SIX SUMMERTIME "LAKERS" WITH A CHANCE TO BECOME LAKERS
Five spots remain open on the LA Lakers' roster. While I would prefer to see LA fill those with players possessing NBA experience, I present my top six Summer Pro League players from the LA Lakers. I'm not going outside the LA team because I presume that other teams have a better chance of signing their "own" players, so here is a breakdown of the top six, in reverse order, in terms of current ability, fit for the team, and potential.
#6: Cedric Bozeman
6'6, 220 pound Guard
NCAA: 7.6 points, 2.3 assists, 3.3 boards, 50% FGs, 78% FTs, 39% 3pts, 1.7 TO as a Senior at UCLA.
NBA: 1.1 points, 0.4 assists, 1.0 boards in 8.7 MPG (06/07)
SPL: 6.8 points, 1.5 assists, 3.8 boards in 23.8 MPG
Triple double and D-League record 20 assists in a game.
-An athletic Guard, Bozeman is an aggressive player who hustles, but probably needs to work on his game a bit more, and may never be a good fit for a team that isn't fast-breaking regularly.
--Not a good fit for the Lakers, but could learn to play in the triangle and be effective. Probably wouldn't get off the bench even if he made the team. An NBDL candidate.
#5: Bryant Dunston
6'9, 250 pound Forward
NCAA: 15.5 points, 2.0 assists, 9.8 boards, 2.7 blocks, 53% shooting in 33.1 MPG at Fordham.
SPL: 8.0 points, 0.5 assists, 3.8 boards in 22.3 MPG (plus 1.5 blocks)
-Scrapping Forward. Can score well, attacks, is very athletic, and plays hard on both ends of the court. Could put up Turiaf-esque numbers and provide similar skills.
--He's an interesting prospect because of his size and shot-blocking abilities. Not going to make it on an NBA team this year in all likelihood, but would be a good D-Fender.
#4 Taj Gray
6'9, 230 pound Forward
NCAA: 14.2 points, 0.9 assists, 7.7 boards, 1.6 blocks, 57% FG in 30.4 MPG at Oklahoma.
SPL: 4.8 points, 0.0 assists, 3.4 boards, 1.0 blocks in 14.6 MPG
-A good scorer who can get to the line and has a respectable (but not more) repertoire of moves. Athletic and a good shotblocker, Gray has the ability to body up on Power Forwards, but will have to improve his footwork and transfer some of his aggressiveness offensively to the defensive side. The Lakers' needs at PF could make Gray a more interesting commodity.
--Gray isn't huge, but he's aggressive and athletic. He could play minutes at the Power Forward spot, would grab some boards, and block some shots, but he will probably never score a whole lot and will probably look foolish until he becomes more seasoned in actual NBA experience. I'd get him on the D-Fenders and monitor his game.
#3 Coby Karl
6'5, 210 pound Guard
NCAA: 14.8 points, 4.0 assists, 4.1 boards, 37% 3pt in 32.5 MPG as a Senior at Boise State
NBADL: 17.5 pts, 4.2 ast, 5.5 reb, 41% 3pt in 37.6 MPG
NBA: 1.8 points, 0.5 assists, 0.8 boards in 4.2 MPG
SPL: 14.0 points, 1.8 assists, 2.6 boards, 44% 3pt in 28.8 MPG
-Coby Karl can score and would certainly be a good shooter at the NBA level, but he makes stupid mistakes and isn't afraid to jack up every open shot he sees. He cannot play defense either. I'd like to see him work on attacking because he seems to have surprising body control and the ability to hit a ton of FTs when he gets to the line. He can contribute more immediately than just about anyone (#2 aside, perhaps), but I really question his top end.
--Karl could play 1000 minutes this season if the Lakers wanted him to do so. He could also hit a bunch of threes and shoot a good percentage, but the Lakers woul be obliterated by opposing guards while Karl is in there. He simply must work much harder and take more pride in his D.
#2: Dwayne Mitchell
6'5, 210 Guard
NCAA: 16.0 points, 4.1 assists, 7.9 boards, on 52% shooting in 35.4 MPG at La Lafayette as a Senior
NBADL: 20.4 points, 3.2 assists, 6.4 boards on 47% shooting in 37.3 MPG at Iowa; 4 double doubles and 3 30-point games last season
SPL: 6.2 points, 0.6 assists, 1.2 boards, 63% FGs in 13.8 MPG
-Mitchell has improved his playmaking abilities considerably, and would be a great fit as a Guard in the triangle. His physique and athleticism are awesome, he can create a shot, and plays tough on defense, coming up with steals and overpowering many Guards because of his strength and bulk.
--A scorer and a hard-nosed athletic defender who can rebound incredibly well for a Guard. He's the athletic bruiser LA could use in the back court. Has become a better shooter, and is solid from distance, but is really a slasher and he's quite good at it.
#1: Joe Crawford
6'5, 207 Guard
NCAA: 17.9 points, 2.1 assists, 3.6 boards, 36% on threes in 33.6 MPG as a Senior at Kentucky
SPL: 10.2 points, 1.4 assists, 2.8 boards, 57% treys in 20.6 MPG
--Although he is raw and will need some time to catch up to the speed of the NBA, and will never be a PG in all likelihood, Crawford is athletic, aggressive, can create a shot and get to the rim.
--He may not play a lot of minutes this season, but I'm sure he would win backup SG honors by season's end if Sasha leaves. He has the ability to get to the rim that seems better than anyone else's except for Kobe and Farmar.