Summer Pro League: Games three and four

Kurt —  July 13, 2006

I caught half of the game against Dallas on Wednesday and a little more than a quarter against Memphis last night, and out of that is a continuation of my thoughts on the Lakers participating. (Note, so far I have been pretty light on stats, in part because we’re just four games in now and in part because it is not online and has to be hand-entered. I’ll play around with it at the end of the two weeks.)

Jordan Farmar: He did not play in game four Wednesday and that absence may have been the best indication of his impact — without him the triangle looked far less crisp, less organized. In just a few games he has an intuitive grasp of the offense and has established himself as the leader of this team on the court. Suddenly, it’s not hard to imagine a second unit that has him and Luke Walton on the floor running the offense in a way that will make Tex Winter smile. His defense continues to be good much of the time (he did well on fellow a draftee, the very quick Kyle Lowry, in game three). That said, he still has plenty of that need improvement — he is 2 of 8 from beyond the arc (although he looked more confident from the outside in game three), he struggles defensively fighting through picks, and there is more.

But one statistic makes me smile — he has an amazing true shooting percentage of 72.1% through three games. For the new readers here, TS% is basically a way of figuring points per shot attempt, and it counts free throws (something Farmar draws a lot of) and points scored. (If you scored two points every time you shot, your TS% would be 100%). For some comparison, last season Brian Cook led the Lakers at 57.8%, Kobe was at 55.9%. Sure it’s three games in the Summer League, the Farmar is showing he belongs.

Andrew Bynum: I am apparently kryptonite to Bynum — all reports are he had a great second game (vs. Dallas) and a great first half of game three (vs. Memphis), none of which I saw. However, he was pedestrian at best in the fourth quarter against Memphis or in the first half of game four (vs. Dallas), which I did see. What that speaks to is inconsistency, even within a game, certainly a sign of youth. But, he’s being inconsistent against less-than-NBA-level talent, so what happens when he starts getting more minutes this fall?

On defense, Bynum moves well but he wants to block every shot he’s near (especially if he can come from the weak side for it) and that leads to foul issues. He does better when just using his length to alter some of those shots. He’s also pulled down an average of 9 boards a game through the first three games. However, against what should have been a Dallas team he could push around inside, he was the one getting outworked and muscled for rebounds (he doesn’t seem yet to anticipate where the ball will come off the rim well yet). And, his shot got blocked twice by Brian Boddicker (the fact you don’t know him says all you need to know). In Bynum’s defense, when I have seen him he has not been getting good entry passes, although he has been slow to give up a little position for possession. Apparently those entry passes, and what he does with the ball, are a lot better when I’m not watching. That said, he’s still dramatically improved from last year, if not the end of last season.

Danilo (J.R.) Pinnock: While fans knew what they were getting in Bynum and Farmar, Pinnock is the guy that has become a fan favorite for what he has done game in and game out. In game four, he was the best initiator of the triangle the team had with Farmar sitting out. His play in the first three minutes of game four may have been the highlights of the entire game —he blocked a shot, grabbed a rebound for a one-handed put-back dunk, and had a highlight dunk on a back-door ally-oop from Green that literally collapsed the basket (the entire portable basket structure came down into its folded position).

Pinnock does a lot of things well, driving the lane, shooting and playing hard on defense. He hustles after rebounds (a guard who pulls down 13 boards in the first three games. His combination of anticipation and hustle means he gets lots of loose balls.

Devin Green: Continues to impress by just seeming to be the guy quietly doing whatever the team needs. His basketball IQ is very good and that works well in the triangle. At times he has shown a nice outside stroke, although through four games his eFG% is a pedestrian 45.6%.

Von Wafer: After going 2 of 11 in the first two games and looking lost in the offense, Wafter has tried to revert to the Wafter of last year’s SPL — a gunner. He has been 11 of 25 (with an eFG% of 52%) in the last two games, and has taken the ball to the hole aggressively. There has been a sense of desperation around his game, you can almost feel him realizing he’s going to have to fight for a roster spot now. That said, he continues to do well freelancing but has yet to look comfortable within the triangle (such as it is in the summer league).

Marcus Slaughter: After not turning my head in the first three games, he had a nice game four that started to show his potential. He played the four in college, but in the NBA he’d be a three, and there were questions of whether his midrange game was up to it, Well, against Dallas Wednesday he was 7 of 9 overall, much of that in the midrange, and 2 of 3 from beyond the arc. He also had six rebounds and three steals in this game. He’s athletic and showed a lot of potential Wednesday.

