Summer League Game 1 Preview & Chat

Darius Soriano —  July 12, 2013

The Lakers, or at least an incarnation of them, will be on the floor tonight in Las Vegas for their first game of the LVSL. They’ll face the Cavs who will have some good talent on their team — though #1 overall pick Anthony Bennett will not suit up.

For the Lakers this is a chance to see some young players — some familiar, some not — play in some live game action and get a sense for whether or not they are candidates for an invite when training camp starts in October. The entire roster can be found here, but there are some interesting names to keep an eye on. Some of the few I’ll be watching closely:

*Robert Sacre. We know Sacre well so there’s not much to discuss about his actual game/skill set. He’s a banger who shows some polish on offense and is defender who relies more on positioning and angles than athleticism. However, one things I’m looking for is his overall comfort level and his ability to get up and down the floor in an environment in which the pace is typically high. Lakers.com sat down with assistant coach Dan D’Antoni and he remarked that Sacre was a “plodding along” last year and that “plodders don’t get paid” while adding that he’s looking to see if Sacre can add a bit more explosiveness to his game. I’m not looking for Sacre to suddenly become a high flyer, but a bit more quickness in and out of his cuts and jumps as well as a bit more sharpness in how he moves around the floor would be a welcomed sight.

*Chris Douglass-Roberts. CDR nearly made last year’s team, falling victim to the numbers game right before camp broke and the regular season began. He’s back on the summer league team and it will be good to see how he handles himself in this environment. He has plenty of pro experience and played well in the D-League last year, so I’m simply looking for him to show that he still has the level of game that he flashed last year (which I believe he does). I’m also looking for a maturity in his game that will be lacking in some of the younger prospects. As mentioned, CDR has experience at levels above this one and that should show in how he handles himself on the floor and in his performance.

*Michael Snaer. Snaer is an undrafted rookie free agent, but has a nice skill set for a Mike D’Antoni coached team. In his senior season he flashed ability to handle the ball in the P&R while also working well as a shooter when coming off picks or when spotting up. He has a pretty good outside shot (38.4% career 3 point shooter in college) and when combined with his improved ball handling he’s a well rounded player who can play a variety of roles in MDA’s sets. He only has okay height at 6’4″, but has a 6’8″ wingspan and that lends itself to being a pretty good defensive prospect. The Lakers aren’t necessarily looking for another guard at this point, but if he shows enough on this team, he could get an invite to camp as well.

There are other players to keep an eye on, of course, including big man Jordan Williams who flashes some nice skill around the paint and could actually make an NBA roster this year (probably not the Lakers, however), Josh Selby (a quick guard who can create his own shot and get into the paint), and Lazar Hayward (played on the D-Fenders last year and has solid offensive game, but with limited upside). Any and all of these are worth paying attention to as they offer NBA level skills, though at positions the Lakers already have a few bodies ready to go (save for Hayward who would be competing with CDR for attention).

As for the game itself, the result won’t mean much. And, to be honest, even if a player is off the charts excellent, that won’t mean much either. The summer is more for evaluation of skill set and what a player can/can’t do, what needs improving, and potential fit within a scheme rather than as an indicator of how a player will play in the big league. That said, it’s basketball, it’s the Lakers, and I’ll be watching.

Darius Soriano

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6 responses to Summer League Game 1 Preview & Chat

  1. rr — I could definitely see the scenario you laid out coming together in one of your last posts. Would be an interesting outcome. I have always thought the ultimate plan was add CP3 and Howard to Kobe, et al, make the one or two year run and have the two young guys take the torch. Too bad it fell apart with the veto.

    Robert — definitely, Phil has the legacy right now, don’t disagree at all. I just think that given his intellect and ambition, he will want back into the game somehow and will figure out a way to enhance that legacy through an upper management role. I think, given his competitive spirit, he would want to take a run at constructing a championship roster.

    I apologize for responding to comments from previous blog posts — Darius and company are on fire today with the updates! I can’t keep up.

  2. Harris isn’t looking too bad but this has been horrifyingly bad basketball. It has been easily the worst Summer league game that I’ve seen thus far this week.

  3. horriblè

  4. rr: You’ve been saying Lakers bench is a weakness for some time. Do you think the additions of Young, Kaman and possibly Farmar could have them middling or better in bench production next year?

  5. Lakers reboot to championship contender requires a young energy superstar. Lakers won’t win with 29+ yr old players like LeBron James unless paired they have a young Kobe, Magic, Worthy, Baylor, etc. Nets will be a disaster next season. AK47, KG, PP ah no.

    Lakers should have amnestied Kobe Bryant.
    Focus on ping pong balls and 2014 free agents.

    Wiggins plus Lebron in 2014!

  6. rr: Interesting commentary with regard to Phil and Jim. To blend some of your scenarios together: The 14 team can’t win, so there is no use for Phil now. We go into the season with MD. About 2/3 through the season we make the inevitable sacrifice at the basketball alter. Phil walks in with no 14 expectations, but the 20-30 games gives him time to get his feet wet, get used to dealing with KB again, and sets him up to take part in the post 14 FA battles. If I combine this with Aaron’s pipedream – it gives me some hope.

    If they bring Phil back, I think it should be in a FO role. I believe Lazenby when he says that Phil wants to out-Riley Riley and I believe Phil when he says that he is not psyched about coaching again.

    kevin,

    The three signings are fine in terms of value/$. The internet uses Nick Young as a punchline, but as Darius points out, Young can create his own shot, and there is almost always a use for guys like that. Farmar is better than Duhon or Morris, and is much younger and quicker than Blake; and Kaman will be useful either as Pau’s replacement, Pau’s backup, a trade chip at the deadline, and/or as a bench guy next year.

    As to comparing this group to last year’s bench, I don’t see that as relevant. Howard’s departure erased the Etch-a-Sketch, and all these moves, along with amnestying Metta, will have to be evaluated in the larger context of what the Lakers do over the next three years. These moves are obviously irrelevant in terms of trying to contend in 2014; there is no way that can happen. But they will probably connect in some way to future Lakers teams. They will affect this year’s won-loss record; they may affect whether Pau and Nash get dealt. Young and Farmar, as local guys who really want to be here and are still in their primes, would seem to be logical candidates to be rotation guys/bench guys on future Lakers teams.