An Analysis of Derrick Caracter and Devin Ebanks

Phillip Barnett —  July 15, 2010

Caracter

As you’ve probably read from a lot of the Lakers blogs and websites out there, Devin Ebanks and Derrick Caracter have impressed many – including us here at Forum Blue and Gold. While there was much that I saw that both of the Lakers second round draft picks need to improve on, this post will focus mainly on the positive that both ball players have brought to the table with some thoughts from Darius intertwined with mine.

Off top, I really enjoyed watching both of them play through their first three games. The Lakers Summer League team implemented some of the triangle offense principles and it was nice to see both Ebanks and Caracter have some comfort within the offense. What I noticed early and often was that both of them really wanted to make sure that they kept the right spacing within the offense, filled gaps and moved well without the ball. There were moments where they seemed confused about where to go in the offense, but for the most part they did a great job at being in the right place at the right time. As Darius had gone on record to say before, the triangle offense is perfect for developing various skills for each individual player. With that being said, I thought we were able to see multiple talents from each player during the course of the first couple of games. I’ll start with Caracter.

Before Caracter played any summer league games, the back-story on his game was that he was very good around the rim and could finish with both hands. As early as the first quarter of his first summer league game, we saw flashes of what scouts were talking about. I haven’t seen a defined go to move for Caracter yet, but he has shown a propensity to go to the right block and finish with either his right or left hand with jump hooks. He’s been extremely patient when he’s had the ball and is very confident in operating around bigger players. He’s shown the ability to create space with his body and can finish when contact has been made. These first two clips show Caracter operating on the right block, finishing with both his right and left hand. In the second clip, pay attention to how he feels the double team. At first he kicks the ball out to repost, then turns away from the second double team to finish with his right hand. There are a lot of veteran post players in the NBA who cannot make these kind of plays.

These next two clips show that Character has the ability to also stretch defenses. The reason I’m showing a lot of these clips is because they’re looks they’ll actually get within the scope of the Lakers offense. The first clip features Caracter spotting up at the pinch post and knocking down the shot. We’ve seen Pau Gasol take this shot hundreds of times during the course of these last two and a half seasons. Seeing Caracter being able to knock down a shot like this has to make the Lakers coaching staff extremely excited about the 58th pick in the draft. I included this second clip not only because he knocks down a 17-footer as the shot clock expires, but because he kept the possession alive twice – once grabbing an offensive rebound and the second time chasing down a deflected pass. As the Lakers continue to age, a youthful ability to come off the bench and produce high energy plays that not only give your team an extra possession, but also leads to points, is exactly how you make NBA teams after being drafted late in the second round. From Darius:

His mid-range jumper is even better than I anticipated and he seems comfortable facing up out to 17 feet and canning the jumper.  Multiple times I’ve seen him execute the high post flash from the weak side, make the catch, and then turn and bury the jumper against a late close out.  This action is a staple of the Triangle for the PF/C and the fact that he’s already showing comfort with this is a very good sign.

For Devin Ebanks, his story thus far is that he is of the mold of Trevor Ariza, and those comparisons are very fair. Ebanks has been one of those guys who does all of the little things, but has also been able to score, too. He’s grabbed rebounds, has had some steals, moves very well without the basketball and is very athletic. He’s been a bit awkward with some of his finishes around the basket, but the most important part is the fact that he’s finished. The first two clips feature Ebanks show that athleticism and why he’s been compared to Trevor Ariza. The first one shows him picking up a loose ball, taking it to the rim, absorbing the contact and finishing. The second shows him turning Denver over at the top of the key and going coast-to-coast and finishing with his left hand.

These next two clips are what I enjoyed the most from Ebanks. The first clip shows Ebanks feeding the pinch post and cutting ball side to receive a pass and drive to the hoop. Again, we’ve seen Kobe run this play with Pau Gasol hundreds of times. This is the triangle offense in its most basic form, but it’s still the triangle and is something that he could feasibly see in real game time action with the Lakers. The second clip features Ebanks spotting up for a three-pointer and knocking it down. Again, if Ebanks finds the floor with any kind of significant minutes, he’s going to see a lot of wide-open three pointers because of the rest of the talent of this Lakers team. From Darius:

He’s been a much smoother offensive player than I thought he’d be and has shown a comfort level shooting the ball that I did not expect.  And while the results have not always been there, I think his willingness to shoot the ball and his confidence to be an offensive threat is something that some players that are labeled as “offensively challenged” never quite show.  So, his mindset is something I’ve been impressed with.

