Summer League Game 4 Preview & Chat

Darius Soriano —  July 18, 2013

The Lakers are back on the floor for Summer League today, facing off against the Milwaukee Bucks. In a twist to this year’s action, this portion of the action has shifted to a “tournament” where teams are seeded and, like the NCAA tourney, will advance to the next round with a win. The Lakers are the 8th seed, the Bucks are the 9th.

The tournament, though, is just window dressing and a way to spice up the action. From a practical standpoint, being the “champion” of this Vegas summer league won’t even get these guys a comp at their favorite buffet so let’s not start planning any parades if the Lakers advance.

No, the action is still about evaluating the players on the roster and finding a few guys who can earn invites to camp and, with strong showings there, have a chance to make the team. With that in mind, there seem to be three to four players who look to have a leg up on the rest of the roster to get that invite to camp come October:

*Marcus Landry. Landry has flashed solid all around play on both sides of the floor. He’s scored well even though his outside shot hasn’t fallen with great consistency and he’s competed well on the wing and in the post defensively. Landry is a bit of a tweener Forward and that versatility should help him in getting a longer look. If he can be an average defender at the PF spot while playing more of a SF role on offense, he has real value to the Lakers as a stretch big who can space the floor on one end while guarding bigger players on the other. Landry also has a history, albeit a brief one, of playing for Mike D’Antoni with the Knicks so that could also help him on only get to camp, but stick once there.

*Elias Harris. Harris offers good size and a nice skill set on offense. If he can hit the glass harder and prove to have a bit more stretch in his game by hitting some jumpers, he, like Landry, can get an extended look as a big man who fits the mold of what D’Antoni likes to do on offense. Again, however, he’ll need to show that he can defend and rebound his position a bit better but the physical tools are there.

*Chris Douglas-Roberts. I mention CDR every chance I get because he’s a nice offensive prospect who is showing the type of maturity you want in a player with his experience. In the game against the Clippers he was more assertive and looks to be more healthy than he was after spraining his ankle in the first game. We know he can score, so it’s nice to see him making some plays for others off penetration and, in general, moving the ball well within the flow of the offense. He’s also done well defensively, often guarding the best wing on the opposing team. If he can play well on D and continue to show a fully formed skill set on O, he can not only get an invite to camp, but challenge for a roster spot.

*Lazar Hayward. Hayward has been a whirlwind of activity, aggressively attacking on both ends of the floor. He’s active in trapping and getting into the passing lanes defensively and then changes ends well to get baskets in the open court. He could use a bit more refinement in the half court, but there’s typically a place in the league for guys that go as hard as he does while showing some semblance of skill offensively. I’m not sure if there’s a spot for him once the regular season starts on this roster, but it would not surprise me to see him in camp with the Lakers and on a regular season roster at some point next year (even if not the Lakers’).

There are other players who could get a camp invite, of course. Lester Hudson and Jordan Williams both have skills to play in this league but both also play positions and have styles that the Lakers seem to have on their roster already (Hudson is a small guard in the Farmar mold and Williams does some of the same things that Jordan Hill does). This likely means they wouldn’t make the big club come the end of camp, but both could find themselves in the league next year.

So, when it comes to this game, keep an eye on the guys mentioned above. You may just need to get familiar with one (or more) of them come October.

Darius Soriano

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33 responses to Summer League Game 4 Preview & Chat

  1. OT, but very much on topic in terms of all the LBJ/Melo hysteria over the last couple of days:

    It might be worth noting that the season ticket holder renewal deadline is tomorrow; for all those fans on the fence following last year’s disappointing season, Kobe’s injury, and DH’s departure, it’s not so difficult to imagine the Lakers’ interest in seeding local media reports with the kind of story that might make fans open their wallets in the next 24 hours even for what is likely to be a mediocre season… in order to maintain their seats for the following one.

    And for those believing that nutjob Plaschke when he claimed that the Lakers didn’t really want to retain Howard, it is further worth noting that Howard is featured prominently in the renewal packet, pictured right next to good ole Wilt (hint, hint). All this material was printed after the Lakers were eliminated.

  2. Just heard the interview with Jim Buss…Cant wait to see Kobe..Nash…Pau…Kaman…4 very slow basketball players trying to run and gun….

  3. Gene

    I am shocked you are questioning the basketball knowledge of Jim Buss. Clearly you know he has many years as a player, scout and coach.

