Archives For Summer Pro League

Summer League Stats, Thoughts

Kurt —  July 21, 2006

What follows are some stats from this year’s Summer Pro League for key players from the Lakers’ squad: Andrew Bynum, Jordan Farmar, Danilo Pinnock, Devin Green, Marcus Douthit, Von Wafer and Deron Perkins and Marcus Slaughter. Bynum and Farmar are the only two we know will be with the Lakers in the fall, the others are fighting for what may be a non-existent roster spot.

If you’re new here and not familiar with a few of these stats, check below for a key.

Name eFG% 3pt % TS% Reb. Rate PPG Pts. P40
Bynum 60.1% NA 62.4% 11.6% 14.7 18.7
Farmar 56% 26.1% 59.9% 4.5% 16.1 20.6
Pinnock 54.2% 40% 60.9%% 7.4% 10.6 17.1
Green 56.6% 42.8% 63.3% 7.7% 14.4 20.1
Douthit 48.8% NA 51.5% 15.6% 7 10
Wafer 39% 36.4% 44.1% 3.6% 7.1 15.9
Perkins 62.9% 28.6% 68.9% 11.7% 9.6 23.3
Slaughter 49% 0% 52.6% 12.5% 8.5 16.4

A few other statistical notes. Jordan Farmar also averaged 5.7 assists and 3.7 turnovers per 40 minutes. Andrew Bynum averaged 2.9 blocks per 40 minutes. To compare this year’s numbers to last season’s check here (look how far Wafer fell off).

Bynum and Farmar both showed promise and areas that need work. For Farmar, he showed a great first step, a willingness to push the ball and real leadership. However, he needs to work on his long-range shooting, get stronger and, if he wants significant playing time this season, improve his defense. As for Bynum, he looked great at times but consistency was an issue. So was rebounding, while it’s not bad it’s not what it should be for a man of his size and length (he doesn’t anticipate rebound angles well). Also, he seems to have gone to the Chris Mihm School of Foul Trouble, he needs to work on not trying to block everything and pick his spots.

A key for the stats:

eFG%: Shooting percentage combining two and three pointers
3pt.%: Shooting percentage from beyond the arc
TS%: True Shooting Percentage, think of this as points per shot attempt, it covers twos, three, free throws all adjusted to be a percentage.
Reb Rate: Percentage of available rebounds a player grabbed while on the floor.
PPG: Points per game
Pts. P40: Points scored per 40 minutes of playing time.

For more info on these types of stats, check out Kevin Pelton’s primer.

One side note: If you look up the SPL’s official team stats from its Web site, there are a number of errors — the numbers for Devin Green are listed after Pinnock’s name, while Pinnock’s stats are under Powell’s name, and the stats for Wafer and Perkins are switched. I double checked everything by compiling game-by-game data.

I missed the start of this one and watched the game not in my usual near-the-floor seats (gotta love the media pass for that) but up near the top with a couple buddies. These are just a few notes on the top players, I’ll follow with some stats and final thoughts in the next day or so (once I get the chance to work and format everything).

Andrew Bynum did not play, in fact he did not even dress. Reports are he banged up his thigh and got a quality bruise the night before, so he got the night off.

Jordan Farmar: He showed a little more shooting range in this game, going 2 of 4 from three (hitting a couple early). Not his best game, there were a few turnovers on passes he tried to cut too fine, but he is clearly listening to the coaches and adapting. In the first few SPL games he was not fighting through picks defensively (you don’t see many quality picks from big men in college). Yesterday he was working hard at that, if not always succeeding. He needs some strength for that, but he is learning fast.

Danilo Pinnock: First off, here’s a rumor I was told: the Lakers may ask him to play in Europe this coming season so they can maintain his rights. They like him, but there are 15 guaranteed contracts already and are the Lakers going to buy out McKie to bring in Pinnock? Neither guy is going to make a huge impact on the team, so is it worth the money? As for last night, had one of his more quiet games, finishing with just six points.

Devin Green: Here’s the guy that in the last couple games has made a statement about wanting to make the squad in the fall. He scored 22 points on 10 of 17, 2 of 3 from three. He’s had a very impressive last few games and I can see why the coaches like him, but he’s in a difficult spot because of the 15 roster spots as well. I would like to think another team might be interested in picking him up if the Lakers let him go, this is a guy who has earned another year in the NBA, at least to my eyes.