For both Darius and me, Caracter has impressed more than Ebanks has, but that isn’t saying that Ebanks hasn’t impressed at all. I think both of them are a year or two away from seeing significant minutes on a regular basis with the Lakers, but that goes without being said considering the talent already on this Lakers team. I think spending some time in the D-League will be extremely beneficial for both guys. I’ll let Darius close things out with a few thoughts on each player.

On Caracter: Besides the skills he’s flashed, I think I’ve just as impressed with his competitive drive.  He’s been changing ends well when transitioning from offense to defense.  He’s active on the glass and goes after balls that are out of his area – a trait exhibited by the very good rebounders.  He’s willing to bang in the post for both offensive and defensive position and will fight a player for loose balls when it’s a toss up play.  And while it’s difficult to put too much stock in the success of a player in Summer League, I can say that watching a player compete is one aspect of the game that translates to actual games.  If a player is willing to fight for court space and ball here, he’s likely to do it when the games actually matter.  And the fact that Caracter is showing that now bodes well for the Lakers down the line.

On Ebanks: While his overall skill level still needs work (the release on his jumper can be awkward at times and his footwork needs some polish), I think from an athletic standpoint he’s ready to play in the NBA.  He shows good quickness to the ball and excellent body control when attacking and finishing at the rim.  His length is just tremendous and in his match up with Donte Green and Omri Casspi, I was quite impressed with his ability to simultaneously contain penetration while still recovering to contest (and even block) the shot attempt.  I’d like to see constistently stronger perfromances on defense from Ebanks, but in a scrimmage environment, I can live with some mistakes and some uneven results.  It’s not like he’s loafing out there – he’s just not always doing the technically correct thing.

Phillip Barnett

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58 responses to An Analysis of Derrick Caracter and Devin Ebanks

  1. Thanks Phillip. 1stQ just ended. I’m liking Caracter’s court awarenes. Coaches are taking almost every dead ball situation to talk to both guys. Ignoring the rest of the team LOL! I’m thinking the staff likes what they see. I se lots of gestures showing where those two should be going on the previous set.

  2. The last two videos are missing.

    Haven’t watched any games, but from what I’ve read Caracter in particular has been pretty impressive. He has shown a good ability to rebound and score around the basket. It will be interesting to see if that ability can translate into actual NBA games. Maybe he can develop into a high energy player that can come in, grab a few rebounds, go after loose balls, score around the rim in a few minutes a game.

    How did he look going up against Cousins? (who I think will be a ROY candidate and a great player in a few years) He is a bit undersized so I am curious what he can do against a bigger player.

  3. Great clips, thanks for putting these together. These guys are in a great position to develop within the Laker system, and you really have to give Mitch & co. credit for snagging them so late.

    On a side note, I’m hoping the Shannon Brown signing happens. I know he has some holes in his game, but he also brought a lot of positives to the team last year, and fills a unique niche on the team – as well as providing another level of continuity to a championship squad. I think he & Sasha can be an effective platoon at the backup 2 based on matchups, and with Blake stabilizing the second unit I think Shannon will find himself in a position to succeed more often than when he was in there with Farmar.

  4. Great write up. Whatever happens to our off-guard back-up spot (be it Shannon or whomever), I’m buoyed by the possibility of Ebanks and Caracter being on our team and possibly being contributors late this year or next.

    The Lakers simply don’t have that Dejuan Blair-esque banger down load (Powell is not that). Bynum is not that type of player. Caracter would be good to throw in to combat the plethora of undersized 4 bulldogs (Millsap, Blair, Landry, Big Baby, etc.). Great move by the FO. As to the other players on the squad, Jaaber is gone, and the only possible “looker” is Strawberry. Pretty slim pickings after Caracter and Ebanks.

  5. Ah it’s nice to be able to read something instead of doing work. Thank you server-gods.

    With all the talk about T-Mac and Iverson…what’s Stevie Franchise been up to? ; ) It do see it a bummer that Livingston is no longer available for looks, I thought that was a great suggestion.

    I do like our draft guys though. It’s always nice to see them competing well with NBA-caliber players, even if it is the summer league. I expect, with good oversight, Ebanks can grow leaps and bounds over the next 1-2 years. Impress me!

