The Los Angeles Lakers have reached the point in the summer where they needed to solidify their training camp roster. Over the past few days, they have done exactly that, first with signing Wayne Ellington (who, to be clear, is not just a training camp signing, but the timing of the move makes it easy to introduce him here as well), and then announceing of the additions of Roscoe Smith, Keith Appling, Jabari Brown, and Jeremy Tyler.
Here's a quick guide on who these players are and how they got here:
- Ranks ninth all-time in free throw percentage for the North Carolina Tar Heels.
- In your latest reminder that even the most fringe NBA athletes could still run circles around the rest of us mere mortals, Ellington was a two-year letterman on the track team (high, triple and long jumps) in high school, according to his North Carolina Bio Page.
Thank u to the Mavs. First class organization filled with first class people! Excited to be one of the newest members of #KnicksTape!— Wayne Ellington (@WayneElli22) June 26, 2014
I covered Smith when I previewed the Lakers Summer League squad, so I will rehash that here:
- 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."
After watching every Summer League game, our own prospect evaluator extraordinaire Ben Rosales had this to say:
"Meet the best wing for the Lakers in Vegas not named Murphy, not a stellar achievement given how awful nearly the entire rotation was, but Smith had quite a few good moments to his credit even in limited minutes. He's a smart cutter to the basket, lurking constantly on the baseline both to make himself available for a pass and to put himself in position to attack the offensive boards. His overall effort on rebounds was generally solid, something unsurprising from a guy who a rather incredible rebounder at UNLV for a player of his size. He also showed signs of life as far as his jumper, the part of his game he desperately needs to improve to have any long-term future in this league, was concerned, so hopefully that upwards development continues for him wherever he happens to end up next. He's still a limited player on the whole, but he does a sufficient amount of the ancillary things well to keep an eye on should that jumper develop."
- Appling seems to be an emotional guy who wears his heart on his sleeve. He cannot be accused of not being all in for his team, from crying after a loss to rival Michigan in his last game participating in said rivalry, to spending the entire postgame interview after Michigan State's Elite Eight loss to UConn in this year's NCAA tournament covering his face.
- Speaking of his school, according to his bio page, he ranks third all-time for MSU in starts and fourth in games played.
- Emotion can only get you so far, however, and he did not exactly stand out for Portland's Summer League team this year, only playing seventeen minutes over two contests with three total field goals, one free throw, one assist and one steal as his total contributions.
- The much less heralded Jabari in this year's rookie class, he played for the Houston Rocket's Summer League team in Orlando.
- Scored 19.9 points per game while shooting 41% on three pointers his junior year while leading the SEC in scoring for Mizzou.
- He started in the backcourt for the Tigers alongside fellow rookie Jordan Clarkson.
- If you have not heard Jeremy Tyler's story before, it is certainly an interesting one. From ESPN:
"After averaging 28.7 points per game as a junior at San Diego High, Tyler became the first U.S. player to leave high school early for a professional contract abroad. Tyler, a 6-foot-11, 260-pound center, signed a one-year, $140,000 deal with Maccabi Haifa of the Israeli Basketball Super League."
There is plenty more there, and I would recommend reading the whole thing if you are unfamiliar with the story and have some time.
- After parting ways with Maccabi Haifa, Tyler went on to play in China, then in the NBA for Golden State, Atlanta, and New York.
- His per-36 minutes numbers are decent, but possibly not all that meaningful due to his playing such limited minutes. He is also unlikely to break through the already log jammed Lakers frontcourt.
For the latter four guys, chances are better that they will not end the year on the Lakers then that they will but who do you think has the best shot? Debate away in the comments.