Summer League Starts

Kurt —  July 11, 2008

With all the rumors floating around — from silly to serious — thank Buddha (or the deity of your choice) that there is some on the court hoops to discuss tonight.

Granted, you can’t read too much into Summer League play, and in the case of the Lakers this is a handful of guys competing for one (maybe two depending on free agency) spot at the end of the bench, and a winter playing with the D-Fenders.

Still, it is basketball. And it is a window into how these guys play and what they have worked on (and need to work on). Plus the competition, while not often pretty in terms of teamwork, is intense because these guys are trying to get noticed by scouts, NBA and International alike. These are guys trying to get jobs, and this is a big interview. So it matters a lot to them.

The Lakers tip off tonight at 5 p.m. against the Detroit Pistons. You can catch it on NBA TV (although my guide said they are not starting until 5:30) or you can watch it on streaming video on the NBA site.

What follows is the Lakers roster (with some pregame notes):

• Coby Karl, #11, 6-5, 210, guard out of Boise State. He was the guy at the end of the Lakers bench last year. This is his chance to show how much he has improved in that year, how much he has learned. If he does not show that, he opens the door for others to take his spot.

• Joe Crawford, #12. 6-5, 207, guard out of Kentucky. The Lakers second round draft pick is going to have to show a lot, both on defense and in shooting, or at least much more promise than Coby Karl (in whom the team already has an investment).

• Davon Jefferson, #23, 6-7, 215, forward out of USC. Those of us in SoCal saw a fair amount off him this year, and he has talent and hops. But, word on the street was he showed up out of shape to the Orlando camp, turning scouts off because of work ethic concerns. Can he prove them wrong here? If he played up to his potential….

• Lorenzo Mata-Real, #31, 6-9, 245, forward out of UCLA. A fan favorite because he was a bulldog defender, he is going to have to show that translates to the next level, and that he can develop some offense, to impress any scouts. Plus, he needs to crash the boards, hard.

• Pat Calathes, #25, 6-10, 210, forward out of St. Josephs. You may say “who” but ESPN.com’s David Thorpe called him one of two undrafted guys most likely to make an NBA roster. He averaged 17 and 8, shooting 40% from three, in the Atlantic 10 last season.

• James White, #10, 6-6, 195, swingman out of Cincinnati. Had a cup of coffee the Spurs but spent time in Austin in the D-League (Austin > Dakotas). Played last year with Fenerbahçe Ülker, the champs of the Turkish League. The good thing here — we could see a spectacular dunk or two.

• Marcelus Kemp, #9, 6-5, 210, guard out of Nevada. Led the Wolfpack with 20 points per game and could shoot the college three. The scouting report is great midrange game, has trouble finishing at the rim.

• Cedric Bozeman, #1, 6-6, 220 guard out of UCLA. He played last season in Poland with Energa Czarni Slupsk. He had a cup of coffee with the Hawks two seasons ago.

• Yi Li, #22, 6-9, 210, forward out of China. Probably the skinniest guy on the roster. He is not good enough to make the Chinese national team, he’s here to game some experience. And hopefully eat a burger or two.

• Nik Caner-Medley, #15, 6-8, 240, forward out of Maryland. He played last season with CB Gran Canaria in Spain. Maybe one of our Spanish readers can help us out here with some thoughts.

• Bryant Dunston, #26, 6-9, 250, forward out of Fordham. Apparently did some nice things at the Portsmouth camp. Draft Express thinks he’ll play overseas.

• Sharrod Ford, #20, 6-9, 235, forward out of Clemson. Plays for the Italian team Virtus Bologna. Had a cup of coffee with the Suns in 2005. Led Clemson is scoring and rebounding two consecutive years, back in the day.

• Taj Gray, #21, 6-9, 230, forward out of Oaklahoma. Expected to play for Chorale de Roanne in France next season, he has played overseas the last couple of years. Unless the OKC front office people want to impress the locals….

• James Hughes, #34, 6-11, 225, center out of Northern Illinois. Athletic with a lot of “upside” but that has not translated on to the pro courts well yet.

• Dontell Jefferson, #2, 6-5, 200, guard out of Arkansas. Spent the last two seasons with the Dakota Wizards of the D-League and last season averaged 17 and 5, although the shooting percentage will not impress. By the way, is playing for the Dakota Wizards basketball purgatory?

• Thomas Kelati, #4, 6-5, 210, guard out of Washington State. Played last year for Turow in Poland, where he helped lead the team to a surprisingly good finish.

• Sean Lampley, #24, 6-8, 230, forward out of Cal. He was MVP of the NIT back in the day. Now he is playing for the Melbourne Tigers in Australia, where he is averaging 17 a game. And you have to think Melbourne is better than the Dakotas as a place to live.

• Dwayne Mitchell, #3, 6-5, 210, guard out of Louisiana-Lafayette. He averaged 20 ppg for Iowa in the D-League last year.

• Brian Roberts, #5, 6-2, 175, guard out of Dayton. No, not the Baltimore Oriels second baseman (although he is hitting .291). He apparently had a very good camp in Orlando, looking very professional. He can shoot the ball from range, 45% from three in college. Defense is the question.

• Michael Southhall, #35, 6-10, 260, center out of Louisiana-Lafayette. This guy was a big-time recruit way back when (Kentucky), but eventually declared for the draft in 2003, pulled out and spent time in prison on a parole violation.

• Quinton Thomas, #6, 6-3, 185, guard out of North Carolina. I have no idea, the only guy I can find with this name is still in high school. Any help here?

• Martin Zeno, #14, 6-5, 200, guard out of Texas Tech. Averaged 16 points per game but shot 17% from the college three.

———————————–

Clearly, not all these guys will play but that is the roster. Also, remember that in Summer League guards tend to dominate the ball, trying to get seen by shooting and making plays rather than just feeding the post. The best way to judge bigs is often effort on the boards.

Kurt

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84 responses to Summer League Starts

  1. A Shawn Lampley sighting! The surprisingly strong Cal contingent of the blog can bond over this while trying to sort out our complicated emotions about Leon Powe’s performance in the finals.

    I think Lamley is known as supremely talented but not overtly interested in trying too hard. Maybe not a great attitude, so I doubt he’ll be a threat to make our team, especially at that position. But still, slightly exciting.

  2. Now that the Orlando Summerleague is over – here are a few of my takeaways:

    - Russell Westbrook has exceeded expectations. Yes, it’s only the summer, but he looks solid and the OKC mgmt is ecstatic. They have a solid core to build upon for the future with Durant, Green, and Westbrook.

    – The Net’s Brook Lopez & CDR looked good. Don’t know how CDR fits into their game plan but they’re looking pretty good.

    -Beasley has put some decent numbers but I don’t know how much stock to put into it. His rebounding numbers weren’t great.

