Lakers depth chart breakdown: Jeremy Lin

Lakers introduce newest player Jeremy Lin to the gathered media at the Toyota Sports Center training facility in El Segundo.   Photo by Brad Graverson/The Daily Breeze/ 07/24/14"

Lakers introduce newest player Jeremy Lin to the gathered media at the Toyota Sports Center training facility in El Segundo. Photo by Brad Graverson/The Daily Breeze/ 07/24/14″

Below is the eighth in a series previewing the story lines surrounding each player on the Lakers’ roster for the 2014-15 season. This post focuses on Lakers guard Jeremy Lin.

1. Will Lin start at point guard?
It would seem unthinkable two years ago to debate whether Steve Nash remains worthy of keeping his starting point guard spot. He has already etched a Hall of Fame resume that entails two regular-season MVP awards, a third-place standing on the NBA’s all time assists list and arguably the best point guard of this past generation. But after missing a combined 99 games the past two seasons through injuries to his left leg, back and hamstrings, Nash enters the 2014-15 season without much certainty on whether his improved health will prove enough to survive an 82-game season. Such issues could either prompt the Lakers to keep Nash as a starter just to ensure he stays fresh after warm ups or feature him as a reserve to minimize adjustments should he suffer another injury.

Meanwhile, Lin joins the Lakers eager to seek stability in an NBA career that took off with “Linsanity” in New York and plateaued the past two seasons with Houston amid evolving roles. Still, Lin offered plenty of positive signs in Houston. He posted career-highs last season in field-goal percentage from the field (44.6 percent), from three-point range (35.8 percent) and from the foul line (82.3 percent). Lin’s turnovers dropped to 2.5 per game after averaging 3.6 with the Knicks. According to ESPN, Lin shot 57.8 percent off drives last season, a mark that only trailed LeBron James (63.8 percent).

Will all those areas become enough for Lin to start at point guard? As of now, Lakers coach Byron Scott is favoring Nash. But that could easily change within the next month for reasons including Nash’s health and Lin’s talent level.
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Lakers sign Ronnie Price

The Lakers’ roster is nearly complete.

They signed nine-year veteran NBA guard Ronnie Price, the team announced on Wednesday, bringing its roster total to 19 players. All NBA teams can hold a maximum of 20 players for training camp.

The 31-year-old Price has had stints with the Sacramento Kings (2005-07), Utah Jazz (2007-12), Portland Trail Blazers (2012-13) and Orlando Magic (2013-14), averaging 3.4 points, 1.5 assists and 1.1 rebounds through 425 games.


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Lakers depth chart breakdown: Julius Randle

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Lakers depth chart breakdown: Julius Randle

Lakers' top draft pick Julius Randle said he can't wait to become a teammate of Kobe Bryant. (Brad Graverson / Staff Photographer)

Lakers’ top draft pick Julius Randle said he can’t wait to become a teammate of Kobe Bryant. (Brad Graverson / Staff Photographer)

Below is the seventh in a series previewing the story lines surrounding each player on the Lakers’ roster for the 2014-15 season. This post focuses on Lakers forward Julius Randle.

1. Will Julius Randle climb up the Lakers’ pecking order?
The Lakers may have taken a significant step with their rebuilding process by drafting Randle. But it does not appear the Lakers are giving him the keys to the Ferrari just yet. Lakers coach Byron Scott said three weeks ago that he is leaning toward starting Carlos Boozer at power forward over Randle because of Boozer’s experience as a 12-year NBA veteran.

Scott’s current preference could help him garner support among his most experienced players. But Scott’s pecking order might also provide a carrot for the younger ones, including Randle, to work harder to prove their coach wrong. Randle demonstrated his thirst for self-improvement, both in his lone season at University of Kentucky and at his introductory press conference with the Lakers. But how much and how quickly will that carry over into the NBA?
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Lakers add four to training camp roster

The Lakers have had a sense for a while now what their roster will look like for the 2014-15 season.

They hold out optimism for a healthy Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash. Despite Pau Gasol’s offseason departure, the Lakers hope their loaded frontcourt will benefit from both veteran experience (Carlos Boozer) and promising talent (rookie Julius Randle). Though LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony passed on the purple and gold, perhaps a dose of Jeremy Lin and Nick Young could keep the Lakers competitive.

But the Lakers made more moves on Tuesday, announcing the signings of Keith Appling, Jabari Brown, Roscoe Smith and Jeremy Tyler to their training camp roster. All players are at an inherent disadvantage to make the roster since such signings are non-guaranteed.

But, as do all NBA teams, the Lakers made the additions to create more depth for training camp, which will likely feature Nash, Bryant and perhaps other veterans playing limited minutes in practice and games.

Tyler marks the lone player with prior NBA experience, including stints with the Golden State Warriors (2011-2013), Atlanta Hawks (2012-13) and New York Knicks (2013-14). He has averaged only 3.6 points and 2.6 rebounds in 9.9 minutes per game.

