Sadly missing were Memphis first round picks Rudy Gay and Kyle Lowry, however the team wasn't deterred and after jumping out to a 13 point lead in the first quarter they managed to eek out an 89-87 win with the Lakers taking and then giving up the lead in the final minute of the game.
By Richard Walker/Photos courtesy of Jim Hlavac
Lawrence Roberts - Lawrence was clearly the best player on the floor today, scoring 25 points on 50% shooting and knocking down 13 of 14 free throws while pulling down 12 boards (6 offensive). Listed at only 6'9", Roberts managed to use his wide strong body to get good position both offensively and defensively, using an array of low post moves to get Laker defenders out of position leading to baskets or a trip to the free throw line. He also showcased a smooth midrange game and managed a strip on a dribble drive that would make Karl Malone proud.
Hakim Warrick - Warrick appears to be the same player he was in last year's Summer Pro League. He still has explosive hops and is quick on the second jump, but he still can't score without dunking. Despite showing a smoother form on his 10-15' jumper he was unable to hit from that distance. Hakim was mostly a non-factor scoring only 9 points and pulling down only 3 rebounds in 39 minutes of work.
Andrew Bynum - Bynum looks physically bigger this year, adding a significant amount of muscle to his upper body, and it seems to be helping him get and maintain position on the lower block. However, despite repeatedly getting excellent position he was having trouble finishing, with most of his points coming from being found in transition or in traffic for a dunk. After last year's promising start many expected Bynum to display a variety of low post moves, but unfortunately this was not the case. Not all of this is his fault since his teammates were having trouble getting the ball to him in several stretches. During warmups Andrew showed flashes of a midrange game, although didn't get a chance to display it during the game. He showed some good anticipation on several blocks, however he picked up quite a few ticky-tack fouls and was getting manhandled by Memphis center Andreas Glyniadakis with no calls in his favor.
Jordan Farmar - Despite making some nice deflections and getting his hand on the ball several times while playing defense Farmar was repeatedly getting beaten on screens and only occasionally able to recover. Often during dead ball situations you would see Kurt Rambis and Farmar discussing the nuances of defending the pick'n'roll. With that said, Farmar did an excellent job running the offense, and finding seams in the lane displaying an array of floaters and layups in the paint. His outside shot was off, but he seemingly got to the rim at will and was fed while cutting on a few occasions. Jordan led the Lakers in scoring with 17 and was a key contributor at the end of the game when the Lakers were making their comeback.
Von Wafer - If anything Wafer seems to have regressed from last year. Shooting 1 for 6, Wafer didn't contribute on offense and only sparingly on the defensive end; something that must trouble the Lakers staff as last year when his shot wasn't falling you could count on him to be a standout defensive player. Luckily Von has the rest of the league to prove he belongs.
Devin Green - Green once again showed the type of hustle, heart and heady play that made him a front office favorite. Despite not putting up big numbers, he managed to contribute in every category and overall did the little things that help ballclubs win games. Green spent most of the game guarding athletic freak Hakim Warrick, which is either a testament to how good they believe his defense to be, or how little they fear Warrick's offense. Green showed flashes of an improved mid-range game and spent a good amount his floor time running the offense and setting his teammates up.
Marcus Douthit - In Douthit's first year in the SPL he was a defensive presence in the paint, blocking shots and playing excellent man and team D. His second year in the SPL was the complete opposite: he came in showing a vastly improved offense, but not much defense. This is Douthit's third year and it looks like he might have finally put it together. He showed a pull-up jumper, some spin moves for layups and an overall improved post game. On top of that he played decent man defense and was able to come across for a couple of weak side blocked shots. All in all, an improved game from Douthit and we're looking forward to seeing if he can maintain this sort of balance throughout the rest of summer league.
Danilo Pinnock/JR Pinnock - Pinnock is the early leader for fan favorite from this year's SPL roster. Drafted as a defensive player, he clearly showed his ability in that area. However, the big surprise was how developed his offense was. Hanging in the air for a layup, stepping back for threes, or crossing-over his man and getting to the hole, Pinnock shocked a lot of people who weren't expecting much from the 58th pick in the draft. During Friday's press conference Lakers' GM Mitch Kupchak said that Pinnock had a very slim chance to make the roster. If the first game is any indication hes going to have a tough choice on his hands.