LAKERS -vs- GRIZZLIES - 7-14-23 - Thoughts and :-(( Ratings

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2023 10:29 pm    Post subject: LAKERS -vs- GRIZZLIES - 7-14-23 - Thoughts and :-(( Ratings

Summer League Game 6... Heading into the game, the Lakers had to win by 21 points to climb into playoff contention. They promptly went down 13-0, and that was that..

With Max Christie sitting and the Lakers adding in two new starters, the offense played with little purpose. Turnovers led to easy scores the other way.

It does make you wonder to what extent Christie carried the team. By halftime, the Lakers were down 51-22.

There was some better play in the second half by a few Lakers, including LJ Figueroa who had the play of the day in summer league ball with a putback slam that he went up high to cram down. Unfortunately, too little fight in this Laker squad and they were blown out, 100-69.

This time last year, fans were writing off Max Christie. They may write off all the other rookies the Lakers signed, as well, but that’s a bit foolish. Christie really elevated his game in multiple facets. He had shown strong improvement in the G-League and his NBA minutes, but really demonstrated on court just how much he has grown as a player in the past 12 months here in the summer league. I don’t know if they are shutting him down, but he has very much looked like he will make a leap for the Lakers this next year and looks poised to provide some strong two-way minutes.

Everyone else has one last chance to leave a good impression.

Hood-Schifino -- -- And JHS needs that one more chance. This one will leave a bad taste in the mouth of Laker fans. Just a very poor game. The lack of playmaking and natural point guard skills was apparent in the team’s struggles. He had 1 assist. He’s a combo guard and struggled with the guard skills tonight. Essentially, the team was playing without a point guard. He sank a couple of threes in 9 attempts. He struggled to finish around the rim, but did have a dunk after picking his man on the perimeter. That was his main highlight of the game. I really struggle to see his role with the team next year. Even if we have an injury, I think there’s too much guard depth and even others who might slot in easier and more effectively. Defensively, he’s not ready to guard point guards (and it will remain to be seen if he ultimately can). He may need to guard at the SG. He’s young, he’s big, he’s got a lot of work to do. He never really got comfortable to where we saw the same game from him as we did in college. Lots of work to do. Let’s see if he can bounce back in the next one, but really we need to be seeing where he is in summer league a year from now. The Stats: He scored 8 points on 3-17 shooting (2-9 from three) to go with 5 boards, 1 assist, 2 steals, 1 turnover and 1 foul in 27 minutes. He was a -32.

Hodge -- -- Stone cold. It happens to all shooters. I do think the lack of playmaking will impact his game more than a lot of players, and that really got the team off to an awful start. But even when that part of the offense picked up, he was still missing looks he’s been knocking down with regularity. There was a stretch in the fourth where he missed a three, missed again next time down, finally hit a three on the next trip, then airballed again on a three in four straight possessions. Prior to this game, though, he had been getting progressively better by the game. He should stand out in the G-League and under more organized ball and play calling. He’s on the two-way deal. Let’s see if he can get any minutes during training camp and preseason with better playmakers, but most likely will be parked in the G-League for the year. I could see him being pulled up if we have an injury (certainly over Lewis and likely over JHS because his skill set probably will plug in easier). Hopefully, he gives a good bounce back performance in the next one. The Stats: He scored 5 points on 2-12 shooting (1-9 from three) to go with 3 boards, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block and 5 fouls in 30 minutes. He was a -9.

