At 5pm PST, the Lakers summer league team will tip off in Las Vegas against the Golden State Warriors. You can watch live on NBA TV or, if you have a few dollars to spare, you can purchase a broadband account and watch the games through the wonders of an internet connection. In any event, the game will be on and we’ll get some Lakers hoops to watch and discuss.
The Lakers’ roster is littered with names you’ll recognize and many others you likely won’t. Devin Ebanks, Darius Morris, and Andrew Goudelock all saw real NBA minutes this past season and this league will serve as a nice testing ground to gauge their progress. I’m anxious to see their growth from last year – especially in Morris and Goudelock – and gauge how well they’ve adapted to the NBA game. As for Ebanks, he’ll be entering his 3rd season in October and fresh off signing his qualifying offer, I hope he proves that he no longer belongs in this environment. Efficient scoring and an improved all court game will set him up well to compete for more minutes next year and that can begin tonight. Christian Eyenga will also be playing for the team so it will good to see what he can do in some game action since we saw very little of him after he was acquired from the Cavs in the Ramon Sessions trade.
The other players I’ll be watching closely are the Lakers two draft picks from this past season, Darius Johnson-Odom and Robert Sacre. DJO is said to be a tenacious competitor with a nice jumper and I hope to see both on display. Sacre has good size but questionable quickness so my hope is that he can be a deterrent around the rim on D and show the ability to move around the court well on rotations and P&R coverages.
The last player who I’ll be keeping my eye on is Reeves Nelson, the former UCLA product. Nelson is a talented player who was dismissed from the Bruins this past season for what Coach Ben Howland called being a “negative distraction” (and that’s probably putting it nicely). In any event, Nelson has a solid game and good size but one wonders if he’s mature enough to make it in the NBA. The Lakers are giving him a shot and if he plays well and shows he’s been humbled, he’ll likely get a camp invite from someone (and maybe even the Lakers who are shallow on the wing).
In any event, tonight we get some basketball to watch. And while we shouldn’t jump to conclusions about what we see, it will be nice to see some young guys go hard and show off how they’re progressing.