The Lakers wrap up their summer league play today, taking on the Jazz. This will be their 5th game in seven days, or basically enough time to get a rhythm and be a bit worn down after not likely playing much full court basketball of any import over the previous few months. Of course, one could argue the import of these games as well, so…
In any event, the Lakers are 1-3 to this point but are coming off their best game of the tournament in Wednesday’s loss to the Mavs. That game saw Julius Randle breakout, D’Angelo Russell show some fantastic playmaking instincts, Jabari Brown show off his all court scoring game, and Jordan Clarkson continue to look impressive as a shot creator and finisher. Add in the better flow offensively and a more team oriented approach to their sets and I think fans got a lot out of the game even thought it was a loss.
Heading into today’s game, my biggest hope is that these kids are able to build on some of those positive steps forward. As I wrote about heading into this process, I’m not so concerned about wins and losses or even the individual statistics of the players. I’m looking for positives in their games that can be carried forward into the regular season and whatever negatives exhibited are ones that can be worked on, learned from, and minimized going forward.
So far, I’ve seen little to really be overly concerned about while also seeing some positives that can be built upon. Yes, it would be nice if Russell shot better or if Randle did more work on the glass. I’d have liked to see Nance bury a mid-range jumper or two and for Anthony Brown to get a bit more burn (and get some more spot up chances). I’m not going to worry about these things, though. These are young players and we’re playing the long game, not looking for short term gains on players who are very far from finished products.
With that, enjoy the game today folks. It will be the last Lakers’ basketball we see for at least a couple of months. Hopefully the team can go out with a W powered by some strong performances from players they have so much hope for. But, even if they don’t, trust that the work will be put in so they can be better the next time we see them.
No matter what happens, Russell will be REALLY GOOD. Nash has the perfect skill set to work with Russell’s, it’s almost a match made in heaven. That is if he works out with Nash A LOT, which I hope he will.
My hope is for Upshaw to take substantially more minutes at the 5. He could have been very helpful against Dallas’s Tyler who was torching Black. Given that Black should only play spot minutes at the 5, I don’t understand the thinking. Upshaw has also been pretty good at clearing out weak side baseline when Randle’s operating on at the post on offense. Black is also a sophomore, so I feel like he doesn’t need as much summer league time. Not really sure about the interior rotations–just a small complaint.
Upshaw is way out of shape.
All the more reason for Upshaw to play. He needs game experience to get in shape.
Another 12 point quarter! Sorry but Russell shot is horrible. Mitch may have screwed this franchise. These are wide open shots that are not close. Puck with Denver is so much better. I can’t even watch this junk.
Didn’t Russell end up with 20 points on nearly 50% shooting?
Only saw the second half. DAR looked good and assertive. Funny how it works… When a player is making his shots, he looks great. Seriously, it was good for the team to compete well and take some positives out of the SL experience.
21 points; he was 10/20 from the floor.
Craig W. says
It was mostly simply shooting from the perimeter or 1-on-1 drives into the basket. No real system present that I could fathom; no cutting, no coordination between players – streetball.
Marlon Brando says
So when Russell plays well we bite our tongues, but when he struggles we release the hounds. The last few years have really affected this fan bases ability to be reasonable when it comes to expectations. We’re all sick of losing so bad we become rediculously quick to heap praise or scorn on these young kids (on our team and others). is Seth curry going to dominate the league next year because he scorched it in summer league? Of course not. Can Russell and Randle get better? Of course they can. They both have shown flashes of skill sets that will be very valuable in the NBA. Russell’s vision and randles quickness and strength are great building blocks for their NBA future. My hope is they both show an elite level of determination to work on their game and improve from day to day. Hopefully the coaching staff can supply the necessary environment to foster that growth.
Well sell, Marlon. BTW, did you ever act?
I thought the main difference between today and Russell’s previous games was that he was making his open look jump shots today. Of course, he also cut down on the turnovers but half of those were good ideas that were a hair off in terms of execution. At this point in his career, he’ll look good when he makes jump shots and bad if he doesn’t because he’s simply not a finisher at an NBA level yet. His playmaking vision will also play up much better during the regular season when he has better finishers.
