The Los Angeles Lakers have had a relatively quiet 2013 offseason. L.A. only had a second-round pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, and lost Dwight Howard to the Houston Rockets. They also cut ties with Metta World Peace, but brought in marginal free agents Chris Kaman, Wesley Johnson and Nick Young.
Since the Lakers weren’t able to make any major additions, they are looking for some of the minor free agents they signed to contribute next season. In the summer league, Los Angeles may have found a few players that can help their bench in the 2013-2014 season.
Elias Harris wasn’t drafted out of Gonzaga, but played with the team this summer. In his final season with the Bulldogs, he averaged 14.6 points and 7.4 rebounds per game on 50.1 percent shooting from the field. Now, the forward is trying to make the NBA.
He was a part of the Lakers starting five in the summer league, alongside Lester Hudson, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Marcus Landry and Robert Sacre. In the final contest, Harris scored 17 of the Lakers 77 points. In five games in Las Vegas, the 6’8 Harris averaged 10.2 points and 5.6 rebounds on 44.7 percent shooting.
“I really hope I get an opportunity with the Lakers or whoever wants to give me a shot — primarily with the Lakers," said Harris. "Once I get 100 percent comfortable and know my role 100 percent, I think I can help a team out. I really believe that."
If Harris can continue to impress in training camp, he might find a way to contribute as a reserve next season. The Lakers are in need of small forwards after using the amnesty clause on World Peace. On their current 15-man roster, only Devin Ebanks and rookie Ryan Kelly are listed at the position. Harris played power forward with L.A. but might be versatile enough to play at both spots.
For all the promise that Harris showed, Hudson may have been the team’s best player in Las Vegas. He averaged 12.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.6 steals per game. The point guard isn’t a rookie, but has very little NBA experience. He’s only played in 52 total games since 2009.
The Lakers are in need of a solid backup point guard. Because of his age, Steve Nash isn’t the most reliable option to stay healthy. Steve Blake was banged up for most of last season, as well. While his lack of athleticism could hurt his chances of making the roster, Hudson showed signs that he may give the Lakers something to think about in the coming months.
While the starters impressed, the Lakers bench left a lot to be desired in the summer league. Rookie free agent Michael Snaer hit 34.4 percent of his shots, while D.J. Seeley from Cal State Fullerton missed more than 75 percent of his shot attempts.