Archives For July 2010

Los Angeles Lakers' Derek Fisher (L) and teammate Pau Gasol celebrate in the second quarter of their game against the Boston Celtics during Game 6 of the 2010 NBA Finals basketball series in Los Angeles, California, June 15, 2010 .   REUTERS/Mike Blake (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

To be honest, I was never really concerned with Derek Fisher leaving the Lakers.  The Lakers were the team that could offer him the best situation – the most money (if needed), the leadership role, the offense that maximizes his skill set, and the coaches/teammates that he was comfortable interacting with.  Really, no other team could combine all of these factors and even if the Lakers played hard ball with his salary “demands”, the other factors were sure to provide a pull that other teams just couldn’t match.  Plus, Fisher’s relationship with that Kobe guy is pretty strong and in the end it was that relationship that tipped the scales in the Lakers’ favor.

We all know what Fisher provides so I won’t explore that too much here.  And though I will say that while Fisher is clearly on the decline, he’s still the exact type of player this specific Lakers team needs.  His ability to play crunch time minutes and hit big shots in the clutch is second to only Kobe Bryant on this team.  And when you look around the league, there may be other superstar caliber players you’d want with the ball and taking that last second jumper, but I struggle to find another role player that I’d prefer to have taking that big shot to tie or win the game.  The trust that his teammates have in him is second to none and his ability to say the right thing to inspire his mates is alone worth the salary the Lakers will pay him over the next three seasons.

And while we can go back and forth on whether or not a three year contract is the most prudent deal for a player that will soon see his 36th birthday, understand that his deal will essentially keep this Lakers championship core together for extended runs with Kobe, Pau, Bynum, Artest, and Odom.  The Lakers will have their core 6 players for at least next season and the one beyond that and locking up one of the key leaders for that stretch was imperative.  And while the contract details are not official, if the deal is in the 3 year/$10.5 mil as has been reported (with the 3rd year being a player option), I think that’s a fair contract for what Derek provides to this team.  Sure it’s a step up from the reported $2.5 million that was originally offered, but it’s not so far above that it can’t be explained by PG still being a position of need and the fact that the Lakers are retaining a player that hasn’t missed a game in 5 seasons while providing some discernible skills and a bunch of intangibles that have directly helped this team succeed to the level that it has in the past three seasons.

But now that Derek is back in the fold, what is next for the Lakers?  The team now has 9 players under contract (Fisher, Kobe, Artest, Gasol, Bynum, Odom, Blake, Sasha, and Walton) and has two rookies that are performing well in the Vegas Summer League (more on them in a future post).  If both the rookies make the final roster after training camp – which is looking more and more likely by the day – then the Lakers have to add at least two more players to reach the mandated league minimum of 13.  As we mentioned this morning, Kobe will meet with Raja Bell tomorrow in hopes of convincing him of joining the Lakers as a reserve wing player.  Many have mixed views of adding Bell, but I’m not one of those people.  While Bell is older, he’s a defensive player that is a very good three point shooter.  He’s tough minded, has the experience of making deep playoff runs, and is has the skill set to play SG and SF for the Lakers and could even play some PG in a pinch.  Plus, I think it’s key to note that Bell didn’t play many games last season (6 total) and that means he’s essentially a year younger (in basketball years) than his age.  He did not take a pounding last season and missed games not due to a leg injury, but to his non-shooting wrist.  I’m quite confident that he can return to the form he showed two seasons ago where he averaged over double digit points, shot over 40% from 3 point range, and still played quality defense.

I know that many are looking for a “slashing” wing that can play off the ball in a manner that exploits the attention that the Lakers’ marquee players demand.  However, the Triangle offense is one predicated off spacing combined with movement off the ball.  This means that having a better shooter on the floor allows for Pau/Kobe/Bynum to have more space to operate while also allowing all the off-ball movement to flow better because defenses are forced to play tighter on the perimeter.  So, guys like Odom, Bell (potentially), Artest, Sasha, etc will be able to move off the ball more freely and still be able to cut off the ball to good results.  Slashing doesn’t have to be the strength of someone’s game for them to still take advantage of the extra room generated by dominant players that demand double teams combined with strong shooters on the wing.  This is why, I’m more lukewarm on Matt Barnes (though I think he too would be a solid addition) because even though he is a player that moves well off the ball, his career 3 point % is over 8 points lower than Bell’s (Barnes – 32.9%, Bell – 41.1%).  The extra spacing that Bell provides helps the offense more overall than the better slashing and ability to finish at the rim than Barnes.  Defensively, Barnes can guard bigger players as he’s a natural SF that can effectively guard perimeter PF’s like Rashard Lewis or Dirk.  But Bell is just as versatile as a defensive player as he can guard SG’s and SF’s and can even be used on some PG’s (Andre Miller types, for example).