  6. Caracter looks good.

    I do disagree that the D League would be good for these two. Riding the bench on an NBA squad is more valuable to a developing player than the D League, and especially if that player is riding the Laker’s bench.

    The benefits from daily practices with NBA players cannot be overstated. Seriously, playing with/against Kobe, Gasol, Odom, Artest, Fisher, Bynum… What more could a developing, talented player want? Is anyone going to scare you with their defense after Artest has worked you day after day? Will anyone’s spinning pull up fade away fool you after seeing Kobe’s a hundred times? How much can you learn about post moves, and awareness, from Gasol and Odom? About finishing from Bynum? About being a PRO from Fisher?

    Add in the coaching sessions with Phil and his staff, film sessions, the occasional 2 or 3 minute burn in an actual game, and learning about professionalism on the road and at home from champions and the value from being on an NBA roster is obviously immense.

    I would be extremely surprised if Powell, Mbenga, Morrison, Brown, end up in a D League situation. Those guys will catch on with another NBA team somewhere, or at worst with a top Euro team.

    NBA time, even as a 12th man, is valuable.

    It is not always true, but it is usually true, that D League = Done League.

  7. Interesting article: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/420745-nba-trade-rumors-carmelo-anthony-to-the-lakers-could-it-happen

    Thoughts? I know it’s not likely, but it’s an interesting fantasy scenario, and seemingly well-thought out.

  8. Just wanted to point out that the Lakers Summer league team has i believe, 8 guys. While most other teams have full rosters and the Heat have, like 19. Fatigue may also be a reason why they sometimes look out of place or don’t make the right play. The first 2 games they looked better than the last 2. I am excited about both and hopefully they’ll get signed by us. Mitch was vintage logo on these picks.

  9. kehntangibles July 15, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    Also, if nothing else, we will never have to yell at the TV ‘don’t put Farmar and Brown in together!’ next year, like we did last year 34294 times.

  10. Just finished watching the Lakers-Spurs game (tivo all games). I think the reason we lost all 5 games was 1) our guys were tired and 2) our guard play left a lot to be desired and our opponents were able to drive in the 4th qtr.

    Caracter is on the team this year for sure – I doubt he will get much/any D-League time. He just has too much of what the Lakers need for next year, but will be well schooled by the coaching staff on how not to foul out in 2 minutes.

    Ebanks is probably in also, but might see more D-League time, if he still hasn’t rounded off some edges by the time training camp rolls around.

  11. #8: Totally agree. Hallelujah.

    If we do resign ShanWOW, I expect him to be much more effective playing with a PG who is intent on following the system, and not on trying to show what he can do.

  12. If Shannon comes back home, Ebanks and Caracter make it to the show, that leaves one spot for an experienced big(towel waver) signed to round out the roster. Considering the monetary constraints this year, FO has done a decent job with what they had. Just a couple of fresh faces to shake things up a bit.
    Hopefully Ron will look less like a deer in headlights on offense, and Blake will come in looking like he has been on the team for years. Cant wait to see how all the free agent signings in the NBA will work out and who will really challenge LA when the ball goes in the air. We all know what looks good on paper does not always translate into success. See ya in October.

  13. I looked through the box scores and noticed that Gerald Green has been playing well (on a per minute basis) in the Summer League. Darius, I know you thought that the Lakers didn’t actually put him on the summer roster but seeing that he did make and is playing well do you have any thoughts to share on his play?

  14. StevenP,
    Green, like VonWaffer before him, is just a shooter. I doubt he gets a camp invite because the Lakers need someone who can contribute more than just ‘jacking up’ shots. That was almost the entire repertoire in his summer league game.

  15. 6. NBA teams only practice one or two times per week during the regular season, on average. There are even two-week periods when no practices are held. IMO, the happy medium is both guys spending time with both the big club and the D-League club. It’s also quite possible that both will be in the Laker rotation due to injury.

    12. From what I’ve seen of Green during the D-League games, he appears to have the basketball IQ of a thimble.

  16. 13. Agree. No thanks to Gerald Green. Goes back to our “we need more athletes” discussion in a previous post. Has all the requisite athleticism to boot, but not much going on between the ears. And DUDE, please do not insult thimbles with that comparison. DJ Strawberry may be a training invite, but if ShanWow returns, he’d be redundant.

