Before we wave goodbye to Vegas, letâ€™s take one more look back at the Summer League. (If youâ€™d rather read my thoughts on Los Angelesâ€™ mood about Kobe, read this post at True Hoop.) Letâ€™s start with the stats â€” Iâ€™m only putting up the stats for four of the Laker players because, well, only two likely will make the team and only two others sparked any kind of interest. So, here are the numbers.
|Name||eFG%||3pt %||TS%||Reb. Rate||Ast. 40||Pts. P40||PPG|
Hereâ€™s a little guide to those stats for those that are new here:
eFG%: Shooting percentage combining two and three pointers
3pt.%: Shooting percentage from beyond the arc
TS%: True Shooting Percentage, think of this as points per shot attempt, it covers twos, three, free throws all adjusted to be a percentage.
Reb Rate: Percentage of available rebounds a player grabbed while on the floor.
Ast. P40: Assists dished per 40 minutes of playing time.
Pts. P40: Points scored per 40 minutes of playing time.
PPG: Points per game
Now a few thoughts. And from me, just a few because unlike past years I only got to see one game of the Summer League and that was online. So I will rely heavily on the thoughts and comments of Reed, who attended the majority of games live (at great risk to his marriage).
Javaris Crittenton stood out as a pleasant surprise, he was more athletic and seemed to shoot better than I had imagined. I think the stats showed what we all thought going in, that his shot needs to be more consistent, but his form looked good, which is a good sign. While I liked him, Reed loved his game:
I saw numerous games in person last week, and Crittenton has as much â€œwowâ€ factor as anyone else I watched. He made fans buzz in the stands. Over the course of the week, my stance on him progressed from, â€œgreat trade bait pick,â€ to â€œmaybe heâ€™ll challenge Farmar for backup point guard minutes next year,â€ to â€œkeep him at all costs, he is a star in the making.â€ To me, heâ€™s a â€œtype 1 playerâ€ â€“ definite star potentialâ€¦. Crittenton really doesnâ€™t have any obvious holes in his game. He is the total package physically: tall, strong, quick, great balance, explosive leaper. He has a well-rounded offensive game. He combines speed, strength, and a great handle to get to the paint in a variety of ways â€“ isolated on the weak side, splitting the defenders in the screen and roll, lightning fast cut off the elbow weave, etc. Once in the paint, he (unlike Farmar) has the strength to bull through defenders and absorb contact to finish effectively right at the rim (though, he seems to overly favor going right and finishing with the right hand). On the perimeter, he has a consistent, soft spot up jumper out to the college three, but doesnâ€™t seem to have consistent nba three point range. He also seems to lose accuracy when pulling up off the dribble, but the footwork and mechanics are there, suggesting heâ€™ll quickly improve there. Javaris also showed controlled, but effective playmaking, setting up big men for high percentage layups and avoiding turnovers (though his college numbers suggest we should expect a high turnover rate for a while). He played brilliantly off the ball, consistently making smart cuts and finding openings in his wheelhouse on the perimeter when Farmar penetrated. On defense, I think Crittenton has the tools and focus to be a lock down defender. He is long, quick, and strong. He struggled a big in knowing when to come over the top of screens and when to switch, but he took well to Brian Shawâ€™s constant instruction on the issue.
Now, Iâ€™m not suggesting Crittenton is ready to come in right away and start. Iâ€™m not even sure that heâ€™ll be a valuable rotation player this year. But, the tools are there for him to eventually be a dominant point guard. And, sooner than I previously thought.
Jordan Farmar. His stats for the Summer League wonâ€™t wow you, but he showed leadership on the floor with a young team, something you like to see from your PG. And, his three-point shooting wasnâ€™t amazing but 33% is an improvement over last summer and last season. But then, we knew heâ€™d get better, his work ethic is one of his strengths. Again, hereâ€™s Reed:
Farmarâ€™s game is not tailored to summer league success. Roughly speaking, there are two types of basketball players: (1) stars, aggressors, those who drive the action and carry teams, and (2) role/dependent players, those who react to the situations created by stars and fill in the cracks. Farmar is a classic type 2 player. He is never going be a star or capable of carrying a team offensively; his success will be dependent on him feeding off of the starsâ€¦. when placed next to a mishmash of raw summer league teammates, most of whom donâ€™t understand the offense and arenâ€™t concerned with doing anything other than shooting as soon as they get the ball, Farmar is going to struggle a little. We saw that throughout the summer league.
However, we also saw a lot of bright spots. Farmar was at his best when Crittenton joined him on the floor, for then he had a talented finisher to capitalize on his playmaking and deft management of the triangle. Jordan repeatedly broke down the defense with penetration off the weak side screen roll or triangle weave, culminating in him hitting a cutting or spotting up Crittenton for an easy basket.
Coby Karl. The kid can shoot (43% from three, thatâ€™s amazing in your back yard, let alone in real NBA competition). And there is always going to be a payday for smart players who can shoot. That may be in Europe, Karlâ€™s lack of athleticism (he gets that from his father) may hold him back in the NBA, but he will get paid to play. Again, Reed:
As I noted in Thursdayâ€™s post, he is an interesting case because he does not have the requisite speed or ballhandling skills to be an effective point guard or the size of a shooting guard. Despite those limitations, he played very well in spurts, particularly in the early games, and displayed a coachâ€™s sonâ€™s feel for the game. He has deep range with a quick release, rare passing instincts, a keen understanding of floor spacing in the triangle, and a relentless work ethic on defense. The Lakers strongest lineup consistently featured him, Farmar, and Crittenton, with Karl providing spacing on the perimeter and creative passing from the high post (including a crafty between the legs pass to a cutting guard from the free throw line). However, despite these virtues, I just see too many limitations that are unlikely to disappear. On offense, Karl is really only a stand still shooter. If a defender closes down on him and forces him to pick up the dribble, he does not have the speed to create real separation or the leaping ability to rise up and get off a high % jump shot. Instead, he is forced to pass the ball out to the reset the offense, or, at best, bull his way into the lane in the hopes of creating contact for free throws (which he did effectively a few times).
Larry Turner. Heâ€™s a bulky 6-11 center out of Tennessee State who proved he could board with the best and showed good effort on defense. Itâ€™s a long shot he makes the squad, but he deserves a camp invite. Some final thoughts from Reed:
If the Lakers look to the summer roster to bring in a cheap big body for insurance frontcourt depth, I think it has to be Turner. He is a legitimate 6â€™11â€ and built like a chiseled mountain. Huge upper body and fairly mobile. In both the Wednesday and Saturday games, the Lakers made big second half runs to storm behind from big deficits and capture the lead (though ultimately losing on Saturday). During both runs, Turner keyed the defense with aggressive (but relatively foul-free), pick and roll trapping, solid low post defense, strong board work, and a nose for loose balls. He is ok on offense, capable of catching and dunking or throwing up a decent righty jump hook. I see him as a poor manâ€™s Ronnie Turiaf or Anderson Varejao.