Summer Pro League: Game Five

Kurt —  July 16, 2006

I was at the game Friday night, where the Lakers faced off against the Washington Wizards, who just flew in from competing in the Vegas Summer League. If you want to know what I thought of the Wizards players (hint: Blatche was very impressive) head on over to True Hoop. Otherwise, let’s talk Lakers, and remember that what I put here is looking to build on previous comments about players.

Andrew Bynum: The curse is over — Bynum had a big game in my presence (which is a huge weight off my shoulders because I was afraid I’d have to stay away from Staples for a decade based on superstition). Bynum, matched up on 7-4 John Ramos, showed a variety of moves: drop steps, power moves, a short-range jumper and, most impressively, a fadaway from about seven feet that he drained two of (one baseline, one straight on). Part of it may also have been he got the cleanest entry passes to the post I had seen from the Lakers this summer. He finished with a team-high 19 points on 9 of 13 shooting, and pulled down eight boards. Another aspect of Bynum’s game, something he’s done well throughout the SPL, is pass well from the post in traffic. He’s picked up a dozen assists in five games and could have a few more. Maybe the night off did him good, but against Washington Bynum looked like a guy who could be a solid 15 minutes a night guy for the Lakers next season.

Jordan Farmar: He was clearly banged up when he missed the game four because he played with his thigh wrapped Friday. He wasn’t as sharp as we had seen, but still the offense just looked smoother when he was in. Farmar was impressive making plays in transition, particularly in the “garbage time” at the end of the game. Farmar finished with 13 points of 4 of 9 shooting (one of 2 from three) and maybe his most impressive shot (one he has shown in a couple games now) is a running floater in the lane, similar to the shot Tony Parker made a living on this past season. Defensively he was not as sharp, struggling to stay in front of quick former Clemson player Will Solomon, but that may have been impacted by the thigh injury.

Danilo (J.R.) Pinnock: Another solid, impressive performance at both ends of the floor. He plays good man defense on guys both a little smaller and quicker and a little bigger (he is strong). Pinnock also went 6 of 7 from the floor and finished with 13 points. Each time I see him the more I think I want to see him make the team come fall.

Two other guys worth mentioning for their performance of late are Doron Perkins and Kasib Powell. Perkins has been playing at a level at or equal to Pinnock the last couple games, both defensively (he had four steals against Washington) and on offense — in the last two games he is 10 of 16 from the floor, 2 of 6 from three, plus he got to the line for 11 free throws, combing it all for 33 points. Perkins has looked better and better each game. Powell got the start against Washington and was 4 of 7 from the floor and pulled down 4 boards. Both of these guys deserve invites to training camp, although with a full roster it’s hard to see where they make the team.