    I’m still eagerly awaiting whether ShanWow returns. The only reason why an imminent signing hasn’t occurred may be due to: 1) Shannon is trying to get a gig in Chicago since Orlando will match Reddick’s contract; and 2) FO trying to secure a big center before signing ShanWow in order to use the remaining MLE to sign the big, and use early-Bird rights to re-sign Shannon.

    I like Caracter a lot, though admittedly, he’ll be lucky to see 5+ minutes a game. He, unlike Gasol, Bynum, Odom, who tend to rebound based on their length and arms, grabs rebounds through position and his buttocks. We could use one of these kind of old school rebounders to have in our arsenal.

    I also think the 0-5 record is a reflection of the Lakers summer team having like 8-10 players, as opposed to other teams having a busload of players. They looked like they ran out of gas. And given the fact that Caracter and Ebanks will play spot minutes at best, I tend to look at how they performed in the first two games and maybe the first half against the Kings (Caracter did well against Cousins). Good summer for the Lakers so far.

  17. Maybe they can do a Farmar during his rookie year. Be in the team roster and be the 3rd string in their position, see some minutes here and there, then be allowed to play the home games of the d-league team (since they also play in staples right?). it will benefit them practicing with the Lakers and learning from the best coaches, and sometimes be allowed to see major minutes playing the D-League team

  18. Caracter will struggle against longer competition.. Cousins had just two inches on him and he visibly affected Caracter’s shots around the basket. But he does have a nice upside, can be a quality rotation player in a couple of years.

  19. Nice post about the status of our draft picks. I don’t see any of the guys we sign seeing too much D-League time. I see us signing the minimum 13 guys, and the 13th guy will be on the IR. Yes, they could see some D-League games while being in and out of the lineup, but I have doubts we will have the luxury of sending anyone to the D-League for too much time, and I also think that with the promising talent that these two bring, development with a veteran team like ours is beneficial to them. Also, if Lamar ends up with foul trouble like he did during the Finals, or if our bigs go down, Caracter may see some action. He is much more polished than I expected and definitely has a nose for the ball. I’m looking forward to seeing our picks further their development, and from the small tidbits I’ve seen of him, I really think Caracter has a place in this league without a doubt.

  20. Shaq apparently off to Atlanta (although not a done deal yet). After throwing Hardaway, Kobe, Wade, and Nash under the bus, how long before he disparages Lebron and says the real ‘King’ is Zsa Zsa Petchulia and the best guard he’s ever played with is Mike Bibby?

    Do playing for all these loser teams hurt his chance of having his jersey hanging in Staples? Perhaps less so than if he ends up in SAS or DEN and, although this is unthinkable, actually knocks us out of the playoffs.

  21. Can’t imagine why Shaq’s jersey wouldn’t hang in Staples.

    He’s a Hall of Famer for sure and a big part of the Lakers’ amazing story.

  22. Of the Summer League players, I would say the only ones worth inviting to camp are of course, Caracter and Ebanks, but I also liked what I saw from D.J. Strawberry and although Rob Kurz didn’t play after his head injury in the 2nd or 3rd game, I liked what I saw and what he has to offer. His rebounding and ability to shoot the 3 as a big man could be real useful off the bench.

    Other than that the rest of the summer league team wasn’t all too impressive.

    Jaaber – was impressive at times, but considering he didn’t play in the last game or two I doubt he’ll take a camp invite…that and he couldn’t hit a jumper to save his life. He’ll make more money in Europe and as this article shows http://espn.go.com/blog/los-angeles/lakers/post/_/id/9278/for-ibrahim-jaaber-the-nba-isnt-necessarily-the-best-option he may need the money more than being in the NBA.

    Courtney Sims – I had high hopes for him but he never put a solid game together. His length is nice, but he looked lost and couldn’t finish around the room, that and Caracter, whose several inches shorter, was a more consistent rebounder.

    Gerald Green – He had some eye popping moments in the last few games but he was worthless on D, and was mostly lost on Offense without the ball in his hands. He was a jacker and he shot his way off the team. The guy still has a long way to go before I’d consider him on our team, let alone our training camp. Besides, once we resign ShanWow there would be no point to keep Green around.

    Brown & Robinson – I honestly couldn’t tell much apart from these guys. They both seem to have similar games and plenty of weaknesses. I liked that they played more within the system than Green, but neither one really stood out to me.

    Tyler Sanborn – Just goes to show you why not too many D-3 players get in the NBA. He showed hustle, but he was severely over matched.

