This was by far the most interesting Summer League game. After some pretty disappointing play against the Knicks the Lakers were slotted as the 11th seed in the Summer League tournament and would play the 0-3 Dallas Mavericks.
There were a few things that drove me crazy early, the Lakers didn’t even close out on two Justin Anderson threes and he nailed both of them. They were also called for (by my count) 5 offensive fouls off of the ball that killed them in the third quarter specifically.
There’s one play I want to describe specifically, a flash of greatness from the young core of this team.
Watch it, it looks really simple: https://youtu.be/SDzy0gsQQoI?t=3m55s
Randle sets a pick for Russell who passes it over back to him and then Randle drive and dishes to Clarkson for an open shot (corner three). You can rearrange those names in any order and it could work. These are the plays that’ll make this team really good someday. They just have to work on their jumpers, timing, and decision making.
Also, you can see Russell stayed at the top of the key and Jabari Brown was over in the opposite corner to space the floor.
The Lakers stormed back every time the Mavs started to run away with it, then they’d flirt with the lead and a lineup change was made. The comebacks were all made by forcing the Mavs to take contested jumpers and playing fast and uptempo on offense.
By the way, this is two point guards doing a jump ball. That won’t happen very much.
In the last post I listed a lot of lineups that the Lakers used and I’m not sure it’s interesting to anyone but me, but here they are anyway. Counted to the minute to the best of my ability/view.
1Q 3:17 Black/Nance/ABrown/Munford/Russell
1Q 2:10 Upshaw/Nance/ABrown/Munford/Russell
2Q START: Upshaw/Randle/ABrown/JBrown/Russell
2Q 7:38 Randle/Mitchell/ABrown/Clarkson/JBrown
2Q 5:40 Russell in for ABrown
2Q 3:37 Nance/Mitchell/Clarkson/Russell/JBrown
3Q START: Black/Randle/JBrown/Russell/Clarkson
3Q 5:00 Black/Nance/JBrown/ABrown/Clarkson
3Q 4:14 Upshaw in for Black (Upshaw/Nance/ABrown/JBrown/Clarkson)
Was this the FIRST MINUTE without Randle, Clarkson, or Russell?!? By my accounts yes, probably not though. It felt like this lineup was in there for an eternity, they did not pass well at all either.
4Q START: Upshaw/Nance/Munford/Clarkson/Russell
4Q 9:27 Black/Mitchell/ABrown/Clarkson/Russell
4Q Randle back in and JBrown. (Randle/Mitchell/Clarkson/Russell/JBrown)
4Q 5:00 Randle out for Black?! (Black/Mitchell/Clarkson/Russell/JBrown)
Randle back in for Mitchell right after. Starters in.
That last sequence made no sense to me. Julius Randle only played 21 minutes this whole game. I’m assuming they’re still restricting his minutes but having him out for so long and then putting him in and then taking him out was confuising for me watching let alone for him.
Russell finally had a game with less than 5 turnovers (3), the final one might have cost them the game but it was good to see him cut down on those.
Halfway through the 1Q Nance Jr missed a jumper (still hasn’t hit one) and Russell got the rebound, shot it, and made it. Then a minute later Russell grabbed another rebound and started the fast break. He’s been rebounding fairly well in the Summer League (5, 8, 3, 6) and that’s an underrated skill in my opinion. A guard that rebounds is almost the same as a big man that can run a fast break, like Randle has. They both carry the momentum from the missed shot into the next possession, it keeps the game uptempo and that’s when these Lakers are at their best. The very next possession Clarkson gets the board and starts the break too.
This was one of Russell’s turnovers (above), this pass was just a little too late and Pangos got his hand on it. He just needs more playing time. This is the moment when the old dude at the Y goes, “good idea young gun, good idea.” I’ll take a turnover like that.
This is concerning though, Russell gets caught ball watching (below). He can’t see his defender. His man (Powell) cuts and Tyler (with the ball) spins to the basket and then neither Russell or Nance body him or try to contest his dunk.
Same deal happens here. Russell and Nance switch and Russell gets caught ball watching and Powell slams it, at least Russell contested that one. If only for show.
Russell got fouled at the top of the key a lot more in this game. Word got out that he’s been turnover prone and they’re pressuring him earlier.
He also missed a technical foul free throw. Still not comfortable.
However, he redeemed himself with this….
RUSSELL NAILS A 3/4 COURT SHOT. 4 POINT SHOT 4 POINT SHOT!!! It didn’t count…but neither do these games. SHHHHHH….don’t tell anyone.