Marcus Slaughter: Also played well the last couple games and finished with 12 points in the fourth quarter against Memphis Wednesday. Another guy that the Lakers may like to keep around but another team, with a roster spot for a project, may have interest in.

Summer Pro League: Game Five

Kurt —  July 16, 2006

I was at the game Friday night, where the Lakers faced off against the Washington Wizards, who just flew in from competing in the Vegas Summer League. If you want to know what I thought of the Wizards players (hint: Blatche was very impressive) head on over to True Hoop. Otherwise, let’s talk Lakers, and remember that what I put here is looking to build on previous comments about players.

Andrew Bynum: The curse is over — Bynum had a big game in my presence (which is a huge weight off my shoulders because I was afraid I’d have to stay away from Staples for a decade based on superstition). Bynum, matched up on 7-4 John Ramos, showed a variety of moves: drop steps, power moves, a short-range jumper and, most impressively, a fadaway from about seven feet that he drained two of (one baseline, one straight on). Part of it may also have been he got the cleanest entry passes to the post I had seen from the Lakers this summer. He finished with a team-high 19 points on 9 of 13 shooting, and pulled down eight boards. Another aspect of Bynum’s game, something he’s done well throughout the SPL, is pass well from the post in traffic. He’s picked up a dozen assists in five games and could have a few more. Maybe the night off did him good, but against Washington Bynum looked like a guy who could be a solid 15 minutes a night guy for the Lakers next season.

Jordan Farmar: He was clearly banged up when he missed the game four because he played with his thigh wrapped Friday. He wasn’t as sharp as we had seen, but still the offense just looked smoother when he was in. Farmar was impressive making plays in transition, particularly in the “garbage time” at the end of the game. Farmar finished with 13 points of 4 of 9 shooting (one of 2 from three) and maybe his most impressive shot (one he has shown in a couple games now) is a running floater in the lane, similar to the shot Tony Parker made a living on this past season. Defensively he was not as sharp, struggling to stay in front of quick former Clemson player Will Solomon, but that may have been impacted by the thigh injury.

Danilo (J.R.) Pinnock: Another solid, impressive performance at both ends of the floor. He plays good man defense on guys both a little smaller and quicker and a little bigger (he is strong). Pinnock also went 6 of 7 from the floor and finished with 13 points. Each time I see him the more I think I want to see him make the team come fall.

Two other guys worth mentioning for their performance of late are Doron Perkins and Kasib Powell. Perkins has been playing at a level at or equal to Pinnock the last couple games, both defensively (he had four steals against Washington) and on offense — in the last two games he is 10 of 16 from the floor, 2 of 6 from three, plus he got to the line for 11 free throws, combing it all for 33 points. Perkins has looked better and better each game. Powell got the start against Washington and was 4 of 7 from the floor and pulled down 4 boards. Both of these guys deserve invites to training camp, although with a full roster it’s hard to see where they make the team.

I caught half of the game against Dallas on Wednesday and a little more than a quarter against Memphis last night, and out of that is a continuation of my thoughts on the Lakers participating. (Note, so far I have been pretty light on stats, in part because we’re just four games in now and in part because it is not online and has to be hand-entered. I’ll play around with it at the end of the two weeks.)

Jordan Farmar: He did not play in game four Wednesday and that absence may have been the best indication of his impact — without him the triangle looked far less crisp, less organized. In just a few games he has an intuitive grasp of the offense and has established himself as the leader of this team on the court. Suddenly, it’s not hard to imagine a second unit that has him and Luke Walton on the floor running the offense in a way that will make Tex Winter smile. His defense continues to be good much of the time (he did well on fellow a draftee, the very quick Kyle Lowry, in game three). That said, he still has plenty of that need improvement — he is 2 of 8 from beyond the arc (although he looked more confident from the outside in game three), he struggles defensively fighting through picks, and there is more.

But one statistic makes me smile — he has an amazing true shooting percentage of 72.1% through three games. For the new readers here, TS% is basically a way of figuring points per shot attempt, and it counts free throws (something Farmar draws a lot of) and points scored. (If you scored two points every time you shot, your TS% would be 100%). For some comparison, last season Brian Cook led the Lakers at 57.8%, Kobe was at 55.9%. Sure it’s three games in the Summer League, the Farmar is showing he belongs.