    -Mario Chalmers put up some gaudy numbers but I don’t see that necessarily translating into regular season play. The speed of the NBA game will make his offensive skills seem average. He’s NOT going to be the steal of the draft.

    -Derrick Rose’ poor performance should be discounted. The guy is really young and he’s playing with all new players. He’s going to be solid once he gets comfortable with everyone.

    -Shawne Williams may have played himself out of a job in Larry Bird’s mind. This was his last opportunity to show what he’s got and he didn’t do much with it.

    Overall, from this small lot of players, even though he was picked a loft #4, Westbrook might still somehow be considered the steal of the draft.

  3. Q. Thomas from North Carolina is originally from Nor Cal (Oakland?) and never panned out in college. He is very quick but struggled with turnovers in college.

  4. Having watched a good amount of UNC hoops i can say a few things about Quinton Thomas he was a big time recruit as well. He played behind Raymond Felton initially and never showed that he was capable of leading the team. Like most young players he suffers from mental lapses but at the big time program of UNC his tended to be even greater. He was forced into the starting job last year for a time and seemed to have developed into an improved player until he himself became injured. I don’t think that he has the skill set to be an NBA player but will be interested to see him play. He was predominantly a facilitator and he does things decent on the court but i wouldn’t say great or really even good.

  5. PeanutButterSpread July 11, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    Since I’m bored and can’t wait for basketball season to stare, here’s my predictions of next year. The only teams I see Lakers “gutting” it out with in the West are:

    Trail Blazers – scary athletic team that beat us twice last year without Oden while we had Gasol …. with Bynum and Oden returning, the Blazers still have an edge. (we’ll see how well they perform on the road though)

    Hornets – I don’t like CP3, but he’s a talented young point guard that makes their offense run. When they run those pick n’rolls, and Peja knocks down those 3s, they have beaten us.

    Mavericks – judging from the last three games we played against Dallas, we should have beaten them by 10 points or more, but it was always so close. Lakers gotta find a way to prevent Dirk from unleashing last minute 3 pointers, plus with Diop back, Dallas has a pretty good match up against the Lakers.

    Houston – with Yao back, the Rockets will make a lot of noise, not as much as the Blazers, but the Lakeshow might struggle against the Rockets’ defense. We didn’t play really well against them last year.

    Jazz – I like this young team, especially Deron Williams but I don’t see them beating the Lakers too much, they match up well for the Lakers, and we should be able to beat them even more easily with Bynum’s return.

    Suns – while I don’t think the Suns are ever going to win a championship, during the regular season, Amare, Shaq, and Nash are still going to win games and cause some kinda nose in the WC, but they are a done and “old” team. I see them maybe taking 1 game from the Lakers, but with Bynum returning, we should be able to defeat them easy peasy.

    Spurs – agh, their alternating championship years might end, but then again, who knows, maybe they’ll get lucky again and somehow end up in the finals … I don’t see it happening though … like the Suns, they’ll win maybe one or two from the Lakers, but they’re pretty much “done.” They’ll still of course be “up” there in the regular season, most likely make the playoffs.

    Denver – poses no threat to us.

    Kings – we’ll probably drop 1 game to them, cuz Artest loves playing against us and Kevin Martin is a good player and Brad Miller eats babies for fun.

    Everybody else in the WC (GSW, Clips, Grizz, etc.) doesn’t pose a threat to the Laker’s chances for making it on top of the WC or to the finals. Of course that’s only going to happen if nobody gets injured on the Lakers!

    Predictions on how the WC will shake out hypothetically if nobody on the Lakers get injured:

    1. Lakers * this is a toss up between the Lakers/Blazers
    2. Blazers *
    3. Hornets
    4. Rockets
    5. Jazz
    6. Suns
    7. Dallas
    8. Spurs – the last three spots are a toss up, it could easily be any of those three duking it out.
    9. OKC/Memphis/Golden State/Sacramento/Denver/ Clips/T-Wolves/ – one of these teams might surprise us and make it to the playoffs, but really, let’s not kid ourselves, they’re not going to be hoisting the Larry O’Brien any time soon.

  6. …is the game on nba tv in the u.s. yet? it’s advertised in canada but it’s not on…loosing my mind…webcast says we’re blacked out up here…anybody?!?!?!

  7. …really…they’re showing skiiing on raptors tv (nba tv)…my gosh…and j-flight white is getting minutes…man…

  8. …oh thank goodness…it’s on now…

    o’bryant?

    …they can have him…he made up his name anyways…

    o’kobe

    …that’s more like it

  9. That’s an interesting signing by the Celtics. I don’t give credence to the non-successes of big men when they’re being coached by Nellie. Only big men with certain skill sets can thrive under him. So, even though O’Bryant was labled a bust because of his lack of everything with the W’s, I still think he can be salvaged.

  10. That Celtics signing was at 2 year with 2nd year team option, and it was for the veteran’s minimum.

    Risky signing, but I guess it’s okay..

  11. Coby Karl was clearly the best player on the Lakers for this 1st game. Crawford better bring more or he better hope there will be an additional spot for him. A couple of games like this and Cobe Karl will lock down his spot.

  12. Pat Calathes is pretty good player. Has really good ball handling skills. Played point guard in high school and a little bit of point earlier in his career at St Joe’s. Calathes is a better player than Crawford and Karl.

  13. …craig w is on point…

  14. call me crazy…but – other than ck one & one – three other cats have a chance: (2) joe crawford (kupchak-nunchaku-san ain’t no slouch…it’s time that thought be put to rest); (3) j-flight white (a mature gerald green?…anybody?); and, (4) lorenzo, he mata’s a lot (stretching…but the yoga folk say it’s healthy)

    …maybe a little crazy…

  15. No teams in the West have me worried, the only team that should worry the Lakers fans are the Lakers…That and health. If this team just stays without any major injuries there is no way they shouldn’t win 60 games minimum. IF they get Artest and Bynum comes back healthy I think they are capable of running away with the West. Of course anything can happen but I am not worried about Portland yet give em another year there are no veterans on that team at all. As for New Orleanse they have done nothing to get deeper they are one injury away from missing the playoffs. San Antonio is always tough and I think they will be the best of the rest.

  16. For the 1st half, the Clippers look like they have some real good young talent. Of course having Thorton and Fasikis (sp???) didn’t hurt. All three of their draft picks looked like they could stick. Now for the 2nd half.

  17. 18. Fazekas.

  18. Had some Tivo issues and did not get to see all of this, but did get to see some. Craig W. was right, Coby Karl was the best Laker, head and shoulders. Part of that was comfort level in the offense, but part of it was he was the best shooter on the floor (he hit one three from three feet behind the line). One summer league game is not much to base anything on, but as Craig said the other guys are going to have to step up their games to have any shot at the Lakers roster.

    Not Stucky’s best performance, by the way. And it looked like a Summer League game, you will not confuse this with the NBA playoffs anytime soon.