Malik Wayans was killing Russell and Clarkson on full court pressure though… Makes me nervous for these guys to play those Pat Beverley/Tony Allen/John Wall/Marcus Smart/Chris Paul types…
Like this one here. He caught this ball off of a Clarkson pass and held the ball allowing Pangos to close out on him and then he took a semi contested shot. Instead of just catching the ball and pulling up for the three.
This was a great steal by Randle. He left his man (Dwight Powell), who isn’t a great three point shooter, then collapses on the ball. If guys are going to try and be three point shooters when they’re not that good then Randle should definitely take advantage. This play worked out in the Lakers favor as Randle got the steal and took it all the way for a slam.
Randle takes his second jumper of SL and makes it! If you read my first and third Lakers SL articles then you know I’ve been tracking this because Clarkson called him a “stretch four” during the SL practices. This shot looked good and finally fell. He’s not completely a stretch four but ‘pick and pop’ may be a weapon the Lakers can use.
Randle also played all of the first 4 minutes at the top of the key. Didn’t really go down in the post much. If he’s going to keep trying to do that it’ll be really important for Russell, Clarkson, and the other wings to hit shots because he’s not that good of a shooter yet and defenses will sag off of him clogging the lane.
No sooner did I type that then I ate my own words and Randle hits a REALLY NICE step-back jumper.
Randle continues to get boards and take it right down the floor. Which is great, keep doing it. A couple guys calling these games have said that Russell was not really a point guard in college and plays better off the ball. So if Randle can take the ball up it’ll allow Russell to do that.
Another issue with Randle is that he isn’t a great leaper. There were
three four baskets he could’ve made if he could jump a few inches higher because they’d be dunks instead of finger rolls or lay-ins. (As soon as I wrote that he missed another lay-in that he should’ve dunked.
The Lakers have been switching a lot on screens on the perimeter and trusting their bigs to defend smaller quicker players. Mostly, I think, because Black/Randle/Nance are their main bigs and they’re all very mobile. Upshaw is their only huge semi-slow guy. The good news is that Randle took Crawford out this far and stuck with him on this play.
Gottlieb called Clarkson “Clarkston” the for the whole first half then corrected himself but continues to say ‘Clarkston…I mean Clarkson’
Clarkson had a decent game for him in the SL. Wayns gave him some issues too. I’m just going to keep harping on decision making with him. Especially when they were tied at 86 and Randle drives, misses a shot, the ball goes back out to Clarkson. He dribbles back to the top of the key, didn’t realize that the shot clock didn’t reset until he got back to the top then rushes a drive. Wayns stays on him like Vanilla on a Wafer and Jeremy Tyler was there to contest the shot as well.
Mostly this game was positive for Clarkson though.
For the record. Clarkson nails this three. It didn’t count but it’s good to see range whenever you get a chance.
Clarkson has had some great finishes around the basket too, like this double clutch finish.
We’ve established that JBrown can score, pull ups, drives, all of it. In this game though there were two plays that impressed me. Both showed just a little more that I haven’t seen before, getting his teammates involved…
JBrown dumped it to Upshaw who slammed it.
As well as giving the extra effort to keep a possesion alive.
JBrown misses, gets it own board twice and makes it.
Sadly the only note I took on Tarik Black was this sick block by Anderson….Black went full Donkey Konga on this dunk and Anderson denied him in the least civilized way possible.
Larry Nance Jr
We’re at the point now were we need to decide if he’s ‘Nance’ or ‘Nance Jr’ I can’t keep typing one or the other. Since I never saw Nance Sr play I’m not opposed to calling him just Nance, and he’s not in the NBA anymore…but anyway. He had a couple of good passes in this game. Hopefully you can tell what’s happening in this picture but Nance drives and it looked like he was taking a floater but instead he throws a wrap around pass to Black who jammed it. Nance had another great pass later in the game to Munford but he missed the turnaround layup…
This play by Upshaw had me really excited, especially since he’s signed to a deal with the Lakers. Look at Upshaw watching Singh’s feet. He twists him up, dribbles left, spins and hits a shot. He’s going to be great, again the hope is that he keeps it together off the court.
Upshaw’s screens were also better in this game.
Upshaw only played 9:25 minutes in this game and at time he even looked gassed. Everyone keeps saying he’s just not in shape and I hope so because he’ll never be able to play 30 minutes a night for 82 games if he’s beat this quickly… he’ll get there.
This was fun. ABrown did a stutter step and dropped Bobby Parks Jr but couldn’t hit the shot. If he would’ve hit the shot I’m convinced the Lakers would’ve won this game. Momentum changer.
Instead the Lakers are 1-3 in the Summer League they should have dominated and we may have more questions than answers at this point. There’s one more Summer League game against the Jazz Friday night to see this squad one more time before…