Andrew Bynum: I am apparently kryptonite to Bynum — all reports are he had a great second game (vs. Dallas) and a great first half of game three (vs. Memphis), none of which I saw. However, he was pedestrian at best in the fourth quarter against Memphis or in the first half of game four (vs. Dallas), which I did see. What that speaks to is inconsistency, even within a game, certainly a sign of youth. But, he’s being inconsistent against less-than-NBA-level talent, so what happens when he starts getting more minutes this fall?

On defense, Bynum moves well but he wants to block every shot he’s near (especially if he can come from the weak side for it) and that leads to foul issues. He does better when just using his length to alter some of those shots. He’s also pulled down an average of 9 boards a game through the first three games. However, against what should have been a Dallas team he could push around inside, he was the one getting outworked and muscled for rebounds (he doesn’t seem yet to anticipate where the ball will come off the rim well yet). And, his shot got blocked twice by Brian Boddicker (the fact you don’t know him says all you need to know). In Bynum’s defense, when I have seen him he has not been getting good entry passes, although he has been slow to give up a little position for possession. Apparently those entry passes, and what he does with the ball, are a lot better when I’m not watching. That said, he’s still dramatically improved from last year, if not the end of last season.

Danilo (J.R.) Pinnock: While fans knew what they were getting in Bynum and Farmar, Pinnock is the guy that has become a fan favorite for what he has done game in and game out. In game four, he was the best initiator of the triangle the team had with Farmar sitting out. His play in the first three minutes of game four may have been the highlights of the entire game —he blocked a shot, grabbed a rebound for a one-handed put-back dunk, and had a highlight dunk on a back-door ally-oop from Green that literally collapsed the basket (the entire portable basket structure came down into its folded position).

Pinnock does a lot of things well, driving the lane, shooting and playing hard on defense. He hustles after rebounds (a guard who pulls down 13 boards in the first three games. His combination of anticipation and hustle means he gets lots of loose balls.

Devin Green: Continues to impress by just seeming to be the guy quietly doing whatever the team needs. His basketball IQ is very good and that works well in the triangle. At times he has shown a nice outside stroke, although through four games his eFG% is a pedestrian 45.6%.

Von Wafer: After going 2 of 11 in the first two games and looking lost in the offense, Wafter has tried to revert to the Wafter of last year’s SPL — a gunner. He has been 11 of 25 (with an eFG% of 52%) in the last two games, and has taken the ball to the hole aggressively. There has been a sense of desperation around his game, you can almost feel him realizing he’s going to have to fight for a roster spot now. That said, he continues to do well freelancing but has yet to look comfortable within the triangle (such as it is in the summer league).

Marcus Slaughter: After not turning my head in the first three games, he had a nice game four that started to show his potential. He played the four in college, but in the NBA he’d be a three, and there were questions of whether his midrange game was up to it, Well, against Dallas Wednesday he was 7 of 9 overall, much of that in the midrange, and 2 of 3 from beyond the arc. He also had six rebounds and three steals in this game. He’s athletic and showed a lot of potential Wednesday.

One game is not nearly enough to really judge a player or draw sweeping conclusions. So don’t read too much into the notes and comments on the first Summer Pro League game for the Lakers in Long Beach today. For the record, the Grizzlies won 89-87, but really, wins and losses are moot in a league all about player development.

By the way, these are Laker-centric notes. Later in the week I’ll post some thoughts on the other guys I’m seeing over at True Hoop, where I’m one of the guest bloggers for the week. One of the bummers was that neither Rudy Gay nor Kyle Lowry played for Memphis.

Jordan Farmar: He was as advertised — a real leader, quick, plays solid defense and needing to work on his long range shooting, but he had as good an outing as you can expect from a 19-year-old rookie thrown in to run the triangle. He finished with a team-high 17 points and was 5 of 6 inside the arc but 0 of 3 from beyond it. By the end of the game Memphis defenders were playing off him and letting him have the long jumper and Farmar became hesitant to shoot it. (This is something that can be worked on, particularly in the triangle where you know you’ll get your threes in specific spots.) His mid-range shooting is good. He got into the lane well and got to the line for nine free throws (hitting 7), and one thing he does quite well is draw the contact and still get off a controlled shot (he had one right in front of me where Farmar drove into the defender, got the whistle then leapt back for a fade-away he hit). Maybe the thing I noticed most was how well he pushes the ball up the court, the Lakers picked up the tempo with him in the game, and he distributes very well on the run. In the half-court set he had a couple nice entry passes into the post, but had a few sloppy ones as well. He played solid man defense most of the game (former Gator Anthony Roberson drove past him seveal times, but that guy was real quick), plus had a couple of steals. And he is a leader, he was directing guys on the floor in the half-court, really taking charge of the offense. Like I said, there were areas where you want to see improvement (a couple times a big switched on to him on a pick-and-roll and he didn’t exploit it well, another time he got caught with a back-court 8 count when he picked up his dribble) but overall he had a good outing.

