The hair remains long and flowing. The confidence, both in himself and his team, could also be described in similar fashion. But that doesn't mean Sasha Vujacic has put last year's Finals loss permanently in the rear view mirror. Quite the opposite, in fact. I personally didn't hear another Laker mention a bitter taste lingering than The Face, who admitted his mouth will remain an unappetizing flavor until the Lakers walk away with next season's title. The word "terrible" often popped up and while most people blamed this year's mellow Media Day scene on Kobe's happiness and optimism heading into the season, Vujacic felt it could be the team's current "bridesmaid" status. "That's why it's so quiet. We don't have anything to celebrate (yet)."
But I don't want to paint Slovenia's Favorite Son as all doom and gloom. The Machine was happy with his offseason work, which stressed both defensive improvement and adding muscle without losing quickness (for what it's worth, he did look slightly thicker). And he definitely liked the idea of entering the season as a favorite. "The whole mindset, the whole thing about the Lakers is that last year, we were sort of running after the championship. Now we are contenders. That's the good thing about it going into the season. No surprises. Just being where we want to be." Sasha also had some nice words about his buddy and former next door neighbor (in the locker room, not real life) Ronny Turiaf, who took his spirited act up North. "Not having him with us or on the sidelines dancing. We're gonna miss him. It's hard to replace that, because he was Mr. Energy."
Listen here: http://lakersblog.la...day_9.28.08.mp3