My apologies for not writing anything of note lately. I thought my job would be easier once training camp started, but that has not turned out to be the case. The problem is not that there isn't any news to write about. The problem is that, since we here at SS&R don't merit a media credential just yet, we don't have a first hand account of what's going on at training camp. Therefore, any analysis that we could provide is going to sound almost exactly like that of the actual journalists who are paid to follow the team, and that is just boring (not to mention slightly plagiaristic). But I don't want to rest on my laurels while everybody else keeps you informed, so I'm going to do my best to go beyond all the stories coming out of camp. I'm going to try to tell you what it all means. All the easy analysis is taken care of, so this will be a little bit deeper and, by neccesity, some of it might be reaching.
Our first entry in what will hopefully become a series is regarding Sasha Vujacic. Everyone agrees that Sasha had a baaaad year during the 08-09 season. Many fans on this very site have been ready and willing to throw in the towell on Sasha, basically coming to the conclusion that the "Year of the Machine" was a fluke, and Sasha will never be able to return to the form that saw him sign a pretty lucrative $5 million/year deal. Well, I'm here to let you know that the Lakers' coaching staff disagrees with your assessment. They still think that Sasha has a lot to give this team, moreso than any of you probably think.
First off, it seems that Vujacic had a pretty humbling offseason. The Lakers' staff criticized Vujacic on everything from his attitude to his performance to his personal appearance over the last season. He got cut from his own national team. The coaches suggested that he take a break, get his mind right, and come back prepared to regain his form. Oh, and they told him to get a hair cut. If this article is to be believed, Sasha did everything the Lakers asked of him, and he did it in good spirits. I think Sasha's attitude in the face of such criticism has impressed the coaching staff. They see that he has acknowledged his mistakes, and is doing everything he can to correct them. If he truly does listen to the coaching staff as he seems to be doing, I think the Lakers staff thinks he can return to being the Machine, so much so that they are grooming him to be the first guard off the bench. In my mind, that is the only logical explanation for this.