So if Bell or Barnes is signed (or if Shannon is retained) the only position left is a back up big man that can play PF or C (or preferably, both).  As for names available, that list primarily looks the same as it did at the start of free agency – at least in the price range the Lakers can pay.  Kurt Thomas, Rasho Nesterovich, Joe Smith or the familiar faces of Powell or Mbenga are still out there.  Any of these guys would be solid pick-ups (with Thomas likely representing the best option) and I’m sure the Lakers are working the phones behind the scenes now that Fisher is locked up.  The roster is now rounding into shape and for a team that just came off winning its second consecutive title, I think things are coming together quite nicely and I have no complaints with the direction that the team has moved in.  Remember, every  team is trying to catch up to the Lakers and so far this off-season the team that holds the crown has actually gotten better.  I know that Miami and Chicago can say the same but how many other teams can?  And while it’s difficult to be satisfied with the off-season always offering the next enticing option, things are progressing nicely, Lakers fans.

Lastly, I leave you with the latest video from LD2K, who has once again put together a great piece – this time on the man that decided to come back and go for 6.

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (L) congratulates guard Derek Fisher in the fourth quarter during Game 3 of the 2010 NBA Finals basketball series against the Boston Celtics in Boston, Massachusetts June 8, 2010. REUTERS/Adam Hunger (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

Yes, indeed. Welcome back, Mr. Fisher.  Kobe wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Andy Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers:  “Then again, these issues have proven a small trade-off for an uncanny ability to hit shots requiring huevos grande. I mean, big ol’ onions. Dude’s as clutch as players come, and until we see him turn “Robert Horry in the 2003 playoffs,” I refuse to stop extending Fisher a benefit of the doubt. One or two more biggies are guaranteed to drop before the sneaks are hung up for good.

Ultimately, Fisher’s impact is felt heaviest in the locker room and along the sidelines during games. His speeches are now the stuff of legend, the reason he has the ear of everybody on the roster, including Kobe Bryant. Some might even say especially Kobe — who stayed in Fish’s ear constantly while the situation was mulled — since the Mamba has labeled his longtime teammate the one player he’s absolutely willing to give audience, no questions asked.”

Kevin Ding, OC Register:  “It’s funny how desperately Bryant wanted to win without Shaquille O’Neal and yet Bryant now can’t stand the prospect of trying to win without Fisher – which Bryant has never done either. For a time there when things were good between Bryant and O’Neal, their opposites attracted – as is the case in the best of any relationships. But they never shared the core values that make Bryant and Fisher – for all their personality differences – more similar than you might think.

Bryant can respect Fisher to such an extent because Fisher works comparably hard and believes in himself comparably much. Fisher is a politician with a charming smile and analytical words, but he is just as certain at the bottom line as Bryant that no one can break him.”

Kurt Helin, Pro Basketball Talk: “Derek Fisher was coming back to the Lakers.  He flirted with Miami, but they could offer even less money than the Lakers. And more than money, it was about comfort. He fits well in the triangle. He could win titles in L.A. And Kobe Bryant wanted him back. It was going to happen. But for three years?”

Marc Stein, ESPN:  “Bryant, though, has not abandoned his pursuit and continues to press Bell to join the Lakers, who have only $1.8 million of their mid-level exception left to offer Bell next season after signing Steve Blake.

One source close to the situation said memories of Bell’s takedown, which earned him a suspension for Game 6 of the series — the Suns, down 3-2, won the game at Staples Center without him — are actually one reason why Bryant sees Bell as such an ideal teammate. The premise? Anyone with the gumption to hit Bryant that hard is someone he wants on his team.”

Mark Medina, LA Times: “All it took was a one-word answer for Michael Jordan to settle the Kobe Bryant-LeBron James debate. When he was asked at a basketball camp who the better basketball player was, Jordan simply said, “Kobe.” You can counter that Jordan’s talent evaluations leave a lot to be desired. He did draft Kwame Brown, you know. But his reputation as the game’s all-time greatest player speaks for itself. This is hardly a new revelation. When James won his second best most valuable player award, I presented in detail why Bryant is still the NBA’s best player.”

