Archive for the 'Summer League' Category

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Lakers Drop Summer League Opener


Despite leading by as many as 13 points early in the second half, the Lakers summer league squad dropped an 89-84 victory to Detroit on Friday evening in the team’s first game in Las Vegas.

The Lakers did, however, get solid contributions from both of their second round draft picks, Devin Ebanks and Derrick Caracter.

Ebanks scored 21 points on 9-of-16 shooting with two steals, two assists and two rebounds, while Caracter added 20 points of his own (9-of-14) with 10 rebounds and two blocked shots.

L.A. also got 14 points from D.J. Strawberry, 11 assists from Ibrahim Jaaber and 11 points with seven boards from Rob Kurz, but couldn’t hand onto a nine-point lead (84-75) late in the fourth due to a 13-0 Pistons’ run to close the game.

The Lakers are back at it on Saturday, when they play the Denver Nuggets (1-0) at 3 p.m.


Summer League Preview heads to Las Vegas on Monday to check out the latest summer league squad in person, but until then, here’s a quick look at the players we’ll be watching:

6-9, 210-pound forward; West Virginia, 2010 43rd draft pick

- Ebanks was named to the All-Big East Third Team as a sophomore after making the Big East All-Rookie and All-Tournament teams as a freshman. He developed a reputation as a defensive stopper on the wing, and played some of his best basketball in the NCAA Tournament while helping West Virginia to the Final Four. Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak said he could foresee Ebanks playing a backup forward role. To read more, CLICK HERE.

6-9, 275-pound center/forward; Texas El Paso, 2010 58th draft pick

- Caracter was named to the All-Conference USA Second Team after averaging 14 points and eight rebounds as a junior, and ranked 16th in the country in field goal percentage (56.7 percent). For the BasketBlog report on draft night, click here.

6-8, 200-pound guard/forward; Gulf Shores Academy (Texas), 18th pick of the 2005 Draft, five year pro

- Green won the 2007 Dunk Contest with a ridiculous display of athleticism, and has a soft jump shot, but was never able to stick with a team during a five-year run that included stints in Boston, Minnesota, Houston and Dallas. He’s certainly going to be fun to watch at summer league as he tries to earn another roster spot in the league.

6-5, 199-pound guard; Maryland, third year pro

- The son of baseball player Darryl Strawberry was taken by Phoenix with the 57th pick of the 2007 Draft, and sent down to the D-League to play with the Albuquerque Thunderbirds. He’s since been a basketball nomad, with stints in Houston, Italy and Reno (D-League), after a solid career a new Laker Steve Blake’s alma mater.

6-9, 230-pound forward; Notre Dame, second year pro

- Kurz spent his first year in the NBA with Golden State, appearing in 40 games during L.A.’s title-winning 2008-09, and posting decent numbers when he received minutes. In fact, both times he played at least 30 minutes, he scored at least 20 points. Kurz was very good in the D-League, averaging nearly 18 points with 10 boards per game as a Fort Wayne Mad Ant, though he saw no NBA action with Cleveland or Chicago.

6-9, 237-pound forward; NC State, rookie

- Outlook: McCauley was solid for L.A.’s 2009 summer league squad, putting up nearly 12 points and eight rebounds per game, though he has yet to appear on an NBA court. The alum of Josh Powell’s school played his ball in France last year.

6-2, 170-pound guard; Pennsylvania, rookie

Outlook: Jaaber wasn’t drafted after amassing consecutive Ivy League player of the year honors in 2007 and 2008. He competed for the Piston’s summer league squad, and has had stints abroad in Italy, Belgium and Greece, plus a cool name.

6-4, 193-pound guard; Cal State Fullerton, first year pro

- You may know Robinson from down the road at Cal State Fullerton, or from L.A.’s D-Fenders last season. The Lakers summer league coaches certainly know his game.

6-11, 235-pound center; Michigan State, second year pro

- Naymick wasn’t drafted after finishing his Spartan career as the school’s all-time leading shot blocker (134), and spent time playing in both Spain and Poland last season. At State, he was also a recipient of MSU’s Unsung Player Award and tri-recipient of the Scholar-Athlete Award.

6-10, 270-pound center; Guilford College (North Carolina), rookie

- The big center tore up Division III last seaon, averaging nearly 20 points with 14 rebounds and two blocks per game, en route to D3 player of the year honors. We’ll see what he can do against some better competition.

6-11, 245-pound center; Michigan, third year pro

Outlook: Sims averaged around 10 points and five boards in a four-year career at Michigan but was not drafted. He spent some time in the NBA with Indiana (where he signed as an undrafted free agent), New York and Phoenix not to mention several D-League teams.

Voice of the Lakers in Vegas

Before L.A.’s final Summer League game, we ran into Lakers play-by-play voice Joel Meyers.

Meyers, in town to call games for and NBATV, offered his observations about Adam Morrison and L.A.’s Vegas crew and threw in a few food “joints” to catch back in L.A. over the summer.

