Heading into training camp, the Lakers have fourteen players under a guaranteed contract or universally expected to start the season under a partially guaranteed deal. The NBA allows a maximum of fifteen players per roster. I was a rather shoddy math student in high school, but even I can figure out that means one spot and one spot only remains for the taking (assuming the Lakers don't open with fourteen fellas, as Mitch Kupchak has indicated could be possible). Obviously, things can change as we see more preseason action, but for now, the "inside track" money would likely be on second year player Coby Karl. But don't tell him that. Even while acknowledging how last season's team opened with a stuffed roster and had only thirteen by mid-season, he's treating the situation as one slot doesn't fit all. "My mindset is that I have to make sure that I'm on the team and show them that I belong here." How to make that notion crystal clear? Do everything "a championship caliber team does," from playing D to rebounding to mirroring the team-wide professionalism Karl watched and learned from as a rook mostly on the bench.
I got a few minutes with Karl, who also included some good stuff about Derek Fisher's fourth quarter defense, which he considers top drawer. Here's what he had to say.
Listen here: http://lakersblog.la...day_9.29.08.mp3