  19. I watched one quarterof the Summer League game,and that was enough for me. Waste of time, the only guys with a shot are Coby Karl, who’ll be on the team, and the 2nd rounder, Crawford, and he only has a chance because of the financial situation. It was really ugly to watch. Even Maurice Brooks (ESPN.com) said, “A quick glance at the rosters for the Lakers and Pistons told you all you needed to know about who was going to win. L.A. has a squad full of players who will be fighting to be invited to training camp, while Detroit’s lineup features players who saw considerable time in the playoffs this past season.”

    PeanutButterSpread,

    I disagree. Portland will be much improved, but an edge on the Lakers? You must be a Portland fan. this upcoming season, you will see one of the best records ever from the Lakers. Portland will not be that far up, but I expect them to be a top 4 team. I do expect them to win 2 at home against LA, because they always do, but not because they have some edge on the Lakers. Lakers will win the west easily.

  20. the other Stephen July 12, 2008 at 6:17 am

    1. haha i always though J.D. Hastings stood for Juris Doc UC Hastings College of Law.

    9. hahaha o’kobe. so you think he made it up so he could pretend to be like kobe, eh? that scum.

  21. Good to see Kobe Carl making an impact (despite the loss). I didn’t get a chance to see the game, but from the box, it looks like he pulled through: leading scorer, shot ~45%+, leading assist man, 1 TO, leading D-Reb, 1 stl. Man, everyone sure used all the whole 7 foul thing to their advantage. I like that these guys play hard, but hopefully they’ll adjust in the next few games to not foul up so much. 27 fouls for the starting 5 is too much.

    I can’t wait for training camp…

  22. portland will be good, but not good enough for a deep run into the playoffs. there success will hinge on a good performance in the regular season to build their confidence. they did that last season, then suffered through some injuries that derailed some of their momentum. they are young and very athletic. i feel that given a top 4 seed, they’ll make it thru the 1st round, but in a tight 2nd round, youth will be their downfall………

  23. A good point that I read somewhere yesterday:

    Restricted free agents who sign with other teams are almost always overpaid for, because if the offer is fair, their original team will match it.

  24. 5. You’re about 2 years ahead of schedule on the Blazers. They are going to be that good, but not next year. Remember, they’re going to have four rookies, three of whom (Oden, Bayless, Fernandez) will play significant roles. And don’t forget that history has shown that it takes one-and-a-half to two years to fully recover from microfracture, so Oden might struggle a bit in the early going.

    Also, if you think the Spurs are dropping to eighth, well, in the words of Mark Cuban, you need to step away from the crack pipe. Rumors of their demise have been greatly exaggerated. Expect them to be a top-5 team once again.

  25. 5. You have a lot of faith there in the Blazers. Predicting them to come in 2nd (or first place). They will have to win 60+ games to get first or 2nd place. I don’t see that happening . The top 4 teams next year will most likely the be top f teams from last season.

    1. Lakers
    2. Hornets
    3. Jazz
    4 SA

    Portland, Houston, PHX, Dallas, Denver, will all battle for the last 4 spots. With Denver or Dallas not making the play offs.

    Portland will be better, but no way will they improve enough to get 1st or 2nd in the west.

  26. I believe the Blazers are capable of winning 10 more games, but their improvement is going to depend on Oden addressing their low post scoring deficiencies, taking away 2nd shot opportunities with his rebounding, and improving an already solid defensive team. That’s a lot to ask.

    I expect them to emerge during the 2nd half of the season, but I reckon a late burst still won’t be enough to earn them them a playoff berth. I believe they’ll win around 45 games.

  27. Sorry,but I just don’t buy the Blazers as a contender this yr. Leaving aside the health issues w/Oden,they are a team still very much under construction.
    Last yr there was a significant diff in their record when Jones played and they let him walk w/out replacing him.
    They’ve been rumored to have tried to trade away both of their SFs-and they know Batum is yrs away from being ready. Having key players on a young team oppenly regarded as trade bait worked out well for the Bulls last yr,didn’t it?
    They’re not satisfied w/their PG and traded away the back-up the coach trusted. Their Euro PG,Rodriguez,whined last yr about playing time,and right now he looks like the fourth PG. Only now his unhappiness will have a sympathetic ear in Fernandez,who has said he might go back to Europe if he doesn’t get playing time! Throw in Rodriguez is a fan fav while the coach doesn’t trust his game at all.
    The team tried to talk LaFrentz into optioning out of his contract,prob leaked the suspension on Miles and made no effort to keep a productive player like Jones. All understandable,yet slightly sleazy. And the kind of things that can cause a player to question the team’s talk of trust.
    Right now,the Blazers look esp fragile and any rough spot early could cause the team to fall apart.

  28. The Great Googly Moogly July 12, 2008 at 11:52 am

    As a pseudo Mavs fan, I hate to say it but I think they might struggle to make the playoffs this year. Jason Kidd needs rest this summer at this age and his involvement with Team USA will be Dallas’ downfall.

  29. It is relatively easy for a team to get to the 41 win (.500) point. Making the step to the 50 win level is much harder.

  30. Stephen I wouldn’t worry about the Blazers falling apart mentally. Brandon Roy is about as solid an NBA player, in terms of mentality, that there is right now. He became the team leader aruguably during the second half of his rookie season, and unquestionably in his second season. He is cool as a cumcumber. If you’re hoping he’s gonna go Ron Artest…forget about it…it’s not gonna happen.

    That being said the Blazers won’t win the west, even if they stay healthy. Heck if they get out of the first round that would be enough to earn Nate McMillian coach of the year consideration. Their 3 best players are a rookie (Oden) and entering their 3rd season (Roy and Aldridge)…which doesn’t translate well into winning the west or going deep into the playoffs. However, in the next couple of years, it will be the Lakers, Hornets and Blazers vying for the supremacy of the west. On the other hand, history shows a pretender can become a contender with one player…see Shaq. But if the west stays relatively stable, I see those 3 teams battling it out for the next 5 years.

  31. OK, Blazers fan here. I’ll be happy if we make 7th seed! I see 4th seed as the absolute ceiling, and that’s based upon winning the NW division which I think is possible , but unlikely.

    I think Portland makes either the 4th, 7th, or 8th seed. Because if we don’t pick up enough wins to win the conference, I doubt we have a high enough record to get the 5th or 6th seed.

    OK, let me remember what I was taught about L*ker fans… slowly back away, do not smile, do not feed them, they become aggressive if you pet them or touch their young bench players…. j/k

    See you in the WCF in a few years!

  32. Ummm I think no L*aker fan/player is in a position to call any other organization sleazy. Are you serious, Jones is an injured 29 yo who wanted 20 mil+. KP knew what he was getting when they used a Trade Exception to acquire him. No replacement? Well actually we have a great 3 pt shooter named Martell Webster who actually made more threes than anyone else on the team. The chemistry in this organization is amongst the best in the league. Sergio doesn’t play cuz he sucks and he will most likely be dumped. Fernandez would not have been signed w/ a promise of 20+ mins b/c he be playing behind our LEGIT allstar .

