For all of the rookies and undrafted free agents, summer school was in session last week in front of team executives and personnel.
The NBA Las Vegas Summer League ended last weekend and amidst the hype over Greg Oden’s tonsillitis, several local players made an impression that proved they are ready to step up to the next level.
Starting with the Lakers’ squad, No. 1 pick Javaris Crittenton has made noise with his strong play. The 6-foot-4 point guard led the team with 17.0 points per game and demonstrated a solid knowledge of the triangle offense. He perhaps needs to work on being a facilitator – only 3.0 assists – but his low turnover ratio was a sign that he is off to a great start.
Second-year guard Jordan Farmar is showing that he is ready to improve on his rookie campaign. He averaged 11.6 points but more importantly he led the team with 4.4 assists as well as grabbing an impressive four rebounds.
Former Verbum Dei standout Dalron Johnson was second on the team with 5.0 rebounds a game. Andre Patterson, an alum of Washington High School and briefly UCLA, also participated on the Lakers squad and in limited action, contributed 4.2 points and 1.5 rebounds.
On the Clippers’ squad, No. 1 pick Al Thornton is showing why he was one of the top seniors in college last year. The 6-foot-8, 220 lb. forward averaged 17.6 points and six rebounds while displaying his athleticism and defensive prowess.
If he can work on developing a consistent jump shot, Thornton could possibly become a strong, athletic post presence off the bench to spell Elton Brand and Chris Kaman.
Elsewhere, Arron Afflalo and Nick Young had strong summer debuts for their teams. Afflalo averaged 14.4 points and 3.4 rebounds for Detroit while Young averaged 14.8 points and two rebounds for Washington.
Young’s USC backcourt mate, Gabe Pruitt, is struggling to find a footing in Boston. In less than 16 minutes per game, he averaged 5.4 points and got few chances to prove his value.
Former Westchester guard Brandon Heath went undrafted out of San Diego State, but he found a spot on Seattle’s summer league team. He averaged 5.0 points but he shined when given substantial minutes and hopefully some team will take a chance as other leagues pick up during the summer.