Devin Ebanks and Derrick Caracter have come into a great situation: Go to the NBA champions on a season when the team is looking to fill out the end of the roster with affordable guys to develop.
The Lakers signed West Virginia’s Devin Ebanks to a deal on Thursday. On Friday, Caracter will get his deal, according to Brian Kamenetzky ESPNLosAngeles.com.
Both of these will be for the rookie minimum and while both are non-guaranteed both guys are expected to make the Lakers roster. They’d have to screw up pretty bad not to, honestly. With them the Lakers have a 14-man roster, although that may be 13-man roster in practice because Luke Walton may miss most or all of the season due to his back issues.
Both Ebanks and Caracter impressed at Summer League in Las Vegas.
Ebanks is long and athletic with a lot of promise. Particularly as a defender, he showed flashes of that in Vegas. No NBA rookie is ever a really good defender yet — to many tricks of the trade to learn against the men at that NBA level — but Ebanks has potential. His offensive game needs some work.
Caracter looked like a guy that may get a few minutes if Lakers bigs get in foul trouble or on back-to-backs — kind of the Josh Powell role for LA, he showed that kind of potential already. He needs to get NBA strength and in NBA condition, but for three quarters one night he held his own against No. 5 pick DeMarcus Cousins. He has a big, strong body and can defend and rebound pretty well, and he’ll get some garbage buckets while he works on his offensive skills.
Apparently, all it takes is a little public discussion of LeBron James‘ “broken” jump shot to get him back on balance and knocking down the three ball — he was 4-of-6 from deep Wednesday.
Then again J.R. Smith was 7-of-13, Kyrie Irving 4-of-5, and as a team the Cavaliers knocked down a record 25 threes — while shooting 55.6 percent — as they wiped the floor with the Hawks in Game 2.
In case you’re curious where the Cavs were hitting from, here’s the team’s shot chart.
The Houston Rockets aren’t in any rush to hire a new head coach, preferring to interview a wide range of candidates to find the right one. Jeff Van Gundy has been widely believed to be at the top of their list, now that Tom Thibodeau and Scott Brooks are off the market, but ESPN.com’s Marc Stein is reporting another name that has entered the mix: Mike D’Antoni, who last held a head coaching job from 2012 to 2014 with the Lakers and currently serves as the Sixers’ lead assistant.
The Pacers, meanwhile, haven’t made a final decision on Frank Vogel’s future with the team, but all signs seem to point to him getting let go in the next few days. And if that happens, Stein reports that Vogel will also be on Houston’s list of candidates.
Given the Rockets’ massive drop-off on the defensive end this season, Vogel would seem to be a better fit than D’Antoni. But it sounds like the Rockets aren’t close to finding a replacement for J.B. Bickerstaff, although it would make sense to have a new coach in place by next month’s draft.
On Monday, the Hawks played the Cavaliers close and even led in the fourth quarter, leading plenty of optimism that Game 2 would be equally competitive, that the Hawks had something to build on.
The Cavs dominated from the start on Wednesday, with a 123-98 final score that was far closer than the game actually was — the Cavs led 74-36 at the half and led by as much as 38 at one point in the second half.
The Cavs also hit 25 three-pointers, which is the all-time record for a single game — regular season or playoffs. J.R. Smith hit seven of them, along with four each from LeBron James and Kyrie Irving and three for Kevin Love.
18 of Cleveland’s threes came in the first half, also a playoff record, and this was all Atlanta could do:
That’s the kind of night it was for the Hawks, who now trail 2-0 in the series as it heads back to Atlanta.
LeBron James has always been an incredible passer. In the midst of the Cavs’ Game 2 beatdown of the Hawks, he zipped this one-handed beauty into the paint to Kyrie Irving, who kicked it out to Kevin Love for a corner three:
The three was just one of the 18 Cleveland hit in the first half, which set an NBA playoff record.