Currently on an east coast road trip the Los Angeles Lakers had a day off yesterday. LA will play the Atlanta Hawks tonight in Atlanta at State Farm Arena.
LeBron James flew to his homestate of Ohio and watched his son, Bronny James and his Sierra Canyon High School play aganst his alma mater, St. Vincent-St. Mary High School of Akron, Ohio in an exhibition game in Columbus, Ohio.
In New York City, James’ Lakers teammate, Danny Green was in New York City as the face of the Battle in the Apple high school basket tournament at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
A Puma Basketball-sponsored outing, the tournment housed a who’s who of notables. Rapper Fat Joe, newly retired New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia, Boston Celtics forward Jaylen Brown, NBA legend Rod Strickland and NBA champion and current Michigan Wolverines coach Juwan Howard were all in attendance to witness the three games on the schedule.
For those keeping score at home the games featured: Atlanta, Georgia’s Core 4 Prep and Connecticut’s Putnam Science Academy was the first game. New Hampshire’s Brewster Academy and Phoenix, Arizona’s Hillcrest Acaemy was the second game. The tournament’s headline game was Brooklyn, New York’s South Shore High School and Beverly Hills, California’s Mayfair Academy.
While doing color commentating duties on BallerTV with rising play-by-play broadcaster of Nkwa Asonye, Jr., Danny Green, a Long Island native by way of St. Mary’s High School discussed the state of the Lakers and more.
Tonight, the Lakers face a Hawks team that features Trae Young who is averaging 27.7 points 4.1 rebounds and 8.6 assists per contest.
“He’s having an amazing season,” Danny Green told me.
“He’s put that team on his back and carried them for the most part. even though their record doesn’t show it they’ve been a really tough team. They’ve been in some close ones. They’ve won some games that they should’ve lost. overtime in Miami, they’ve been in some close ones. They’re on the brink of being a really good team if they bring in one or two guys in the offseason to give Trae some help; they’ll be an amazing team. But even without that, Trae is very dangerous.”
On Thursday the Lakers will face a Milwaukee Bucks team who has won 18 straight games. Milwaukee is 24-3. The Lakers are 23-3 and currently on a six game winning streak. Are the Lakers zeroed in on the Bucks yet? “I’m focused on Atlanta first,” Green tells me.
“We take it one game at a time. We not skipping anybody or skipping any steps or looking past any opponent. And then after Atlanta, we’ll take another game at a time and play Milwaukee. Milwaukee is a tough team and they’re well coached. obviously an MVP with Giannis [Antetokounmpo] and they push the pace and have some really good shooters. They scrap and do all the little things and have great chemistry. But right now I’m focused on Atlanta. Thats game one and the most important for us.”
Chemistry between Anthony Davis and LeBron James has been at a premium. “I didn’t think we were going to be able to connect this fast just because of the fact he had a lot of stuff going on this summer with ‘Space Jam ,” Davis told me last month.
“So we didn’t get a lot of time to work out together. Then we hit a short training camp and had to go to China, and all that stuff, so I’m surprised that we’ve got a little connection right now.”
Davis likened their chemisty to a very familiar food…wait for it!
”He [LeBron James] made a joke [and said]: ‘We’re not peanut butter and jelly right now, we’re like peanut butter and bananas.’ So we’re getting there. We’re constantly getting there game by game.”
Danny Green says that a month later the duo are getting closer. “They’re almost there,” he told me.
“I’d say they’re a lightly layered peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I think hopefully by April, May and June or March/April they’ll have a well lathered peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Hopefully things will be running smooth. And the scary thing for us is that we feel like we’re playing well but we’re not at our full potential yet. We’re 100% healthy and all of our guys are playing well and our guys are playing our best basketball.”
Anthony Davis is averaging 27.4 points, 9.2 rebounds and and 3.3 assists per contest.
AD told me in September that his goal is to win an NBA Championship and to win the league’s Defensive Player of the Year Award. He’s averaging 1.5 steals and 2.6 blocks per game. Danny Green like’s Davis’ chances.
“For sure,” he told me while on the BallerTV broadcast.
“The reason why we’re one of the top defensive teams is because our team collectively has been great. The reason why Anthony Davis is the best defensive player on the best defensive team in the league and it’s credit to JaVale, Dwight, Avery Bradley, LeBron, KCP, all of those guys have played great defensively all year and the best player for us defensively is Anthony Davis. He should get the award, obviously it’s an individual award, but it’s also a team award in that aspect.”
Danny Green was key acquisition for the Lakers this offseason. A member of the Toronto Raptors’ Championship team last season with Kawhi Leonard. Green is currently averaging 8.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists this season for the Los Angeles Lakers. Green led all Lakers scorers with 28 points and 7 rebounds in 112-102 opening night loss to Staples Center co-tenants the Los Angeles Clippers. “It’s an 82 game season, you gotta be consistent,” Green tells me.
“I’ve got to find my rhythm. Find my rhythm back. Do things offensively, defensively to keep this team in the right direction. And I’m trying to get everything going for myself with the team on certain aspects of the game. So it’s still learning and growing. I’m still trying to get back to my normal self and that’s shooting shots and getting better and also trying to be better and do better. We’re not excited and satisfied by one game or 26 games in the season. We’re trying to play April, May and June and being the last team standing.”
Green likes how the Lakers have buit a rapport. “Our locker room and off the court chemistry is probably an A or an A-plus,” he said.
“Everything else is still…defensively sometimes we’re at an A or A-minus or B-plus. Offensively we’re at an A-plus, A-minus maybe. But most times we’re probably at a B offensively and A-minus defensively.”