A/N: This is one of the 3 stories getting updates. It is this one, my Harry Potter story Repeat which already got the first of the 3 updates and my Son of Who Now? story which got the second update. Why those stories? My discord chat voted on them. If you want to see a specific story get an update, join the server and vote. Stuff the ballot box with your burner accounts, I don't care.
Sweat dripped down Naruto's face, his once light gray tank top was now a very dark gray color. He was dribbling the ball with his left hand, tween tween, he took off going right, arriving at the 2nd lowest hash mark before jumping into the air. Palming the basketball, he used his core strength to pull his legs up into the air and twist his body. Avoiding the defender while spinning 180 degrees, he hit his teammate in the corner with a quick pass. Landing out of bounds, he turned around just in time for his teammate to take the shot and see the ball swish through the rim,
"Attaboy P" said Naruto as he dapped up his teammate, the pair of them having just won the scrimmage for their team.
"Nice work Naruto, I don't know when you saw Nick in the corner, but that is the type of playmaking that made you a top two pick" said HC Mike Brown
Naruto smiled at those words and gather around with his teammates as HC Brown give his speech.
"Alright guys, we've had a good preseason. Vets, you've played well. Rooks you've done your job. Kobe has been Kobe" said Mike finishing with a chuckle, "But let's give a round of applause for our 2nd overall pick Naruto"
The gathered Lakers clapped and Naruto had to force the blush that had threatened to pop up on his face.
"Lakers down by 7 to the Thunder" said Mike Breen to JVG
"Nobody bothered to tell Kevin Durant that this is preseason" commented JVG on the broadcast
"Absolutely, he's got 37 already on 17 shots. He's 7 of 10 from the 3 point line. He is scorching the Lakers"
"Lakers are only in this one because Kobe Bryant has a quiet 31 in the game, but nobody else has really come along for the ride with him" said JVG.
"You'd think he's done for the night now tho, he's already played 34 minutes, So who for the Lakers is going to step up for them?" asked Mike Breen
"In this scenario, I would like to see the rookie go out there and show me something?" said JVG
Nick Young inbounds the ball to Naruto, Naruto slowly dribbles it up the court, his eyes scanning the floor, his back straight as he used all 6'4 of his height to look all over the court.
"Gasol sets the screen, Uzumaki rejects it, shoots it from about 27 feet out and BANG! What a shot, cuts the lead down to 4" announces Mike Breen
"I like the aggressiveness" said JVG
Naruto puts his hands out, his large wingspan showcased by this action and he knocks the ball away from a charging Russell Westbrook.
"Uzumaki knocks the ball away from Westbrook, running up the court, Westbrook with the chase down but UZUMAKI SLAMS IT DOWN AND THE FOUL!" screamed Mike Breen
"That is just a mistake, you already coughed up the ball, but to compound it with a foul, this is just sad. Moments like this, make you question the IQ of some of the players" added JVG.
"I agree, this was not a smart series of events by Westbrook, we've questioned his decision making skills in the past, this in particular was not smart as Uzumaki makes the free"
"You think?" asked JVG rhetorically, "37 seconds ago, the Lakers trailed by 7 with 5 minutes to go, now they trail by one with just over 4 minutes left"
Westbrook hit a contested mid range pull up jumper, but Naruto raced down the court, pushing the ball, forcing the defense to collapse.
"Uzumaki picking up the tempo, he blows by Westbrook, Ibaka and Perkins are waiting for him in the paint, he dribbles under the rim and they try to trap him, be flips the ball back out to the top of the key, Nick Young wide open FOR THREEEEEE!" screamed Mike Breen as Naruto danced up the court, celebrating with all of his teammates.
"You cannot teach that type of vision Mike" said JVG
OKC pulled their starters and Naruto led the Lakers to close the game out on a 22-8 run.
He followed that up with a 26 and 11 gem in 30 minutes against the Suns, cooking Steve Nash.
In the last game of the PreSeason, Naruto had a 15/15 game against the New York Knicks where Melo tried to get him to sign to the Jordan Brand, but Naruto wasn't ready to commit to any one shoe brand just yet.
"Since this was the last practice before the regular season starts tomorrow, take it easy and stay safe out there" said HC Brown before they broke the huddle and went their separate ways for the day.