    In the horse business that is!

  4. gene – can you post a link to the interview?

    Keno – To be fair, he was in the horse business for 8 years and has been with the Lakers for 15 years. It is true that he was not a player, coach or scout – but neither is any other NBA owner not named Michael Jordan.

  5. Manny I am aware of all that. It was just a half hearted attempt at humor in thisvstrange off season.

  6. The interview was played on espn…taped from a interview during a Las Vegas summer game….

  7. Manny,

    The problem people have with Jim Buss isn’t that he is the part-owner. It is his other title and his apparent hands-on involvement–via Wiki.

    Jim Buss (born November 9, 1959)[1] is the executive vice president of player personnel for the Los Angeles Lakers in the National Basketball Association (NBA). He is the son of former Lakers owner Jerry Buss. Buss was president of the Los Angeles Lazers professional indoor soccer team from 1985–1989. He later trained thoroughbred race horses for nine years before joining the Lakers in 1998 as an assistant general manager. He was promoted to vice president in 2005.

  8. Darius: “The tournament, though, is just window dressing and a way to spice up the action. From a practical standpoint, being the “champion” of this Vegas summer league won’t even get these guys a comp at their favorite buffet so let’s not start planning any parades if the Lakers advance.”

    Will they hang the banner at Staples if the Lakers win it “all”?

  9. Here is a link to the Jim Buss interview today during the Lakers Summer League game.

    http://www.nba.com/video/games/lakers/2013/07/18/20130718-mil-lal-buss-interview.nba/index.html

  10. Not sure I like putting those kind of expectations on a guy. What if he has a setback? I don’t think Kobe’s going to waffle like Rose, or care what the media says, but not sure why Buss had to say that, other than he was feeling pressure to pick up Lakers Nation.

  11. Jim Buss: The biggest difference between Jim Buss and most of the other owners, is the fact that most of them are self made billionaires, as opposed to Jim who made his money the old fashioned way – he inherited it. This can’t be held against him in any way. I mean – he was lucky enough to be born with a platinum spoon in his mouth – that is not his fault. On the other hand – being born with said platinum spoon is not a qualification to run a team or any other business. He was given his job simply because he was indeed the owner’s son. Not the first time in America this has happened. And not the first time the results have been similar to what we have experienced.

  12. Sac stepped up big tonight w/ 16 & 8. Marcus Landry continues show that he is legit. I think he deserves an invite to the Lakers camp. Lakers beat the Bucks 72 – 68.

  13. While I will root for the LBJ dream until someone comes up with something better (which could be a while), I do not buy into the fact that the Lakers did not want Howard. Of course they wanted Howard and having DH would probably increase the chances of the LBJ dream. We did not lose Howard due to lack of desire. We lost him due to a couple of bad decisions, and a couple of strained relationships. All of which, we could have corrected at the end, but we chose not too, not because we did not want DH, but because we were either too proud or too oblivious to the facts to realize that such corrections were needed

  14. Howard might well have left anyway, even if the Lakers had fired D’Antoni, but other than that I agree with the the gist of what Robert is saying.

  15. DH never really wanted to be in LA. We should have traded him at some point.

  16. I’m a little baffled at the team construction for this year. We seem to have a decent pool of guys in the summer league who could make the roster as a SF. We went out and got not 1 but 2 SG’s whom we plan to play as SF’s. I think the Lakers should be more proactive getting a PF. A PF who can defend quicker PFs and bigger SFs. I see a lack of versatility in creating line ups that can disrupt opposing teams strategies. I’m very happy with getting Farmar, and I think the Lakers are solid at Center. But the PF and SF positions just dont look great to me yet.

  17. I’m a little baffled at the team construction for this year.

    There are those who think it is a form of covert tanking. Aaron proposed as much; so did one of the SSR guys. Brian Kamenetzky says that the market for Pau is soft right now.

    So, sign a couple of local guys and a vet you can flip or plug in at the 5, a guy with a pedigree who has really struggled, to appear to be going for improvement, and then go about 11-17 over the first third of the season…and then Kobe would be OK with trading Pau, and Pau might want out.

    I am not saying this is what is going on. Young, Farmar, Johnson and Kaman could all be on next year’s bench. But this year only matters in terms of how it fits into the next two.

