Summer League — game one

Kurt —  July 9, 2006

One game is not nearly enough to really judge a player or draw sweeping conclusions. So don’t read too much into the notes and comments on the first Summer Pro League game for the Lakers in Long Beach today. For the record, the Grizzlies won 89-87, but really, wins and losses are moot in a league all about player development.

By the way, these are Laker-centric notes. Later in the week I’ll post some thoughts on the other guys I’m seeing over at True Hoop, where I’m one of the guest bloggers for the week. One of the bummers was that neither Rudy Gay nor Kyle Lowry played for Memphis.

Jordan Farmar: He was as advertised — a real leader, quick, plays solid defense and needing to work on his long range shooting, but he had as good an outing as you can expect from a 19-year-old rookie thrown in to run the triangle. He finished with a team-high 17 points and was 5 of 6 inside the arc but 0 of 3 from beyond it. By the end of the game Memphis defenders were playing off him and letting him have the long jumper and Farmar became hesitant to shoot it. (This is something that can be worked on, particularly in the triangle where you know you’ll get your threes in specific spots.) His mid-range shooting is good. He got into the lane well and got to the line for nine free throws (hitting 7), and one thing he does quite well is draw the contact and still get off a controlled shot (he had one right in front of me where Farmar drove into the defender, got the whistle then leapt back for a fade-away he hit). Maybe the thing I noticed most was how well he pushes the ball up the court, the Lakers picked up the tempo with him in the game, and he distributes very well on the run. In the half-court set he had a couple nice entry passes into the post, but had a few sloppy ones as well. He played solid man defense most of the game (former Gator Anthony Roberson drove past him seveal times, but that guy was real quick), plus had a couple of steals. And he is a leader, he was directing guys on the floor in the half-court, really taking charge of the offense. Like I said, there were areas where you want to see improvement (a couple times a big switched on to him on a pick-and-roll and he didn’t exploit it well, another time he got caught with a back-court 8 count when he picked up his dribble) but overall he had a good outing.

Andrew Bynum: He has gotten a lot stronger from last year, and his shooting and moves look a lot better. That said, he still has a ways to go. He was 3 of 7 shooting and one of those was the finish of an ally-oop from Farmar on the break that may have been the highlight of the game. (Either that or the dancing cow, which was hysterical but I have no idea how to really explain it.) Last summer Bynum got pushed around on the block by everyone, this year he was getting to and holding his spots. Also, he is shooting from over his head, taking advantage of his height, and his post moves are so much more polished (he finished with 12 points). Maybe the best thing from him is just how well he was running the floor — and Farmar was finding him on the break. That said, sometimes he tried to get cute around the basket rather than use that strength, and other times Griz players seemed to be able to muscles him off rebounds. His defense in the post was good (I’m not sure how much of that was his counterpart’s lack of game) and he had two blocks.

Danilo (don’t call me J.R.) Pinnock:
Maybe the biggest surprise of the day – one game is just one game but he looked like a steal from the second round. He finished with 16 points on 6 of 9 shooting and was 2 of 2 from three-point range. He shot from the outside, drove the lane (amazing baseline drive in the second half) and made plays at both ends of the court. He had the guts to take the last shot of the game to go for the tie — he missed it but I love that he wanted it (even if the smart move may have been to let Farmar drive and create). I’ll be watching him more intently in future games.

Devin Green: Just like last year’s summer league, he just seems to do all the little things right but nothing spectacularly. He had to cover Hakim Warrik much of the day and held him to 4 of 11 shooting. Green had a team-high four assists. Just a solid all-around effort, although I will add that I was fairly close to the Laker bench and summer coach Kurt Rambis made more comments and corrections to Green than any other player (frustrated with his choices in the offense at points, failure to call a timeout after a late-game steal).

Marcus Douthit: The former Laker second rounder picked up some polished post moves in Europe, he finished with 14 points on 6 of 10 shooting, plus had a team-best seven rebounds. That said, his defense was average and his performance was not overwhelmingly impressive.

Von Wafer: Last summer he was a shooting machine at the SPL, in this game he went 1 for 6. He looked like he was trying to find his spots within the triangle but he didn’t look comfortable. Did work hard on the defensive end.

I am not going to make the Lakers second game tomorrow against Dallas (if anyone goes send me some thoughts), however I will be there for parts of Tuesday and Wednesday, as much as work will allow.

to Summer League — game one

  1. Nice Report.

    Hey Kurt, in your opinion, how do summer league stats translate in terms of how effective a player will be come regular season? Are these games indicative of regular season projections or are they simply stats within a vaacum? (I heard that Bo Outlaw used to put up ridiuculous stats in the SPL…but his NBA stats were less than impressive).