Kurt

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17 responses to Summer Pro League: Games three and four

  1. Any particular reason why Farmar didn’t play?

  2. either a pulled groin, or stomach bug, according to different people. He is expected to play friday, according to Rambis, and Farmar himself.

    find the info out at draftexpress.com

  3. I know it’s early, but what are the chances of Pinnock making the team and getting some playing time?

  4. Pinnock, Wafer and Green appear to be guys 16-18 on the roster right now. There are 15 guys under contract now (well, Turiaf isn’t now but will be). But, if it were up to me, I don’t think you can let Pinnock go — don’t sign him and someone else will, it’s early but he has shown himself to be more than a guy who should spend a year in the NDBL. He has had the kind of summer Smush and Green did last year that got them camp invites and ultimately deals.

    But you’ve got to clear a roster spot to keep him. So, someone gets waived (McKie?) or a two-for-one trade opens a roster spot.

    Letting Wafer walk doesn’t bother me much. Letting Green go would, but how do you fit him in the 15?

  5. Is it true that Vlad Rad is a bad lockerroom presence. I have a friend who has been watching him since his days in europe, and he claims that he is prone to infighting with his team mates.

  6. 5. vlad did sulk all year in seattle after he didnt get his contract, and he was on the serbian team that imploded (but that was more marko jaric’s fault). however, vlad was nothing but a positive force on seattles 04-05 team and helped the clippers this season, i think hell have a career year, ask John R. how much he’ll be missed by the clips.

    i want pinnock on the team too, but if it came down to either him or a healthy profit, who would you guys choose

  7. 6. honestly I’d take Pinnock based on his youth and potential.

    And not to put words in John R.’s mouth, but I think he would argue that Vlad and Thomas are basically the same player, so the Clippers aren’t losing anything.

  8. isaiah rider, denis rodman, they all werent the best teammates ever but they have something in common, Jax got the best from them and got to controll them

    so if vlad is a good or a bad lockerroom presence doesnt leave me without sleep

    and to clear a spot for pinnock and green… i would waive mckie and try to deal cook and wafer (if not waived) for a late 1st round pick in next year draft or an early 2nd round. if not, i still bid for a sign-and- trade with George+Cook(+wafer?)

  9. i probably agree with you. im still mad we missed out on josh howard in ’03 and pinnock at least does some of those things that we couldve gotten from howard: two-way player, can initiate a little, hit the mid-range, rebounds and contests jumpers, that being said, i liked every single thing profit brought to the team, and it may not bear out statiscally, but he was one of their better reserves last season, id love to get both and ship off one of our pg’s if sasha cant pick up the sg position

  10. oh yeah, ps, tim thomas is a contract year player who is older and much more of a locker room disruption (hes even had big problems with cassell). vlad has the upside and the skill set to thrive in the triangle, but also in other systems, well see how well tim thomas contributes outside of a custom-made phoenix system that allowed him to maximize his qualities and hide is deficinies (ball handling, off-ball defense, consistency). all in all, vlad is better

  11. Mannie Jenkins July 13, 2006 at 3:39 pm

    The box scores for the summer league are on line. Go to this page and click on the date, not the team name.

    http://www.summerproleague.com/scoreboard.htm

    It lists all the games played. Click on those for the .pdf of the box score. For example, here’s last night’s box score:

    http://www.summerproleague.com/july12game3.pdf

  12. Mannie, thanks! I had just clicked on the team ones and figured they weren’t putting them up (I have the paper ones from the games.)

  13. Mannie Jenkins July 13, 2006 at 4:05 pm

    I know, I had the same problem. A guy I worked with actually figured out how to get to the things. I’m guessing the Long Beach Summer league’s internet budget isn’t too extensive…

  14. Thanks for the update on the SL games. It’s nice to read another perspective than the Show Time blog.

    Not so sure why y’all value Green so much. Sure he does the little things; however, you’ve got to do some of the big ones too and he doesn’t.

  15. I think part of the reason Green stands out in the Summer League is that guys who do the little things are rare there. In the NBA, there are a lot of vets who do them, but in the youth-heavy summer it just leaps out at you. That is different than saying Green needs to be a big part of the team come the regular season.

  16. I’m pulling for Eugene “Pooh” Jeter to make the Sacto roster and play 30 min a game, because that would be by far the best name in the league.

  17. Just a response/update for Ian (Pooh Jeter Comment)
    He signed with the Kings Yesterday 7/19/06.. And yes, with his work ethic and dilegence he’s gonna definately make it!!