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A good rule of thumb to live by is to never really expect much from a second round pick. While most of the guys drafted after the first 30 picks are surely talented, the NBA is filled with skilled players whose careers are hanging on by a lose thread. The churn at the bottom of NBA rosters isn’t quite like what you see in the NFL, but every year guys lose their jobs to similarly talented peers.

Depending on any 2nd round player for real contributions, then, is a mistake. If you strike gold — like the Lakers did with Jordan Clarkson — that’s great, but you cannot expect this to happen. The odds are just too low.

This brings us Anthony Brown, whom the Lakers selected with the 34th selection in this past draft. Brown showed strong play in the PAC 12 as both a Junior and Senior and looks to have translatable skills to the NBA level (more on this in a minute). The Lakers, hoping they’ve found another player who can be a long term piece, invested in Brown as such by signing him to a three year contract with the first two seasons fully guaranteed and a non-guaranteed third year*.

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After reportedly inking Jonathan Holmes to a partially guaranteed contract and, if you listen to sources close to the player, showing some interest in veteran big man JaVale McGee, the Lakers are still looking to add to their roster.

Per Sportando, Monday’s scheduled workout will include 11 additional players bringing the total to 14.

With training camp set to start next month, reports like these should not surprise. While, if you include Holmes and Robert Upshaw — whose reported deal is apparently still not signed — the Lakers have 16 players on their roster, they typically bring about 20 players to training camp with the last six or seven of those players competing for the final one or two spots on the roster.

Without knowing for sure how much of Holmes’ contract is guaranteed or if the Upshaw verbal agreement ever turns into one on paper, it’s difficult to know how much of a chance these players have to unseat Tarik Black or Jabari Brown who have non-guaranteed contracts or even Robert Sacre, whose deal is guaranteed, but is for the minimum. The Lakers could easily waive any of these three players to minimal or no financial impact.

As for the talent coming in for the workout hoping to sign a deal and compete in camp, Brown is easily the most accomplished. As Marc Stein noted, Brown had a very good showing at the Pan-Am games for Team USA last month and has also performed quite well in China in recent seasons. He is a scoring point guard who can really fill it up and is at the point of his career where, I’d imagine, he’s looking to get back into the NBA and see if he can make a difference stateside. Murry is more of a combo guard who has seen some action in the NBA the last two years, but had his most significant burn with the Knicks in the 2013-14 season where he played 373 minutes. Not the biggest sample size, for sure.

While the session is worth discussing, don’t expect much, if anything, to come from this workout. The Lakers roster is already (essentially) full with players they like and have invested resources into. The likelihood any of the 14 players coming to compete for a camp invite usurp even one of the current end of the bench guys is low. I mean, they’d have to shine enough in today’s workout to be one of a handful of guys just to get asked to come to camp and then beat out a guy who already knows the Lakers’ system. That’s a tough road to hoe.

But the Lakers are wise to do their due diligence and see if any of the above are worth a more extended look in training camp where they can compete daily with guys currently on the roster. From there, maybe they open enough eyes to make the Lakers think hard about keeping them around.

The Lakers have been quiet on the personnel front in the last few weeks, though have reportedly agreed to a contract with undrafted free agent Jonathan Holmes. Adding a combo forward doesn’t necessarily seem like the biggest need, but his combination of youth, skill set, and versatility are worth a longer look.

More of a need, at least according to Mitch Kupchak, is another big man. The Lakers were rumored to have interest in former Wizard F/C Kevin Seraphin, but the Knicks signed him to a deal earlier this week. With one former Wizard off the market, maybe the Lakers would explore signing a different former Wiz:

As long as McGee remains unsigned, his combination of name recognition, athleticism, and “potential” will have some fans intrigued. And, with the report above — a report, it should be noted, comes from sources “close to McGee” — those same fans will likely get a bit more excited.

I, for one, am not a fan of McGee and don’t see him as a particularly good fit on the Lakers despite front office desires to add another big man. For all of McGee’s ability, it’s rarely been channelled into long stretches of productivity. And while a lot of his “issues” that have earned him a questionable reputation seem to just stem from a quirky personality or a general aloofness, I’m of the mind that the Lakers could probably do just as well without him in the fold as with him.

This doesn’t make him a bad person or a bad player. Again, his combination of size, athleticism, and ability to impact a game by using both well is not the question. The question is whether he can provide this ability for long enough stretches over the course of a full season. Based on his injury history and how he has shown a proclivity for either checking out mentally or simply making boneheaded plays, I think these questions have probably already answered themselves. Or at least they have for me.

In saying all that, though, McGee is out there and sources close to the player seem to be saying the Lakers have an interest. Whether that interest turns into anything more than a summer flirtation remains to be seen.