    Ben McCauley – Did he even play in a game??

    I’d definitely keep Ebanks and Caracter for roster spots. And would love for Strawberry and Kurz to be invited to training camp to compete for a spot…maybe even Green or Sims, but I’d be shocked if either would make it past the first few days of camp.

    And as far as finding our 13th man on the roster (assuming we resign ShanWow and sign Ebanks and Caracter for the season) we should really bring back Mbenga. I know he wants more playing time and there are other options like Kurt Thomas out there, but DJ has been with us for 3 years now and he’s developed a pretty slick jumper and is still an excellent shot blocker and a legit 7 footer. Just don’t see why we should let him go if he’s even remotely willing to come back. And I’d definitely take him over Powell…we already have our locker room presence in Fisher, and that’s pretty much all Powell brought this season…that and a broken jumpshot.

  23. kswagger,
    There are a limited number of times you can send a player down to the D-League (I think it is 3) and playing on the ‘big’ club is counted as a return to the bigs and requires another ‘send down’ to play in the D-League again.

    The D-Fenders are no more and the Laker D-League affiliate is the Bakersfield club.

    R,
    Shaq is a part of the Laker story, not a big part. The Laker tradition is very long and has a number of HOF players, not all of whom have their jersey’s retired and hung in Staples. Shaq spent only part of his career here and wasn’t really what I would call a loyal Laker. This doesn’t mean his jersey won’t be retired, but I don’t think it is the ‘slam dunk’ some of our younger fans allude to. I certainly question whether his jersey should be retired before Kobe’s is, regardless when he retires.

  24. I still would like to see a training invite for Crit. We could decide later whether or not he should stay.

  25. ReignOnParades July 15, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    Off topic free agency talk: The Heat are targeting Rasual Butler.

    Dude was the best wing player on the Hornets a few years back (not saying much) and pretty solid when I saw him on the Clips

    If the Heat only have minimum contracts to offer, I’d love to see the Lakers redirect the Raja Bell money to Butler. In fact I’m not sure why Butler isn’t being targeted with more lucrative offers

  26. To be fair, Wilt only played 5 years for the Lakers, and his jersey has been retired and hangs on the wall at Staples. Shaq was here for 8, including of course, a 3-Peat. The whole Shaq-Kobe thing muddied the waters for sure, but after some years go by I would bet on his number being added to the wall. Have to admit, those were some times…
    Kobe’s should go up first, I think that’s a good idea-loyalty should be worth something, although he was clamoring to get out of here at one point..

    Just some added facts as I was looking things up-Shaq came here when he was only 24-Wow. Wilt retired after his 16th season at the age of 36. He averaged 18+ rebounds his final year. Shaq just completed his 18th season and is 37. Never thought he’d hang around this long-he must not want to go home. Reminds me now of Moses Malone, bouncing around at the end of his career.

    Like Rasual Butler, but don’t know whose slot he would take, or if he is a good defender.

    Mbenga is a solid 7 footer if they decide to carry another true center. Just wish he wouldn’t shoot so much when he gets in, good at blocking shots and around the basket, pretty quick for a big guy..

  27. thisisweaksauce July 15, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    Out of the blue, but I think we should have Spero Dedes call the play-by-play on TV. Not a big fan of Joel Myers.

  28. Thanks for the info Craig. Never followed the Laker D-league team at all last two seasons. If that’s the case, then by all means they should be in the Laker roster next season. Would like to have Powell and Mbenga back, though Caracter is my pick over Powell. I agree that Mbenga should be brought back (Assuming that Caracter is signed) and its a center they need. Ebanks will see regular action if Luke’s back problems persist, and he would be a great addition to the 2nd unit and would provide a lot of hustle and energy off the bench.

    Still wondering who Miami’s low post threat would be? Bosh tries to, but he’s more of a face-up and jumper kind of guy. Unless they address that, I don’t think they’ll even get past Boston and Orlando… even the Bulls perhaps. Milwaukee is also a sleeper team next season. interesting mix of young guys and vets they have there

  29. I’m pretty confident that Ebanks and Caracter would have pretty decent transitions to an NBA-level type of basketball as soon as the regular season starts according to what they’ve shown so far in the Summer League, but one thing that’s nagging me for now is the thought that Adam Morisson did pretty well also during last year’s Summer League, but that performance didn’t really translate well when the regular season came.

