The last update we had on Robert Upshaw was that the Lakers had no immediate plans to sign the undrafted big man. That report, combined with the Lakers inking undrafted players Jonathan Holmes and Michael Frazier to contracts this summer cast real doubts about whether Upshaw really would find his way into Lakers’ camp.
However, in an interview with Scout.com following the Seattle Pro-Am game in Seattle on Friday, Upshaw gave an update on his status with the team:
Of note is that Upshaw does strongly imply he will go to camp with the Lakers. Also of note is his confirmation there is no deal with the team as of yet though he does “know (he) will be a Laker” if he “does the right things; does what (he) needs to do.”
When taking a step back, thinking about what the Lakers have done to this point in the off-season, and hearing Upshaw’s comments, my takeaway from all of this is pretty straight forward. The Lakers seem pretty intent on not handing Upshaw any sort of guarantees too early in the process, wanting instead to use the prospect of earning a spot on the team as a carrot to motivate him. Upshaw is a player with a history of off-court issues and keeping him on the proper path — whatever the means — is to the benefit of the player and, hopefully, the team.
That said, I see no guarantee Upshaw actually makes the team even if he keeps on the straight and narrow. He must also play well in the process. Summer league isn’t a great predictor of anything, but Upshaw was out of shape and was not, as the tournament went on, very impactful beyond setting some good screens on offense. He will need to show he’s ready to .
Fans, of course, may not like to hear that. Upshaw is viewed as a young player with promise at a position of need. His situation, and that of the Lakers, is not really that straight forward, though. And it’s clear the Lakers are balancing those variables when making a decision on what type of future, if any, Upshaw has with the team. We will see how things go in camp.
I’m rooting for you Robert !
Been following you Robert Upshaw. Great potential, great opportunity for you young man. Praying for you to succeed sir.
Let the battle of the Roberts begin!
I’ve heard Upshaw say on at least two occasions while being interviewed that he is one of the best players in America. Now is the time to prove it. Talk is cheap. I’m hoping that he pans out and plays well enough to become a part of the Lakers’ future.
Robert Upshaw definitely has potential. He showed a lot more potential in summer league than just setting screens. He showed some excellent one-on-one defense and better post moves than Robert Sacre could ever get. Unless he has some serious off- court issues, Upshaw should earn a spot on the Lakers or at least the D-Fenders for a year to develop. He could be Roy Hibbert’s best back-up by this time next year.
YAY! He may be the longest shot (by far) among them, but – given his potential ceiling – I have as much excitement about him as for our “big 3” rookies.
Laker uruguayo says
Si Upshaw es tan bueno como parecía, y los Lakers lo contratan, hará aún mejor la elección de Russell sobre Okafor. Va en español, muchos latinos seguimos esta página, y si lo escribo en inglés corro el riesgo de cometer errores ortográficos. Laker por siempre!
Gracias por su comentario. Yo estoy de acuerdo. Upshaw tiene mucho potencial. Ojala que juege bueno durante el pre-season que viene. Con su permiso, voy a traducir lo que Usted ha escrito.
Below is a translation of Laker uruguayo’s comments:
“If Upshaw is as good as he seems, and the Lakers sign him to a contract, he will prove to be better than Russell whom the Lakers chose over Okafor. Many people from Latin America, by the way, follow this web site. If I write my comments in English, I run the risk of committing many spelling errors. Hence, the Spanish.”
Let’s go Rob! You can be a big piece on this new team, and part of the future!
There are several priorities for Upshaw if he wants to make the team. Below are 3 that come to mind:
1) Get in shape; he can not be in the kind of condition for Coach Scott that he played in during Summer League; that won’t work; he has 4 weeks to get in tip-top shape — tip-top; nothing else will suffice;
2) Stay clean and be a good citizen; he has no margin for error with regard to off-court behavior; any missteps and he’s history;
3) Play damned well during Pre-season, especially with regard to protecting the rim and rebounding (two of Robert Sacre’s weaknesses).
If he does the above, then he has a chance to stick. If he doesn’t, then it’s off to China.
I like his attitude, his thoughtfulness, and his mind set. For Robert Upshaw, the future is now. I hope he pulls it off.
Mid-Wilshire, thank you for the translation on Laker uruguayo’s comment.
Mid-Wilshire, sorry to correct you but Laker Uruguayo didn’t say that “if Upshaw is as good as he seems he will prove to be better than Russell”… He said that IF he is as good as he seems, and the Lakers sign him to a contract, it would make Russell’s pick over Okafor that much better.
Sorry again to correct you, but I wanted Urugayo’s point to be made correctly. Basically he’s saying that if Upshaw is signed, and plays to his potential, drafting Russell over Okafor would be validated.
You’re right. I stand corrected. I read the note while driving. (That will teach me.) But your observation is well taken.
His observation is also well taken, I think.
Anthony Johnson Jr says
I believe that Robert Upshaw, will be a suprize to the entire Laker nation, and once Byron runs him hard during training camp, he’ll develop into a noteworthy player as a Big man in Lakers Land
The correct translation of Laker uruguayo’s first sentence is as follows (my thanks to Jason for his watchful eye):
“If Upshaw is as good as he seems, and the Lakers bring him under contract, he will make the choice of Russell over Okafor even better.”
I think this is an interesting observation because it ties Upshaw’s value to Russell. We have seen in previous eras how an inside / outside combination can work wonders.
Yanni christo says
Upshaw is a rim protector with NBA talent. Find it hard to believe that several teams would not offer him a contract if he were to not make the Lakers roster.
Laker uruguayo says
Mid-Wildshire and Jason, thanks for your attention! Greetings from Uruguay. Go Lakers!
IG: jwoodz313 says
I reeeeally hope that Robert Upshaw pans out and shows he was a sleeper. I love his ability to block shots. He has the potential to be an all-time shot blocker. I’m basing that off of what he did in his 19 or so games at Washington last year before he was dismissed. He averaged, if I’m not mistaken 7 bpg per 40 mins!! That’s just down right NASTY!!
Also, he sounds as if he wants to prove that he’s learned his lesson. As if he is ready to mature and make better decisions. He can be like what Whiteside is for the Heat. I’m not saying either is great. Just that the potential is there. Go Lakers!!!
IG: jwoodz313 says
My bad.. I said that wrong.. I meant to say 7 blocks per 40 mins. But I think most of y’all knew what I meant lol
Jeremy Tyler ate Upshaw’s lunch in Summer League, we were interested. Proven commodity. Let’s sign someone we know. If Upshaw takes it seriously, then let’s pray he makes it.
– Russell telling it like it is: “spoiled Laker fans”
Rico Tico says
UPSHAW Necesita demonstrar que esta listo para concentrar solamente en su profeccion. Necesita dejar malas influencias, drogas, trabajar en su condicion fisico, y en su talento.
UPSHAW needs to demonstrate that he is ready to fully concentrate in his proffesion. He needs to drop bad influences, drugs, work on his conditioning, work on his game.
I cannot find anything specific in the media about exactly what violation of “team rules” caused Upshaw’s dismissal. The prevailing assumption seems to be drug use, something that can be corrected, depending upon the individual. Does anyone actually know? if so, then they are being remarkably tight-lipped about it, in an age where you can find out what a celebrity had for breakfast.
His so-called “issues” might be behavioral, emotional or psychological. That would be unfortunate for him, and bad for the Lakers.
Or maybe he just smokes pot, in which case, 1) he gets 3 positive tests before any disciplinary measures are taken. 2) He very likely has a lot of company in this league.