"Aye rook, I am having a dinner at Savoca, come with" said Nick Young, "Imma shower and you let me know if you in or not when I get out"
Naruto nodded, he liked Nick. Nick Young was a weird dude, his self given nickname "Swaggy P" was a testament to that. He was originally going to sign with the 76ers, but during a Seattle Pro-Am run, he and Naruto were teammates. The two of them had put on a show and with Nick getting a hot hand, Naruto kept on feeding him. If assist a guy on 11 of his 15 shots, he's gonna wanna play with you.
So, when his team had mentioned that the Lakers had offered a bit of a soft ball 2 years/ 8 million dollar offer, Nick jumped at the change to simply walk across the halls from the Clippers to the Lakers side.
Naruto shot his free throws as he did at the end of every practice before hopping into the shower, he was gonna be much quicker in the shower than the still singing Nick Young.
At the end, he decided to go with Nick. He dressed and waited for his friend. They climbed into Nick's limo and Nick popped some champagne to celebrate the end of the preseason. One glass, two glasses, three glasses of that before some Jack Daniels came out (personally when I used to drink it, it was always better chilled with some honey missed in but that's just me).
The rest of the night passed in the blink of an eye and Naruto woke up to the pounding of the door. He immediately winced once he opened his eyes and was greeted by the harsh bright LA sun. Cupping his hands around his eyes, he found that he was not in his condo. The Nick Young in his underwear to his right, made it seem like it was maybe Nick's house.
The pounding of the door matched the pounding of his head and Naruto stumbled over to the door and opened it. It revealed a minor Laker's social media assistant.
The smaller black girl in the nice dress with braids looked relieved to see him, "Oh thank God" she muttered.
"Hello Shelby?" guessed Naruto
"It is Shelby" she confirmed, "You and Nick need to be available for the media in less than 1 hour. I have both of your uniforms, thankfully you are together"
Naruto nodded and she shoved a package into his chest, "Get dressed now"
Naruto knew better than to ignore a pissed off woman and instantly was pulling his shirt off, before shimming out of his pants, kicking off his shoes as he did so.
He slipped on his number 17 jersey and pulled on his shorts tying them, he was dressed in less time than it took for Shelby to walk over to Nick and slap him across the face.
Nick woke up and immediately jumped up and ran off into the back of his house, leaving Naruto and Shelby alone in the living room.
"Is he going to be okay?" asked Naruto
"Sadly, he's a dumbass so no" replied Shelby
Nick came back out into the living room less then 10 minutes later, hair dripping water but fully dressed in his 0 Lakers Jersey, a pair of warm up pants over his shorts.
Shelby pushed them out the door and Naruto and Nick climbed into the limo and they made their way towards Staples Center.
Camera flashed and before Naruto could process it, it was ready for tip off against the Mavericks in the home owner.
"Hello, this is Kevin Harlan, joined by his good friend, the Hall of Famer Reggie Miller, coming to you from Staple Center in a high profile game where the Dallas Mavericks come to LA to play the Los Angeles Lakers. Reggie, what are we looking forward to here in this game?" started Harlan
"I think we are looking at the backcourt for the Lakers. Kobe Bryant, the Black Mamba, still as lethal as can be. But the Mamba now has an apprentice, a person to mentor if you will" added Reggie
"Correct, everyone know what Kobe Bryant is going to give you, but this new kid, Naruto Uzuamki, number 17 for the Lakers is quite the prospect. He has vision like some of the most elite Point Guards that we've seen like Magic, like CP3, like a Stockton or a Thomas. But he also is a modern guard like a Steph or a Westbrook where he's looking for his shot as well" continued Herlan
"The Lakers have had some of the best guard play in the history of the game, you start with Jerry West, the logo, and I don't care if you wanna call him a Point Guard or a Shooting Guard, he was great. Then you had Magic, he would hit you with that megawatt smile as he stabbed you in the heart. Then you get to Kobe Bryant, the closest thing we've seen to Jordan" said Reggie
"Absolutely true, you can't have a better family tree of talent than the Los Angeles Lakers" finished Harlan
"All the talent in the world and by bringing in what many are saying is a younger, better, futuristic version of CP3. the Lakers might be looking to get banner number 17 and the 6th of Kobe's career" said Reggie
"Yeah, the Mavericks are in for it today, no Dirk. He's not able to go knee surgery that he had in the off season, but let's get going for tip off" concluded Harlan
Kobe looked at this teammates in the huddle, his eyes sharp and filled with emotion, not anger or sadness, not happiness or joy, but calmness.