I think Russel will definitely improve if he continues to put in the work. I’m curious though as when do players reach their peak athleticism. I find his movements a bit slow. I’m neither saying he’s going to be ineffective nor am I trying to nitpick. I’m just curious if he’ll be faster and quicker on the court eventually since he’s just 19.
I’m excited with our prospects and I’m pretty sure it will take time for them to mature and grow as a team. Still hoping we can make something happen this year in Kobe’s final year.
I see a light….
Some people don’t seem to see the light thru all that negativity…
Russel’s best shot is from the elbow to free throw line extended. If he can continue to get to these spots on the court he will be just fine. He is set up for his best shot or a cutter to the rim for an assist when he reaches these areas on the court. I love he rebounds the ball for a pg.
Randle has a great burst and I believe his shots will begin to fall. He really needs to improve his defense and rebounding. This come from want to. Hopefully nance jr. will rub off on him. I also would like to see some plays ran for him down on the block, He can face up or use his footwork and explosion to get to the rim and draw contact. He is such a man child that can develop into a player who can get to the rim anytime he wants. I think people are not realizing how great his burst on his 1st couple of steps. This puts the defense in a bind where a lot of contact will happen. This will directly affect the other players because the other team could be in foul trouble.
upshaw has so much potential that can really change the course of the lakers franchise. I wish Mark would have played him a little more in this last game just so he gets more game action. When he adds 20 lbs of muscle and gets playing time in the d-league he will help us. If i am not mistaken Kareem worked with Bynum on his post moves. hopefully he will also teach this young fellow some footwork and shots. This will be a 2-3 year project but it can become the best thing for the lakers. He will also have the ability to learn from hibert on how to play defense and be a pro in this league. If he can be similar to gobbert in Utah lakers will become a defensive force in the league. I love his competitiveness and toughness. These are things you cannot teach and he has the qualities to go along with extreme hight and length. What a great combination. I hope he can stay clean. That is such a hard thing to beat but if he can mange to keep his isms in check this will only increase his chance of being really good. Mental toughness is what separates the great players and all-stars.
Earlier I laughed at us making the playoffs but after watching the game and them announcers talking about the team fighting for the final 2 spots I believe if we stay healthy we have a great chance. If this happens this means our young guys play pretty good. With a young core of players Lakers will become a destination point where players want to go. Adding a supper star and an all-star to this team next year would put the Lakers franchise in a great position to jump up into the elite of the NBA.
Dream Time- Next year Durant and Noah will be free agents. How great would that be if we could pair these guys with a young team that made the playoffs.
2016-2017 line-up and point projections for each position
Pg. Russel, williams (25 pg)
Sg. Clarkson, Kobe?. Brown (25pg)
Sf. Durant, Brown, swag (30 pg)
Pf. Randel, Bass, nance jr., black (18 pg)
C. Noah, Upshaw, Hibbert, black (10 pg)
108 pg. would fulfill the dream of a lot of laker fans. Plus our defense should be pretty damn good with the length and experience of the core players.
How bad ass would this dream be. We would have 2 starting guards who would avg. 15 pg, 5 rb, 5 assist. Durant would be the dude to carry the team. Randel should avg. 12-15 pg 6-10 rb. and Then you would have Noah leading the defense and help cover up mistakes. His defensive talent and leadership would create and atmosphere like the bad boys in detroit.
Our Bench would be very respectable. I doubt Kobe would come off the bench but this is a dream so lets roll with it. The second unit could win some games by them selves.
Adding Durant and Noah would change everything and we would be in position to start hanging banners from the rafters. I thing Durant would love to play with guards who like to pass the ball and set up other players and not forcing their offense. This would allow him to be the Alpha dog with a great supporting cast who fits his game.
Some one let me know what you think of my observations and my pipe dream!!!
