The Los Anglees Lakers are giving Robert Upshaw an opportunity to earn a roster spot during training camp, and the big man has been preparing for this chance following his run with the team at Las Vegas Summer League. Upshaw dropped 20 pounds during his offseason training in San Diego, the team announced in an interesting update on his status.
Upshaw played in five games during Summer League and showed the kind of talent that projected him as a first-round talent. The Lakers had an agreement in place with Upshaw, but weren't ready to commit to a contract until he continued progressing through the summer. If he's been focused and is back in playing shape heading into training camp, the Lakers may have found a high-potential defensive center to develop behind Roy Hibbert.
Training camp begins on Sep. 29 in Hawaii, and the Lakers have only one official roster slot left despite having 18 signed players. Several players are on non-guaranteed contracts, giving the front office flexibility with the final roster. They could also seek out a trade to create additional roster space.
Conditioning is a big concern for a player like Upshaw, who had this to say about feeling out of shape during Summer League, via Lakers.com:
"In Summer League I didn't feel like myself, and I just didn't feel as fluid as I usually feel," Upshaw said. "When I got back to San Diego where I was training, I put an emphasis on being faster, quicker and slimmer."
Upshaw dropped 20 pounds between Summer League and his signing with the Lakers, reshaping his body beginning with 7 a.m. cardio.
The battle for the final Lakers roster spot will be tight, but Upshaw's spent his time away preparing for a huge opportunity.