Appling went undrafted in 2014, but he averaged 10.6 points, 3.3 assists and 3 rebounds through four seasons at Michigan State. Brown had played with Lakers second round draft pick Jordan Clarkson at Missouri, where Brown averaged 19.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.9 rebounds in the 2013-14 season. Smith played on the Lakers’ Vegas Summer League team after starring both at UConn (2010-12) and UNLV (2013-14), where he averaged 11.1 points on a 53.1 percent clip and 10.9 rebounds.

The Lakers currently have 18 players on their roster, and are likely to add one or two more players before media day starts next Monday. The Lakers will have to trim to a maximum 15-player roster by their season opener Oct. 28 against the Houston Rockets at Staples Center.

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Lakers depth chart breakdown: Nick Young

Lakers depth chart breakdown: Kobe Bryant

Lakers depth chart breakdown: Steve Nash

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Lakers depth chart breakdown: Nick Young

Lakers' #0 Nick Young shoots from the high post in the first half. The Lakers played the Portland Trail Blazers in a regular season game at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. April 1, 2014 (Photo by John McCoy / Los Angeles Daily News)

Lakers’ #0 Nick Young shoots from the high post in the first half. The Lakers played the Portland Trail Blazers in a regular season game at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. April 1, 2014 (Photo by John McCoy / Los Angeles Daily News)

Below is the sixth in a series previewing the story lines surrounding each player on the Lakers’ roster for the 2014-15 season. This post focuses on Lakers forward Nick Young.

1. Will Nick Young start?
The tea leaves, as revealed recently by Lakers coach Byron Scott, suggested that Wesley Johnson has the edge at the starting small forward spot over Young. There are plenty of reasons. Johnson’s athleticism and defensive potential could complement an experienced albeit slow-trodden starting lineup. Young’s knack for scoring could spark energy off the bench. But it seems Scott has dangled out his thought process as a carrot to motivate his players and fuel a healthy competition during training camp and beyond.

Regardless of Young’s eventual spot on the Lakers’ depth chart, he should use training camp as an opportunity to prove he will build off of a promising season in which he averaging a team-leading 17.8 points, showed more hunger in developing and kept everyone usually in positive spirits.
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Lakers sign Wayne Ellington

With exactly one week left before training camp begins, the Lakers are adding pieces to their preseason roster and perhaps beyond.

The Lakers announced the signing of five-year NBA veteran Wayne Ellington on Monday, bolstering their shooting guard spot behind Kobe Bryant with dependable outside shooting. Last season with the Dallas Mavericks, Ellington posted career-highs in field-goal percentage (43.7 percent) and three-point shooting (42.4 percent). Ellington also had stints with the Minnesota Timberwolves (2009-2012), Memphis Grizzlies (2012-13) and Cleveland Cavaliers (2012-13), averaging a career 6.4 points in 312 games primarily as a reserve. Ellington’s deal is partially guaranteed.

The Lakers have 14 players under contract, one shy of the league maximum they can hold for their season opener Oct. 28 against the Houston Rockets on Staples Center. The Lakers plan to have 19 or 20 players for their training camp roster.

Ellington played three seasons at the University of North Carolina (2006-09), the alma mater of Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak. During his time there, Ellington led the Tar Heels to the NCAA national championship in 2009 while earning Final Four Most Outstanding Player honors.

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Lakers depth chart breakdown: Wesley Johnson

Lakers depth chart breakdown: Kobe Bryant

Lakers depth chart breakdown: Steve Nash

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Lakers depth chart breakdown: Wesley Johnson

Lakers’ Wesley Johnson goes up for two points second half action at Staples Center Sunday, March 30, 2014. Lakers defeated the Suns 115-99. ( Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News )

Lakers’ Wesley Johnson goes up for two points second half action at Staples Center Sunday, March 30, 2014. Lakers defeated the Suns 115-99. ( Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News )

Below is the fifth in a series previewing the story lines surrounding each player on the Lakers’ roster for the 2014-15 season. This post focuses on Lakers forward Wesley Johnson.

1. Will Wesley Johnson start?
Lakers coach Byron Scott currently feels that way, believing that his athleticism and defensive talent will become valuable in a lineup that otherwise features aging veterans without many defensive reinforcements. Scott also argued Nick Young’s prolific scoring will help jumpstart the team’s second unit and not become diluted because of Kobe Bryant’s presence. But Scott revealed his thinking last week in a wide-ranging interview stressing that this spot is not solidified partly because he wants both players to compete for the role in training camp.

2. Will Johnson become a consistent player?
Johnson frequently made the Lakers’ organization and their fans leap out of their seats last season, but for different reasons. Johnson’s gravity-defying athleticism made the Lakers stare in awe, such as when he made a game-winning alley-oop lob against Portland in April. Johnson’s lack of consistency prompted the Lakers to scratch their heads.