This blog reminds me of the the blog on LA times a few years back. They change the format on posting and I think many people left that site. I love I found A site where people are calm and easy to post. Keep of the great work.
I see little cause for negativity. I was not only pleased with tonight’s performance (the end result means nothing) but I also sense an upward trajectory by some of the key players over the last 2 games (as if they’re learning from their mistakes).
Tarik Black (16 pts, 10 rebs., 2 blocks), D’Angelo Russell (21 pts. on 10-20 shooting and only 3 turnovers), J. Clarkson (12 pts., 5 rebs., 4 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks and one hellacious dunk), J. Randle (11 pts., 5 boards), and Jabari Brown (14 pts., 3 rebs., 3 assists) all looked solid. Black and Russell looked particularly good.
All of them should be in a position to contribute this coming year.
What’s not to like?
100% right Marlon. Russell did look much better tonight. Hope is still alive.
Not trying to be rude but mitch has put teams together or helped putting teams together that won 5 championships. I know he didn’t oversee the 1st 3 titles cause west was involved. But he was able to get Gasol and 2 more championships. Plus he got the lakers cp3 but the league stopped that. That would have given us more shots at championships. I just do see all of these young guys being a bust. Russell shot 40% from 3’s and he shot the most 3’s in the collegiate level. His shooting will be fine. I would be worried about his d.
Well kind of, jerry West made the call to Jerry Buss on Pau being available. I am ok with him but giving away multiple draft choices for 38 year old Nash put team in bad spot for 3 years. Who knows who is really making moves these days.?
yeah the nash deal was bad. Hopefully we make playoffs and they get a bad draft pick.
I like that!
If i want to draft a PG, i will pick Mudiay, his speed, his size are so good, when he can shoot the ball well from outside, watch out NBA. Russel has weakness that is his turn overs in college, he can pass the ball well if opponents giving a space, but in the NBA ,teams won’t give you a space to operate, that’s why he struggled in Summer League, so i think he will be good PG not a Superstar (like Bryon Scott said). Clarkson has long way to go, so Lakers fan don’t expect too much, you will be dissapointed soon.
The bottom line is we honestly have no idea what Randle/Russel will become. By December we should start having a good idea of what they will be at least for their first year anyway. Clarkson is a bit different, but I need to see him play without being the #1 option on offense, and see him show some ability to consistently get other guys involved. With Clarkson’s driving ability he should be able to get plenty of easy shots for his teammates, much like Lin did last year. So hopefully he starts to develop that more this season.
Honestly, even Kobe is a pretty huge question mark this season. He is very long in the tooth at this point, and regardless of work ethic he just has biological realities that can’t be overcome via training. Assuming he will still score, but also I’m going to assume he is even worse this year defensively which means he will be horrid. Again this team is going to give up a ton of points this year, there is a good chance we are as bad or worse than last season’s team (defensively) despite Hibbert/Bass. Guess we will see this fall.
At this point in time what do you think would the order of the roster? I don’t think we can talk of the future when the present is still in shambles and 1-4 in Summer Leagues does not make a good argument that the rookies are dependable to take over. Yesterday’s game was the best game of Russell/Randle but the best is not at par when they get to regular season. Laker nation can’t live with potentials and promises, wearing the purple and gold, got to be ready to compete and homerism from fans will not bring the team out of the doldrum. They need honing more skills especially on defense. Get some tutorial from Steve Nash, Magic, I’m sure they want to transfer their gifted knowledge to the qualified youth. The Centers like Upshaw, Hibbert, Sacre get some appointment with Cap if he’s healthy to guide our Centers, or Shaq. They are Laker legend whose jerseys are hanging on the rafters, they would aid their home team at a nominal fee. Of course, the Buss Family are willing to pay for the tutorial sessions, it is for their own good too.
Next agenda will be the training session of Byron and this will be a rigorous one, he probably thought during the draft day, it was tinkering the chemistry and watching videos, nope! he has to teach everyone Defense 101 which is the backbone of Scott coaching.