  18. we’re projected to have the worst record in the league next year over at wages of win.

    http://wagesofwins.com/2013/07/16/the-nba-offseason-list-part-3-a-sound-of-thunder/

  19. Robert,
    From what I’ve been told LeBron didn’t want Dwight and the Lakers FO didn’t want Dwight with LBJ. Dwight clogs the lane for him. In the 2008 Olympics they decided to bench Dwight often in favor of Bosh to spread the floor. That’s why LBJ wants Cousins. Because he can space the floor for LeBron. If Dwight was better in the post the Lakers would take the paint clogging… But LeBron PNRs and ISO’s are just such a more efficient offensive play than a Dwight post up so far in his career. Again… For good reason everything revolves around LeBron and Dwight isn’t a good fit for him on the offensive end.

  20. Lil Pau,
    No offense but the Lakers not really being all in on Howard is not just speculation. He asked for the Lakers to fire an average coach and hire the best coach of all time. If the Lakers really wanted Dwight they would have made the coaching change this summer instead of next summer. Brining in a coach for a star player is always done and has always been done by every organization including the Lakers. This isn’t rocket science.

  21. Wages of Wins also had Kobe ranked as the 294th best player in the NBA in preseason last year.

  22. Aaron, no offense taken, but certainly you must acknowledge that there is a huge gap between what I believe – that the Lakers sincerely wanted Howard to stay – and your extreme version of that idea which is that the Lakers were ‘all in’ on Howard, which obviously wasn’t the case. I believe Howard was very much at the center of their plans for the future, pairing him with another star and hopefully Kobe as well, but does that mean giving a notoriously temperamental player the ability to make FO decisions? It does not.

    Also, count me among those who don’t think bringing in PJ is something that could have happened with just a phone call. No one really knows what happened in that meeting that led Mitch to pursue other options, but there’s plenty of reason to believe PJ wasn’t exactly communicating the message that it was his dream to take over the team, starting immediately. I personally think the message to DH was just right for the level DH is at – maybe if his back holds up a top 10 player, but not a top 3 player – we want you here, but you’re ultimately an employee. Same message they gave Kobe during all the Bynum flack and he IS the face of the franchise. The painful truth for those of us who love the P&G is that Howard made the smart decision– Hou is the better place for him (at least next season) if one is looking only at the better basketball team. Maybe, maybe that won’t be true over the next couple of years, but who knows? What if Kobe demands big money to reup and the team feels for PR reasons they need to pay him, rather than lose him to a contender and watch him get his 6th ring for a rival? The Lakers only shot to keep DH was a contrarian ploy based on the historically monolithic scope of the franchise and some puffery about Kobe knowing how to win– it didn’t work, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t want it to.

    Finally, I find nothing of interest in these LBJ/Melo rumors. Guess what: the Mavs are going to go after those guys, too. The Lakers always have a shot, being the Lakers, but to suggest this is a likely outcome is misleading to me, a bit of hopeful propaganda leaked the same week that season ticket holders must write some pretty big checks for a team whose biggest improvement was the signing of Chris Kamen and the nostalgia exercises of Farmar, Rambis, and Madsen.

  23. LBJ has already made an unpopular jump once. Now he has his own team and two titles. He is the best player in the game. His team could easily win a third title this next season. Yeah, they are aging, but Pat Riley has as good a track record as anybody.

    The chance that LBJ flees Miami strikes me as minuscule.

  24. lil Pau,

    Fair analysis. But I will say that Shelburne has said that Phil would have taken the job, but I also think that Phil really wants a Riley-type role. I also don’t buy the “just an employee” thing; NBA stars in their primes are not just employees. The Bynum/Kobe comp doesn’t really work; the Lakers kept Bynum because they thought he would be an all-star type center, and Kobe was on board with bringing Phil back in 2006. But if Tomjanovich has been healthy and had wanted to stay, but Kobe had said, “fire this guy” I am sure that Tomjanovich would have been gone. Remember Magic and Westhead. The Lakers can play it a little harder with Kobe next year because he will be 36.

    As to James, I have also reminded people that Cuban will be all-in on these FAs as well. I think a James-to-the-Lakers scenario would have to involve:

    1. Riley retiring and/or possibly becoming involved with the Lakers again, and/or Phil becoming involved with the Lakers again, either as coach or VP of Gravitas. Riley and Phil are mutually exclusive options.
    2. Wade continuing to decline/maybe having issues with James.
    3. Anthony wanting to play here.