Point Of No Return

Darius Soriano —  July 12, 2010

Jun. 08, 2010 - Boston, MASSACHUSETTS, UNITED STATES - epa02192987 Los Angeles Lakers' Jordan Farmar (L) drives past Boston Celtics' Nate Robinson during the first half of game three of the NBA Finals at TD Gardens in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, 08 June 2010. The Lakers defeated the Celtics 91-84 to lead the series 2-1 in the best of seven games.

It’s now official: Jordan Farmar is no longer a Laker but instead is a member of the New Jersey Nets.  Last night he inked a 3 year/$12 million dollar contract to play point guard with the team in Jersey.  So, what looked to be a sure bet after his exit interview and at the beginning of free agency has now come to fruition, so this should be of little surprise to Lakers fans.  Personally, I wish Farmar nothing but the best.  Yes, I’ve been hard on Farmar over his career (more on that later) but he was a key contributor to the Lakers three consecutive trips to the Finals and the two championships they’ve won in the past two seasons.  Serving as the back up PG and the first guard off the bench nearly every night, Farmar may not have been the most dependable player but he played hard and did have a knack of hitting key shots when the Lakers needed them.  So, in a way, I’ll miss him.  I just won’t miss him a lot.

Because when it comes right down to it, Jordan Farmar wasn’t a player that had a long term future with the Lakers.  While the Triangle is an offense that nearly any player can adapt to – if you can’t shoot, you can slash; if you’re not a good ball handler, you can spot up; etc – Farmar was always a reluctant participant in the Lakers’ sets often casting himself as a floor general in a system that did not require it.  Farmar seems to see himself as a director of the action; as a guard that operates best with the ball in his hands where he can call out the sets and improvise off the dribble to get himself or his teammates a shot.  And the offense he found himself in just wasn’t that type of scheme.  Plus, when you compound that with the Lakers also employing Kobe, Pau, Fisher, and Odom, it’s not like Farmar was ever going to find a role where he was the main player with the ball in his hands even when the offense calls for isolation sets or pick and rolls.

The thing is, even though Farmar likely saw himself as more, he had the requisite skill to really excel as a support player in the Triangle.  Farmar is a good enough shooter from both the mid-range and the three point line (for players that had more than 17 attempts, he actually led the Lakers in 3pt FG% at 37.6% this past season) to be a threat off the ball.  He’s a very good ball handler and has shown the ability to be a good decision maker by making the proper reads within the offense.  He’s an explosive driver that can finish at the rim in the half court and in transition – traits that served him well when up against the shot clock or in the P&R sets that are built into the Triangle.  And he also had  moxie; a confidence to him that allowed him to play fearlessly in games where the stakes were high.  Granted, this didn’t always lead to the best results, but he’s played well in some big games and hit some big shots in the the OKC series and against Phoenix in the WCF in this years’ playoffs.  He also made some key hustle plays in the Finals including a diving grab of a loose ball in game 6 that exemplified the effort the Lakers displayed in forcing a fateful game 7.  So when looking at his game, it’s obvious that Farmar could have been a contributing player for the Lakers for years to come had he just been at peace with his role.

But during his tenure with the Lakers, he never fully embraced being that player.  And in the end, this is why I’ve been so hard on Farmar and why I was left disappointed on many a night with his performance.  Farmar was always a player with the requisite game and the smarts to know what to do and when to do it, but he too often broke away from that role to try and do more.  Rather than making the simple pass into the post, he’d call Gasol out to the perimeter so he could run the P&R.  Instead of making the next pass in the progression reads of the Triangle, he’d put his head down and try to attack the basket.  What was most frustrating was that it was clear that he could play in a manner that was mutually beneficial to him an the team – a perfect example of this was his performance in the 2009 playoffs against Houston when Fisher was suspended – but on too many nights Farmar pushed away from that role like the style he wanted to play and the Triangle offense were two magnets at opposite poles.  When you throw in his sometimes commitment to defense where losing track of his man off the ball or his getting beat off the dribble in a manner where his man wasn’t funneled to help defenders was a bit too frequent, my frustration often grew even higher.  This all left me with a sense of “he should be better, but he’s just not” and in the end, that’s a tough way of looking at a player night after night.