"This is it, we worked our asses off all off season for this moment right here. Everyone else in the world wants to see us fail. They want to see us not be ready, they want to tell use that we can't handle the pressure. But they're not us, they don't know shit about us. The Mavs think they can come in here and make us roll over. I say fuck that bullshit. We're going to go out there and impose our will and make sure that at the end of the game, win or lose, they remember playing the Los Angeles Lakers tonight. Let's play hard and win this one"
Kobe speech was fiery and when they broke, the team felt ready.
The starling lineup was Naruto, Kobe, Metta World Peace, Antwan Jamison, and Pau Gasol playing center.
"We have tip off and Gasol manages to win the tip" started Harlan
"Yeah, barely. I love Big Spain's game but he couldn't jump over a phone book" joked Reggie
"Indeed" agreed Harlan before turning his force back towards the game "Naruto scrambles forward to get the ball from Jamison, the young guard is met by the newly acquired Darren Collison at mid court"
"I think that was a decent pick up by the Mavs" stated Reggie, "They've been missing that solid point guard presence since Kidd left in 2012 to go to the Knicks. Dirk, a great a leader as he is, can't handle the ball and make every decision for you at this advanced age"
"You're absolutely right Reggie. Naruto goes between the legs, Jamison sets a screen. Naruto denies it, drifting to his left, feet split apart. Naruto blows past Collison, Brand dropping back to help, Naruto WITH THE LEFT RIGHT EUROSTEP AND HE GOES UP AND UNDER AND WHAT IS THIS? HE KICKED IT OUT TO THE CORNER AND KOBE LINES UP THE 3! GOT IT! NARUTO JUST GIVE YOU A SERIES OF MOVES THAT HIGHTLIGHT EVERY PART OF HIS GAME!"
"You couldn't have said it better my friend. I don't think there is another rookie point guard with this deep of a bag of tricks. The ability to reject the screen, beat your defender, use your footwork to avoid the help defender and then hang in the air for about forever and still make that pass? Is this Magic Johnson in a Naruto Uzumaki jersey?" joked Reggie
"It might be but I never saw Magic jump like that Reggie. Collison is bringing the ball up the court, the Mavs down by two. Collision gets a screen by Brand but Naruto fights through it, Collison with the step back and a foul on Uzumaki" commentated Harlan
"Welcome to the league rookie" joked Reggie
"That was quite the savy vet move by Darren Collison as he marches to the free throw line for 3 free throws" agreed Harlan
"Look at Kobe Kev, he's in the rookies ear. Telling him what to do in that situation. That's what a young kid like him needs" noticed Reggie as Collison makes the first of three free throws.
"You played a long time Reggie, you were a legend in your right. Did you have many moments like that?" asked Harlan
"Once or twice I had to lay into a guy that was actually pretty good Harlan. Al Harrington used to talk so much smack in practice as a rookie. He's this 18 year old rookie, talking to me who was a multiple time All Star at that point in the 1998-1999 season. I tell him to guard me in practice, I put about 26 on his head in our simulated game. He says "If you can only put 26 on me, I don't have much to worry about"
I'm trying to warn him that there are dudes in this league who will put the hurting on you. He waves me off *As Collison hits the 2nd of 3 free throws say Harlan* and says he's gone. His rookie year comes to pass and nobody really has lit him up too much because he doesn't play more than 25 games. Rookies didn't play much, the next year is a little better but he's still coming off the bench and we went to the finals so you know Bird wasn't about to play the young guy.
Enter November of 2000, his 3rd season in the league. He gets an early season start as the Lakers come to see us. I hug Kobe and Shaq, telling them that they got lucky in the finals all that stuff. Al says that he's checking Kobe and I try to tell warn him that Kobe is not someone you want to give any fuel too.