    If I had to put money down, I would definitely put it on James staying in Miami.

  25. LBJ has already made an unpopular jump once

    Correct. If he came here, the flack that he got last time would seem like a day in health spa by comparison.

  26. That projection is baffling. They’re certainly not contenders as composed, but it really doesn’t look like a 30-win team. Old Nash and Aging Gasol are still infinity times better than Smush Parker and Kwame Brown, the last 30ish-win team the Lakers fielded. Then again, it took Kobe in video game mode all year to even drag them that far.

    If they manage to fill out the roster with a stretch 3/4 (Tayshaun Prince/Shawn Marion-style, if not talent–6′ 9″ and lanky with 3-and-D skills), a league-average SF and they overachieve even a little, .500 is not unreasonable, and if some of the young signings play better than they’re projected, a 7- or 8-seed isn’t out of the question. And I’m really really excited to have some athletic depth on the wings for the first time in pretty much forever. Shannon Brown and Ariza were nice, but I miss the Van Exel/Jones/Ceballos/rookie Kobe era for running and gunning. They weren’t very good either, but it was fun to watch.

    I’m not trying to rationalize that they’re still going to be in the playoffs, because I think the chances of that right now are a little below average. I’m just trying to say that I don’t see them as a horrendous, tanking team. Tanking is a bad strategy anyway; I think Simmons pointed out recently that even if you have the worst record, your chance at the #1 pick is still only 25%. A top-three pick in 2014 is far from a bad spot to be in, but then you risk getting a Darko Milicic.

  27. Lil Pau,
    How you can believe the lakers really wanted Dwight to stay but wouldn’t bring on the games greatest coach to keep him? That just makes zero sense.

    Someone else asked why LBJ would leave his team again. Haha. You guys are funny. Not only did leaving Cle give LeBron two rings he wouldn’t have got in if he stayed but now people are more used to FA’s leaving. Dwight got zero flack for leaving LA (besides from Lakers fans). If you thought LBJ was popular before imagine if he leaves a franchise with few fans (Mia) and goes to a franchise with by fat the most fans in the country and the world (LAL).

    Someone also asked why would he come to the lakers this lakers team is bad. I usually ignore silly questions. LeBron left Cle to go to a team with zero pkayers on it. They signed Haslem, Wade, LBJ, and Bosh. Haslem was the only member of the supporting cast. The Lakers next year would e a much ether sittuation. LBJ, Melo, Cousins would be the big three but the lakers would also have Kobe and Pau. They also would have a lottery pick and three young guards (Johnson, Young, and Farmar. That’s simply a better team than the one Mia had. So that’s why LBJ, Melo, and Cousins would pick LA as their destination.

  28. ‘… zero sense….Haha… You guys are funny… I usually ignore silly questions…’

    It may be summer, but Aaron is already in playoff-level patronizing form.

  29. I might have missed a rumor – but where are people getting indications that Riley has any interest in re-joining the Lakers? Is it just that his house was put on sale in Miami? Or did I miss a credible report that says he’s considering retirement and/or interested in getting involved with the Lakers franchise for the first time in over 2 decades?

  30. Snoopy,
    There has been no credible report. Basically, you’re reading about it in a comment section of this site and people are taking it seriously. I don’t know if that says more about this site, the person spreading the word, or those who want to buy in. But, there you go.

  31. Snoopy – Someone planted a rumor here that a friend of them said Riley was selling his home in Miami and shopping for a pad here in LA, which then others in their hysteria after losing Dwight interpreted as meaning: “Dear God, Riley is retiring.” Others then jumped on that and added: “and that means he is coming back to the Lakers!”

  32. Manny,

    Riley has sold his property in Miami; that isn’t a rumor. I made the observation that I did because my opinion is that any chance of the Lakers actually getting James would probably be tied to Riley’s retiring from the Heat.

    As to why people are picking up on all the rumors and talking about them, that’s an easy one: the team isn’t very good, and is going to be blown up at the end of the year anyway. Xs and Os, Lazar Hayward and Chris Douglas-Roberts don’t do it for everyone. That is what Darius is into as a fan, so he writes about that stuff, but other people are going to talk about other things. As I have said a few times, this year matters mostly in terms of how it affects the next two. And, again, your way of being a fan is neither the best way nor the only way. There is no hysteria here; there are just a bunch of Lakers fans, talking about the team.