Andrew Bynum: He has gotten a lot stronger from last year, and his shooting and moves look a lot better. That said, he still has a ways to go. He was 3 of 7 shooting and one of those was the finish of an ally-oop from Farmar on the break that may have been the highlight of the game. (Either that or the dancing cow, which was hysterical but I have no idea how to really explain it.) Last summer Bynum got pushed around on the block by everyone, this year he was getting to and holding his spots. Also, he is shooting from over his head, taking advantage of his height, and his post moves are so much more polished (he finished with 12 points). Maybe the best thing from him is just how well he was running the floor — and Farmar was finding him on the break. That said, sometimes he tried to get cute around the basket rather than use that strength, and other times Griz players seemed to be able to muscles him off rebounds. His defense in the post was good (I’m not sure how much of that was his counterpart’s lack of game) and he had two blocks.

Danilo (don’t call me J.R.) Pinnock:
Maybe the biggest surprise of the day – one game is just one game but he looked like a steal from the second round. He finished with 16 points on 6 of 9 shooting and was 2 of 2 from three-point range. He shot from the outside, drove the lane (amazing baseline drive in the second half) and made plays at both ends of the court. He had the guts to take the last shot of the game to go for the tie — he missed it but I love that he wanted it (even if the smart move may have been to let Farmar drive and create). I’ll be watching him more intently in future games.

Devin Green: Just like last year’s summer league, he just seems to do all the little things right but nothing spectacularly. He had to cover Hakim Warrik much of the day and held him to 4 of 11 shooting. Green had a team-high four assists. Just a solid all-around effort, although I will add that I was fairly close to the Laker bench and summer coach Kurt Rambis made more comments and corrections to Green than any other player (frustrated with his choices in the offense at points, failure to call a timeout after a late-game steal).

Marcus Douthit: The former Laker second rounder picked up some polished post moves in Europe, he finished with 14 points on 6 of 10 shooting, plus had a team-best seven rebounds. That said, his defense was average and his performance was not overwhelmingly impressive.

Von Wafer: Last summer he was a shooting machine at the SPL, in this game he went 1 for 6. He looked like he was trying to find his spots within the triangle but he didn’t look comfortable. Did work hard on the defensive end.

I am not going to make the Lakers second game tomorrow against Dallas (if anyone goes send me some thoughts), however I will be there for parts of Tuesday and Wednesday, as much as work will allow.

Summer League Notes, And More

Kurt —  July 15, 2005

For the next week, posting will be very light from me as I go on vacation with my family. Where we’re headed is not completely unplugged from the world (although I will be somewhat), so if there is a big Laker story I’ll try to get a post up. In the short term, here are notes and thoughts from the Lakers SPL game against the Miami Heat Wednesday night, plus some other stuff. If anything big happens put a comment in, that will be the first place I’ll look.

• Wednesday night against the Heat, Andrew Bynum had his best game by far. He seemed more comfortable in the offense and was “thinking” less about what to do, and that led to a much more aggressive Bynum on the court. He pushed back hard trying to get post position (he still needs strength, but he’s using leverage better). He fought harder on the boards, he had 10 total but five on the offensive glass. He had two blocked shots — one of a Qyntel Woods who was trying to dunk (one of the best plays of the SPL so far) and another all the way out near the three-point line on a rotation. He was more aggressive looking for his shot and was 6 of 10 from the field.

It’s still too early to say what we’ve got in Bynum, but his growth through the first four games gives me hope that he does have a high basketball IQ, is a good study and a hard worker. After the improvement I’ve seen, I’ve become more optimistic about his future.

