Since it was announced that he had been added to the Los Angeles Lakers' Las Vegas Summer League roster, Robert Upshaw is a name that has inspired a lot of excitement among hardcore fans of the team. The undrafted center showed both his potential and potential drawbacks in Las Vegas, receiving high praise at one point from Summer League head coach Mark Madsen, who said "When you think about a true five-man, who can get in the middle of the paint, who can block a shot, who can rebound, who can really get out there and change the complexion and the flow, Robert Upshaw can do that."
It was thought that Upshaw's addition to the Lakers roster was a sure thing when multiple outlets reported the Lakers had signed him to a two-year deal, but that never officially came to pass, and now a more recent report from Eric Pincus of the L.A. Times suggests that the Lakers have "no immediate plan to sign" Upshaw to a roster that has grown more crowded recently with the signings of two less-heralded undrafted rookies, Jonathan Holmes and Michael Frazier II.
While Upshaw now faces an uphill battle to make the Lakers' 15-man roster, the big man sounded both undeterred and confident in a recent interview with Scout.com. When asked if he had an agreement with the Lakers, Upshaw said "There hasn't been an agreement yet. That's what can be if I go in and do the right things and what I need to do." Then, after pausing to consider his words carefully, Upshaw starts to say something about being "very hopeful" before catching himself and saying:
"I know that I'll be a Laker. I just know. I've worked hard, I have done nothing but put nothing but 110 percent into what I've been doing. From before Summer League, but you know I had some problems with my heart condition, but before Summer League, and after, I've just been having an amazing year."
Earlier in the interview, Upshaw detailed his summer:
I've just been working hard, my transition from college into the NBA has been a tough one, but I'm relishing all my hard work. I continue to stay focused and continue to work hard, and I have training camp with the Lakers coming up. I'm just excited, I'm excited to get out there and play basketball, and show them that I'm one of the best basketball players in the country.
As our own Drew Garrison broke down after Summer League, Upshaw demonstrated he has the potential to be a mountain in the Lakers' offense during his time in Las Vegas. If Upshaw can overcome his much rumored off the court issues, he could be a very affordable talent and great find for the Lakers going forward. Upshaw will get his chance to prove he deserves to make the Lakers' final roster when training camp begins in Hawaii next month.