Chucky Brown on Lakers Summer League

That L.A. managed to go 3-2 in Las Vegas with just one player assured a spot on L.A.’s regular season roster, the lowest of any team at the Summer League, was an impressive feat for SL Head Coach Chucky Brown and assistant Rasheed Hazzard. We spent a few minutes with Brown prior to L.A.’s final game to talk about Adam Morrison’s week (Morrison missed the final game with the stomach flu), Hazzard’s help with implementing the triangle and Brown’s pride regarding his team’s effort.

Morrison Misses Final Summer League Game

After a solid week of action, Lakers forward Adam Morrison sat out of L.A.’s final Summer League game due to the stomach flu.

With Morrison back at the team hotel, the Lakers competed hard – grabbing 12 offensive boards to help overcome offensive struggles towards a 40-40 halftime tie with undefeated Houston – but the lack of scoring proved to be too much in the second half of a 92-77 defeat.

Chinemelu ElonuHouston outscored L.A. 27-12 in the third quarter thanks in part to second round pick Chase Budinger, who dropped 25 points in 26 minutes for the game. Meanwhile, L.A.’s second round pick Chinemelu Elonu wasn’t bad himself, leading the Vegas version of purple and gold with 16 points plus eight rebounds.

The Lakers shot just 39.0 percent from the field, failed to make a single three-pointer and stayed in the game largely due to hustle on the glass, which netted 19 offensive boards and a 41-37 overall edge. Ben McCauley went for an 11 and 10 point-rebound double-double, while an efficient David Monds added 14 points off the bench plus six boards in 18 minutes.

As for Morrison: He finished the week with a 20.8 scoring average on 29-of-69 shooting (42 percent), including 8-of-19 from three (42.1 percent) and 17-of-19 from the foul line (89.5 percent). He was shooting 47 percent from the floor before struggling to a 5-for-18 performance in the team’s Tuesday win over Oklahoma City, but Summer League Head Coach Chucky Brown praised Morrison for drawing most of the Thunder’s defensive attention, which produced open looks for his teammates.

The former No. 3 overall pick also averaged 5.0 rebounds, tossed eight assists and notched three steals with two blocks, and looked to be fully recovered from the torn ACL that occurred prior to the 2007-08 season.

Podcast: ‘Sheed’s Summer League Wrap

Rasheed HazzardPrior to L.A.’s final game of the Las Vegas Summer League, we sat down with assistant coach/advance scout Rasheed Hazzard, who was charged with implementing the triangle offense and coaching up L.A.’s roster along with SL head coach Chucky Brown.

Hazzard detailed Adam Morrison’s week as the primary offensive option and looked ahead to his possible impact on the 2009-10 regular season, evaluated second round draft pick Chinemelu Elonu and went through the rest of L.A.’s Vegas crew.

You can listen by clicking below:

Lakers Stop the Thunder in Vegas

As we saw during L.A.’s fourth Summer League game in Las Vegas, each NBA franchise sending a squad to Sin City has a different goal, depending primarily on that team’s roster heading into the 2009-10 season.

The Oklahoma City Thunder (0-2) – a team building for what looks to be a bright future – falls among those squads eager for a first look at their first-round picks (James Harden and B.J. Mullens in this case), looking for an early indication of how they’ll fit in with the senior squad.

The championship-winning Lakers (3-1), on the other hand, sold their first two picks and, based on the minute distribution and the way the offense was run, were primarily interested in the health and form of signed-through-next-season Adam Morrison.

Morrison, who came into the game averaging 22 points in his previous three, again led the Lakers in scoring with 17 points, even though he needed 18 attempts to get there (5-of-18) in a come-from-behind 74-68 win.

“I wasn’t happy with how I played tonight, but I’m glad we got the win,” said Morrison, who added five boards, two assists and two steals. “Overall I feel pretty good and am glad to be getting some good minutes on the floor.”

Morrison, who said his health is no longer an issue, moved quite well in an active 34 minutes, and his stroke looked pure the few times he managed to find space against an athletic Thunder defense that keyed on him doggedly. At least six players on OKC’s Summer League roster will play for the big squad, which gave the Thunder a distinct edge in on-paper talent.

Still, the teams went back-and-forth through the first three quarters with the Thunder up five heading into the final period, but the Lakers outscored their opponents 23-12 in the period to steal the contest. L.A. turned it on in a big way in the final two minutes, highlighted by a 6-0 run capped by a Ben McCauley reverse lay-up with 24 seconds left that sealed the game.

“It was good to come out with a win using our team concepts,” said Lakers Summer League Head Coach Chucky Brown. “Adam is our best scorer, and we wanted to get him the ball.”

That they did, but OKC countered with Kyle Weaver – who started and guarded Kobe Bryant in the regular season – to chase Morrison all over the place. The former No. 3 overall pick out of Gonzaga saw frequent double and triple teams particularly when he got into the paint, resulting in a tough night from the field even as he kept his average at 20.8 per game in Vegas.

