: It seems like the season just ended for the Lakers. That’s what happens when success takes you deep into June for the NBA finals.
For Lakers guard Coby Karl, it might seem like the season has no end. Karl, the only rookie to make the team this past season, is the lone player from the season-ending 15-man roster that will be playing on the Lakers’ Las Vegas summer-league team. The six-game schedule begins Friday, when the Lakers play the Detroit Pistons at Cox Pavilion.
Karl will be joined on the team by the Lakers’ lone 2008 draft pick, guard Joe Crawford of Kentucky, whom the team selected in the second round. The 14-man roster will be filled out with an assortment of undrafted rookies, including USC forward Davon Jefferson and UCLA center Lorenzo Mata-Real.
The Lakers held tryouts to pare a list from 22 summer-league team hopefuls to a more workable number. The Lakers’ squad is scheduled to scrimmage the Clippers’ summer league team Wednesday afternoon. The Clippers’ team is led by second-year player Al Thornton, who was a first-team all-rookie team pick this past season.
Karl, who bounced back and forth between the Lakers and their D-League owned team, the Los Angeles Defenders, is signed for the 2008-2009 season. Karl played in 17 games with the Lakers and 17 games with the Defenders. He averaged 17.5 points and 4.2 assists, in the D-League. He scored a total of 30 points in 71 minutes of NBA play.
“He had a great training camp and he deserved to make the team,’’ Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said. “His ability to come in and be able to play was good and he even helped us win a couple of games. His move back and forth between us and the D-League was seamless.’’
However, this summer sessions looms as very crucial for Karl’s future with the Lakers, according to Kupchak.
“He definitely will have to show improvement in order for him to make the team,’’ Kupchak said. “He knows that there’s no room for him to rest on his laurels."
Kupchak said the basketball staff will watch keenly the play of both Karl and Crawford, who was the 58th overall selection in last month’s NBA draft. Because he was drafted in the second round, Crawford will not have a guaranteed contract.
“We like his game,’’ Kupchak said. “He’s a big guard. He can handle the ball, shoot the ball and make plays. His body bodes well for the NBA.’’
Kupchak said what the basketball staff would be looking for out of Crawford and the other free agent hopefuls is if their play merits them being invited to training camp in October.
“Typically, guys drafted in the 50s have to earn their way into training camp,’’ Kupchak said.
Although Karl and Crawford won’t be in a fierce competitive situation this summer, come training camp there is a strong possibility that they will be battling each other for a roster spot.