Lakers’ front office fostering a competitive camp

After winning the 2017 Summer League, the Los Angeles Lakers were not finished. The front office added to their off-season by signing guard Vander Blue, guard Brainte Weber, forward V.J. Beachem and center  Stephen Zimmerman to partially-guaranteed contracts, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

The team also has used one of their two-way contracts, on guard Alex Caruso, that are new to the NBA this year. Each team is allowed to have two players who will play half the season with the NBA team and half the season with their G-League affiliate.

Blue has been in the Lakers’ organization for the last three seasons, playing for their then D-League affiliate Los Angeles D-Fenders. (The D-Fenders are now the South Bay Lakers in the newly, renamed Gatorade League or G-League) In his last season with the club, Blue was named D-League MVP and averaged 24.8 points per game.

OFFICIAL: Lakers Sign Vander Blue

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A capable scorer, Blue, showed other facets of his game in the Summer League. Playing alongside rookie Lonzo Ball, the fourth year guard performed on the defensive end and proved he can be a facilitator as well as a shot creator.

Weber was brought in to compete against Blue, Caruso and the recently re-signed Tyler Ennis for a roster spot. He has played for four different teams since going undrafted in 2015 after coming out of VCU.

The six foot two, point guard nicknamed “bri-fense” is known for his ability on the defensive end and will bring a different look than the team currently has at the guard spot. Even with a different skill set, it will be difficult for Weber to make the guard-heavy Lakers.

Zimmerman agreed to a contract with the team on Wednesday and will try and prove he is worthy of their 15th roster spot. Standing seven feet tall and weighing 240 pounds at just 20-years of age makes the former UNLV product an interesting prospect.

The young, big-man was selected 41st in the 2016 draft by the Orlando Magic and played sparingly in his rookie season. If he can continue to develop his shot and stretch the floor, with his size, he could be a valuable player in today’s NBA.

Beachem also signed on Wednesday, giving the Lakers a total of five rookies in training camp. A four-year player at Notre Dame, he went undrafted this year but has the length and shot-making ability to make an NBA roster at small forward.

Standing six foot eight and weighing 200 pounds, Beachem has excellent size and made over two, three-pointers per game last season while shooting 39 percent from beyond the arc over his entire college career. He will compete with veterans Corey Brewer and Luol Deng to back-up second-year, star Brandon Ingram.

Team president Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka also added two starters this off-season by signing shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and trading for center Brook Lopez.

With six new players signed or traded for, four new rookies drafted and one spot still left to fill more than half of the players in training camp will have never put on a Lakers uniform before. With such a young team it will be important for leaders to emerge early on.

The front office will likely bring in one more player which will round out their training camp roster to 20. Currently the team has eight guards, seven forwards and four centers, it will be interesting to see who the Lakers bring in as their last camp invite.

 

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