We recently discussed what the Lakers might do with their 15th roster spot and it seems we may have found an answer — or at least a potential one. From Real GM’s Shams Charania:

Holmes is a combo forward who went undrafted after spending four years at the University of Texas. In his Junior season he boasted averages of 12.8 points and 7.2 rebounds a game on 50.5% shooting, but saw those numbers dip dramatically to 10.3 points and 6.1 rebounds on 38.9% in his Senior campaign. It was likely this dip in production which saw his stock fall.

In speaking with Jonathan Tjarks, also of Real GM, about Holmes he said the following about his pro prospects:

“(Holmes) is almost certainly a small-ball PF in the NBA. He has average physical tools for the position and his success will almost certainly be dependent on how well he shoots the 3 ball at the next level”

For what it’s worth, Holmes shots 33.1% and 33.3% from behind the arc in his final two years at Texas, the final year launching 4.1 shots from distance a game.

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Among a large sect of Lakers’ fans, Byron Scott is not held in the highest of regards as a coach. The former Showtime shooting guard is absolutely revered as a former great player who helped the team capture three championships as Magic’s backcourt mate, but when it comes to stewarding the ship from the sideline there are reasons to doubt him.

I have, admittedly, been one of these critics. There is no need to rehash it all in now, but his history in New Jersey, New Orleans, and Cleveland — especially how he exited those places — spoke a lot more to me than some of his early success in the first two of those stops or his knowledge of “what it means to be a Laker”. When he was hired, then, I spoke my mind on this. I still believe what I wrote at the time had merit and that is independent of the bad season he shepherded the team through last year.

Like any fair critique, though, one must look at the full picture and note where things were actually, you know, good. For all his faults, Byron did several things worthy of recognition, including getting players to play hard all year even with all the losses, getting some above expectations performances from more than one of his big men, and, of course, the management of Jordan Clarkson’s development from forgotten 2nd round pick early in the year to 1st Team All-Rookie by the end of the campaign*.

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Kobe Bryant is currently in China on what has become his yearly summer trek, engaging with fans, telling his story, and further embedding himself as the most popular basketballer in Asia. Seriously, when you watch clips of him there or see photos, he’s like a one-man Coachella. The fans there love him and he loves them back.

But while Kobe is planting seeds for future endeavors in China, his present in the US and with the Lakers remains front and center. There are many questions about the team he will return to, his ability to perform on it, and how much time remains in his career to still do it. Marc Spears of Yahoo! caught up with Kobe and got a lot of insight on these topics and more. The entire interview is well worth your time so give the full piece a read, but for our purposes, let’s unpack some of the more pressing questions:

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We have officially entered the dog days of summer. With no NBA on the horizon, the type of news we’re left with is Kobe visiting China to mobs of fans, a 52 year old Hakeem breaking out a vintage move in the #NBAAfricaGame and players dunking off phunkeeducks. Not exactly stuff with any sort of shelf life.

For me, though, during this long slog of the off-season, my mind will almost always turn back to roster construction and team building. The draft and free agency was a chance for the team to reshape itself with new talent. The initial trade market offered similar chances, with the Lakers diving in to nab a starting big man. The Lakers have done well, then, and reflecting on that is worth some time.

However, just because things have ground to a virtual hault, it does not mean there aren’t decisions to still explore, regardless if they’re viewed as minor. The team still possesses a depth chart showing a real glut in the front court and needs on the wing and, potentially, at point guard. Filling the back of the roster isn’t something the Lakers are used to worrying about, but for an organization still looking to make a substantial leap forward, all decisions carry a measure of import.

This includes the 15th roster spot, a spot currently empty which the Lakers plan to fill eventually. The question, however, is how the Lakers should fill this spot. From my seat, I see four possible scenarios:

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When your nicknames are “Mr. Clutch” and “The Logo” it’s pretty difficult to argue you might ever be considered underrated. Jerry West certainly is not that, but as time passes and the game evolves it is sometimes easy to forget just how good some of the players from previous generations were, West included.

Luckily, youtube exists and we are able to look back and see the ride range of skill and ability some of these players had. Special hat-tip to the Wilt Chamberlain Archive channel on youtube for always bringing the heat, including this career tribute to the long time Laker:

Comparing players from the 60’s and 70’s to players today will always be tricky simply due to how the skills from that era stand up aesthetically to how the players play today. How the guys back then handled the ball, the sophistication of some of their moves, and what can seem like less fluidity in their movement can lead to some people question how good some of these guys really were.

But when you watch the clip above, while some of that might apply to West, what really stands out to me was the complete game he had and how so much of what he was doing back then is found in today’s game.

The one dribble left/right and pull up jumper is a staple of today’s best shooters. The way he rubs off picks or uses a tight handle to get into the creases and finish with a variety of shot types are all things you find from similarly sized players today. The way he jumps into passing lanes, causes deflections, and makes secondary reads to get steals and blocks are all staples of the game’s best defenders.

In other words, let this be your reminder that Jerry West, for any era, was a monster on the court.