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Kareem preaches patience

November 19, 2008|Mike Bresnahan | Bresnahan is a Times staff writer.

The NBA's all-time leading scorer has one word for Andrew Bynum -- patience.

Bynum has struggled with his shot and recently said he wanted to be more assertive once he got the basketball in the post.

To paraphrase Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, it will happen in time.

"The offense is designed to spread it around, but if you're getting high-percentage shots in the post, they're of great value to a team," said Abdul-Jabbar, in his fourth season as a Lakers' special assistant coach in charge of Bynum's development.

"It's a situation where he has to prove that he can deliver and then maybe the offense can look for him more than it is right now. He just has to be patient."

After getting outscored and outrebounded by Detroit center Kwame Brown, Bynum lamented that he hadn't scored enough in the low post this season, feeding instead off screen-and-rolls, lob passes and offensive rebounds.

Bynum, who signed a four-year, $57.4-million contract extension last month, was averaging 9.9 points and 8.9 rebounds while shooting 45.5% before Tuesday's game against Chicago.

He averaged 17.3 points and 12.3 rebounds in six games last January before going down with a season-ending knee injury.

"He can get back there," Abdul-Jabbar said of Bynum's pace in January. "But he has to catch a little fire."

Bynum did so Tuesday, with 18 points and nine rebounds.

Dollars and sense

The Lakers had their players' association meeting Monday at the team training facility in El Segundo, much of it about planning for the future -- finances, taxes and 401(k) plans.

As the players listened intently, they also wondered when they would receive licensing checks, which are expected soon.

They will each get about $25,000, no matter if it's a star like Kobe Bryant or a role player like Mark Madsen.

"Thanks, Kobe Bryant. Thanks, LeBron James," Luke Walton said, laughing. "You open the mail and have a check you don't even count on, that's beautiful."

Derek Fisher, the president of the players' association, said dues were raised from $5,000 to $10,000 per player.

Fisher said the idea was to share equally.

He said players were aware that Kevin Garnett, Bryant, James and Allen Iverson had the top four selling jerseys last season, respectively, but still were a part of the union.

"The good part about it I think -- at least for most guys -- is that it's evenly distributed," Fisher said. "If it wasn't evenly distributed, you'd have some guys who would probably get zero. We recognize that our star players, they carry the load, in terms of the face of our game and the jersey sales that go on. So we're appreciative of the fact that they're in it too."

Enough said

Coach Phil Jackson usually speaks his mind, particularly when it comes to Vladimir Radmanovic.

Not Tuesday night.

Jackson sharply declined to speculate on whether Radmanovic was entrenched as a starter.

"I'm not going to answer that question," Jackson said. "I don't want to talk about it either positively or negatively, and I don't want him to hear about it."

Radmanovic has started every game but is eighth on the team in scoring, averaging 6.1 points and shooting an erratic 34%.

Tough enough

Despite last week's loss to the Detroit Pistons, Bryant said the Lakers didn't lack toughness up front.

"I think it's just learning how to combat teams that have bigs that can shoot the ball," he said. "That's going to be our biggest challenge. It's about playing against teams that can stretch the floor and trying to figure out how to lock them down.

"There aren't that many of them in the league. Detroit's one of them, Boston's another one, where they have [centers] that can shoot the ball from the perimeter, from distance. When you have that, your defense has to be slightly altered. We'll do that, we'll make those adjustments."

Times staff writer Broderick Turner contributed to this report.


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