    Any thoughts on if the same pattern could befall our two rookies?

    Or maybe it’s just that Ammo’s story is just simply the product of lack of playing time/confidence in him by the coaching staff in general/ physical limitations he has?

  30. dxbravo,
    Wilt Chamberlain is really a special case. For all the younger fans, I did see him play, and he changed basketball in a way that Shaq did not.

    Today we see his statistics and say something’s wrong, it was a different era, rules were different. Why do we do this? Because his numbers were just astounding and we can’t imagine how our ‘superior athletes of today’ could approach his numbers. Well, if you actually saw him play, you might better understand why he put up those numbers and how he changed the game – as did Bill Russell on defense.

    I am not trying to start a Wilt vs Shaq argument. I am just saying he influenced the game more than Shaq and he helped bring the LA Lakers their first championship, after so much torment. That is certainly worth something. Shaq followed Magic and Kareem and never reached their heights.

    Again, this is not to put down Shaq; just to say Wilt was an other worldly player.

  31. I don’t see Caracter as somebody the Lakers send down to the D-League. Caracter would benefit more by practicing against Pau, Bynum, and Odom every day than playing in the D-League. He needs to face legit post-up players like himself everyday to improve his game. He won’t find that in the D-league.

    Ebanks, on the other hand may benefit more from the D-League. He’s not a guy who can create his own shot and thus needs to understand how to find his way through the tri. D-League experience will help him.

  32. Renato Afonso July 16, 2010 at 3:06 am

    I see everyone praising Caracter’s game around here, and while we saw some good flashes, I believe his defense leaves a lot to be desired. He was fouling like a mad man. I remember that in the game against Denver (or was it Detroit) he made 3 fouls in the first 5 minutes. Seriously, he really needs to learn a lot about defense and I don’t see Phil giving him minutes unless he improves his defensive awareness. That being said, he should definetly make the squad and NOT join the D-League. He needs to practice with the roster in order to imporve his awareness.

    Regarding Ebanks, he will need 2 or 3 years to develop into a solid rotation player and should also be groomed within the team. Make no mistake, we are in luxury tax hell and will be for a few years so we better start developing alternatives for our aging starting lineup.

    Strawberry is not the answer for our future at PG and maybe we should address that next season, since we have Fish and Blake to run things now. Did he earn an invite for training camp? He did, but we all know he’s not making the team. We should be rightious and let him go so that he can find a better contract elsewhere.

    Kurz was also nice, but we need a shot-blocker more than we need a “stretch” PF or C. If Mbenga wants, he should get the roster spot.

    The others are not worth mentioning as they didn’t make the cut. Regarding ShanWOW, am I the only one who thinks that his game will NOT improve? I believe he is what he is and we’d be better off signing a shooter to play SG (or someone who could become a good shooter). Kobe’s absorbing big minutes (he’s not playing less than 36 a game) and we have Sasha around. Just fill the 13th spot elsewhere…

  33. 27, I totally agree. It’s uncanny how much he sounds like a young Al Michaels.

  34. Re: ShanWOW, can someone clarify this for me? I know that since we own his early-Bird rights, we can sign him up the MLE. However, are the Lakers limited to the remaining $1.77mil left from MLE or can they sign him irregardless of that amount (meaning, re-up Shannon up to the full MLE, not that he’s going to get anything near that)? Obviously, the answer to this dictates whether we try to get a veteran big (Kurt Thomas, etc.) with the remaining MLE.

    Caracter was fouling because they were playing him out of position at the center position, and because the Lakers played him a ton of minutes since they carried less players than other teams. Had Caracter been paired with a bigger center (and Sims is not that), he might have fouled less. Also, Caracter won’t be playing the same amount of minutes in the NBA so he should be more focused. No one has really questioned his offensive prowess but for his 6’9 frame. I’ve read scouting reports marveling at his mature post game which includes usage of both hands to finish.

    We are reaching that point in free agency where the pond is beginning to dry out and the remaining fish are fighting for the last drop of water. There will be some bargains at the end of the road. However, bear in mind that there is a reason why some guys are still left, which is usually an inflated sense of their own value and lack of talent.

  35. thisisweaksauce & Zephid,
    Agree with both of you. I have been saying this for over a year. Joel Meyers is simply boring, once you have listened to him for an entire year. He has specific things he says and they don’t vary.

