Cap's Corner - 1/7/11

Cap's Corner by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

What was the most significant trade during your career in which a player was added to your team?

KAJ: There were two trades that I thought were equally significant. In 1970 the Milwaukee Bucks traded for Oscar Robertson and in 1979 the Lakers used a draft pick that they had acquired from New Orleans to get Magic Johnson in the draft. Both of these transactions resulted in my team winning a world championship.

What did you do to integrate your game with new teammates? What did you do to get to know new teammates off-the-court?

KAJ: The game is based on fundamentals and it is on that issue that teams are able to jell. Off the court, teams come together by spending time together and learning about who their teammates are. Meals and travel time are the most convenient times for these things to happen. When time permitted I would talk with my teammates and find out what their interests were and what they liked to do. We would go to movies together and spend time together during the holidays for parties or dinners at each others homes.

Did any of your coaches have a unique tactic for integrating players acquired in a trade?

KAJ: My coaches tended to let the guys get to know each other at practice. It didn't take any special tactics to start this process.

What did you do coming over from the Bucks to the Lakers to integrate with your new team?

KAJ: I really didn't have any problem integrating with my new Laker teammates. I tried to respect them and appreciate them as I got to know them over time

What are the different ways in which you have to approach shot blocking while defending your man versus helping on the weak side? How do you go about getting the timing down?

KAJ: Blocking shots on someone that you're guarding is a matter of being able to successfully anticipate when he is going to shoot and time your block attempt with the shot. Helping a teammate is easier because you can time the shot attempt while the shooter is getting the shot off and not paying attention to your defensive help.

Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol both block around two shots per game, but is either particularly focused on shot blocking? What could Bynum in particular do to grow as a shot blocker?

KAJ: Andrew and Pau try to take advantage of opportunity when they are aware of them. Andrew needs more time to build the instinctive awareness for shot blocking opportunities. He is well equipped with a long reach and 7 ft height to be an effective shot blocker.