I look at the roster in this manner which did not really change before the Summer League
1 Clarkson/Russell/J. Brown
2 Williams/Young/A. Brown
I have a feeling this team will be better defensively than last year´s team. I recall there being a lack of defensive chemistry between players…mostly certain ones. A notable example I site is Jordan Hill´s inability to rotate over on help defense; which happened often and Clarkson called him out on it. Dingbats like Hill and Boozer are gone! Yes, the defense will be better without them via the replacements of Bass and Hibbert.
Erratum: I forgot to include Black as 3rd option on 4.
I have been looking at the probable Lakers roster for the coming 2015-16 season and have noticed that, deliberately or not, the players on the team are divided almost perfectly into two halves: seven Veterans with at least 2 years of experience (average years of NBA experience: 8.6 years) and eight Rookies or 2nd-year Players with one year of experience in the NBA or none (average years of experience: 0.38 years). The two lists are as follows (I give their ages as of February 1, 2016, basically halfway through the season):
1) Kobe Bryant (SG/SF) — 37, 19 years of NBA experience
2) Brandon Bass (PF) — 30, 10 years
3) Nick Young (SG/SF) — 30, 9 years
4) Lou Williams (SG) — 29, 10 years
5) Roy Hibbert (C) — 29, 7 years
6) Robert Sacre (C) — 26, 3 years
7) Ryan Kelly (PF) — 24, 2 years
Average Age: 29.3
ROOKIES / 2ND-YEAR PLAYERS
1) Tarik Black (C/PF) — 24, 1 year of NBA experience
2) Jordan Clarkson (PG/SG) — 23, 1 year
3) Jabari Brown (SG) — 23, 1 year
4) Anthony Brown (SF) — 23, Rookie
5) Larry Nance, Jr. (PF) — 23, Rookie
6) Robert Upshaw (C) — 22, Rookie
7) Julius Randle (PF) — 21, Rookie (in effect)
8) D’Angelo Russell (PG/SG) — 19, Rookie
Average Age: 22.3
The differences between the two groups is stark. On the one hand you have players with strong resumes (multiple All Star Game appearances, playoff experience, and one 6th-man of the year award) but major flaws (injuries, advancing age, inconsistent play, evidence of inefficiency, etc.).
On the other hand, you have the intriguing promise of (very) young players but huge question marks regarding their individual futures and their ability to develop a solid team chemistry over time.
With this I would think that the Lakers should have several goals in mind: 1) maximize their potential wins this next year by starting as many veterans as possible at the beginning of the season; 2) employ as deep a rotation as possible to avoid major, catastrophic injuries to key players; and 3) gradually develop their young players and introduce them into the starting line up only when they are ready for the challenge.
If the Lakers do this, then they could have a formula for returning to their former winning ways. But this will probably take years, not months.
Nevertheless, the good news is that the pieces (veterans + a substantial core of promising young players) seem to be in place. All we can hope for is that the pieces cohere over time.
One way or the other, the Lakers are on the verge of entering into a youth movement as never before in their history. Let’s hope that it works out.
Nice analysis, Mid Wilshire I hope BS will have practice games pitting the Vets vs Rooks.
I also think gradual inclusion is the best deal here of the rooks by December from one starter (Clarkson) to two more (Randle and Russell) in the starting line up. Our biggest drawback here is SF and C. Kobe should play limited minutes by winter months but who would be the reliable 3? Hopefully, Young could pan out and improve his defense or Kelly slide to SF. The next is the Center, if they go on fast mode with R & R plus Clarkson, who would be the Center that could keep up with their pace? Upshaw is a long shot and Sacre is inconsistent
It is in the news too that Lakers are interested of Ty Lawson who had a DUI case and might be dispensable by Nuggs. However, his salary is $ 13M, how will the Lakers accommodate him at that range? Even if you combine Young, Sacre and Kelly, it doesn’t match unless you give money and future draft picks. Why is Mitch bidding a head case PG at the amount? Well, if Lakers were able to get to Championship out of MWP, then anything is possible.