5 Things the L.A. Lakers Learned from 2012 NBA Summer League
Although it may be "only the Summer League" in some people's eyes, the Lakers franchise isn't used to losing—and especially losing as badly as they did in two of the contests.
Moving forward, here are five things the Lakers learned following their week in Vegas.
**To see a complete breakdown and report card for the week, click here.
Christian Eyenga Holds Tremendous Potential
23-year-old Christian Eyenga joined the Lakers midway through the 2011-2012 season. Although he didn't receive a ton of playing time, he was effective in those minutes he did play.
During his week in Vegas, Eyenga started all five games for the Summer League squad, and he averaged a solid 12.6 points and at least one steal per contest. His 6'7", 210-lbs frame made him an asset beneath the basket.
Eyenga isn't the high-caliber player that will lead a team to the postseason, to be sure. However, he possesses the confidence and athleticism to be a solid go-to guy off the bench for L.A.
Low Shooting Percentage from L.A. Reserves a Concern
Without a doubt, L.A.'s shooting percentage proved the worst part of its Summer League performance. In three of the five games, the Lakers squad failed to even land 30 percent of their shots.
Granted, several of the Summer League players won't even step foot in a regular season game. That's no excuse, however, for such an abysmal performance. At least three or four of these guys will become a part of L.A.'s roster, and the shooting just wasn't acceptable.
The Lakers stepped it up for the final two games of the week; they'll have to continue to increase their consistency if they hope to transition into a spot on the regular squad.
Pros and Cons of Darius Morris
At only 21-years-old, Darius Morris is a fun-to-watch athlete that holds loads of potential.
He's an effective play creator. During the Summer League series, Morris averaged an impressive 15.2 points and 4.2 assists per game, making him L.A.'s leading scorer on more than one occasion.
Why isn't Morris more of a shoo-in for consistent regular-season playing time? Because, with his solid assist total, he loses the ball almost as many times. The young guard averages 3.4 turnovers a game—a stat line that's just not acceptable for a big-league player.
Morris can be a great asset to the Lakers bench, but he'll have to prove an improvement in ball control before that can happen.
Andrew Goudelock Will Be a Regular-Season Asset
Andrew Goudelock can still use a bit of development, but the base of a solid role player is there. During the Summer League series, he averaged 9.8 points per game and didn't commit many errors on defense.
He did, however, take a lot of shots, and he only averaged 31 percent from the floor. This number will have to improve for increased minutes off the bench come regular season.
Goudelock played four years at the College of Charleston prior to entering the NBA. While a senior, he averaged 23.7 points and 4.2 assists per game. Given a chance to get some solid minutes, he can achieve the same numbers in purple and gold.
At only 6'2", Goudelock stands in the smaller pool of pros. However, he plays aggressively and will be a huge key in L.A. stepping up its attack on the perimeter.
Kobe may not be going anywhere for the next couple years, but I expect the Lakers to integrate Goudelock into the regular rotation in 2012-2013.
Contrary to Popular Belief, the Summer League Does Matter
I know I'll draw controversy from this, but the Summer League games really do matter.
Is it true that most of these players won't see much—if any—playing time during the regular season?
Yes. And, in that sense, I understand where people are coming from. Just because the Lakers lost 80 percent of their Vegas games, I absolutely still expect them to have a successful 2012-2013 season.
That being said, however, all of the teams are in the same boat; consequently, wins and losses still send a message. Summer League gives us an incredibly premature look at the squads' general organization and offensive schemes, and it also provides a more in-depth look at potential reserve players for the regular season.
Coming out of Vegas week, the Lakers have a few players who can bring talent to the bench squad. They also need to refocus and tweak a few things.
Which of these players will impact the Lakers' upcoming season? Based on last week, I'd love to hear your thoughts and opinions.
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