We go to check into the game during the beginning and Al says something to Kobe who scoffs and shakes his head. Kobe comes over to me and says "He's a little slow huh"
I say "Give it to him"
Kobe goes off for 37 in 30 minutes, hit every shot with Al guarding him and had took the ball 4 different times from Al. Al looks at me at end of the game and says "Imma shut up now" and I was like I told ya"
"Collison knocks down the third free throw and Jamison throws it in to Naruto who throws it ahead to Kobe. Kobe on the wing, jab step, the ball goes between his legs. He keeps the dribble alive as he spins from the left wing down into the post. OJ Mayo on him, Kobe leans into him. Pump fake, Kobe got him in the air and it's gonna be two free throws for Bryant"
The game started to pick up after that with the Mavs benching Brandon Wright for Vince Carter and putting Elton Brand at the center position. Naruto had yet to take a shot, but had 5 assists, 2 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 block at the end of the first quarter with the score being 29 to 26 in favor of the Lakers with Kobe scoring 13 of the 29.
Naruto started the 2nd quarter on the bench and Mike Brown was giving him instructions, providing him with insights on how they were guarding him. But the Lakers bench really only had 1 scoring option in Nick Young as Jodie Meeks and Steve Blake was in street clothes. So Nick Young, Chris Huhon, Devin Ebanks, Robert Sacre, and Jordan Hill marched out onto the court and got their asses run off the court. What was a 3 point lead disappeared on the first possession. Without a real NBA Point Guard, Nick was forced into ball handling duties. He could get a shot, but he didn't know the sets nor the timing of most of plays.
The Mavs small ball line up of Wings and Wright hit a 3, then got a dunk, then hit another 3. Time out by Mike Brown. Nick Young hits a 25 foot prayer, but the Mavs find Crowder in the corner and get the 3 back. Lakers turnover into a Vince Carter 3. Dahtay Jones stole the ball from Duhon and Mike Brown is forced to call a timeout with his team down 10 with 7 mins left in the 2nd quarter.
Brown grabs Naruto's jersey and pulls him close, "Be aggressive son" before shoving him away.
Naruto, Kobe, Nick, Jamison, and Gasol walked back out onto the court to face Vince Carter, Collison, Elton Brand, Dahtay Jones, and Shawn Marion.
Naruto was dribbling, his eyes bouncing around the court when he noticed that Collison was near the free throw line, while he was about 30 feet out. That is a large cushion.
Smirking, Naruto took a hard dribble, one step in and launched a 27 foot 3 that swished in. Winking at Collison who shook his head in disbelief as he ran back to get the inbound pass. Kobe yelled out a code for them and they pushed up into a high ball pressure half court defensive set.
The ball swung and swung, but with the strict man and no switching defense, the Mavs were forced into a contested mid range shot that Gasol rebounded and passed to Kobe. Nick ran into the left corner and Naruto stopped at half court waiting for the ball. Kobe snapped twice and Naruto nodded as he took an off ball screen by Jamison and cut to the rim from the right side of the court.
Jumping high into the air, Naruto knew that he wasn't going to dunk on Elton Brand's waiting for, so he threw the ball with all his might at Nick's chest and landed in time to watch the ball swish through the net.
Getting back on defense, Naruto stole the ball from Collison as he tried to use his left hand to call out some kind of play. He was off to the races when he took off for a dunk when a pair of hands shoved him from behind. He lost all control of his balance in the air and he felt himself tilt forward and his head crashed into the padded base of the basketball hoop.
Ignoring the slight throbbing coming from his head, Naruto climbed up to his feet and looked at Dahtay Jones who had his hand in the air as he claimed that he committed the foul.
Naruto glared at the man and walked right up to him.
"What the fuck is your problem?" growled Naruto
"Shut up rookie" spat Dahtay at Naruto as the refs started to realize that something was wrong.
Naruto shoved him in the chest and Jones immediately fell to the ground, causing the ref to blow a whistle and Naruto grabbed his long spike locks of hair and screamed in frustration.
As he turned to walk back to his bench as the refs continued to review the shove in the back for a flagrant foul, now adding in Naruto's shove, Jones kicked out his leg and tripped Naruto.
Naruto felt a flash of pain explode from inside of his ankle as he landed on the ground and Dahtay blew him a kiss as he stood over him. Which is when things went from bad to worse.
