I am particularly impressed with their increased focused on flexibility. Flexibility training enhances the effectiveness of strength training and the work they do on their cardiovascular endurance. Players will be injured less often and they will recover more quickly when they do get injured if they spend time on flexibility training, The flexibility training I used to stay relatively injury free for 20 years was Bikram Yoga. I would recommend it for anyone no matter what sport they are in.