    I cant wait 4 the L*kers to combust or at least for K*be to make another video about how much he hates his teammates.

    -Sophia

  33. JT,
    I agree w/you on Roy and I think he’sgoing to be a big star in the NBA. But…
    Both young SFs were shopped.
    Fernadez public worries about playing time had to have been answered by a guarantee of minutes by Blazer Management. If he struggles yet continues to play while others sit when they’re struggling,well,I’ll leave it to your imagination.
    They don’t like Blake as their future PG,yet the player they drafted is hardly a true PG. Their best playmaking PG turns the ball over too much for the coach’s liking and resides in his doghouse. The GM traded away the Head Coach’s preferred crunch-time PG.
    “We’re dealing with alot of issues here.”
    And I don’t think a silver bowl is gonna be the answer.

  34. Sophia,
    I’m a Rocket fan,so don’t hold what I say against the Lakers and their fans.
    Second,the actions I described do look kind of sleazy. If the Blazers were the ones who leaked Miles’ suspension,to keep another team from signing him,that may be a smart move,but it’s also sleazy.(And again,I said if.) Now I don’t know the truth,but it appears the Blazers wanted a vet to give up his honestly negotiated salary,leaked personal info to keep a player from signing w/a new team and let a pretty decent vet go w/out any sign of trying to keep him. If I could have such suspicions you know the players and their agents could have them too. And as we have seen,trust between players and their team’s Management is very fragile.
    I agree Martell is a wonderful young player,and I would love to have him on the Rockets. The Blazers like him so much they’ve been shopping him.
    I bow to your knowledge of Sergio’s game,but there are a number of teams that would like a cheap,young back-up PG and he still sits on the Blazer’s roster.
    And do you really think Rudy didn’t come over w/some guarantee of minutes?
    I wish your Blazers all the best,except when they play Houston. :)

  35. @Stephen,

    Do you have links for either of KP and Friends trying to talk LaFrentz into opting out or for the Fernandez minutes guarantee? I ask not in the typically d-baggy “Link me or it’s not true!” way, but rather because both those things sound semi-plausible, but I read basically every Blazers-related article on the Interwebs without ever having seen either of those tidbits. If you’d pass them along, I’d be obliged.

    A few objections: Jack wasn’t McMillan’s preferred crunch-time PG, Blake was.

    Bayless doesn’t NEED to be a true PG, because in Portland’s offense Roy does most of the facilitating in the half-court anyway. All they need from their PG is the ability to defend opposing 1′s (to not wear out Roy on that end of the court) and to be able to hit from range, and Bayless can do both those things…not that I’m expecting him to contribute much at first anyway. You’re gonna see a lot more Rudy than you are Jerryd, at least at first.

    Their best playmaking point guard sucks. If you can’t shoot and you can’t defend, you can have Maravich’s handles and Magic’s vision and you’re still not gonna play. Sergio is a complete non-factor and does not deserve more minutes; it’s not a McMillan’s doghouse kind of thing. I would be shocked if Serg is a Blazer post-trade deadline of the upcoming season.

    This is not to say that the BLAZERS R THE BEST WHOOOO #1 IN THE WEST LAKERS GOIN DOWN LOLOLOLOL!!!! We’re adding three rookies to the third-youngest team in NBA history and expecting two of them, Oden and Fernandez, to play significant roles immediately. Anybody who says there’s not room for error or concern there, especially given that Oden has proven absolutely nothing on the NBA level, is a dang fool.

    But a “fragile” team I don’t see. These aren’t the late-90′s or early 00′s Blazers, all talent and ego and no cohesiveness. The three presumed best players on the team are humble and hard-working, and the rest of the team takes it cues from the triumvirate of Roy/Oden/Aldridge. Anybody who gets the idea that they’re bigger than the team will quickly be put in place or shipped out. 52 wins and the title of “Team Absolutely Nobody Wants in the First Round” are my expectations for the 08-09 PTB.

  36. @Sophia,

    Let’s try to represent BE a little bit better…Dave DID specifically request no flaming, ya know?

  37. Prelim Playoff rankings:

    1)Lakers. Weaknesses,schmeaknesses. 58 wins w/either Bynum or Gasol. Having them both is not going to hurt the team.
    2)Nobody
    3A)Hornets. Should be number 2,but I don’t see them having the same magical yr as last yr.
    3B)Spurs. Could be the last hurrah.
    4/5)Jazz. Brewer’s developement at the 2 determines just how good the Jazz will be.
    5/4)Phoenix. Nash is still Nash,Amare is a monster as a PF and if they can find a wing who can score they could be scary again.
    6)Dallas. Cuban’s ego hired the wrong coach-D’Antoni would have been perfect for this team. But Carlisle took underachieving teams and got the most out of them.
    7)T-Mac has shown 2 things thru his career. 1)Surround him w/3pt shooters and he’ll take you to the Playoffs. 2) He won’t take that team anywhere once in the Playoffs. GM Morey is gambling that T-Mac will get them in and that he has enough to swing a trade at the deadline for the “missing piece”. Yao’s health is key to Rockets-he plays and Rockets are in 2-4 group,he misses significant time and it’s 7-8.
    8A)Denver. A team that desperately needs a change,but still a Playoff contender.
    8B)Portland.Does star-in-making Roy have enough help to get in?

  38. Hey,

    Why all the Blazers fans all of a sudden? An why the Kobe pot shots. Most of us posters here at FB & G think you guys have a nice young team that can and will do some damage. You guys can beat LA at home in the regular season, but how can you come here and talk trash. The Blazers have never even been in position to “combust.” Nor never had a star that anyone would even bother to secretly record. So, ne need for this digs. If you have an opinion on our squad, give it. If you have an opinion on our squad vs. your squad, say it.

    I personally think you guys could be a top 4 team in the West, IF your young guys can bring it the last 10 games of thre season. It’s easy to gear up for Lakers in Portland when there is nothing else on the line. But how about when you’re fighting for seeding, and every game counts? That will be your test.

  39. Too bad for us you guys got rid of Jarret Jack. I enjoyed watching him make terrible decisions and take dumb shots. Also, James Jones was one dimensional and over rated. Not worth giving a 5 year contract to.

  40. >>Too bad for us you guys got rid of Jarret Jack. I enjoyed watching him make terrible decisions and take dumb shots. Also, James Jones was one dimensional and over rated. Not worth giving a 5 year contract to.

    Jack had an absolutely patented play, where he caught the ball on the wing and stepped back out of bounds before moving forward. He seriously should be able to collect royalties any time another NBAer rips him off by doing that… That said, he was an okay, middle-of-the-pack PG. The Blazers are still holding a much crappier Sergio “El Clanko” Rodriguez, who should be shipped anywhere for anything, ASAP.