• Now to the Lakers’ past at center — Vlade is retiring due to his back problems. Henry over at True Hoop has a good piece up about him, talking about what a good person Vlade was. I, for one, will miss him. Update: Laker management is saying that no decision has been made. Believe what you want.

• Here’s my concern about Ronny Turaif — his hands. He seems to fumble half the entry passes he gets in the post, good ones or not. The quicker guys he’s facing come this fall will exploit that more. He and Mihm in the game together would be an all bad-hands team inside. It’s something correctible, but certainly an area he needs to work.

• A lot of people who have been to the SPL are higher on Smush Parker than I am. Don’t get me wrong, I like him, but he’s only 2 of 9 so far from three-point range (although his overall eFG% is a very healthy 56.3%). Other parts of his game are good — he’s made good passes and mainly good decisions, and his defense has been solid. But, folks, this is the summer league, so we’re judging him against flawed competition. Give him an invite to camp and see if he can earn a spot as a backup point, if not send him to the NDBL as insurance. He’s been a nice find, but this is a league of end-of-the-bench guys and wanna be end of the bench guys — let’s not go overboard and say Parker should be a starter or even have a guaranteed NBA contract.

• By the way, Sasha Vujacic is 5 of 11 from three point range so far in the SPL, with an eFG% of 51.6%.

• After watching him in person, a lot of teams are going to regret not taking Wayne Simien earlier in the draft — the Heat got a steal. He is very polished on offense and a solid defender who can step in and play now. Those concerns about whether he was 6-7 or 6-9 were very overrated.

• Devin Green has been an interesting case on the Laker SPL team. He’s a very smart player, always seemingly in the open space, making a good cut to the hoop or in the right place for the rebound. At the end of the night his numbers are good, but he does it quietly. He doesn’t stand out athletically, which makes me think that at the NBA level (where good players are both smart and athletic) he will struggle, but he’s going to be a good fit for a minor league or European team. He may get a Laker camp invite, and I have to say I’m impressed. He strikes me as the guy who some day might make the best coach of any of his teammates.

• With Chucky gone, the Lakers really need to land Antonio Daniels, or what else is there at the point? He visited the Lakers practice facility and with team officials on Tuesday, however on Thursday his agent said Daniels is fond of Portland coach Nate McMillan (I can’t see Portland happening, by the way, they don’t need a starting point guard). If the Lakers get just one free agent deal this summer, let this be the one. Please.

• It took me a while to find the good beer at the Summer Pro League. You can’t go up to the food stand, you need to go to the “beer tent” area, where you can get bottled beer like Corona or Heineken, as opposed to the draft domestic swill in the rest of the place.

• By all reports, Kwame Brown didn’t like playing with the ultra-competitive, yelling at teammates Michael Jordan. Kobe is the same way. Has Kwame matured, or his skin thickened?

• Another Kwame note from one of the DC-based guys I talked to: One prevailing theory is he plays harder when he gets more offensive touches. If that’s so he may not like it in LA any more than Washington because Kobe and Lamar are still options 1 and 2. I’ll be curious to see what Kwame’s number of shots/percentage of team’s shots are. (By the way, the other theory is he gets more touches when he plays harder.)

• In a surprise to no one, Stu Lantz will be back as a color commentator, but now along side Joel Meyers.

SPL Game 3 and Other Notes

Kurt —  July 11, 2005

Update: Up at Hoopsworld is another view of the Lakers at the Summer Pro League, plus the latest trade and free agent rumors, all courtesy Eric Pincus. Also, if you wanted to know why some teams were high on high schooler Gerald Green, check out this video from the Vegas Summer League (the link comes via Celtics Blog).

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I caught the first half of the Lakers game three in Long Beach Monday afternoon, and am here to pass along notes from that and a couple other things in my notebook.

• The crowd was a little smaller today but still pretty big — Long Beach State’s team couldn’t draw that big a crowd if they were playing UCLA. In the house were Phil Jackson, Mitch Kupchak, Jerry Buss and even Jack Haley.

• When the season starts, teams are going to lay off Ronny Turaif and dare him to hit any shot more than 10 feet away from the basket. He was even badly missing 15-18 foot jumpers in warm-ups. Until he can develop some kind of outside shot his effectiveness will be limited. He can rebound and his defense looks solid, but he can’t be an offensive black hole.

• The triangle continues to look ugly.