Castleton -- -- I was looking forward to seeing the matchup against the Grizzlies size. To be honest, they didn’t do or really try to much against him. They were picking on the smaller Swider or Fudge at C lineups for some easy buckets. We saw one attempt to back him down by Lofton and he settled for a turnaround fade miss. So no real battle to look at there. Not as much playmaking run through him as they should have. He did have 1 assist on another nice find from the high post to a cutting Hodge. Those two seem to team up at least once a game for a bucket on a cut. Scoring-wise, he was a little cold early. Again, we were doing a lot of iso stuff as a team. You want to run some two-man actions and set your big up. We were just atrocious at doing anything there as a team. I really can’t understate how badly our playmaking from our guards was and how much that impacts a big. As the game went along, Castleton found his touch more hitting in the post and on the move. He swished a wing jumper on a face-up from the right side (feels like when he does make those, they have usually rattled in). I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a big grab a freethrow miss rebound, push it up court and score a layup past his man. Not great D by Lofton, for sure on that, but he was probably caught off guard. The thought to even try that by a big (and the lack of point guarding by the team) and it just happened. Props to him. That ability to push out a board and the passing from the high post give him skills beyond your standard bigman. I’ll be curious to see if he can follow the same progress as Christie with putting muscle on his frame. We’ll check it out in a couple months and see how he looks in training camp and preseason. Most likely, he spends a good chunk of time in the G-League and the weight room. But he should work his way into an end-of-the-bench big before too long. I know people liked to compare him to Zu, but Zubac had tree trunks for legs in his summer league debut, so his base was a bit more game ready. But strength is one of the easiest things to change, so I’m not concerned about that. Congrats on finally avoiding some foul trouble. His first game of the summer league, he had multiple blocks and shot alterations, but the 7 fouls (certainly some weak ones). He looked like he was trying to figure out how to avoid fouls ever since, but also lost some of his anchoring in the process. Maybe he can close out strong in the next one with low fouls and more shot alterations. The Stats: He scored 11 points on 5-10 shooting (1-2 from the line) to go with 8 boards, 1 assist, 1 turnover and 1 foul in 25 minutes. He was a -32.

Lewis -- -- He gave a nice flash of skill in the second half when he attacked off the three line and with one dribble, then two big steps, hammered a monster stretch-out dunk. That’s the hope in the future -- a guy who can be a threat from three, but attack that paint with length and athleticism. Of course, he missed all four of his attempts from three in this game and also showed some happy feet, traveling on a close out attack…something he’s done a few times already, so lots of work to be done there. He scored a layup on iso on another drive. Defensively, he got called for a very weak flagrant. He had stopped before the shooter went up in the air. Then the shooter rose up and landed on him. A defender should be entitled to his space if you haven’t left the ground yet to take the shot. He’s in the G-League all year. Only time he gets any minutes will be in a blowout. Just a lot of time in the lab needed. The Stats: He scored 8 points on 3-9 shooting (0-4 from three, 2-2 from the line) to go with 5 boards, 2 turnovers and 1 foul in 25 minutes. He was a -29.

Hamilton -- -- In the lineup as we mixed things up more. He had a layup in transition, hit step-back fade on a drive and hit an iso pull-up at the wing. I really didn’t see a lot from him in summer league. Not a very successful summer league for him so far. The Stats: He scored 6 points on 3-6 shooting (0-1 from three) to go with 1 board, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 turnover and 1 foul in 15 minutes. He was a -13.

Swider -- -- Off the bench to start this one. In some of our slow starts in the summer league, he’s been the guy to get us going a few times. But he came in and gave nothing. He got posterized on a dunk after giving up a straight line drive on iso. We ran him at the center spot some in this game, which is what it is. He did a good job battling on the glass all game (9 boards). He had a good stretch in the second half. He finally hit a wing three. Then on the other end, he stood in to take a charge (refs choked the call, but we challenged and got it overturned). Good on Swider, though. He really needs more positive defensive plays like that. Following the timeout after that review, we set up a play for him and he buried a three straight away. He’d make a tech FT after that. That stretch was the bulk of his scoring. If he could bottle that kind of stretch of ball coming off the bench for a team, he’d have a spot in the league. His D was a little better in this summer league, but it hasn’t shown a lot of improvement there. That second half of ball tonight is what they’d like to see more of. The Stats: He scored 14 points on 5-12 shooting (3-8 from three, 1-2 from the line) to go with 9 boards, 1 assist, 1 steal, 3 turnovers and 2 fouls in 32 minutes. He was a -19.

Figueroa -- -- He got the No. 1 play of the day on Sports Center tonight. We hadn’t seen him for a few games, but last time we left off he had shown some ability to crash the glass for putbacks. Tonight, he took a life on a putback. He hammered a massive jam late in the third quarter after getting in a mix up with the bigger Lofton on the defensive end just prior to draw a tech on Lofton. He then iso’d on Lofton and hit a floater over him on his next attack and then gave the “too small” gesture. Amazing. That cut the Grizzlies lead to 22, lol. He then nearly dropped a dime on a great feed to Hodge, who choked the layup. He followed that up with a strip and dive to the floor to tie up the ball at midcourt on the defensive end. He’d follow that up with an up-fake at the three line and took that in for another dunk. In his previous game, his energy really stood out. It did again in this one. He was probably the lone bright spot of the night for the Lakers. Good on him making a splash in the limited PT he got. He kind of dominated in his 13 minutes. The Stats: He scored 15 points on 7-10 shooting (1-1 from three) to go with 5 boards (4 offensive), 2 assists, 1 steal and 1 foul in 13 minutes. He was a +3.