    Also, what’s with the Shammond Williams potential signing? Is he the “veteran PG” that Mitch said he was going to sign? How much of an upgrade is he over Farmar, Smush, Vujacic? Last I heard, he was bouncing around 6 NBA teams, played somewhat admirably overseas, but not Charlie Bell-esque overseas numbers.

    Finally, do you think the Lakers would be interested in solid big man vets like Antonio Davis or Othella Harrington?


  2. The lakers it seems waited to see if lebron would sign his extension or not. Now that he has, they should start using their money (and future cap space) for the missing pieces the team needs. Well, it cost them two possible trade scenarios that i mentioned before. Marquis Daniels-Croshere and PJ Brown-Chandler. Daniels was traded for a shooter (could have easily been George or Cook) and Brown was traded for a starting C (could have easily been Mihm). Now Kupchak has to start looking for trade partners to acquire the vet PG and vet big that the team needs. Some possibilities for trades are:

    PG – Flip Murray
    MIke James (longshot)
    Earl Watson
    Marcus Banks

    C/PF – Antonio Davis
    Alonzo Mourning
    Chris Wilcox
    Reggie Evans

    We need proven vets for these positions because we have developing players at these spots (Farmar and Bynum) that might or might not be ready to play major minutes this coming season. So they will be “insurance” in case bynum and farmar aren’t ready or consistent enough contributors. What’s ur opinion/suggestion on this?


  3. hey kurt, sorry i missed you yesterday, i decided to go at the last minute cause i realized i couldnt go today (see world cup final).

    for those expected large growth from Bynum, its not happening as rapidly as the lakers may want you to think. Physically Andrew looked great, noticably larger in muscle mass and big enough to demand position. However, he just doent seem to have “court awareness”, he cant find position and his coordination isnt all there yet. this doesnt mean that one game determines his career or anything, but it does look like we will DEFINTLEY NEED TO KEEP CHRIS MIHM.

    i agree with kurt, pinnock and farmar looked great, pinnock totally outplayed wafer, who didnt look passivem, he looked disinterested. pinnock defintley took the lead between the three swingmen, green, wafer and himself, and i also though douhit had the best impact in the post.


  4. Kurt, whats up with the Shammond signing? another mediocre signing? how shocking..


  5. I agree with (2) it just a pointless signing, for a player who probably won’t even get many minutes, and will probably end up missing half the season with a pulled hammy or something like that.


  6. noticed that former Santa Clara Bronco (and Japan
    MVP) Doron Perkins had a team-lead tying 7 boards in about 17-1/2 min … also a couple of assists

    he usually plays full tilt … would be intested in hearing any first hand accounts …



  7. 1. Stats from the Summer League don’t translate all that well. Summer League is at best guys 8 to 12 on the bench playing each other and usually more like the NDBL. Guys that stand out here have a chance to make teams and maybe have some impact (Smush came through here last year) but those are the exceptions. The stats (which I will do in detail at the end of the SPL) give you a few ideas but because a guy drops 20 a night in this league doesn’t mean he can do it come fall.

    I really don’t get the Shammond thing. Has this been confirmed or is it the “just close” I saw in the Times this morning (I’ve been out of touch all day). I can do a Williams breakdown, such as it is, tomorrow. Maybe I should.


  8. Kurt, honestly does Shammond even deserve a break-down thats like giving Slava a break-down LOL! i don’t know what to think anymore this Organization has fallen off very badly. and honestly until we change the management or whatever we’re gonna get stuck.

    like we didn’t have enough back-up PG’s they decide to bring another one good god…



    the 2 teams of my city are Joventud ( rudy fernandez’s team) and Barcelona ( JC Navarro, Pau Gasol ex-team… and Shamond Williams last team)

    ACB (spanish league) is the strongest domestic league in europe and it’s doubtful that if a player can’t play great basketball or to show potential there, he wont contribute in the NBA. and shamond was just above average playing the PG. Sergio Rodriguez played better than him, he’s younger and was drafted 1 spot after Farmar.
    This season Shamond was a shoot first player who wasn’t a great defender and who had some important turnovers… i think that Wafer will play a better basketball for the lakers than Williams, and Wafer it’s not the answer so imagine


  10. Interesting list of prospects. I remember watching the George Washington – Saint Louis college basketball game, and came away surprised about this Danilo Pinnock kid, and left thinking he could get drafted somewhere in the NBA. He is a good athlete with a strong body who can excel in transition, who is primarily a slasher and may make a roster based on his defensive skills. Averaging over 5 rebounds a game and coming off a career best 2.4 steals per game on a top 25 program and scoring 14.5 ppg, he may be a little raw, but given time in the NBDL he should be a good bench player for years to come. I think he could battle Von Wafer or Devin Green for a spot on this year’s team.


  11. I’m not that worried about all the deals. All we needed was one rebound and we would of been playing in the finals.