“They were doubling (Morrison), but I thought Adam did a good job,” said Brown. “I thought he got hit on the arm a few times … They just tried to take him away from us because he’s our biggest scorer.”

Though L.A. lacked OKC’s athleticism, they didn’t lack for effort, typified by second round pick Chinemelu Elonu’s game-high eight rebounds, plus 14 steals that signaled 23 Thunder turnovers.

“We wanted to turn up the defensive pressure in the second half, and we were able to do that,” said Brown, whose team opened the half on an 11-2 run and caused 12 of OKC’s TO’s in the second half.

That helped the Lakers overcome a poor shooting night all around (41.4 percent) even as OKC hit 52.8 percent of its shots, led by an excellent 9-of-14 for 23 James Harden points. Fellow rookie Mullens added 10 points, five boards and five blocks for the Thunder.

With that, both teams essentially got what they were looking for at the Summer League: A flash of young talent for OKC and a heavy dose of minutes for Morrison.

L.A.’s final game comes against Houston on Thursday evening.

Lakers Fall to Clippers in Summer League

Blake GriffinL.A.’s two NBA teams met for the fifth time in the last calendar year, with the Clippers winning for the first time after a regular season sweep by the Lakers.

Of course, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol weren’t in the building.

Instead, it was the Summer League backdrop in Las Vegas, where there wasn’t a great deal at stake in terms of wins and losses even as young players attempted to prove their individual worth.

Despite 20 more points from Adam Morrison – who’d averaged 23.0 in L.A.’s (2-1) two previous wins – the Lakers weren’t able to deal with the Clippers combination of No. 1 overall pick Blake Griffin and last year’s lottery pick Eric Gordon in a 93-82 loss.

Griffin had little trouble with L.A.’s front line, bullying his way to 27 points on 11-of-15 shooting along with 12 rebounds; Gordon, who went seventh in 2008, added 21 points and three steals.

L.A.’s lone 2009 draft pick, Chinemelu Elonu, was productive in his 18 minutes. He scored eight points and grabbed seven rebounds despite committing a game-high nine fouls (there’s no fouling out of Summer League games).

The Lakers shot a decent 44.3 percent from the field, but led by Griffin’s 73.3 percent, the Clips hit at an outstanding 57.1 percent … uh … clip … to make up for 20 turnovers, including five from Griffin. The Lakers made just 1-of-7 three-pointers, were out-rebounded by eight and committed 35 personal fouls in the loss.

The purple and gold has a chance to get back in the win column against Russell Westbrook, James Harden and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. will be in Las Vegas to cover all the action.

Lakers, Clippers to play in Vegas

Adam MorrisonIt’s not exactly the battle for Los Angeles hoops or anything, but the respective Summer League teams for the Lakers and Clippers are set to face off at 5:30 p.m. in Las Vegas.

The Lakers won their first two games against Cleveland (88-82) and Toronto (85-84), while the Clippers will be playing for the first time.

The purple and gold feature Adam Morrison – who dropped 24 on the Raptors and 22 on the Cavs – and second round pick Chinemelu Elonu, while the Clippers will get their first look at No. 1 overall pick Blake Griffin. The Clips also have a potential Summer League MVP candidate in second-year guard Eric Gordon, not to mention big, young center DeAndre Jordan.

You can watch along by signing up for the NBA’s Broadband feed by CLICKING HERE.

Furthermore, will be heading to Las Vegas to take in L.A.’s final two games in person, with coverage focused on the summer development of Adam Morrison. You can follow that coverage on the home site, here on the basketblog and on Twitter.

Lakers Win Again, Start 2-0 in Vegas

Chinemelu ElonuAdam Morrison’s 22 points paced L.A. in its second Summer League win in as many tries as the Lakers defeated Cleveland 88-82 on Saturday afternoon in Las Vegas.

A day after scoring 24 points against Toronto, Morrison converted 8-of-16 field goals – including 4-of-6 from downtown – and pitched in four rebounds with three assists against the Cavs.

Lakers second round pick Chinemelu Elonu (pictured) used his 23 minutes of burn to put up nine points on 4-of-6 shooting, plus five boards and two blocks, a day after he played just 14 minutes.

It was a relatively easy win for the Lakers, who trailed just once early in the first quarter before steadily pushing the lead to as many as 14 in the fourth quarter.

“I thought everyone played hard, we were able to play really physical I thought we did a great job,” said Lakers Summer League Head Coach Chucky Brown to “We need to sharpen up our defense a little bit more and I think we’ll be alright.”

L.A. outshot the Cavs 50.8 to 42.6 percent, and made seven three-pointers to help cover a poor effort from the free throw line (15-of-27, 55.6 percent). The Lakers also held a seven-rebound edge (39-32) and had four players in double figures led by Morrison.

The Lakers’ Vegas crew has Sunday off before a Monday evening tilt with Blake Griffin, Eric Gordon and the L.A. Clippers, set to tip at 8:30 p.m.

If you’re interested in watching the game, you can sign up for NBA SUMMER LEAGUE BROADBAND.