OTR Exclusive: Former Lakers scout Bonnie-Jill Laflin
Bonnie-Jill Laflin is a former scout for the Los Angeles Lakers who was/is the first female NBA scout in history. In short, she knows her stuff. She’s gone into the media and is no longer a scout for them, but she remains with the team in a consulting role. OTR was lucky enough to chat with her recently, and we got a chance to talk some hoops. So, let’s talk to Bonnie-Jill:
Micah: I have to ask you about this because we do have a lot of Philadelphia fans that read our site…
Bonnie-Jill: Oh really? So we’re going to talk about Andrew Bynum.
Micah: You know what we’re talking about! What is the deal? Can you give us any insight? Were you guys aware that these injuries were mounting up?
Bonnie-Jill: Well, it’s kind of funny because you hear now that the GM and coach said that the MRI’s and the tests that they are getting back are completely different than the tests that they first got when they were looking to trade him and get him. It’s funny because I don’t think Mitch Kupchak of the Lakers knew about the current injuries he has, but he’s always had…I hate to say this but I always called him “Mr. Glass” because he always has injury after injury. He’s one of those dominant centers, but there is always an “if he’s healthy,” you know.
Now, people think he doesn’t have a great work ethic or that he doesn’t rehab or that he doesn’t want to get back on the court. It’s the fact that he’s still a kid and he didn’t go to college and so he’s still like a kid that didn’t grow up. But, he is one of those players that wants to be on the court. He wants to play. He just has a lot of injuries and I think that’s frustrating for him. I know Philadelphia just hopes for the best because he will completely change things if he’s there because he is so dominant in the paint.
Micah: What is your take with your time around Andrew Bynum? You think he’s really a hard worker who really does care?
Bonnie-Jill: Yeah, I do. I think there are times when some of the off-the-court stuff comes into play and people think he doesn’t have the passion for the game. But, he does. But I know, you know, there were times when he was with the Lakers that he didn’t want to use our rehab guy, he wanted to use another guy. And people said maybe it would have taken a shorter time to get back if he had used our guy. So he’s funny about who he uses, but I know he wants to be back out on the court. He’s frustrated with the injuries and wants to be back out there, he’s a competitor.
Micah: And he’s in a contract year, so if he doesn’t want to be out there he should find a new line of work.
Bonnie-Jill: Yeah, it’s just funny. You look at these centers and there are so many that they can never stay healthy.
Micah: Another Sixers question because this is what people have talked about out here this year and I know you saw him at UCLA. Is Jrue Holiday becoming a legitimate superstar?
Bonnie-Jill: I think he is. It’s funny because I have a radio show where I do fantasy basketball and you know what our recent question was? Is Jrue Holiday legit and is he an all-star? I think he’s pretty legit. He can block and grab some boards, so I do like him. He’s becoming an elite guard, he really is.
Micah: And a more serious question, doesn’t Jrue look like Kenny from “The Cosby Show?”
Bonnie-Jill: [laughs] Oh my gosh! He does! It’s his eyes! That is hilarious. That is so funny.
Micah: Now, regardless of what they’ve gotten out of Bynum, that day of the trade was still Christmas for me because they got rid of Andre Iguodala. Can you give me your thoughts on Iggie?
Bonnie-Jill: Well, he’s struggling. He was on our “hot and not” list and he made our “not” list. Very good on Philadelphia’s end to get rid of him. It was very much time for him to go. He has not been doing well, he’s been slumping. He has not looked good at all.
Micah: Why should we believe this Laker team is going to turn it around?
Bonnie-Jill: First of all, let’s talk about the fact that people think Steve Nash is going to come in and be the almighty and solve all the problems that the Lakers are having. As we all know, he’s not a young pup. His presence on the court will help the guys, but he’s not going to solve all of their problems. Out here in L.A., Micah, that’s all they talk about. “We just need Steve Nash back! We just need Steve Nash back!” That’s not the answer.
Poor Kobe he just can’t have all the weight on his shoulders like he has in the past. He’s been scoring out of his mind this season and they can’t get a win. Dwight Howard can’t make a shot at the line. Pau isn’t a part of D’Antoni’s offense. He’s frustrated. We don’t have a deep bench…it’s a mess, I’m going to be honest with you.
Micah: What’s your take on how Dwight Howard is fitting in?
Bonnie-Jill: He’s not fitting in. He’s had three coaches since he’s been here. That’s frustrating. All different offenses. It’s hard to get used to what’s going on, there is no consistency. I think he’s going to say “get me out of here.” The way he is, you never know, he could demand a trade during the season. Any sport is mental and all of these guys are mentally not there. Kobe can only do so much. So, what’s the answer?
Micah: Okay, if you could have one player in the league you could start a team with, who would it be?
Bonnie-Jill: Kobe. Yeah, the Black Mamba. Even though he’s getting older, he’s just…that guy’s work ethic. Even after the players have all left the gym, he’s still there. He’s the first person in the gym. Even after games that they lose at Staples, he’ll be out there shooting. He’s a gym rat. You can never say that that guy doesn’t live and breathe basketball.
Bonnie-Jill also took our Quick Questions, you can read that here. Follow her on Twitter @BJLaflin