And now he’s gone.  But again, I hope he succeeds in Jersey (and I think he will).  He’s seemingly going to a situation where he’ll again be asked to be a back up player, but the isolation and P&R schemes of Avery Johnson will likely suit him better than the constraints of the Triangle.  Plus with the Nets, there is no Kobe Bryant to dominate the ball on the wing to the point that Farmar will be a spectator just standing in the corner waiting for the ball to swing back to him.  He’ll be able to play with an up an coming big man, so he should still have the relief of having a strong post presence that he can play off of while still being able to create off the dribble for himself or his mates.  And while I’m not sure if this is the best career move for Farmar – he’s leaving a defending champion for the team with the worst record in the league last season – I do think this will give him a chance to see if he can indeed flourish in a more traditional system for a point guard.  He has the talent, but whether he gets the opportunity he’s been seeking for years remains to be seen.  Either way, good luck Jordy.  I’ll miss his buzzer beaters at the end of quarters, open court dunks and that swagger that he carried himself with and hope he brings all that and more with him to the Nets.

June 15, 2010 - Los Angeles, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES - epa02204272 Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Farmar (C) makes a pass around Boston Celtics center Rasheed Wallace (L) and Boston Celtics guard Nate Robinson (R) in the fourth quarter of the Los Angeles Lakers 89-67 win over the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals Game Six at the Staples Center in Los Angeles California, USA 15 June 2010. The best of seven series is tied at 3-3.

From Mark Medina, Los Angeles Times: Jordan Farmar may soon find out just how frustrating the NBA can really become. He often lamented during his four-year tenure with the Lakers his lack of playing time, how the triangle offense limited his game and how there never seemed to be enough opportunities for him to succeed. That’s why it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he officially parted ways with the Lakers on Sunday. It almost seemed inevitable that he wouldn’t be part of the organization, particularly with how obvious he made it out to be during his exit interview that he’d like to test the market, get away from L.A. and see where his career can take him. What seems surprising is the alternative. The Times’ Broderick Turner reported that Farmar accepted a three-year, $12-million offer from the New Jersey Nets and will play behind starting point guard Devin Harris. In New Jersey, Farmar’s frustration may go beyond playing time and the triangle offense.

From Mark Heisler, Los Angeles Times: LeLemmings Strike Back! You know the guy on the 100-foot billboard in Cleveland with his head thrown back and his arms outstretched under the Nike swoosh and the words “We Are All Witnesses”? He doesn’t perform miracles there anymore. After years of dreading this day, Cavaliers fans, who assured themselves LeBron James would never leave, knowing he was all they had going and there would be no reason for them to stay, either, learned he would spend the rest of their lives in. . . . And now a word from our sponsors. MIAMI?

From Broderick Turner, Los Angeles Times: The Lakers have one guard who might be staying or going, another guard who is leaving and yet another guard who remains in flux. Almost two weeks into the free-agency period has put Lakers unrestricted free-agent guard Derek Fisher in a position in which he may have to decide between two similar offers — one from the Lakers and the other from the Miami Heat. Jordan Farmar, to whom the Lakers didn’t make a qualifying offer, which made him an unrestricted free agent, said he agreed Sunday night to a three-year, $12-million deal with the New Jersey Nets.

From Dexter Fishmore, Silver Screen and Roll: Some details have emerged tonight about the bidding, uh, “war” for Derek Fisher. A story filed minutes ago by Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times contains two key pieces of information. One is that the Miami Heat have indeed offered Fish a contract. It’s for two years, with the second being a player option. The salary is “up to $2 million” per year, depending on what Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem will agree to. The Heat have apparently promised Fish the starting point-guard gig. The second key update is that the Lakers are now offering Fish a deal worth $2.75 million annually. Turner doesn’t know whether it’s a one- or two-year offer, but in any event, it’s a very slight increase from the $2.5 million contract the Lakers were reportedly offering last week. The Heat are requesting answers from Fish, Miller and Haslem by Tuesday.

From the K-Bros, Land O’ Lakers: Jordan Farmar’s exit interview cemented what’s been clear for the last couple of seasons. He wasn’t terribly interested in remaining a Laker once his contract expired this July, and the feeling has always appeared mutual on the Lakers’ end. Jordan’s felt unofficially “gone” since around 2008, but it’s now truly the case by any standard. Farmar and the Nets have agreed to a three-year deal worth $12-million.  I must admit, New Jersey strikes me as a curious destination. On one hand, the Nets have an established, successful coach in Avery Johnson — described as a selling point to the Los Angeles Times’ Brad Turner — and an owner with deep pockets. And while still hardly a playoff lock, they’re basically guaranteed by definition to perform better than last season’s 12 win fiasco. Between rookie Derrick Favors, Anthony Morrow potentially joining, and the core trio of Brook Lopez, Courtney Lee and Devin Harris, there are enough good young pieces to consider the Nets a team moving in the right direction.

