The Lakers say they don't haze any of their players, and no, Kobe Bryant's expletives and death stares don't count.
Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni confirmed the NBA recently sent a memo to all 30 teams warning about hazing amid the Miami Dolphins' bullying scandal.
"We will watch," D'Antoni said. "That's a thing not to fool with. I'm sure every coach says it doesn't happen here. I would hope that we're smart enough that it doesn't happen here."
Rookies Ryan Kelly and Elias Harris said the team hasn't addressed the issue internally. But they describe their rookie duties as harmless, ranging from carrying teammates' bags, putting balls back on the rack and picking up towels.
That appears to be a far cry from Dolphins right tackle Jonathan Martin leaving the team last week amid accusations that lineman Richie Incognito harassed him, including a racially charged voice message.
"The stuff we do builds team chemistry and makes the team stronger," said Harris, who signed with the Lakers this offseason after going undrafted. "If you're talking about the team down in Miami, that's a different story. That took it too far. That doesn't build team chemistry. That separates a team."
Return of the Bench Mob?
After ranking 28th out of 30 NBA teams as a unit last season, the Lakers' reserves lead in the league in points (57.8), efficiency (58.1) and minutes (24.7).
If only the Lakers' starting lineup that features two future Hall of Famers could keep up with them. With an injured Kobe Bryant, a limited Steve Nash and an underachieving Pau Gasol, the Lakers' starting lineup has ranked last out of 30 NBA teams in several categories, including points (45.4), efficiency (45.6) and minutes (23.3).
"Mike goes with the guys that are hotter out there and sticks with them," Gasol said before the Lakers hosted Minnesota on Sunday at Staples Center. "It's got to be a balance. It's not about who scores more, (it's about) who is more effective."
Notable contributors include Jodie Meeks (averaging team-leading 12.3 points on a 48.4 clip from three-point range), Xavier Henry (10.1), and Jordan Farmar (10.3 points). Gasol (35.2 percent) and Nash (27.9 percent) have become a weak link.
"They just have played better. They're also playing against second-line guys," D'Antoni said of his bench. "I'm sure the starters would love to play the second group."
Odd man out
With the Lakers fielding a big lineup featuring Gasol and Chris Kaman, where does that leave Shawne Williams?
"A lot of 'Hey! Let's go,'" D'Antoni said. "He hasn't played so I don't know what else."
Williams played against Minnesota after Wesley Johnson picked up two early fouls. Williams averaged only 3.2 points on 35.3 percent shooting in 13.6 minutes through five games before missing the next two.
"He doesn't have to explain anything," Williams said. "I just have to be a pro and stay with it."