Nick Young was a crazy guy and Naruto would always love him for that because he ran across the court and shoved Jones away from Naruto's form. Brand tried to separate the two of them but Nick pushed him away too. Jamison was quick to join Nick in defending Naruto's prone from on the ground as he grasped at his ankle.
"Watch your fucking hands Nick" snarled Brand
"Tell that dirty ass bitch to keep his fucking hands to himself" yelled Nick, "Everyone knows that he's fucking trash, he can't shit out here on the court but play dirty and hurt people"
Jones started trying to fight through Brand and Vince Carter get at Nick who reached in and pushed him away by his face. The trio of refs rushed in to break it up, but the damage was done and everyone knew it.
Walking back to the Lakers' bench with a little discomfort, Brown shoved Naruto into one of the chairs and called the medical staff over to look at his ankle.
"How you doing?" asked Brown
"I fucked up" whispered Naruto
"No you didn't, that was a dirty play by a dirty player" retorted Brown as the team's doctors pulled off his shoe and started rubbing and feeling on his ankle. They had him rotate his ankles and he looked up at the jumbotron to see them replaying the shove in the back that caused him to hit his head, his pushing off Jones, Jones tripping him and eventually the scuffle between Nick and Dahtay Jones.
His ankle was fine, they rewrapped it and he couldn't tell that it had ever hurt. Kobe came over and rubbed him on his head.
"After review, it was determined that Dallas Number 30 Dahtay Jones committed a flagrant penalty 2 foul. He has been ejected and a technical foul has also been assessed to him as well for tripping Lakers' 17 Naruto Uzumaki. The Laker's 0 Nick Young has been given a technical foul, he has disqualified from the game. Lakers' 17 Naruto Uzumaki has also been given a technical foul .The technical fouls offset, 17 will shoot 2 free throws"
The Lakers blew the Mavs out finishing 114 to 90, Naruto finished with 19 points, 12 assists, 5 rebounds, 3 steals on 55 (6/11 shooting 2/4 from 3, 5/5 on Free Throws) and Kobe's monster 36 point night.
But it was overshadowed by what happened in the 2nd quarter. Naruto didn't go out with anyone to celebrate their first win of the season. He sent Nick a text saying he would pay the fine, and took the drive home in silence, grabbed an overnight back and took the car to the airport where his team would departing for their game against Dame and the Blazers the next night.
"Good morning, my name is Cari Champion, to my right is Skip Bayless and to my left is Stephen A Smith. This is First Take and I want to start with what happened in Staples Center. If you missed the game, don't let the final score fool you. This was actually a closely fought and nip and tuck game until the end of 3rd quarter when Kobe scored 11 straight to seal the deal.
But speaking about fights, let's talk about the scuffle between Dahtay Jones, Nick Young, and of course, Young Rookie Naruto Uzumaki. Gentlemen, this is something, nothing, or a whole different issue"
Stephen A smiled brightly "I love love love when I AM RIGHT! Before the draft, I said this kid is problem. I said I had questions about him and everyone said I was wrong to worry about him. He has barely dribbled the ball in the NBA and he's fights. I thought that he would LEARN something going to an organization like the Lakers. But I was wrong, he's a PROBLEM!"
Skip made a face of wild disbelief "I must need a new TV because see what actually happened Stephen A. I know you glasses, were you wearing them last night? Because we have the footage and if you look at it with me, you'll see the young kid Naruto make a good defensive play. He caught Collison napping and is on the break and WHAT HAPPENS?! DAHTAY JONES TAKES HIM OUT THE AIR WITH ONE OF THE DIRTIEST PLAYS IN THE MODERN NBA!"
Stephen A rolled his eyes at Skip
"Stephen A, you forget that this is not the 90's the league is soft now. This isn't Jordan going against the Badboy Pistons who wanted to rough him up. David Stern has said "No, NO NO" to these types of plays in the last couple of years"
"Nobody is saying that the play was acceptable Skip, but the kid shoved him back. You can't do that"
"You wanted a 20 year old kid who barely has his diapers off to hold his cool in his first NBA on a play where he flipped and hit his head?" asked Skip
Cari cut in "We actually are being joined by a player from the Lakers this morning"
The split screen showing Skip and Stephen A turned into a trio of equally sized rectangles and it showed that Kobe Bryant had joined the show.