    As for Jones, definitely one dimensional, but a stellar one dimensional sniper, he.

    Blazers will make the playoffs this year and will probably go down in the first round. Which is fine, on schedule for the World Championship 3 years hence.

    Lakers will be the main rivals in the West, which is as it should be.

    All is right with the world.

    t

  41. Just reading some of the comments from Laker fans you can tell they are getting the wrong information. Jerryd Bayless is a way better point guard prospect than Jarrett Jack was as a point guard. Steve Blake is solid and is a perfect fit with the current Blazer roster. Not every player can be the star on the team, a team must have role players who get the job done.

    How about we all just wait and see the Blazers play come November. They were at .500 with Aldridge and Roy. With the improvement in Aldridge and Roy alone we have a shot to make it to the playoffs. Now we’re talking about adding Greg Oden, Rudy Fernandez, and Jerryd Bayless. Do you honestly think this team will not be way better? I didn’t think so, we are all sensible people here.

  42. Steven – The Blazers will be better but you have no way of knowing if they’ll be “way better”.

    1 – It might take 1/2 a season just for all the new players to get comfortable playing with the established ones.

    2 – You’re automatically assuming Oden will not have any health issues and that he’s going to hold his own against NBA level competition night in and night out. That’s not guaranteed.

    3 – How are you so sure Aldridge and Roy will improve and not regress? Players skills don’t always go in a straight line.

    Maybe I don’t know your definition of “way better” If you mean jumping up to a 5 or 6 seed, then I agree with you. If you think they’re a 2 or 3 seed in the West, then I don’t.

  43. Stephen,

    True the Blazers don’t have a top point guard. That and the lack of veteran players are the weaknesses of the team. That being said, I’m not sure if the Blazers need a top flight point guard. B/c Roy initiates the offense so much, they really only need a point guard to take care of the ball, hit open shots and play decent defense…much like Derek Fisher. In my mind, Steve Blake fits that mold. If Bayless turns out to be even better than Blake, then so much the better for the Blazers, but not neccessary.

    As far as small forward goes, the Blazers have 2 guys who are capable of handling the position (Outlaw and Webster) and 2 younger guys (Fernandez and Batum) with talent and international experience that could be better than the former.

    In terms of playing time, the opportunity for Fernandez to play will be there if he seizes it. Someone is going to need to back up Roy or slide over to the small forward spot if Outlaw plays power forward on the second unit. But Nate McMillian will not play Fernandez if he doesn’t earn it. That’s just not his style.

    I don’t see the Blazers imploding. This is not the Rasheed Wallace, Isiah Rider Blazer team of the past. 3 things usually cause a team to implode…1. unmet expectations 2. selfish and mentally weak players and 3. lack of leadership. Expectations for the Blazers next season are just to make the playoffs. They seem like a solid group of players who get along and are more concerned about winning than stats…this seems to stem from the strong leadership of Roy and the head coach. So, while I don’t think they will challenge for the west this season, they will put up a good fight and stay strong throughout…and who knows? Maybe they’ll surprise a team or 2 in the playoffs?

  44. The Dude Abides July 13, 2008 at 12:12 am

    I think the Blazers will be as good next year as the health of Roy and Oden permits. Both are excellent players, but both are injury prone.

    Meanwhile, the Lakers are probably finals bound again. I don’t see the health of Shaq and Nash holding up for the full season. Same thing with the Spurs triumvirate, especially if Manu plays in the Olympics. If NO doesn’t sign Posey, then I don’t see them making huge strides. They were remarkably healthy last season, and they have two big cogs (Peja and Tyson) who are injury prone. Utah is still weak at SG, and they were also healthier than usual last season. Dallas? Feh!

    So, back to the Lakers–they should have enough depth that Kobe doesn’t have to average over 35 minutes. Same with Bynum, Gasol, and Odom. Andrew’s knee should be structurally sound, from all indications. The main obstacles to his recovery were the bone bruise and a couple jagged spots on his kneecap that were smoothed down. We’re all going to love watching the team blend next season.

  45. JT,
    I’ll let this be my last bit on Blazers as I fear i may be “talking” too much.
    I don’t think that they will implode,just that the possibility is there if they hit a bad stretch. They are a young team and young players will let things take them out of their game that vets-while they might be seething internally-won’t let bother them on the court.
    Reasons they might not make the Playoffs;
    1)They’re young and recent history has not shown young,talented teams contend anytime soon(Baby Bulls,Hawks,Celts for example).
    2)New rotations. Besides integrating a new Center,2 of top 3 reserves are gone and replaced by even younger players. How long before Nate finds his rotation and whether the chemistry is good.
    3)Western Conference is going to be brutal. The dogs have all improved themselves and the Playoff teams-except Denver-look to be better either w/healthy return of key players,new coaches or new players to address weaknesses. The Blazers could be much improved and not have much of a record improvement.
    4)The team was 41-41 and seems to need a 9 game improvement to get to 50 wins. But if you throw out the 12 game winning streak,for the rest of the season the team played just over .400 ball and would require an 18 game improvement.
    But…
    The Blazers have alot of talent and a star in the making in Roy so I suspect they’ll be in the hunt and have a good chance of making the Playoffs.

  46. Well Oden’s knee should be stronger than it was before surgery come November so of course I’m counting on him being healthy. Yeah I think it will take a half season before he even gets a feel for the game. Making it to the playoffs as a bottom seed is what I’m hoping for. Although if you don’t think we could beat out Utah or Denver for the 4th seed than I think disagree.

    The Blazers should not be a worse team. I’m just saying that if they do win a lot next year don’t be surprised.

  47. Bingo T. Klown July 13, 2008 at 10:53 am

    Can we agree that if the Lakers do not match the offer sheet for Ronny – which most indications are that they won’t – that the likelihood of an Artest trade is then even that much more unlikely?

    In that scenario there is no way they trade Odom for Artest unless there is another big (no kenny thomas and shareef do not count hilarious sacramento media) coming back to us. Without Ronny we have an interior (C/PF) of Bynum, Gasol, Odom (even if he does play some SF, which we are overloaded at) and Mihm. There is no way we live on that minus odom (unless we get a big of near appreciable quality). Not to mention our glut of SF’s

    Also salary cap concerns will remain with either guy being a free agent next summer.

    I don’t care how much some likes Artest/loathes Odom – IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE!!!

  48. Oh, I guess I have the wrong site… I thought this was a Laker blog. I guess I’ll head on over to Blazer’s Edge to talk about how awesome the Lakers are going to be next year. Maybe I’ll mention that I feel this way because the Lakers have actually been making the playoffs recently. I might also remind them how until the break out last year, that we were all very humble and conservative with our predictions; hoping for a playoff spot, or hoping for the second round. I should also mention, while I am at Blazers Edge, that we did not have these ideas about being a top team in the West until it actually happened…

  49. Stephen,

    You make a good point about integrating the new parts for the Blazers. Oden is really the key. Once he adapts to the team, and the team adapts to him, they will be fine. Fitting in Bayless and Fernandez will be less important since they will get fewer minutes. While the team is young, they have great leadership in Roy, Aldridge and McMillian, and do not seem to have any head cases on the team.