    Also, he is not critical of our team – although, this may be the result of Buss pressure – ahhhhh! How Chick is missed.

  36. michael zarabi July 16, 2010 at 7:53 am

    A little off topic …. But any word on bynum and his surgery? He should be recovered by now and on a beach somewhere

  37. ReignOnParades July 16, 2010 at 8:19 am

    26. “Like Rasual Butler, but don’t know whose slot he would take, or if he is a good defender.”

    He’s a 2/3 so he’d replace ShanWOW and either cut into Luke’s minutes or outright replace him when he’s injured which is… pretty often.

    He’s athletic, can chuck away 3s for better or worse, and I thought he was a solid defender but I’ve heard people disagree. I think at worse he does a lot of the things Ariza used to until Ebanks or someone else is ready to fulfill those roles.

  38. 37. I was going to mention Butler too. And Luther Head is a combo guard who was unceremoniously dropped by the Hornets. Antoine Wright is also a 2/3 out there.

    But all signs point to a few more years of ShanWOW. Mike Breshnan said that the Lakers are shopping Sasha’s expiring contract around (on the Mason & Ireland show), so maybe we may have something going on here.

  39. Unless Phil is totally ‘put off’ by Sasha, his expiring contract is worth too much to the Lakers for them to trade him now. He knows the system, he can shoot the rock, he can defend decently, and he is in a contract year. All those things argue for a better chance to win this next year – the major goal for the Lakers right now.

  40. #38 DY: ‘Mike Breshnan said that the Lakers are shopping Sasha’s expiring contract around (on the Mason & Ireland show), so maybe we may have something going on here.’

    Makes perfect sense to me because, IMO, there should be no need for us to bring back ShanWow if we already have 4 guards under contract. We did so last year & what this does is basically relegates 1 of them (last season, it was Sasha) to what I like to call ‘Dead Weight’ status. I could see us doing this if one of the guards besides Kobe could play SF, but unfortunately, this is not the case. So what will happen (if we decide to carry 5 guards) is that Kobe will have to end up playing more mins @ the three (considerin’ Luke’s back injury & the fact that Ebanks isn’t ready for prime-time action) and he’ll be exhausted come playoff time.

  41. Like was said above, last year we ended up having more guards than we had minutes for. For that reason, I think the FO should have the either/or approach to Shannon and Sash. Our first focus, in my opinion, is a big.

    I personally, have always been a fan of Sash. I think our best play for him would be to hang on to him, hopefully he performs this year (contract year) and hits Machine-mode. If he is smart and isn’t greedy (no way he gets a similar contract) I would like to keep him into the future.

    The other side is to re-sign Shannon for multiple years and then use Sash’s contract to dangle in front of team (possibly for a big?). That way we would have the “athleticism” many are craving, and someone locked up for more than just this year.

    I don’t like the idea of both.

  42. Craig W. I’m not a huge Shaq fan, believe me, but in retrospect I think he is deserving. Not by a lot, and I understand anybody’s argument. Kind of in a Gail Goodrich way, after some time has passed.

    I saw Wilt as well, only one of him that’s for sure…He autographed my Lakers Yearbook the year he tore up his knee. He was handing out pictures in the lobby of the Forum. I ran as the doors opened, and luckily was first one there, and he signed it for me-begrudgingly, I’m sure.

    Mavericks and Celts also rumored to be interested in Butler..

  43. Haha…got to love the “gollums” – old vets chasing rings.

    I got so excited to hear my favorite player of all time (yes!) Penny Hardaway is willing to take on “any role” with the Heat. I would be so excited to see him lace them up again. Admittedly I am extremely biased as he was absolutely terrible the last time out. But the thought of being able to watch Penny play again got me jazzed this Friday morning!! Woo. Haha.

    Lil Penny started everything with the puppetts if you all remember! Bring him back!!!

    Realistically, no chance of this happening, but in my heart….and dreams.

  44. Shaq is a 100% lock to have his number retired. Go back and watch some youtube clips of Shaq as a Laker. He was the best player in the NBA for the majority of the time he was a Laker. 3 Rings and should have been MVP at least 3 times.

  45. I’ve been clamoring for Spero to do TV for seasons. Joel is absolutely horrible, his commentary adds no value, he’s completely predictable, and he’s afraid to tell it like it is. On the other hand, Spero is really one of the better play-by-play guys we have around basketball today.

