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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