Even now that LeBron has decided to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Carmelo has reportedly eliminated the Lakers from consideration as his free agency landing spot, and with this morning's trade for Jeremy Lin's contract, the Los Angeles Lakers roster is still highly uncertain for next season. With only a few players all but guaranteed to be suiting up for the purple and gold on opening night (Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Lin, Julius Randle, Ryan Kelly, and Robert Sacre), the front office has its work cut out for it with at minimum 6 open slots left to fill, 9 if the Lakers are going to carry the full 15 players allowed.
One roster that is set in stone is the group of guys the Lakers will be sending to Summer League, and this is one pool from which the front office will likely be drawing players from for the final roster, or at the very least training camp bodies. If expectations hold, it is likely that very few of these guys will have significant NBA careers, otherwise they would not be playing in summer league. Rather than trying to analyze which one has the most potential for a "breakout" campaign, or which ones will get training camp invites, or who will make the regular season roster (Ben already had that task on lock anywyay), this post is about giving a little bit more information on each of these players. Having this information may be of little use for making future prognostications, but it can make watching these games more fun and engaging.
Note: Kendall Marshall and Julius Randle were not included in this piece, Randle I already covered, and we all got to know the Chipotle loving, binge tweeting Marshall last season.) Also, as Trey Thompkins and Scott Wood were not included on the original roster released, they were excluded as well.
With that out of the way, Coach Madsen, do you want to get us started?
- According to his Mizzou Tigers Bio Page, his nickname is simply "J"
- In Slam Magazine, Jordan declared that he wants people to know:
JC: I’m part Filipino and I’m looking to be the first or one of the first Filipino-Americans to play in the NBA. I know the country is backing me. I hope to be able to visit there in the future.
- He has a chip on his shoulder (also from Slam):
I have a chip on my shoulder any time on the court, by myself or at a workout. I try to go hard. I know I wasn’t heavily recruited or played in big all-star games. I feel I have to prove myself to people every time out on the court.
- Clarkson and his family have also had to endure their share of adversity on his road to the NBA, with his father being diagnosed with cancer midway through his junior season.
- He is excited to play as himself in the next "NBA 2K" roster update, and slot himself in as a starter alongside Kobe, but he claims he will still let Kobe take all the shots due to his higher skill rating.
- Like many NBA players, Gibson enjoys working on cars (which is exhibited on his twitter account @)
- According to his school bio, he was ranked the 12th best power forward in the nation and the 43rd best overall prep prospect in the nation by Rivals.com as a prep senior.
- As a senior, Gibson won the dunk contest in the wonderfully named "Jam with Ham" preseason event. That name is amazing and I do not need any background information on its origin. It sounds like a promotion from "Semi Pro" where all fans in attendance get a free honey-baked ham. Maybe he can get the Lakers to start a "Jam with Ham" event with the notorious Lakers fan Ted Vagina being involved somehow.
- Also from FloridaState24/7's coverage of "Jam with Ham"
"Quote of the night: Xavier Gibson on the team's entrance in a stretch Hummer limousine and fireworks: "We came in with a lot of style, came in with a Hummer stretch limo. Every year it gets a little bit better."
Yup, the Lakers definitely need to do this.
- Gibson also proved to be somewhat prophetic on what team he was going to catch on with, posting this well before the draft and subsequent summer league roster selections:
I ❤️ #la— Xavier Gibson (@zaygibson) June 15, 2014
And this as well:
This dude is ready to be a Laker, although he may have to cut out the Roscoe's if he wants Grass-Fed Tim's approval.
- If he makes it that far, he may not survive training camp if Kobe sees this tweet:
- In what is quickly becoming a theme among these summer league players trying to prove that they belong, he carries a chip on his shoulder (from the LA Times):
- Along with Xavier Gibson, he has not been shy about promoting their excitement for arguably the summer's most anticipated blockbuster: "Think Like a Man Too"
- No word on if he is also excited about "Think Like a Man Too"
- Wears #50 because his father got him interested in basketball, and his father died of a brain aneurism a week from his 50th birthday per this excellent profile from CBS Sports.
- He thought about quitting basketball entirely at that time, but continued playing because
"My mom said, ‘Dad wouldn't have wanted you to do that,'" Kane said, referencing a conversation he had with his family about quitting."
- In fact, his father Calvin ...
... had taught his son the game, urged him to practice, beamed at DeAndre’s successes and was always willing to lend a hand when it came to tuning up the mechanics of his shot. But in an instant, he was gone, without even a chance to say goodbye."Without my dad, none of this is possible," Kane told Sporting News. "He was the one who put the ball in my hands as a kid. I know he is up in heaven watching down on me and happy, smiling down. I am happy to be doing this, for him. Every day I step on the court, I am doing it for my dad, so this is all for him."
