LA Lakers' Most Intriguing 2014 NBA Summer League Prospects

Ehran Khan@@ekhansworldContributor IIIJuly 14, 2014

LA Lakers' Most Intriguing 2014 NBA Summer League Prospects

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    The Las Vegas Summer League marks the first chance fans of the Los Angeles Lakers have to scout potential new players at the NBA level.

    As has been well documented, the Lakers have a number of holes to fill on their roster, even after the offseason moves they completed over the past few days.

    There are several intriguing prospects on L.A.'s summer squad who have the opportunity to make the team and even contribute on the court as soon as this season.

    Here are the five most interesting guys, ranked from least intriguing to most intriguing.

No. 5: Trey Thompkins, F

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    Originally a second-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Clippers back in 2011, Trey Thompkins is trying to get his NBA career started in earnest.

    The Georgia product played sparingly as a rookie in 2012 before being waived by the Clips near the end of the 2013 season—a season in which he did not play due to injury.

    Thompkins is a polished big who can score around the hoop, but his calling card is his ability to stretch the floor.

    He was a 36 percent shooter from deep during his collegiate career and has shot the ball very well in two summer league appearances. 

    Thompkins has hit 10 of his 14 field-goal tries and converted on all three of his long-range attempts, racking up 25 points in just under 31 minutes of action.

    If his hot shooting is not a total fluke, he could make the roster as a stretch 4 off the bench.

No. 4: Rodrigue Beaubois, G

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    Remember when Rodrigue Beaubois was deemed the future of the Dallas Mavericks, prompting owner Mark Cuban to declare him untouchable?

    Cuban proved prescient, as no NBA team has picked up Beaubois since the Mavs dumped him after the 2013 season.

    Now Beaubois is hoping to catch the eye of an NBA team in summer league.

    He remains an intriguing player with his desirable combination of quickness, athleticism and an extraordinary (for a 6'1" man) 6'10" wingspan.

    Beaubois turned a lot of heads as a rookie during the 2009-10 season, averaging 20 points, four rebounds and four assists per 36 minutes on an impressive 52 percent shooting from the field and 41 percent on threes.

    He even notched a 40-point game off the bench, which included eight rebounds and nine three-pointers made in less than 30 minutes of play.

    This was a guy who was clearly going places.

    Then came the injuries and the inconsistencies and the general decline in his play. His offensive efficiency fell off with each passing season, and he never learned how to run the point as Dallas hoped he would.

    Still, Beaubois remains a plus athlete who can score the ball and defend bigger players with that incredible wingspan. He struggled during his first summer league outing but put in 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting (3-of-4 from downtown) in just 14 minutes on Sunday.

    He can still be a solid change-of-pace guard off the bench, but the Lakers have several options to fill that role—including the next two guys on this list.

No. 3: DeAndre Kane, G

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    DeAndre Kane is another player who can be an offensive-minded combo guard off the bench.

    Kane went undrafted this year after a phenomenal season at Iowa State that saw him put up an impressive nightly line of 17 points, seven rebounds and six assists.

    His efficiency rocketed up during his senior season, as he focused more on attacking the basket and weeded the bad shots out of his game. The result was career-best shooting from the field (48.3 percent) and from beyond the arc (39.8 percent).

    Among point guards in DraftExpress' top 100 prospects, Kane finished second in three-point percentage, first in rebounding and third in assists—outproducing guys drafted in the first round like Marcus Smart, Elfrid Payton and Shabazz Napier in those key statistics.

    What holds Kane back is his age. He's already 25 years old, and guys who come into the league out of college at such an advanced age have a very poor track record.

    Perhaps his massive improvement as a senior shows that he still has room to grow, especially as a floor general.

    Kane's assist-to-turnover ratio and pure point rating increased considerably last season, and he dropped this beautiful dime to Trey Thompkins on Sunday.

    He didn't score, but he did lead the team with five assists in less than 18 minutes during their loss to the New Orleans Pelicans.

No. 2: Jordan Clarkson, G

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    Los Angeles' very own second-round pick has been outstanding through two games of summer league action.

    Jordan Clarkson led the team with 21 points on Friday, following that up with a 16-point outing on Sunday.

    He has the ability to break defenders down off the dribble and get into the paint. According to DraftExpress, only Elfrid Payton got to the rim in the half court more often among collegiate point guards last season, and Clarkson ranked fifth in that group in points per possession on pick-and-rolls.

    While he's a gifted scorer, Clarkson needs to improve his jump shooting and shot creation.

    Clarkson made just 28 percent of his jump shots last season and finished his college career with more total turnovers than assists. To that end, the Missouri product turned the ball over five times without recording a single assist in Sunday's loss.

    This young man has some upside and can develop into a solid backup guard if he can read the court better and make plays for his teammates. His scoring potential is already manifesting itself this summer.

No. 1: Julius Randle, F

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    Of course, no member of the Lakers' summer league roster will draw more interest than the No. 7 overall pick in last month's draft, Julius Randle.

    Randle played his first game in a Lakers uniform on Sunday, coming up with 10 points and a pair of rebounds in his summer league debut.

    It would be nice to see Randle dominate this competition, but he may not get as many opportunities to shine as he will during the actual season.

    Being a big man, he must rely on his guards to get him the ball—the same guards who are trying their hardest to impress NBA teams enough to earn a job.

    As a result, guards tend to dominate the ball and play more one-on-one at this level in order to showcase their skills.

    So don't be alarmed if Randle's statistics are pedestrian in this competition, Lakers fans. He's still a great prospect who should make a huge impact for the club during the season.

    As long as he makes the most of the touches he does get and works hard on defense and on the glass, he will remain on track.