Scott sounded puzzled in providing an explanation when pressed on his observations when watching Johnson’s play last season as an analyst for Time Warner Cable Access SportsNet. But it appeared Johnson’s hustle partly depended on how well he produced offensively. It also seemed that Johnson seemed lost on various issues, including court awareness, defensive rotations and what his role should entail. It did not help that Johnson’s laid-back demeanor suggested indifference toward the urgency in correcting his mistakes.

Surely, Kobe Bryant’s increased presence this season will help Johnson take care of these problems. But if Johnson will ever shed his reputation as a disappointing fourth overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft, he will have to show more self-motivation in ensuring he becomes a more reliable player.
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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar lawsuit: Julien Auctions awarded over $500,000 in ruling

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar(Andy Holzman/Staff Photographer)

A Beverly Hills auction house will be awarded over $500,000 after a Superior Court Judge ruled against Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s lawsuit over the auction’s efforts to sell his sports memorabilia (Andy Holzman/Staff Photographer)

Julien’s Auctions will be awarded $543,961 in “significant damages” after Superior Court Judge Haley Fromholz dismissed a lawsuit former Lakers center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar filed that disputes the company’s right to sell his sports memorabilia, the Beverly Hills auction house announced on Thursday.

“Julien’s Auctions was forced to file the action against Mr. Abdul-Jabbar’s company when Mr. Jabbar entered into a valid and enforceable written consignment agreement with Julien’s Auctions, agreed to sell his one-of-a-kind and unprecedented memorabilia collection with Julien’s Auctions, and, after receiving $300,000 in advances from Julien’s Auctions, refused to go forward with the auction and refused to refund the advance,” the auction house said in a statement.
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Lakers depth chart breakdown: Carlos Boozer

"The Los Angeles Lakers held a press conference to announce the addition of Carlos Boozer to the team Friday, July 25, 2014, El Segundo, CA.

“The Los Angeles Lakers held a press conference to announce the addition of Carlos Boozer to the team Friday, July 25, 2014, El Segundo, CA.

Below is the fourth in a series previewing the story lines surrounding each player on the Lakers’ roster for the 2014-15 season. This post focuses on Lakers forward Carlos Boozer.

1. Boozer will likely enter this season with something to prove.
It wasn’t too long ago that Boozer played on the 2008 U.S. Olympic team, made two All-Star appearances and became a regular fixture among the Lakers’ playoff opponents. The Lakers are excited for picking up such a player off waivers for only $3.25 million. But the Chicago Bulls parted ways with Boozer via the amnesty provision to accommodate Pau Gasol’s arrival and a season after Boozer mostly sat out of the second and fourth quarters because of Taj Gibson’s emergence.

That should give Boozer plenty of fuel when he plays for the Lakers, who are already motivated enough after fielding skepticism about their rebuilding after finishing last season with the worst record in L.A. franchise history. Boozer will have to address some question marks noted below, but he has a resume that suggests he could bounce back from a season in which he averaged 13.7 points and 8.3 rebounds, his lowest mark of his 12-year NBA career since his rookie season with the Cleveland Cavaliers (2002-03).

Boozer still finished second in scoring and in rebounding through his four seasons with Chicago, and should instantly provide the Lakers with that void stemmed from Gasol’s departure. Boozer, whom Lakers coach Byron Scott tentatively has penciled in as a starting power forward, could buy the Lakers time in case rookie Julius Randle experiences any hiccups adapting to the NBA. And Boozer can fill this job description with plenty of motivation, with each basket, rebound and hustle play as a retort to those who cast him as damaged goods.
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Lakers depth chart breakdown: Jordan Hill

The Lakers' Jordan Hill smiles after securing a rebound before a timeout and the lead against the Celtics, Friday, February 21, 2014, at Staples Center. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker/L.A. Daily News)

The Lakers’ Jordan Hill smiles after securing a rebound before a timeout and the lead against the Celtics, Friday, February 21, 2014, at Staples Center. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker/L.A. Daily News)

Below is the third in a series previewing the story lines surrounding each player on the Lakers’ roster for the 2014-15 season. This post focuses on Lakers center Jordan Hill.

1. Will Jordan Hill feel more comfortable under Lakers coach Byron Scott?
For all the career highs Jordan Hill posted in points (9.7), shooting percentage (54.9 percent), rebounds (7.4) and minutes (20.8) last season, he never seemed to enjoy playing for former coach Mike D’Antoni. The reasons included Hill’s fluctuating minutes and feeling underutilized in a system that puts a strong emphasis on floor spacing and outside shooting. There was a sense Hill believed that D’Antoni’s fast-paced system came at the expense of the team’s defense.

Hill won’t have D’Antoni as a crutch to blame for any struggles this season. Scott has already penciled Hill in as his tentative starting center. Scott has raved about Hill’s paint presence and has said he will put a high emphasis on defense. Scott’s offensive system does not put the same demands as D’Antoni does in having shooters to can outside jumpers and space the floor. So on paper, it appears Hill will have more of a comfortable working relationship with Scott than D’Antoni. But Hill will have to play the games first.
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