"Good morning guys" said Kobe in a lazy manner
"Good morning Mr. Bryant, how are you doing this morning?" asked Skip, who quickly added "Big big fan"
"I appreciate that, I'm doing well for having to put up with this BS" replied Kobe with a tired smile, "It's like 4 AM here"
"What BS are you talking about Kobe? The behavior of your teammate?" questioned Stephen A
"Nope" said Kobe with a pop on the 'P', "I'm talking about the terrible journalism that you're doing on my rookie. I've know you a long time Stephen A, you were coming up when I was in HS back in Philly. Why are you doing this?"
"Doing what?" asked Stephen A Smith with a bewildered look on his face, "I am simply reporting the facts"
"What facts?" asked Kobe, "The face that when Naruto was younger he was a dumb kid. Congrats on judging a young man on things that are older than my contract"
"So you don't see anything wrong with what happened last night?" asked Skip, "Because Stephen A is blaming your teammate"
"For what?" asked Kobe with a face of surprise, "For getting pushed in the back. Everyone knows what DJ is there to do in Dallas, play defense and be tough. He tried and failed"
"You don't think Naruto Uzumaki should have been able to keep his cool better? Because in case you missed it, he started a fight last night" said Stephen A
"No, he got pushed from behind. If someone had pushed you like that, would you have kept your cool?" asked Kobe, "He's 20. He's young and will understand that the checkbook isn't unlimited like he thinks. In case you missed it, he 19 and 12 last night. He helped us win the game, as long as he does that, I don't care what he did at 12"
"I agree Kobe" said Skip, "How far do you think the Lakers can go this year?"
Kobe sucked in some air, "We can win it all this year. We have great bench players and once we get Blake and Meeks back, it might be the best bench in the league. We got the best Rookie in the league, we got about five or six legit defenders. And we got myself"
He finished with a chuckle and Skip said "I agree, 19 and 12 is a big deal for a first game. Young Naruto did not look afraid of the moment and when push came to shove, he did not back down. He has some dog in him and you need that at position at that size. Although at 6'4, he's a little bigger than most"
Stephen A sighed "I don't believe in him, I don't believe in the Lakers. The Spurs are here still, the Mavs will get back Dirk at some point, Houston has Harden and some pieces. OKC just went to the finals last year, they're still here. The Clippers got CP3 and Blake Griffin. How can you say you're better than that?"
"Because we are" replied Kobe simply, "Pau and I were enough to get to the finals three straight years with a decent supporting case. We just added a young star to Pau and myself. We still got Metta, we added Nick and Jamison. We have offense and defense"
"I'm not doubting you, I'm doubting your costar, your backcourt mate" said Stephen A
"Then you can read his name off the banner we're going to hang around this time next year" promised Kobe
A/N: Another chapter in the books. I wrote most of this today on June 6, 2022. Hope y'all liked it. I threw in the fight/scuffle because it fits the narrative following Naruto. Kobe used to go up to bat for guys like Kwame Brown and Smush Parker saying they were getting unneeded hate as well as defending Bynum in interviews, I like to imagine he would stick up for a guy like Naruto.
As always feel free to me up on here with a PM or Review, message or follow me on Twitter at HKM_FF. Or join my discord Server, using e9BvtG6K as the invite code.
Naruto Uzumaki: 80 Overall. Offense 86, Defense 77, Potential 99, Intangibles 99.
Highest Attribute Passing 90
Lowest Attribute Block 40
Finishing - Driving Layup 75, Driving Dunk 70, Standing Dunk 45, Post Hook 35
Shooting- Close 74, Mid 88, 3 Point 86, Free Throw 86
Playmaking- Passing 90, Ball Handing 82, Post Control 55
Defense- Interior Defense 46, Perimeter Defense 79, Lateral Quickness 77, Steal 80, Block 40, Offensive Rebounding 50, Defensive Rebounding 69
Gold- Dimer, Floor General, Bail Out, and Needle Threader
Silver- Catch and Shoot, Acrobat, and Limitless Spot up.
Bronze-Bullet Passer, Chef, Green Machine, Corner Specialist
Until Next Time, HighKey_Mars Out