Caracter stayed out of trouble in his time at UTEP, and began developing into the player that he could always have been. He’s lost weight, shaved his stupid hair cut, and doesn’t have to worry about academic problems any more. Now, barring any petulance relapse, Caracter gets to just be a player. He’s becoming a decent one, too.
Given time, Ebanks will be able to do a decent if slightly lesser impression of Trevor Ariza during his Lakers days. Ebanks can’t dribble or shoot, but he will run the court and defend whomever you want him to. I have been saying this since about February 2009, so the fact that Ebanks is now a Laker is pretty cool. It gives me the opportunity to say it for another seven years.
Last year, Gerald Green played in Russia. Playing for Lokomotiv Kuban, Green averaged 16.3 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game, shooting 44% from the field and 35% from three point range. Unfortunately, there’s no stat for whether he “gets it” yet.
Kurz was a Chicago Bull as of 9 days ago. He never played for them, but got a few grand and great playoff seats for the privilege of spending two months with the greatest team in the world. Kurz is an NBA calibre player with very good rebounding numbers, decent defence and an old-school one handed jump shot, a face-up combo forward with occasional post offence who should be in the NBA somewhere next year. However, I’m not sure it will be with the Lakers. He would be a luxury for them, i.e. a non-rotation player. And they can’t really afford those.
Jaaber was announced as a member of the Pistons summer league roster last year, but in the end did not turn up and stayed with Lottomatica Roma. He will not return to Roma next year, and is clearly chasing his NBA dream. The three-time Ivy League champion (really) and Bulgarian international point guard (no, really) is a terrific defensive player and a great athlete, without much of a jump shot. A smaller but cheaper Shannon Brown alternative? It’s possible.
McCauley featured in the Magic summer league round-up from last week. He didn’t play particularly well in the Orlando summer pro league, however, averaging only 4.5 pppg and 5.5 rpg on 25% shooting.
It was with the Lakers that McCauley starred in last year’s summer league. Starting at centre, McCauley had a 24/12ish performance on debut, and continued to make shots in all ways after that. He has no more NBA talent than he did the last time he was here, but it should be a happy reunion nonetheless.
It has been two years since Naymick left Michigan State, and he remains their all-time blocked shots leader. In the two years he’s been going, he has played in Poland and the LEB Gold, averaging 10.6ppg/7.5.ppg/2.0bpg for Kotwica in 2008-09 and 8.8ppg/6.4rpg/1.9bpg for Caceras in 2009/10. He is 6’11, pretty athletic (very much so for a ginger) and with good shot-blocking skills. He can’t score outside of gimmes and the occasional 18-footer, and is very thin, but he doesn’t make mistakes and will play physically on the interior.
It is perhaps a wonder, then, why he averaged only 4/4/1.7 in his senior season.
Assigned to the L.A. D-Fenders due to his local ties, Robinson had a decent but not great D-League season, averaging 12.4ppg/4.1rpg/3.7apg. He shot only 24% from three point range and committed three turnovers in 30 minutes per game. Robinson is athletic, energetic and best defensively – which is kind of a theme with the guards on this team, Gerald Green excepted – but he’ll need more offence than that to get any more training camp gigs.
Sanford is a 6’10 centre out of Guilford College, a Division 3 school in North Carolina. He was the Division III player of the year last season.
(Incidentally; Ben Strong, the man spoken about at length in the video, is a former Guilford centre who was also the D3 Player of the Year in 2007. He averaged 25/12/2 in his senior season, and now plays for Maccabi Haifa in Israel. He averaged 3.3ppg, 2.4rpg and 0.5apg for a team perhaps now wondering if it might have been a bit generous to use an import spot on a D3 player. The feel-good stories are nice, but D3 really doesn’t produce a lot of significant pros. Mind you, Maccabi Haifa were also the team that Jeremy Tyler played for last year, and Strong outperformed Tyler in every statistical category. So he’s got that going for him.)
It’s very difficult to find out anything about Sanborn, or even Guilford; a Google search for “Guildford Sanborn” reveals the fourth result to be a research paper from a Mr Guilford D. Sanborn entitled “Letters upon the effects of alcohol as a preventive to tubercular formations and desposits”, which is a sentence I’d never expected to say. That said, in all likelihood, information about Tyler Sanborn may not need to be found. To be blunt, the odds are against him.
Only eight players have ever played in the NBA when coming out of Division 3 schools; Michael Harper, Derrick Rowland, Clinton Wheeler, Bob McCann, Greg Grant, Devean George, Andy Panko (whose NBA career lasted 1 minute) and Horace Jenkins. Will Tyler Sanborn be the ninth? Probably not. Particularly not on the two time defending NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers team. But well played to him for even being here.
After a blistering start to the 2008/09 D-League season, Sims became hot sizzle. He had already played in training camp with the Pacers (2007) and the Hornets (2008), but it was that year that he really broke out, winning the D-League Player of the Year and All-Star Game MVP awards, and averaging 22.8ppg/11.0rpg/2.0bpg. It earned him midseason call-ups to both the Suns and Knicks, and then for training camp 2009, he signed with Atlanta.
Sims did not make the Hawks team – they refused to have any centres – and therefore went to China, but didn’t win a roster spot in tryouts. Since then, he’s been around the houses. Sims first went to Russia and signed with the fabled CSKA Moscow, but was released after only one game and was replaced with Pops Mensah-Bonsu. He then returned to his former stomping ground when he joined the Iowa Energy of the D-League, but wasn’t as good there as he has been in the past, averaging only 12.4 points, 6.6 tebounds and 3.1 fouls in 19 minutes of 14 games. Sims left the D-League in March to play for the Capitanes of Arecibo – the Puerto Rican team who for some reason have juggled both Puerto Rican BSN play and American minor league PBL play – averaging 9.0 points and 4.4 rebounds in five BSN games. While there, Courtney’s name was erroneously listed on latinbasket.com as something extremely NSFW, which was amusing. However, he again moved team in April when he left Puerto Rico to sign with Charleroi in Belgium. He averaged 8.2 points and 5.8 rebounds in helping them win the Belgian league title.
Sims’s star was burning brighter at this time last year, but he should still probably come with a training camp contract somewhere. With DJ Mbenga not coming back, the Lakers could find a use for him.
Strawberry spent last year in the D-League, averaging 13.7 points and 5.5 assists per game for the Reno Bighorns. Strong defensively at both guard spots, Strawberry’s jump shot is improved, hitting 35% from three point range; he’s also a good athlete that doesn’t make too many mistakes.
A bigger, more passy, less highlighty version of a Shannon Brown replacement? It’s possible. By the way, I’m not saying the Lakers need to replace Shannon Brown. Only that they might need to.
I am continuously intrigued by the esoterica and minutiae of all the aspects of building a basketball team. I want to understand how to build the best basketball teams possible. No, I don’t know why, either.