• When I’ve talked about Bynum being raw, I thought I should provide a little detail. I’m not a scout, so use whatever amount of salt you see as necessary with these. He really doesn’t have great positioning skills or box out skills — likely because he never had to develop them being guarded in high school by guys 6-5. He seems like he used to be just so much stronger that he could get where he wanted to go on the court no problem, now he’s got to get a body on somebody rather than just expect his length to do the job and he’s not quite sure how to do it. His footwork is bad; he took one hook shot Wednesday off the wrong foot. When he gets the ball in traffic, he gets flustered (he’s clearly not used to the speed of the game). On defense he made errors, for example: covering a pick-and-pop Wednesday he did something we almost never saw out of Shaq when he stepped out on the guard, but then he stayed with him almost out the sideline, where the guard passed it to the “popper” and Bynum, realizing he wasn’t supposed to switch, was futilely chasing after his guy who scored easily. All can be taught, but means don’t expect much from him for at least a year — he’s going to play Darko minutes this season. It may be three before he can really contribute.

• This weekend we (my wife and I) TiVo’d and watched the Live 8 concerts. London kicked our ass. Badly. USA Basketball vs. Mongolia badly. Their first three acts in London — U2, Coldplay, the aging but still entertaining Elton John. In Philadelphia the first act was Bon Jovi, followed by the mild rap stylings of Robert Horry, er, Will Smith. Even if it did close with Paul McCartney playing his best work of nearly 40 years ago, I’d rather have been in Hyde Park.

• Sasha’s defense does not look a lot better. He was slow on a couple rotations and got beat twice on ball fakes in the first half Wednesday. I’m curious how much Phil will use him, my guess is not much if he can’t play defense. By the way, after pumping up his catch-and-shoot skills from the weekend, Sasha went back to being a streaky outside shooter Wednesday.

• The emergence of Ronny Turiaf had Marcus Douthit playing harder and with more desperation on Wednesday (at least that’s my guess of the motivation), and at half he led the team in scoring (I think he had 10, maybe 12, stats weren’t available when I left). I don’t think it will be nearly enough.

• If I were Mitch K., I’d give Will Conroy and Smush Parker invites to training camp — I’m not sure they’d make the team but they’d at least be solid in practice. Smush is quick and can score, Conroy just runs a team well and can play defense. They’ve been solid in the SPL.

• Dean Oliver figures that a players scoring hits its peak at age 27. Kobe will be 27 this season.

Summer League Games 1 & 2

Kurt —  July 10, 2005

Two games. Two sellouts.

I’ve plenty of notes on players but that above stat is the thing that most jumped out at me after two days — the combination of Phil and Andrew Bynum has created a buzz around this team that was missing the second half of last season. There’s not going to be a Laker championship in the next couple of years, but there’s unbelievable interest in Dr. Buss’ team again and that itself is a good sign. I’ve been to plenty of Summer League games and it was never a problem to get tickets before. People have had to be turned away at the gates the last two days.

The Laker brain trust has been to the Pyramid already to watch their players — Phil, Mitch, Dr. Buss, Jim Buss, Tex Winter, Rambis (coaching), Shaw (assistant coach). (By the way, funniest thing of the two days was Saturday, when the Summer Pro League inducted James Worthy into their mythical Hall of Fame. Mitch K. was out at mid court to give him the plaque and when Mitch was introduced there was an even mix of boos and cheers, but Mitch was a pro and had no reaction. On the other hand, Dr. Buss was cracking up.)

I’ve tried to bullet point this by players, but there are some general thoughts that need to be brought up as well.

• First, it needs to be noted that this team is struggling in the triangle. The flow is lacking and it is breaking down all the time (with some players doing more playing outside the system than others — yes, I’m looking at you Von Wafer). This is especially hurting the big men, who are not always getting the ball in a good scoring position.

• The first night, fans were there to cheer Andrew Bynum, he got applause for a dunk during pre-game lay-up drills. But, by the end of the second game, it was Ronny Turiaf who has become the big crowd favorite. His energy and obvious love of the game is infectious.

