“It didn’t make any sense,” Bryant said. “You want the kid to go to college, and some players go to college for four years and don’t learn anything about the game whatsoever and get a degree in geography. What does that do?”The Lakers drafted D’Angelo Russell at No. 2 last summer after he played one season at Ohio State. The Lakers selected Julius Randle at No. 7 in 2014 after playing one year at Kentucky. Though both players represent the team’s future, they have experienced learning curves.Russell had 11 points on 5-of-10 shooting and zero assists in 22 minutes before leaving midway through the third quarter because of a bruised left shin. The injury happened with nearly a minute left in the second quarter after Russell collided with JaMychal Green. The Lakers list him as questionable for Wednesday’s game in Phoenix. “It hurts a lot,” Russell said. “Obviously I could play. I was playing. But I didn’t think it was smart. I couldn’t move the way I wanted to move. So I called it quits.”Meanwhile, Randle had 11 points, 12 rebounds and a career-high five assists, marking his 30th double-double. Jordan Clarkson, who played three years in college, had 22 points on 8 of 13 shooting after spending the past four games shooting a combined 15-of-57 from the field.“I’m just letting the shots find me,” Clarkson said. “I feel like I took a couple of bad shots, but not as many as I’ve been taking the last games. I really felt balanced and really concentrated on my footwork.”Nonetheless, Silver reiterated he would prefer the NBA require players to spend at least two years in college. “We’d rather these young men spend two years out of high school rather than one,” Silver said. “We feel that these players are better off having more time developing as players before they enteer this league. The more we study the wear and tear on their bodies, we’re now seeing new types of injuries in young players that we used to see when they were much older. I think there needs to be more of a holistic response to this. It isn’t just about whether the minimum age should be 19 vs. 20.”And yet. …“It’s an incredibly complicated issue,” Silver said. “There’s all kinds of life factors for the players that they need to balance.”Bryant believes he has the solutions to find that balance.“We have to do a much better job of educating our young players and how to think about the game and how to play the game the right way,” Bryant said. “A lot of the kids are going to college and not really learning those basics, how to process games or watch game film. It’s our responsibility to teach. The old adage is that you come to the pros and you have to be ready and you’re a professional. That’s a load of crap. The learning should never stop when you’re in college or in the pros. We have to do a much better job teaching them.”Silver also wants a better balance in the draft lottery to discourage teams from losing. But that has been put on hold amid an increased salary cap (from $67.1 million to $89 million). With the NBA’s second-worst record, the Lakers (15-55) have a 55.8 percent chance of retaining their Top 3 pick. But the Lakers will also have up to $60 million in cap space. “I have complete confidence in Jeanie Buss,” Silver said of the Lakers’ president. “I know they will return to be a competitive team. But I’m not more concerned about the Lakers than any other team.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error The man represented one of many Kobe Bryant fans that flew cross country to see him play for one last time. Fortunately for NBA commissioner Adam Silver, he did not have to experience the disappointment many felt in recent days when Bryant sat with right shoulder soreness. So after gushing about Staples Center being the host of the NBA All-Star Game, Silver witnessed something just as exciting.• PHOTOS: Kobe Bryant scores 20 as Lakers beat Memphis 107-100The Lakers secured a 107-100 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday at Staples Center partly because of Bryant’s heroics. He finished with 20 points on a 7-of-18 clip in 30 minutes before sitting out the final 4:20 both for rest and team development purposes. Bryant went 6 of 11 from the field after missing six of his first seven shots. Bryant also looked spry after sitting six of the past 10 games, including two games last week that allowed him for rest for eight days. Bryant added he “absolutely” will play when the Lakers (15-55) visit the Phoenix Suns (19-51) on Wednesday at Talking Stick Resort Arena.“My shoulder feels great,” Bryant said. “It feels fine. I didn’t have any aches and pains. I could move freely.”Silver described Bryant’s farewell tour as a “classy way” to conclude a 20-year NBA career that Silver said will end as Bryant representing “one of our greatest players ever.” But Silver marveled more about what stage Bryant will perform after doing it so many times on the court. “He’s filled with ideas with how he would like to partner to the league and give back,” Silver said. “He’s very focused on developing young players.”Silver reported that Bryant “almost exclusively” spent recent conversations with him addressing an issue that has indirectly affected the Lakers this year. After jumping from high school to the NBA in 1996, Bryant has brought up the NBA’s rule that requires players to complete at least one year of college or overseas before entering the NBA.
Answer: Yes. The Wildcats played a difficult schedule in an effort to be better prepared for this stage of the season. Victories in 23 of 24 games indicates this team, led by Justin Cook, is ready to take the next step. They were awared the second seed and it appears as if third-seeded Cathedral City and top-seeded Serrano of Phelan are the only teams standing in the way of that elusive championship. 5. Which underrated player from the area has the opportunity to make a name for himself in the playoffs, perhaps attract the interest of a potential Division I college program? Answer: Knight of Palmdale’s Hassan Stephens. The 6-foot-5 senior wing averaged 13.5 points and 6.2 rebounds per game for Hawks during the regular season, but showed the ability to take over games at times despite the modest numbers. He’s not being heavily recruited at this stage. In fact, only a couple of local junior colleges have expressed interest thus far. All that could change, though, especially if Stephens is productive throughout the Div. II-A playoffs. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Keep in mind, it’s not as if there are inferior programs in the 32-team field. In fact, Price of Los Angeles and La Canada are very good. The Vikings, however, are much better. Jrue and Justin Holiday, Robert Ford and company are in a class of their own. Don’t be surprised to see Campbell Hall make a run at the Div. IV state title. 3. Which area team is poised to play the role of Cinderella and make an unexpected run in the postseason? Answer: Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks. Sure, the Knights are competing against the best of the best in Southern Section Div. I-AA, where powerhouses Mater Dei of Santa Ana, Artesia of Lakewod, Compton and Compton Dominguez reside. But Notre Dame has some talented individuals, led by Pierce Brooks and Mike Stanton. This group can pull off an upset or two before a possible semifinal meeting with Artesia. 4. Despite playing in relative obscurity in recent years, tiny Renassaince Academy of La Canada Flintridge advanced to consecutive Southern Section Div. V-A championship games. The Wildcats made the jump and moved up to Div. III-A this season as a result of their success. Can they manage to finally win the big game, in a much tougher division, no less? 2. Is there any team in the Southern Section capable of stopping Campbell Hall of North Hollywood from claiming the Div. III-AA title? Answer: Nope. No way. No how. No chance. 1. How has the dynamic changed in the City Section Championship playoffs since Taft of Woodland Hills was ruled ineligible for postseason play after using two ineligible players during the regular season? Answer: Things aren’t much different. Larry Drew and the Toreadors were expected to make some noise, possibly advancing to the semifinals before running into top-seeded Fairfax or second-seeded Westchester. Poly of Sun Valley and Sylmar could still open some eyes, but ultimately Fairfax and standout Chace Stanback, bound for UCLA, figure to be too tough, and champions in the end.