I will be the first to admit I am a sucker for the NBA’s Summer League.
There’s something about seeing all the rookies suit up for their new teams for the first time, along with the possibility of some of my favorite college guys that went undrafted, getting their shot at the NBA.
The thing I love the most about the Summer League? There is talent to be found.
Segue to the Los Angeles Lakers, and their seven open roster spots.
With a need at every position, the Lakers should be paying special attention to their roster for the upcoming event (the Lakers will participate in the Vegas league which tips off on July 11). Looking at their roster, there is reason to be optimistic that a contributor could come from this squad (outside of Julius Randle and Kendall Marshall of course).
The first example is my personal favorite inclusion on the invitee list; former Ohio State Buckeye LaQuinton Ross.
Full disclosure: I am a fan of Ohio State hoops. However, that aside, I believe Ross can grow to fit a mold for the Lakers.
At 6’6” with a 7’1” wingspan, Ross certainly has defensive potential. He’s also a capable shooter from outside, and I think he’s better than his 35 percent three-point shooting last year in college (OSU needed Ross to be the guy this year, and he surely suffered because of the offensive talent around him).
At best, Ross can grow into a 3-and-D specialist for a team, and the Lakers would be wise to stash him in the D-League and see how he develops. He certainly will not be ready to contribute at a high level this season, but has the potential to be a cheap option down the road.
In terms of contributing this year, look no further than former Iowa State Cyclone DeAndre Kane.
Kane has an NBA ready body, ironically in part due to the reason he did not get drafted; he’s 25 years old.
Now, while that is ancient for a rookie prospect, it does not take away from Kane’s game. He’s strong, quick, and played for one of the nation’s prolific offenses in college. I’m confident he can contribute, and he has the maturity to handle the pressure of being a contributor on a roster this season.
Just based off the eye test, there is little doubt in my mind that Kane could have played a good amount of minutes for last year’s Lakers (take from that what you will), and this year’s squad will be hard-pressed to find to find youth at the bargain bin price that the 6’4” guard would come at if he impresses this summer.
Now, just for clarification, I am not insinuating either of these players has the potential to take the NBA by storm and be the next great star for the Lakers. What they can do, however, is provide the potential for a rotation player down the road.
As the D-League continues to come along talent-wise, it will be more crucial than ever to start to build some semblance of talent to develop on the minor league roster. These two could definitely be worth a look when it comes to selecting roster spots if they can’t stick at the NBA level.
We will find out what Ross, Kane and all the other participants have this summer.
(The Orlando Summer League starts Saturday, July 5, and the Las Vegas Summer League starts Friday, July 11. The Los Angeles Lakers will be participating in the Las Vegas Summer League and play the Toronto Raptors in their first contest.)