From Mark J. Spears, Yahoo! Sports: A source close to Derek Fisher said he’s confident the free-agent guard will re-sign with the Los Angeles Lakers instead of going to the Miami Heat. Fisher reportedly received a $2.5 million offer for next season from the Lakers. He has been seeking a two-year contract with a starting salary closer to the $5 million he made last season. Depending on whether the Heat sign both Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem, they could be in position to offer only the veteran’s minimum to Fisher. Fisher visited with the Heat in Miami on Saturday.

From Kevin Arnovitz, TrueHoop: Large bags of ice are taped to Derrick Caracter‘s shoulders and knees as he sits on a folding chair beneath the bleachers of Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas. The Lakers have just dropped a summer league game to the Nuggets, but Caracter continues to make the Lakers look smart for nabbing him with the 58th overall pick in last month’s draft. After racking up 20 points and 10 rebounds against the Pistons on Friday, Caracter scored 17 points and grabbed 12 rebounds on Saturday. Even though summer league is largely an exhibition to display individual talents, there’s a tacit rule not to take too much pride in personal performance when your team loses. Still, as a late second-rounder who has been carrying baggage, Caracter’s strong play has him in good spirits.

From Mike Trudell, Basket Blog: The Lakers lost their second straight game to open the Las Vegas Summer League as Ty Lawson and the Denver Nuggets rode a late run to a 92-74 victory. Yet as was the case in L.A.’s first game, second round picks Devin Ebanks and Derrick Caracter showed why Mitch Kupchak and Co. drafted them, Ebanks posting a game-high 24 points and Caracter contributing his second straight double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds. L.A. cut Denver’s lead to just four late in the second quarter, as Ebanks and Caracter combined for 18 points in the period, but couldn’t lead the Lakers back in the second half. Ebanks, known more in his two years at West Virginia as a defensive player, showcased his offense for the second straight game, bringing his average to 22.5 points, and he added three steals on defense.

From Alex Kennedy, Hoops World: Throughout the draft process, Derrick Caracter proved that he could hang with the top prospects in this class. He was dominating workouts and saying all of the right things in interviews. But on draft night, teams were still scared to take a risk on the big man because of his well documented red flags. Caracter had changed his attitude, lost forty pounds, and emerged as a leader but the mistakes he made as a high schooler were coming back to haunt him. When the Los Angeles Lakers finally took a chance on him with the fifty-eighth pick, Caracter vowed to go after the players chosen ahead of him on draft night. When the Las Vegas Summer League kicked off on Friday, Caracter started this process by going after Greg Monroe.

Last, but not least, I just saw this video of Kobe talking about how kids need to get out and play more, Derek Fisher, Brian Shaw and LeBron James.

Yesterday the Lakers played their first game of the Vegas Summer League against the Detroit Pistons, losing 89-85 to the summer squad from the motor city.  And while we all know it’s never safe to take too much from the games that happen in July, a few of the prospects on this years’ team looked good.  Below are some of my thoughts on what I saw:

Devin Ebanks: The WVU product has a reputation as a long athlete that excels at defense while also having a feel for finding open spaces on offense.  In game one, I saw some of these traits on display but was left looking for more in others.  On the positive side, Ebanks is definitely a plus athlete with long limbs that enable him to change ends quickly and get to loose balls.  He does seem to have a feel for finding creases in the defense as a slasher and showed good ability to finish in the lane on both the break and in the half court.  I was especially impressed with his body control around the bucket as on more than one occasion he was able to make difficult finishes look routine by turning his body to avoid defenders or take the hit and still get up a good look.  He also showed good instincts by collecting 2 steals and I was pleased with the way that he went to the glass, his rebound total (2) notwithstanding.

