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Phil Handy analyzes the development of the Lakers bench

April 20, 2012|By Mark Medina

Below is an analysis from Lakers development coach Phil Handy on how the reserves are progressing. You can check out his take on the starters here.

Lakers forward Matt Barnes

Drills: Shoots in five spots spread around the court, and had to make 10 shots in each area. The shots include one-dribble pull-ups, mid-range jumpers, shots off curls, catch-and-shoot jumpers and three-pointers. Lots of emphasis on footwork.

What he excels: The energy he brings is all positive. He's an emotional player. He's helped us tremendously with the team in feeding that into some of his teammates. It's contagious. ... He's a great rebounder and getting better with his threes.

What he needs to improve: He plays with a lot of energy [but] sometimes he plays a little too fast. He does things a little too quick. But he has slowed his game down and simplified himself. I tell him to take the blueprint of Bruce Bowen ... Sometimes Matt sits back on his shot by leaning backwards. A lot of his shots would hit the front of the rim. We work on his extension and follow-through and make sure it's there on the release of his shot ... In the off-season, I would like to help him with his handle where he can imporve his ball-handling and make better plays off the dribble. That would also improve his post game.

Forward Josh McRoberts

Drills: Works a lot on his footwork where he moves from the block to the elbow. Also takes mid-range jumpers from those areas and occasionally shoots three-pointers. Must make 10 shots in each area within 14 attempts.

What he's excelling at: He does all the little things that don't show up in the stat sheet and plays a large part in elevating the second unit. The most impressive thing about Josh is his ability to pass the ball. He can pass the ball and handle the ball. He'll get rebounds and push it down the floor. ... You can't play off of him because he's a good passer. ... He's good with dribble handoffs and he's good passing from the elbows and wings."

What he needs to improve: I'd love to see Josh take elbow jumpers a lot more. He finds himself in that position a lot in the game. Elbow jumpers, top of the key and free throw area, even baseline jump shots. All of the 12-15 [foot] range jump shots I want to see him start taking .... He needs to continue to play aggressive so teams have to guard him and play him honestly.



Guard Steve Blake

Drills: Works with Blake mostly on his ball-handling to ensure he improves in not picking up his dribble right away when running the offense, particularly on pick-and-rolls. Sets screens for Blake on side pick-and-rolls along the wing as well as middle pick-and-rolls. To improve his hand speed, does several combination dribbles and passes the ball with one hand before picking up a pass.

As for shooting drills, Blake takes five sets, 10 shots each from five spots around the floor. If Blake misses two consecutive shots, he has to start the drill over.

What he's excelling at: I'm impressed with his work ethic. ...  Steve does a great job working out at game pace. ... He's turned a corner and improved [his shooting and aggressiveness] the last two weeks.

What he needs to improve: There were a lot of times earlier in the season where we would run pick-and-roll action and he'd just pick up his dribble. It put him in a bad position and made it difficult for the team. ... He was worried about getting his teammates involved and as a point guard he takes that responsibility to say my job is to make sure the team is flowing. But Steve has the ability to score the ball. ... When he didn't look to score, it took away from his aggressiveness and it hurt several facets of his game. When he's aggressive, he can read and react better. When he's not aggressive, he's tentative and not sure with what he's doing."

Forward Troy Murphy

Shooting drills: Handy sees Murphy at least once a week in which he where shoots jumpers off pick-and-pops. Murphy is required to make at least 10 shots within 14 attempts on five spots around the floor, including from three-point range.

What he's excelling at: He knows what he does well and sticks to it. ... He's a good shooter and passer. He knows the game and is a rebounder. He can stretch the floor and shoot the ball.

What he needs to improve:  He's in a position where sometimes he plays and sometimes he doesn't. It's hard to stay focused. ... It may put him in a position of where he isn't ready, but not being on the floor for an extended period of time is tough. Sometimes Murph shoots really flat. A lot of it is he sometimes shoots on his way down instead of on the lift of his shot and he's hitting the front of the rim. He's aware of it and trying to make the adjustments."

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