- His father passing was not the only time DeAndre has felt loss however, because (as reported by USA Today in an excellent feature) a few years before his dad passed,
"In July 2006, DeAndre and one of his best friends, 20-year-old Antonio Hampton, went to a party near West Park on the North Side. But not everyone at the party welcomed them. Pittsburgh offered a dangerous combination of drugs, violence, gangs and guns. Calvin preached for DeAndre to make good decisions, even as Calvin struggled at times to remain on the right side of the law."
Tensions rose. They left the party. They started running. Faster and faster they sprinted. Gun shots rang out. DeAndre, 17, ran side-by-side Antonio until he saw Antonio fall, thinking his friend was dropping to the ground to best avoid the gunfire.
But Antonio never got up.
When the shots stopped, DeAndre backtracked to find his friend and saw what happened. Antonio had been shot in the head.
"He was on life support for a while," DeAndre says. "But he was a vegetable. His mom came and they pulled the plug. That was hard, growing up, and seeing one of your best friends shot in the head, dead right there."
- It would be understandable for someone who has endured so much hardship and loss to lash out, to be angry, but Kane by all accounts, chose to take the opposite direction, per CBS Sports.
"While at Marshall, he was looked at as selfish and someone who picked up too many technical fouls. Once arriving at Iowa State, Kane made a concerted effort to rid himself of that label."
- In fact, according to his coach at Iowa State, Fred Hoiberg:
"We did not have any issues with DeAndre ... I had him for one year, and I had no issues in that time span. He didn’t even have a technical foul."
- Also, per his school bio, Kane has:
"Graduated from Marshall with business management degree...pursuing master's degree in higher education."
If Kane can break through, and based on the Lakers lack of point guard depth he would seem to have a shot, he really has the potential to be one of the feel good stories of the Lakers season. It is always inspiring to hear of someone who has overcome so much adversity to get so close to achieving their dreams. Kane seems to have dealt with more than his fair share of loss, and it would be great to see such a grounded, well-rounded guy do well and at least get a shot at a training camp invite.
- It would seem that this Lakers summer league roster will have strong Twitter game from several positions as Mbakwe, while not quite reaching the level of Marshall, has an enjoyable social media presence of his own.
Lettsss gooo!!! I have a feeling she might call me on stage tonight. I practiced in the shower just in case pic.twitter.com/SYQySYiNCW— Trevor Mbakwe (@TMbakwe32) July 1, 2014
Lol this man @DHicksx3 fell asleep in the middle of yoga. He was scaring this lady next to us because he was snoring so loud.— Trevor Mbakwe (@TMbakwe32) June 30, 2014
Man will someone get Embiid off the screen so I can stop getting text from ppl saying we are Twins!!! Lol— Trevor Mbakwe (@TMbakwe32) June 26, 2014
- He likes to post embarrassing pictures of his fiancée
I taught her well lol She was chewing on that piece for like 10 minutes pic.twitter.com/JVGrDNdhcv— Trevor Mbakwe (@TMbakwe32) June 19, 2014
She said she would watch the game with me for Father's Day and 2 minutes into the game and she's sleep smh pic.twitter.com/hAp3JkvDwb— Trevor Mbakwe (@TMbakwe32) June 16, 2014
- His son can already dunk
- For more on Mbakwe, check out this excellent profile from TwinCities.com.
- There is not a tremendous amount of information available on Murphy, but he does have an adorable kid, from his twitter profile (@)
- However, I heard all that I needed to get to know Murphy when I saw this quote from his scouting profile from NBA.com
"Reminds me of: Nick Young"
- So he is clearly destined to be a Lakers legend, and now we can see why the front office isn't throwing bags of cash at Swaggy P's house: they already have a replacement to fill our swag deficit.
- He gets bonus points for this Instagram post:
- Per his Ohio State bio, Ross "Hopes to become a real estate agent after college", and he may be able to get a head start on that if he does not have a strong showing in Summer League.
- In what many would consider a negative, it seems he is good friends with everyone's favorite gritty, smart, heart-filled, insert-superlative-here, college defensive pest Aaron Craft
Watching Craft in this summer league game!!— LaQuinton Ross (@qross2011) July 5, 2014
- Won a national championship as a freshman with UCONN before transferring after their postseason ban.
- According to his coach at UNLV, Dave Rice, "He thinks that every loose ball is his, and it just seems as if he gets a double-double every night. To have a guy like that is big."
- According to Ben's roundup on the Summer League roster, he is not likely to make the team and is probably headed towards a career in Europe, which would explain why there is not a great deal of available information about him.
Wooldridge, on the other hand--despite already beginning his European career--had a goldmine of available information.