On the negative side, his on ball defense wasn’t too impressive.  He seemed overly reliant on his reach/length to disrupt plays and was often caught out of position and tried to reach to make up for being beat.  His ability to change of direction seemed only average and he showed a want to over help at times.  Some of these things should (and likely will) be corrected with more coaching and I also got the impression that some of his actions were based off instincts born from playing with an undersized group in college.  Remember, Ebanks was one of the better rebounders on his team and his height was surely something his coaches asked him to take advantage of by being a helper in the paint.  If he’s to be a productive defensive player in the league – and especially on the Lakers – he’ll need to understand that he has big men behind him to protect the basket and he’ll need to pressure ball handlers more on the wing while not sagging as much when off the ball.

Overall, I was pleased that he shot the ball efficiently (9-16) and that he rarely seemed to force the action when he had the ball in his hands.  He made one of his three attempts from 3 point range and he looked comfortable with the ball in his hands.  Obviously one game doesn’t make me think he’s suddenly going to be a contributor, but I do think his size and skill set match what the Lakers need and that he didn’t hurt himself at all with his performance.  If anything, he showed that he can have a role on the Lakers as a slasher that finds the gaps in the defense that are sure to be there when Kobe/Pau/Bynum/Odom/Artest are in the game.  And as a defender, while needing some work, I still think he’s got the body and athletic ability to be a very good perimeter stopper-type.  We’ll see if he can duplicate his offensive performance and pick up his defensive performance against Denver this afternoon.

Derrick Caracter: Coming into these games the word on Caracter was that he had first round talent but his attitude may cost him a spot in this league.  In his roundup from day 1 of the summer league, Kevin Arnovitz of TrueHoop quoted David Thorpe when discussing Caracter:

“His nine fouls show how aggressively he moved around the floor. He looked like he was in good shape — very nimble and agile. He was composed around the basket with both his left and right hand, but he doesn’t have a plan in the post yet. Still, he played with great attentiveness and a willingness to share the ball. Bottom line: He looked like a first-rounder.”

And really, I agree with Thorpe as Caracter did look like a first rounder out there.  He played with poise and with an above average skill level.  He knew how to get position in the post and looked very natural playing with his back to the basket.  He showed a nice jump hook with both hands to the middle of the floor and rebounded the ball well.  I thought he also showed very good outlet passing (an underrated trait) and initiated several running opportunities by picking out guards racing up the floor with on target heaves.  Overall, I think his offense is NBA ready.

However, his defense is not.  In an email exchange I had with Phillip, he told me that Caracter “looked disinterested at times” and I couldn’t agree more with that sentiment.  He sometimes jogged into recovery position after showing on the P&R and he didn’t always rotate well when trying to seal off the penetration of the opposing guards.  However, these are mistakes that a lot of players make every day in the big boys league, so it’s not time to sound the alarm.  Plus, there wasn’t a chronic lack of hustle from Caracter, there were just a few times that you could tell he wasn’t going hard.  Maybe his high minutes total had something to do with it as he played nearly 36 of the possible 40 minutes.  Like Ebanks, I’d like to see if Caracter can carry over the positives from his game performance (efficient shooting, above average rebounding) into game 2 while picking up his defensive effort and effectiveness.

Everyone else: The other players that impressed me were DJ Strawberry and Ibrahim Jaaber.  Both of these guys played to their strengths and played hard.  And while both players showed limited upside as shooters, they both excelled in different areas on offense.  Strawberry, like Ebanks, worked well off the ball and was a very good attack player with the rock in his hands.  He drove aggressively to the hoop and earned himself a team high 7 attempts from the foul line.  Jaaber, meanwhile, ran the offense well and showed his chops as a PG that can organize a team, handle defensive ball pressure, and play with poise in both the open court in when initiating half court sets.

As for the NBA names that we know, Rob Kurz played well scoring 11 points and grabbing 7 boards in his 24 minutes.  He showed a better feel around the basket than I anticipated and showed good instincts when going to the offensive glass.  I still see him as a bit of a tweener PF, but I thought he showed that he’s still an NBA level player – albeit an end of the bench guy.  As for Gerald Green…meh.  I just didn’t see any growth in his game from the last time we saw him.  Yes the athleticism is still there but so is the lack of awareness and poor feel for the game.  I really do think he’s one of those preps to pros players that really could have benefited from college coaching where he could have learned to utilize his ability in a productive way or found a niche where he could be successful in a way that translates to the pros.  Right now he still doesn’t seem to get it and I’m not sure he ever will.

As mentioned above the Lakers resume their summer league play this afternoon against Denver at 3pm here on the west coast.  We’ll get you more thoughts on that game after the results and hope to have some video up in the next couple of days with some examples of what we’re talking about in the reviews.