• Bynum is raw. Intellectually we all knew that, but in person it is much more in-your-face — he shows flashes but, at least to me, it’s tough to see how much potential is under there. But there is potential there — he has 26 points and 11 rebounds through the two games. There are flashes of power and good decision making. The first game he seemed to struggle with the tempo of the NBA game (even at the Summer League level), that was slightly better in the second game. He seems to be thinking more than just playing (“Where do I need to be?” “Am I supposed to rotate out to cover that guy?”). Also, his conditioning needs work, he tired in both games considerably. He also needs to bulk up — he could not hold position on the offensive low block or push players out of the block on defense, in fact smaller players pushed him around. Against Dallas (second game) he ended up guarding former Kansas standout Eric Chenowith (who has been in the NDBL recently) and the experience factor showed — Chenowith easily handled Bynum, scoring inside and out. Bynum did have two blocks in the first game. I should say Bynum looks slimmer than clips I’ve seen of him in the past, my guess is he’s been working on conditioning and now he has to work on putting on muscle. Combine his lack of strength and bad passing from the guards and he had the problem of getting the ball well outside his comfort range — when he did get it in close he got off some good shots. He is long, very long, but at times still seems awkward in his body. He is already strong and when he grows into it he could be a beast. But it’s too early to know much.

• Turiaf hustles as advertised and that with his personality have made him a crowd favorite. He’s showing the reason’s I’m glad the Lakers picked him — but his game has big holes. He shows that four years of college polish that Bynum does not, Turiaf sets good picks and does a good job in getting in rebounding position, plus boxing out. He has one style with the ball — power moves to the basket from the low block. That leads to a lot of fouls (he shot 18 free throws in the two games), at least in the summer league, let’s see about the bigger NBA bodies. He has no outside shot and needs desperately to develop a jumper out to 15 feet to compliment his inside game. His defense is average and he has just one block in more than 50 minutes of play — this needs to improve. While he is big, he still needs to add 10 to 15 pounds to his frame to deal with the stronger NBA players. I think the upside for Turiaf could be a Rambis-like role.

• Everything I knew about Von Wafer I got from the Internet, and it didn’t do him justice — he is much more athletic, smooth and tenacious in person than I had expected. He is very quick and his shot is fluid, the problem is it doesn’t go in enough. He was just 4 of 12 in the first game and through two games is shooting 44.4% (eFG%), which says NDBL not NBA for the Lakers right now. I will give him this, he may have had the two best dunks for the Lakers so far, going right at guys five to seven inches taller. He plays fearlessly. He also seems to still be adjusting to the speed of the players and the game at this level, for every two smart moves he makes there is mistake. In both games he started drives that had no hole and left him stuck behind the basket or some other spot (this improved some in the second game).

• Sasha Vujacic may be a better back up two than point, and they may be grooming him for that role. The times he looked best was when he was used in a Ray Allen style — he would pop out off a screen, get the ball, turn and shoot. When he did that he was 3 of 4 by my count on Saturday, but when he tried to create he was 1 of 4. Much of the time he was in the game Saturday other people played the one and he played the two. The good news is his passing skills are still there, he made some sharp passes. The bad news is his defense is still questionable — he picked up a lot of fouls rather than stops and he was late on several rotations.

• Marcus Douthit, the Lakers second round pick last year, still is not ready. He looks bigger than last year, but he still got pushed around some inside. It’s only been two games, but he is averaging just 8 rebounds per 40 minutes, not great numbers for the SPL (if you’re looking to make an NBA roster as a rebounder). Defensively he had trouble stopping much of anyone in the lane either night.

• Will Conrony, a free agent out of Washington, knows how to run a team and plays pretty good man-to-man defense. The downside is he is limited offensively — not great at creating his own shot on the drive at this level and his outside shot is inconsistent (1 of 6 in the two games, 0 of 2 from three point range). He does have good passing skills.

• Smush Parker might be an NDBL guy, if not for the Lakers than someone. He has skills and can shoot the ball (he is 12 of 17, 2 of 5 from three point range). He also seems uncomfortable playing within the triangle, although he did make some good passes. He might be a great insurance policy to be called up in case of emergency.

• Devon Green gets his points quietly — he has 23 points and 14 rebounds in the two games, but never did anything that stood out athletically. He just seems to keep being in the right place and converting. I’ll be watching him more closely in upcoming games to get a better idea of what he is doing right.

• Tony Bobbitt went 0 for 8 in the first game and was generally unimpressive — in the second game he only played the last 3:36. It looks like he is on his way out the door.

• I have some notes on players from other teams (Charlie Villenueva among them) but I’ll save them for another post.