By the time the NBA draft ended â€” when Portland couldnâ€™t find any more dance partners and Steven A. Smith was forced to shut up because the cameras were turned off â€” the Lakers ended up doing well in my mind with Jordan Farmar, a trade for veteran Maurice Evans and J.R., err, Danilo Pinnock.
Maurice Evans: Letâ€™s start with Evans, because he could pitch in more than the others next season and was a steal for Cheick Samb, who likely will never amount to much, if anything, in the NBA (sorry to our readers from Senegal). Evans is a three-season NBA vet who spent last year in Detroit. Last season Evans, playing mostly the two but also some three, had a PER of 14.1, shot 37.1% from three point range and had a true shooting percentage (think points per shot attempt) of 54.5%, all solid numbers. Also last season he played good defense, allowing opposing two-guards to shoot 49.4% and with a PER of 15.8 (just slightly above the league average).
His offensive game in Detroit fit the triangle â€” he got 32% of his offense on spot-up jumpers, shooting a very good 64% (eFG%) when unguarded and a good 43.4% when covered. His overall shooting on the catch-and-shoot was a very good 50.2%. Another 18.5% of his offense came in transition and, in a very good sign for a guard, 12% of his offense came on offensive rebounds. Overall he grabbed 8.5% of the available rebounds last season (and 9.1% the season before), which is fantastic for a guard.
The down side is that he has never been in the positive of a +/-, he was -8.4 per 48 minutes last season and -4.4 the season before in Sacramento. In the California state capital opponents he covered shot 50.1% and had a PER of 17.9. One good sign is that each of his three seasons in the NBA both is his offensive and defensive numbers have improved.
My early guess is that he is Kobeâ€™s new backup, filling the Aaron McKie/Laron Proffit role, but Evans is younger and less likely to break down. If he can give the Lakers 15 solid minutes a night off the bench that would be a plus.
Update: Here’s a little something on why Evans wanted out of Detroit, complete with a consipiracy theory that is not all that far fetched. If it’s true, thank you TZ! (Link via True Hoop.)
Jordan Farmar: This is one guy who has generated a fair amount of debate on this site, with some people being his fans while others of us were in the â€œgood player but bad fitâ€ camp.
Iâ€™m not sure what I can say about him that wasnâ€™t covered by myself and others here. He is a guy who can play point in the league. I didnâ€™t think of him as an explosive athlete, then he goes to the combine and shows a 42-inch vertical. He needs polish, and as much as I think Smush is a backup guard on a good team Farmar is not ready to step in and start. Rather, the Lakers will still be looking for a guard (Banks/James/Jackson) and Smush will be the number two, which could mean limited minutes for Farmar. He can play his way into minutes with good defense and the kind of smart basketball that Luke Walton displays.
Update: Jones on the NBA has more Farmar stories.
Danilo (J.R.) Pinnock: Heâ€™s strong and tall for a guard â€“ 6-4, 204. Apparently the George Washington junior had a great pre-draft camp in Orlando. Heâ€™s got an NBA body and is a member of the Panamanian national team. Heâ€™s got a good story, you can learn more about him here (thanks Gatinho for the link). Considered very quick with a good first step and can dunk with authority â€” he had an eFG% of 52.2% and an offensive rating of 111.3 (points per 100 possessions) at GW, both good numbers. The downside is he gets all that going to the rim, his outside shooting is suspect as evidenced by the fact he shot just 27.5% from three the last two years. Not sure how well that fits with the triangle offense, but hopefully weâ€™ll find out in the summer league.