- He is an aspiring rapper, leading to what is, to my knowledge, the best two sentences ever written in any college basketball player's official school bio (from USC):
"He is a hip-hop artist/writer/producer who performs under the moniker of "SB Babyy" and as a freshman founded his own independent record label called "Swiperboy Entertainment." His hip-hop twitter account, @Swiperboy, is verified."
I am really glad that they made it clear that his twitter account is verified, otherwise it would have been hard to take this whole thing seriously.
- Because I know you wanted them, here are some examples of his music
- His father Orlando Woolridge, the subject of that second song/video, was a former Laker, and it appears there may be some nepotism at work in getting Renaldo a roster spot
Orlando Woolridge must have had some big friends in the Lakers scouting department for his son to get on the Lakers' SL team again.— Ben Rosales (@brosales12) July 2, 2014
— Andrew Ungvari (@DrewUnga) July 2, 2014
- And this is from our Silver Screen and Roll Summer League Preview:
Orlando Woolridge must have had some great friends in the Laker front office since it's hard to explain the inclusion of his son Renaldo on the Lakers' summer league team for a second straight year as anything other than a big favor to him. A bit player even in college, Renaldo only saw token minutes last year in Vegas and this held true during his time in Serbia as well. Regardless of the roster construction, he probably wasn't going to play one way or another, but with Randle, Mbakwe, and possibly Smith ahead of him in the rotation at the four, all Woolridge can hope for is a handful of cameos and perhaps catching the eye of his next employer overseas.
- Renaldo seems to be just slightly more optimistic about his chances in making the team, if these tweets are any indication:
Stopped worrying about proving to others and started worrying about proving to myself.— Renaldo SB Woolridge (@Swiperboy) July 4, 2014
- Nickname: "Roddy B" or"Roddy Buckets". French names are hard to say.
- Has played for the French National Team.
- Beaubois was once declared by Mark Cuban to be "pretty much untouchable", which may soon prove true in the sense that without some type of breakthrough performance in summer league, there may be no NBA teams willing to touch him.
- His stock was once high enough to inspire the writing of articles like this:
This is a debate about whether Roddy B should:*Be viewed by virtually all observers -- when he plays -- as a precocious and unusual talent*Be on a team that’s played 70 games*Be DNP’ed 25 times in those 70 games.*Be given fewer than three minutes in games 10 other times. …Meaning he’s been a Rookie-of-the-Year-level performer in a full and exact half of Dallas' games. ...And been a non-rotation player in a full and exact half of Dallas’ games.This isn’t Montana vs. Young.It’s not even Roddy B vs. Kidd.This is about a potential difference-maker who – for reasons that Rick Carlisle is in charge of knowing – is rendered invisible in 50 percent of his team’s games because the Mavs opt to play other backup players instead.
- This hope for Beaubois to break out remains undiminished, as he was the runaway winner of our own Silver Screen and Poll of you readers on who was most likely to break out during summer league
- Here is one of his more memorable performances
- Nickname: "Jamaican Hurricane"
- He was born in Jamaica and has played for their national team, which in part led to one of the more amusing articles issuing a correction you will ever read. Apparently the Jamaican national team's staff reads Ball Don't Lie.
- Like his summer league teammate, and fellow Jordan (Clarkson), he is proud of his national heritage (from the Caribbean Journal)
As a Jamaican, what does it mean to represent your country in the NBA?Just coming here and working hard and trying to make your country proud – doing the right things, playing the right way and doing whatever it takes for your team.One of the Knicks’ greatest players – Patrick Ewing, was born in Kingston. Is that something you’re mindful of?I had the pleasure of meeting him a couple of games ago for the first time, and heard a lot of things about him. Obviously I’ve seen him play — he’s a great player – I just want to come out here and make my country proud.How much has basketball developed in Jamaica?I think it’s developing. It’s a little slow, but it’s developing for sure. Me and Samardo Samuels in Cleveland, and there are a couple of other guys in college and high schools. I think it’s growing — its on the up.
"We would do much better with [Roy Hibbert]. But the good news is that we have a lot of big men like Jerome Jordan, who could have come off the bench behind Roy," Williams said.
Favorite NBA player is Kevin Garnett . . . his favorite TV channel is the Animal Planet . . . favorite movie is Moving Violations, and his favorite sports movie is Space Jam . . . shoe size is 17 . . . the Game Show he would most like to appear on is "Wheel of Fortune" . . . his favorite food is Jamaican beef patties . . . has 3,500 songs on his iPod . . . the magazine cover he would most like to appear on is Sports Illustrated . . . his favorite midnight snack is cereal . . . his best non-athletic talent is playing the piano . . . the three words he uses to best describe himself are "cool, kind, humble"