    As I said earlier, the expectations to win a championship or even a playoff series is not there for Portland this season. So, as long as they show some improvement they will have met their goal and feel satisfied. The Lakers on the other hand, have sky high expectations. If the Lakers do not win the championship, this season will be a disappointment. That’s a lot of pressure. History (and yes experience) shows that when the Lakers are not meeting expectations Kobe can become tyrannical, selfish and pouty, Lamar disappears at the most inopportune moments, and Gasol is willing to let himself get pushed around. If the Lakers throw Ron Artest in the mix, as has been rumored, that makes it even worse. So, while the Lakers will in all liklihood exceed the Blazers this season, the Lakers are the ones I feel who are more succeptible to melting down given the respective expectations and mental make up of both teams.

  50. People, I like the Blazers talk — to me we discuss the NBA here (as Lakers fans). All I ask is that the same rules apply, show some respect. A couple of comments that did not are now gone.

    My two cents is that, assuming they stay healthy, the Blazers are a 48-50 win team next year, getting them a 6-8 seed in the West. But I bet they become better as the year goes on and becomes the team you don’t want to face on the first round.

    Blazers Edge is one of the best team blogs around, it’s readers (and authors) are always welcome here.

  51. Although, I will add, predicting where any team is going to finish right now, before free agency shakes out and the trades that follow come, is next to impossible.

  52. JT,
    That’s an interesting take.

    I’ve never liked the expectations game much. I feel like the teams that go into a season with a *championship or bust* mentality often struggle to meet that goal especially when all the talk (and I mean this more by the players, coaches, etc.) is talking about a title. I think a team like the Spurs manage this the best because even though they are yearly title contenders, the talk around their team is never about *that*, rather about the next quarter/game/opponent.

    All that said, I think you also paint a very negative portrait of the Lakers flaws and present a doomsday scenario that, while possible, also isn’t that likely (like the earlier post about Roy/Aldridge/McMillan not letting the young blazers fold mentally). Just realize that winning is a great cure all for anything and that the Lakers are likely to build on the confidence from this past season and be a very good team next year. And while, winning a title is the ultimate goal, we also have a very good coach who is great at preparing teams for a title run through strong preparation in the regular season. I mean, look at this past year….Phil knew that with the emergence of Bynum and a focused Kobe (when is he not, really) that he could get this team to achieve greater things and we made a run to the Finals when no one would have thought that before the season started. So now that outside expectations may have grown, I still expect Phil to push the right buttons in the lockerroom to keep our guys on the right path to achieve our goals. I also think it’s a bit farfetched to say that Kobe will get pouty or tyrannical when there’s a very strong likelihood that we will win our fair share of games next season and the focus will be on achievements in the playoffs vs. any sort of regular season crown. And it’s the regular season drama that can often throw a team off course and the playoffs is where a teams focus narrows and coaching and game-planning is more prevalent, making it harder to get off track or mentally break down. In the playoffs, the better team usually wins (as history and experience also shows).

  53. The Lakers and Blazers are in two different positions. The Lakers are built to win, and win now. Where as Portland has a young core that will gain experience, maybe even make the playoffs next season, but their best is a few years away. For Laker fans, pay attention to the summer league games, and see what talent will contribute off the bench next year. LA had Bynum go down, but that was it. And if they dont make any moves(Artest trade), then they will have to make sure the 7th-9th man off the bench is just as strong as the Celtics were during the finals.

  54. The Dude Abides July 13, 2008 at 11:48 am

    @50, I think if the Lakers don’t match for Ronny, we are MORE likely to acquire Artest, because then we will overpay for Kurt Thomas, perhaps along the lines of three years at $2.5-3m/yr. I still think the odds of this happening are less than 50-50, because I don’t believe the front office wants to be stuck with Kenny Thomas or Shareef’s contract.

    I still think that if Lamar were to be traded, the only suitable player to come here via trade would be Richard Jefferson, but that opportunity has passed.

  55. Garcia,
    Not to disagree too much, but our summer league squad isn’t a good place for any of our fans to look for contributors for next season. Unlike almost every other team fielding a summer team, the Lakers only have one player playing that was actually even on the team last season and he was shuffled between the inactive list and the D-league.

    Also, our 7th-9th men will be the same guys that were in those positions last season…Farmar, Sasha, Walton, Ariza. These guys proved that they are very solid NBA players, but (outside of Walton) just lacked experience in big moments. I think with a run to the Finals this past season, that those young(ish) players will now be better prepared in the mold of the veterans that Boston brought off of their bench.

  56. (51) Bingo,

    I don’t think that the signing of Ronny and a trade for Ron (now Bill?) Artest are linked. The Lakers are already apparently exploring inexpensive alternatives to Ronny that might work well for the Lakers future.

    As you suggest, trades for Lamar along the lines suggested by Sacramento blogs and newspapers are nonstarters. However, there are other possibilities that might work for the Lakers and Sacramento. The Kings have apparently targetted not only the expiring contract of Ron Artest, but Brad Miller–both starters last year. A fair trade might be for Lamar and Vladimir–both starters for the Lakers last year. The salaries are close.

    Although Brad is American as apple pie, his career is almost as Euro as Pau Gasol–he started his career in Italy. Although he is 7′ tall, Brad is a great passer and outside shooter. He represented the USA in the Olympics, and was a past all star. However, Brad is 32, has two years to go on his contract, and is not part of Sacramento’s rebuilding plans.

    Vladimir is very similar to Peja Stojacovic, a former Kings standout. They have almost identical 3 point percentages. Sacramento may have more ways to take advantage of Vlad’s exceptional shooting than the Lakers. Worst case, Vladimir will have an expiring contract in two years.

    If none of the traded players stick, the Lakers will get $2 million cap relief immediately, $8 million more the next year. and $12 million for the year after. The Kings will get about $14 million and $7 million respectively.

    The timing of any trade seems off to me.

    I personally can’t imagine that the Lakers will consider such a deal until they have at least signed Ronny/Sasha (or their substitutes), and Sun Yui.

    The Lakers might do the Artest/Miller for Odom/Radmanovic deal even if Andrew was of uncertain availability for next year to better balance the team while positioning themselves for the next years..

    I hope this thinking makes better sense to you.

  57. Laker fans need not pay attention to the summer league to get a glimpse into some of their contributors. The team is stacked as it is and the 11th and 12th men on the Laker bench will probably play in garbage time only.

    The only thing to pay attention from a Laker perspective is whether Cobe Karl has elevated his game to a point where he can remain on the team. My guess is Joey Crawford doesn’t make the team (maybe the D-Fenders squad though).