Baugh -- -- He had a wild drive that looked like he shouldn’t have gotten freethrows on (maybe got tripped or stepped on, hard to see anything, though). He promptly missed both FTs, so I guess the ball don’t lie. He’d throw in an awkward runner for his only bucket. He showed a little playmaking and passing in the summer league, but not enough tonight when it was really needed. The Stats: He scored 2 points on 1-2 shooting (0-1 from three, 0-2 from the line) to go with 4 boards, 2 assists, 2 turnovers and 2 fouls in 23 minutes. He was a -20.

Fudge -- -- Really didn’t show much in this game on both ends. He missed both attempts he took. I think we will stash him in the G-League and work on developing that length/athleticism. He’ll be fun to watch in South Bay, but needs a lot of work. Start with trying to be a defensive specialist and work around that. Again, quiet night tonight. The Stats: He didn’t score on 0-2 shooting to go with 2 assists in 10 minutes. He was a -4.

DuBois -- -- The team looked awful to start this one with the lineup changes. They looked awful previously with different starters, as well, but missing Christie was felt across the entire lineup… The offense fell apart due to a lot of iso and little flow… I think the team was planning on having Pippen Jr. playing. Had he been in the mix, I think they get in the playoffs and who knows what? The team really missed a point guard and it impacted everyone… We went super small with Swider at C for a stretch. We were down big, so why not, I guess. Glad the coaches challenged that blocking call on Swider as he stepped in on a bigman and earned that stop…
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2023 11:13 pm    Post subject:

Max is clearly going to be an all star this season judging by how much he clearly had been carrying this team in SL.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2023 11:42 pm    Post subject:

Thanks DB,

We will see what this team is made of this stinker.

Hopefully some will have bounce-back games to offer hope for the future.

Some of these guys might have hit the wall...

We shall see.
Let them HATE so long as they FEAR!
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2023 11:59 pm    Post subject:

Thanks DB. Sad to see JHS struggling, hope a year of G-League / skills work does him good.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2023 4:30 am    Post subject:

Thanks DB.
Keep winning!
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2023 6:27 am    Post subject:

Thanks DB !!

We got beat bad last night and it does look like Christe has been
the difference on both ends.

Our Swider and the rookies looked like the rookies they are. I've seen
other team rookies and there is a mixed bag of talent or lack of. I have
to ask myself if the FO made the right picks during the draft (IF they
wanted players that were more NBA ready. What is true is that this
group could turn out to be "Christie's" or Swider's"; only time
will tell.

BUT any hope of seeing these guys on our NBA team should be stashed
until we actually know IF they can make the cut.

Christie, get well soon !!!

Thanks again DB !!
Lakers need to build a freaking team !
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2023 7:38 am    Post subject:

Wow, can one player (Christie) have that much impact in his absence?. Practically all of them looked very ordinary. Nothing stood out but Figueroa for that stretch.

Max is making his presence felt even when he's absent.

I'm predicting Castleton is coming to training camp at least 10-12 pounds heavier. At 6'11, he's got usable skills for us right now.

JHS- he's a big young man. I might be in the minority but I think he needs to give Castleton about 10 of his pounds and they'll both be the better for it.

I was waiting to see what Hodge would do when his shot was off. He's still pretty solid. His plus/minus was miniscule compared to the rest other than Figueroa & Fudge.

Thanks DB!
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2023 9:12 am    Post subject:

Thanks DB! I like the point you made on not giving up on players who are not ready for the NBA yet, and the progress Max Christie made this past year. I look forward to seeing what Max can do in our NBA rotation this year, it's pretty clear how much he carried this team and that he's ready for bigger tests.

As for the rest of this team, all projects at this point including our draft picks. Not giving up, but they're not ready yet IMO.

The biggest silver lining to me was playing time for Figueroa. He made the most of it! I love that kind of player, who hustles and scraps like he did. I still don't have a feel for his bbIQ or what his weaknesses are but from the brief glimpse we've had he gives it all on both ends of the court, and it's obvious he's not limited by a lack of athleticism either. With that kind of fire in him I'd like to see if he refines his game and can repeat this in the G League this coming season.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2023 9:50 am    Post subject:

Thanks again DB. You're the best!
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