LAS VEGAS -- The Los Angeles Lakers' Las Vegas Summer League run came to an end Saturday night at the Thomas and Mack Center. The Golden State Warriors pulled out an 83-77 victory, extending their winning streak to five. The Warriors will move on to the semifinals of the new tournament format the NBA introduced for summer league. The batch of summer league players for the Lakers, aside from Robert Sacre, will not.
Next up for the Lakers is training camp in late September. The Lakers can invite any number of these players to training camp, but the selection will likely be narrow. Chris Douglas-Roberts is expected to receive an invite after the Lakers brought him through to preseason last year. Marcus Landry led the team in scoring through summer league and fills out a roster need in finding a player who can play both forward positions.
Both seem like safe bets to move forward to the next step of the process.
"Just showing what I'm capable of doing. Doing it in [Mike D'Antoni's] system. It's a wonderful system. It's proven that the system works if you stick to it. Just showing what I can do," Landry said when asked what he felt he accomplished in the five games he played with the Lakers.
Landry averaged 15.2 points per game and was the team-high scorer in four of the five games that were played in Las Vegas.
Meanwhile, Douglas-Roberts wasn't a featured scorer during summer league. He averaged 8.6 points, 1.8 assists and 1.6 rebounds per game with the Lakers' Las Vegas squad. This is the same player who averaged 27.8 points per game in the D-league and had a blistering 50-point game.
"I just wanted to show different parts of my game. I don't want to get away from scoring, but I just don't want to make that everything," Douglas-Roberts said when asked about what he felt he showed the Lakers coaching staff in his second tryout phase.
What specifically did the coaching staff notice?
"Everybody is excited about my court vision because that's something I don't think I ever displayed. I've always been known to score," he said.
Most notable in this area for Douglas-Roberts was his dish to Elias Harris after walking a tightrope along the baseline, leading to a three in the game Saturday
Landry had a similar sentiment. He was able to pick his long-range shooting percentage up to 37 percent after going three-for-seven from deep in the final game, but his shot was far from automatic despite shooting being one of his specialties.
"I think the main thing was showing people that when my shot's not falling I can contribute in other ways. They know I can shoot. Sometimes the shot's not falling so you need to do something. I think I showed that I can play defense and I can also get to the basket," Landry told media when asked about his struggles from the perimeter.
Landry won the D-league three-point shootout contest in 2013 and shot 42 percent from beyond the arc in his last season with the Reno Bighorns.
Marcus Landry showed he can be a spot-up player, he can pop out after setting a high-screen and he can handle the ball and shoot off the dribble from deep. When his shot wasn't falling, he got to the rim and looked to score in different ways. These are all essential abilities in MIke D'Antoni's offense.
Landry wasn't as introspective as Douglas-Roberts when talking about his future and training camp. "I'm not sure. That's down the road," he said.
Much has changed for Douglas-Roberts. He's a father now, which he has pointed to a growth in his maturity in multiple interviews during his latest audition for the Lakers. He took his being cut by the Lakers last seasons extremely hard and has called it the toughest failure of his life.
"I'm a year older. I'm more mature. I understand the business a little more. We'll see what happens," he said when asked if he has a fresh perspective this time around with the Los Angeles.
The Lakers wasted no time to contact Douglas-Roberts. While reports linked the Lakers to nearly every wing player that became available on July 1, one name that did not get mentioned was Chris Douglas-Roberts. The Lakers included him in their initial batch of calls.
"That's big for me. They didn't have to call me back. They called on [July 1], right at midnight."
He understands the business side of the NBA can be hard. Nothing is guaranteed for an NBA player, especially those who have to work their way onto a team through summer league, training camp, preseason and even the regular season.
"Shaq got traded. That'll show you. Nothing is concrete, you can be here today, you can be gone tomorrow."
This isn't new territory for the wingman. He's played in four NBA seasons and hopes to make it a fifth in 2013-2014. He's been down this road, with this team, under these circumstances. The coaching staff has changed, the situation has changed, but the colors remain the same.
Douglas-Roberts performed well for the Lakers in his last go-round but found himself cut by the team in the end.
"I'm not sure. I did my part and that's all I can do. I earned guys' respect, I earned coaches' respect. Sometimes it's a numbers thing," he said when asked what went wrong last year.
One of the people who's respect he earned was Kobe Bryant's, who he has openly called his mentor and gushed out of respect for since he started his journey with the Lakers last summer.
"What can I say. That's the ultimate respect. He doesn't owe me anything. We don't know each other, we don't go hangout. This is all basketball. That's my guy."
Both Landry and Douglas-Roberts have traveled down the difficult paths available to carve out a career in the NBA. They've both played overseas, they've both been a part of official NBA rosters and they've both shown their talents on the D-league stage. Their stories aren't unlike many other training camp hopefuls who have had to explore alternate options to playing basketball professionally.
Las Vegas Summer League is in the past, though. Now, they look ahead to the future, which they hope either includes Los Angeles, or the city of a team who's attention they got with their play for the Lakers. It's all about working hard, grinding out the ups and downs and keeping a positive outlook. Or, as Douglas-Roberts put it:
"You can either feed a negative dog, or a positive dog. Whichever one you feed more's going to win."
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