    All the other players are using this opportunity to showcase their skills for international scouts and for the D League.

  58. Garcia,

    The D-League is only for D-Fenders prospects really. Coby Karl is the only person with a strong shot of making the team, and Crawford, maybe if he plays really well, just to fill out the roster. Do you really think a Championship contending team is going to look at D-League/SummerLeaguers to “improve” the roster. It’s different for some teams like OKC, Memphis or Detroit who are working out rookies, sophmores, or young guys ALREADY on the team.

  59. Let’s all remember this before we continue:

    The Lakers can be low-cost spenders this off-season (take a run at Kurt Thomas… sign the likes of Garbajosa and Mo Evans) but there has to be enough money left for Buss’s liking to re-sign Bynum, Ariza, and Odom next off-season. Kupchak can’t screw next year’s off-season when those three are free agents.

    So I hope Mitch spends wisely. Bynum, Ariza, and Odom are still part of the future.

  60. As far as the Blazers. I think that Oden will provide a defensve presence immediately. Offense will come slowly, mostly off of put backs, alley oops, and point blanks looks from good passes, but what he willbring as a defensive anchor will impact the D right away. As we’ll see with Bynum coming back, it’ll allow perimeter defenders to take some more chances and do a better job closing out on shooters knowing they have a shot blocker and rebounder laying in wait. The Blazers are long and athletic and have can be very good defensively.

  61. Dude,

    not sure that a trade for artest and then a free agent signing of Kurt Thomas is would a rational way to go.

    We’d still have a glut of SF’s and not enough athelticism at PF. Again I highly doubt on the face of what we know – Ronny going to GS, no other Laker signings in site – that Lamar goes to Sac for Artest.

    drrayeye

    I think If all the noise comming out of Sacto was for real this would be the only deal I could see happening. not sure of the comparative leangths of Miller and Rad’s contracts but this may be more plausible.

    I guess i just need to remind myslef of the ridiculousness of some of theses rumors.

    I have yet to see one of these artet/LO related ones that makes any sense (theones discussed in the media).

  62. bingo,

    with our forwards versatility, i don’t think you can see would have a “glut” of sf’s. what we now have is a pf/c in gasol, 2 sf/pf’s in lamar and Vlad, with only only luke as a sf only. but even then, i think when you think of basketball in such rigid terms, you limit your team. they are basketball players. if we’ve learned anything it’s that there are no set rules or formulas as to how a team should be. they say it’s guards league right now, and there is a premium on pg’s, but we saw 2 teams without a dominant pg in the Finals. we’ve seen the triangle win 9 championships, 6 with no dominant center, 3 with. The Lakers have versatlity. There are so many line ups that could be used we will literally spend all summer discussing it. We could go small, go big, go fast, put out a defensive unit, run kobe at point, kobe at SF, lamar at point, sasha at point, fish, farmar at 2 . . . this season is where phil, tex, and the triangle will show it’s true strength, and through that you will see that defined positions are meaningless.

    i’ve been posting too much . . . . so -’ll chill for a while

  63. I’ve been thinking about what wondhbap just commented on for a while now….

    Imagine, Kobe/Ariza/Walton/Odom/Pau
    Imagine, Farmar/Fisher/Ariza/Pau/Bynum
    Imagine, Sasha/Kobe/RadMan/Odom/Bynum
    Imagine, Fisher/Sasha/Odom/Radman/Pau
    Imagine, Farmar/Sasha/Luke/Radman/Bynum

    This excersice could go on all day and you’d probably never run out of lineups. I’m not really suggesting any of those formats, it’s just that we have a ton of versatile players and outside of Ariza and Pau (who have picked it up quite well), all these guys will have multiple years in this offense by camp this upcoming season. As their knowledge of the system grows, we’ll see even better execution and even more lineup combinations because everyone is reading/reacting the same way. I understand that minutes will be tight, and come playoff time, you shorten your rotations. But having a bunch of experienced guys who are used to getting minutes only makes you a stronger team in the end. I think we’re going to be okay through all of this even if we stand pat.

  64. The Dude Abides July 13, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    I think the most likely current personnel scenario is that the Lakers let Ronny go, then sign Garbojosa. They probably can get Garbo fairly cheaply, at a bigger discount than a Kurt Thomas deal. I still see us re-signing Sasha at something between $4m and 6m per year. The only plausible scenario in an Artest deal would be if we trade away Lamar and Vlad or Luke. I think it’s highly unlikely that Mitch will take on one of the terrible Sharif or Kenny Thomas contracts.

    As for summer league, I think the only guy on that roster with the team next season will be Coby Karl. I think the team should encourage Sun Yue to play in Europe next season. Hopefully he will have a decent Olympics and attract a couple of offers.

  65. (67) The Dude Abides,

    Exactly why would you want to throw money at Sasha?

    I can’t imagine Sasha being re-signed for more than Trevor ($3.1 million). The team with the reported interest in Sasha (Houston) signed Barry. I doubt that Houston will give Sasha an offer at all. I’m not sure who else is after him. I think we could get Mo Evans, who knows the Lakers system equally well, plays better perimeter defense, and did a great job for Orlando in the playoffs for under $3.0 million without a long term commitment.

    Based on responses from other teams and “the law of the bigs,” I think that Ronny would be more marketable at $4 million than Sasha.

  66. Evans made about 1.6 mil next year. For the biannual provision, he’d get the same amount. I’d love to have both Sasha and Mo.

  67. I remember the Blazers causing the Lakers much problems in the past. We could not buy a win up there if we wanted to. I recall talk about how they were built with beating the Lakers in mind (late 90′s I think). It seems to me that with the Lakers, I do not remember them re-building very much in the past, they always fielded a winning team that made the playoffs every year. Oden is probably going to be a very good center, but he has yet to play a minute in the NBA, where Bynum has already started to show us what he is capable of. I feel that at the current moment we have other rivals to be concerned with. I hope Coby Karl gets a spot on the team (he could very well be a backup SG), he seems to be doing fine in the Summer League.

  68. Sorry to add to this, but Blazer fans (such as myself) have a special place in our hearts for loathing the L@kers. From the 80′s on, it seems as though every time the Blazers lost a playoff series, it was to the L*kers. ALMOST EVERY FREAKING YEAR!!!! Add to that the relative dearth of anyone having any reason to talk Blazers of late, and the newfound pride we have in our team, and we are jumping all over the place basking in the glow of this recent attention. Sorry if our spelling of your players and team as curse words or our as-yet unjustified arrogance is off-putting, but we are about as giddy and can be and can hardly contain it.

    I doubt you can truly empathize as your team has won 7 championships in the last 30 years and have made finals trips many more (must ….contain…… bitterness). Please extend a little patience until we adjust to our presumed new role as NBA power.