  46. Craig W – I’m amused by your implication that I’m one of the “younger” Lakers fans who’s memory of the team doesn’t extend beyond Shaq’s tenure as a Laker. It’s a shaky notion to assume that “younger” folks are necessarily oblivious to events that happened before their time. For the record, BTW, I’ve been following the Lakers since before Shaq was born.

    Also, I find this notion of “loyalty” as a criteria for number retirement to be questionable, too. By that questionable measure, I’d argue that Kobe’s jersey shouldn’t hang in the rafters, either.

  47. agree w. lou – shaq may not have always worked as hard as we would’ve liked, and he definitely didn’t mind stirring up the pot. but his 2000 to 2002 seasons alone are likely enough to get him into the staples center rafters (leading a team to three championships can’t be ignored). especially 2000 – those were absolutely beastly numbers he was putting up.

  48. What about Reshad McCants as the last guard off our bench?

    http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/insider/news/story?id=5383373

  49. If we don’t sign brown which is still 50-50 as of now what do you think of Rashad McCants??????? as our back up to kobe. Then again that might not be such a good idea seening how he used to date odom’s now wife lol so never mind……………

  50. Check out my thoughts on the sale of the Warriors and an offseason version of Charles Oakley Rankings

    sportsaccordingtome.com

  51. Bharath Venkat July 16, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    There have been a flurry of off season moves this summer that should make for an exciting NBA season. I have written a post about a recap of the off season moves around the NBA on my blog (pardonmybias.com). Feel free to comment and start a healthy conversation. Here is a direct link to my post: http://pardonmybias.com/2009-nba-free-agency-update/

  52. Jeff has a new post up. We’re continuing our player reviews with Lamar Odom.

    http://www.forumblueandgold.com/2010/07/16/player-review-lamar-odom/

  53. E and Caracter should spend the next 10 weeks getting in NBA shape. The last 2 games they were really draging. E needs to get stronger and Caracter to continue to get his weight down. E needs to work on his shot mechanics,and Caracter on his high post moves and D,where Pau and Kobe can help. They both will be #12 and 13,or #13 and 14,so don`t expect much next year.

  54. As far as Ebanks and Caracter playing back and forth with the Lakers and the D-Fenders team, it won’t happen this year. D-League team will be in Bakersfield! See below…

    Lakers announced in May that they were suspending operations of their development team, the D-Fenders, for one year in order to restructure the team’s business operations and find a smaller venue to play in other than at the Staples Center before Lakers games.

    “We will be the affiliate of the Bakersfield team which, from our point of view is natural,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said Tuesday. “It’s perfect for us. There were a couple options that the [D-League] ran past us and just from a geographical point of view, it just made sense that we would be affiliated with the Bakersfield club.”

    The Jam, formerly an affiliate of the Golden State Warriors, will now be connected to both the Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers.

    Kupchak estimated the Lakers have played nearly a half a dozen preseason games in Bakersfield in the last decade and acknowledged the influence the team has on the inland city located halfway between L.A. and Fresno, Calif.

  55. i agree that caracter has impressed more than ebanks, but i think ebanks will have a much more immediate impact based on the needs of the team. with pau bynum and odom, i don’t see anything caracter can do that is really a “different look” compared to those three – he actually reminds me a lot of pau with the way he can finish with both hands and his patience in the post.

    ebanks on the other hand is a big “change of pace” if you will compared to artest and walton. if we are looking for something different in a certain matchup, ebanks gives us a different look that we can go with. so while caracter has impressed more, i envision ebanks making a bigger impact in his rookie season.

  56. Lakers need these guys to develop. They’re getting a bit up there in age….gotta get younger to hold off OKC.

  57. robz,
    I disagree with you about Caracter. We truly only have three rotation players in the 4/5 positions – Powell and Mbenga are essentially garbage time players. In the past we had to insert Powell when we got into foul trouble. I would expect Caracter to fill this role.

    Ebanks will find time as he adjusts to the NBA, but the Lakers have more depth at SF – Artest, Kobe, Walton, and even Lamar or Sasha can come over to play a few minutes if needed.

  58. I think LA Lakers should consider resigning Shannon Brown and deveolping the draft picks for the next two years. Reason, they have a pretty talented team and they’re the defending champs. I like our chances with the team we’ve. I don’t see any reason why we can’t complete with any other team in the league, giving the addition of Barnes and Ratif. Remember we have our core players coming back and that speaks volumes.