After 82 painful games, the Los Angeles Lakers brought out the final 10 players for exit interviews. After finishing as the worst team in franchise history on Wednesday night, players met with general manager Mitch Kupchak and coach Byron Scott one last time before being discharged for the summer.
First up, Carlos Boozer sat down and hinted that he may not return because his primary focus was winning a championship ring. The Lakers finished fourth from the bottom in 2014/15, so Boozer explained that he would only be interested in returning to LA if the team looked like it would be contending in a hurry. Then, the forward went into a detailed explanation of his favorite phrase "Hold Dat." The best description for Boozer's explanation would be that the phrase serves as a way to brag about anything.
After Boozer, Wesley Johnson came next. Johnson said he would definitely like to return regardless of whether or not the Lakers looked like contenders. For Johnson, the last two historically bad seasons had provided the forward the goal of helping turn around the team. His personal attachment to the team trumped the desire to start fresh in a new environment.
Following Johnson, Robert Sacre came into the room and provided his usual laughs. The highlight of the interview featured a detailed definition of a mythical Canadian Sasquatch. Needless to say, Sacre left his conference feeling up beat.
Ed Davis would be the next man to the microphone, and the former University of North Carolina Tar Heel mentioned free throws as an area of improvement multiple times. He shot 48.7 percent for the season from the line, so the forward could probably do with some extra time at the line this summer.
Following Davis, Ryan Kelly sat down in front of the camera and spoke about his sacrifice for the team in terms of playing out of position. The Lakers had plenty of size, so Kelly often played as the small forward. In the interview, however, the former Duke Blue Devil made it clear that he would train to play stretch-four over the summer. In particular, Kelly said that he would work on improving his shot from distance. Also, he would be weary of over training, as he thought his early season hamstring injuries may have been the effects of over-training last summer.
After Kelly, Jordan Hill entered the room and said Kupchak and Scott had both expressed disappointment in the forward's inability to sustain a strong start to the season. Hill agreed with his coach and GM, and that drop-off may well be the difference between the Lakers exercising their $9 million team option on the power forward or not. For Hill, his offseason focus was to diet and exercise to take care of his body and sustain his high energy style of play for the duration of the season.
Next, Jordan Clarkson answered questions and revealed that he used his no. 46 pick status as added motivation. The 22-year-old said he had watched the entire 2015 NBA Draft eight to 10 times during the season as a source of motivation. Clarkson also spoke about his experiences with Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash. The rookie equated Bryant's view to the game as "solving a math problem" and said he expected to spend more time with Nash in one-on-one sessions over the summer. Clarkson's primary goals for the offseason were to add bulk and improve his on-court leadership skills. In terms of players to watch, Clarkson pointed to Chris Paul of the Clippers as a player he would study closely to become a better leader.
Next, the trio of colorful players stepped into the room one-by-one: Tarik Black, Jabari Brown and Vander Blue. Black went first and spoke in eloquent fashion, as he discussed expanding his game, playing as a power forward and completing his masters in black studies. Brown went next and sounded optimistic about his future with the team and in the league. Blue wrapped up the players' segment of the meetings with his story of his short time with the Lakers.
Blue said he signed his contract at the gate of the airport and did not have the opportunity to warm up because he was undergoing a physical. Next thing he knew, Blue played 26 minutes with a team he had not been a part of for the first 80 games of the season. Two nights later, the 22-year-old was starting for the Lakers in their season finale and played all 48 minutes because the Lakers did not have any guards available on the bench. He was named in-arena play of the game and finished with 15 points, eight assists and seven rebounds.
The trio of colorful players expects to take part in the NBA Summer League team, along with Clarkson, and the point guard said his goal was to bring home a Summer League championship.