  69. Bingo T Klown July 13, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    wondahbap

    In no way would I ever have Vlad at the four. The Sonics and Clips both “experimented” with him there but he is way too soft – softer than Pau, for those who thought he was soft.

    I think Odom and Pau have the versatility but to play multiple positions…but no way is can Vlad play the 4 with any regularity or consistency.

    I don’t know if anyone else noticed but in our smaller line up – the rare occasion we used it; I think mostly prior to Pau’s arrival – Luke played the 4. That should tell you how trusted Vlad would be in that position.

  70. As interesting as the Blazers talk is, I wanted to know if anybody here had any thoughts on today’s summer league game against the Grizz? Is OJ Mayo the next big thing? Has Coby decided to emulate his namesake (4-13 shooting but 16 points)? And does anybody have any info on how Ced Bozeman played – 5-5 (1-1 from 3), 12 points, 4 boards and an assist? Bozeman’s not the sort of player I’d usually expect to see make the team, as he’s sort of an Ariza-lite at 6-6 220 SF. But he’s another long-limbed player who can offer excellent defense (he and Arron Afflalo were the guys making up for Jordan Farmar’s defensive lapses during their 2006 run to the title game), and I think he’s a much better ball-handler than Ariza.

  71. I was just looking at the boxscore because I didn’t see the game, but over at TrueHoop, there was a littlebit of a live-blog and based of that it seems like Karl was agressive (8 FT attempts) and is trying to show that no one can take his roster spot. I’d like a bigger sample size on all these guys, though, just to get a better feel of who is performing with any kind of consistency.

    I was also reading Stein write up of Artest, and it’s that kind of writing on his situation that does remind me of how highly regarded a “motivated” Artest is. Not that I’m recanting where I stand on him (I really soured on him this past season when he took too many games off and really seemed to play selfishly on a team where he could have been a leader), but I honestly always liked his game when he was harrasing players on defense and using his strength to bully guys on offense. But who knows if *that* guy even exists in the 82 games played model/version anymore…

  72. Tonight’s game:

    I really liked the play of Coby and Caner-Medley. Both players showed great hustle. Medley was also a force on the boards. Just what the Lakers need.

  73. Peanut Butter Spread July 13, 2008 at 11:58 pm

    Since I brought up all the Blazers talk and making predictions for next year, I probably should explain myself better.

    As a Lakers fan, I love seeing the Lakers win. But I’m also realistic. I for one, still want to see Lamar/Pau/Bynum work their thing before any drastic changes happens (like trading LO for Artest). I believed that the Lakers had a phenomenal year last year and it sucked that we couldn’t win two more games, but the Celtics weren’t missing a key player and we were and I knew we weren’t going to defeat them. That’s the truth. With Drew back, it would have made a lot of difference.

    That being said, the Lakers, with our “current/similar” lineup, will be one of the top teams in the west, barring from any injuries. However, honestly assessing other teams out in the West, I saw the Blazers *and the Rockets) as teams that gave the Lakers a lot of trouble – hopefully that will change for next year, but they’re teams that we, as Laker fans, should probably be wary of.

    I have confidence that the Lakers should be able to defeat the top teams in the West from last year: Spurs, Jazz, Phoenix, and even the Hornets – obviously we probably won’t “sweep” any of them, that’s just being too optimistic, but Houston, Dallas, and Portland might give us some trouble (and even Hornets, if our defense doesn’t improve). I threw in Dallas just because we had like 3 games last season where we barely won against them and Dirk just threw 3s like they were butter.

  74. The Dude Abides July 14, 2008 at 12:12 am

    Dr Ray, Sasha is far more valuable to the team than Luke, who makes ~$4m/yr. There aren’t a whole lot of players in the league who want to take the last shot of the game. It’s good to have a guy like that on your team (who also shoots better than 40% from beyond the arc). Not only that, but his defense and offense have improved each of the last two seasons. He’s also intensely competitive and a hard worker. So yes, I do believe he’s worth 4-6 mill per year. He’s also four or five years younger than Mo Evans, who was routinely subbed out for Bogans in the 4th quarters of games this season for defensive purposes.

  75. (76) The Dude Abides,

    I agree with your analysis of the value of Sasha to the Lakers last season (when he earned $1.7 million). Definitely good value to the Lakers that justified the long development.

    However. . . . . .

    You’re confusing Sasha’s value to you (or some Laker fans) with his “market value.” Sasha is being tested on the market right now. So far, the only money offered to Sasha is a $2.7 million qualifying offer by the Lakers. The fact that Sasha’s agent didn’t plan on talking to Mitch for a week suggests that no written offer is immediately forthcoming.

    Judging from the signings we have seen so far in the NBA at the 2 (Barry, Pietrus, Mason) it seems that your subjective contract evaluation for Sasha is noticeably
    higher than the market value.

    That should make you think.

    Sasha might sign for $4 million up to $5.8 million and a 5 year deal–but I doubt it. My guess: 3 years at $9 million-$10 million.

  76. the other Stephen July 14, 2008 at 4:57 am

    SON OF GEORRRRGEE. BLOCK YA, OJ MAYO. BLOCK YA.

  77. Coby is playing well, ans showing he belongs in the NBA.

    Seems like Billy Packer is out as color commentator on the Final Four. About time!

    http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/news/story?id=3485871

    Now, when will ESPN/ABC get rid of Michael Wilbon, Jon Barry, and Stu Scott for their pre-game show. They need to stick with Stephen A. & Greg Anthony. I’m tired of Stu’s schtick. Maybe Mark Jones. Boring but consistant.

    Oh yeah, more on this artest issue. Lakersnot budging. They shouldn’t. They have the upper hand.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3485534

  78. Mayo made a move on Karl early and blew past him to baseline for nice reverse lay-up. So Kobe K was bad on D,right? Only Kobe K was playing him as if he was expecting baseline help like he’d been taught. Example of why Summer League can be misleading.
    You can see talent and you can see heart,but how they’d fit on an NBA team,that’s guessing.
    (BTW,Kobe K took Mayo personally and went after him,whereas Green for Mavs just coasted along,never showing any passion unless he was open and didn’t get the ball. It’s why Kobe K will be playing for the Lakers next yr and Gerald Green will be coming to a D-League team near you.)

  79. As impressed as I was at Nik Caner-Medley, let’s remember this is Summer League talent. 80-90 percent of these people will be playing in the D-League or overseas. Let’s not get carried away with how people perform now.

    Also, Karl’s game was overrated last night. In the Karl vs. Crawford battle for 15th man on the Lakers, Karl may have looked better (16 pts to 9) but Crawford was 4-5 FG, Karl 4-13. Karl 0-5 3PA, Crawford 1-1. I will give Karl 8-8 FT, Crawford 0-0. However, most importantly, Karl 32 min, Crawford 12. I say that’s a trust factor the coach has with Karl… he was his D-League coach. I’d give the nod to Crawford right now for that battle.

  80. New Summer League and more post up