In Vegas: Crittenton Steals the Show in Laker Debut


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Most people knew Los Angeles Laker first round pick Javaris Crittenton was athletic, but his propensity for knocking down the clutch shot was rarely discussed. In his first game for the Lakers in summer league play on Sunday, Crittenton served notice that perhaps people should have paid more attention.
With game on the line Crittenton had the ball in his hands and drilled a mid-range jumpshot to propel the Lakers to victory with just 1.7 seconds on the clock.

"It was a play set up and they took away one of our options," the 19-year-old from Georgia Tech explained in an exclusive interview. "So I ended up being in a position I really wasn't supposed to be in, and Jordan (Farmar) made a great play, penetrated, drew the defense, and found me wide open."
Maybe he's not quite as clutch as that Kobe guy just yet, but what Crittenton showed on Sunday is certainly reason enough for Laker fans to get excited at the type of player he might become.
In addition to his clutch play, Crittenton showed he was more than comfortable playing above the rim. At one point in Sunday's contest, the young man dunked over a couple of helpless defenders in traffic.

When asked if Laker fans should expect to see that kind of high-wire act next season, Crittenton replied: "Oh, yes. I'm athletic and I play above the rim when I have the opportunity to. When I get in the paint and I'm available, you know, I'm going to show some athleticism. But I'm not going to do anything to jeopardize my body, hurt myself or do anything crazy. But yes, there will be some athleticism shown."
No matter how athletic a player may be, though, if he can't learn Phil Jackson's triangle offense, he won't have a chance to stick in LA. Fortunately for Crittenton, he came to the Lakers with a rare advantage.
"It's tough to pick up, but I was fortunate enough to run it in high school with my team. We ran kind of the same thing. There's some different kinks in the offense here, but it's kind of the same thing. So that's helped me out tremendously."
Of course, heading into the draft not many people expected Crittenton to be around when the Lakers picked at 19... including Crittenton himself.

"Yeah, it kind of surprised me. I didn't plan on being around at that time, but everything happens for a reason. God knows what's best for me, and I'm here for a reason."
And not only is he in Los Angeles, but he's honored to be wearing the same purple and gold jersey that so many great players before him have.

"I'm just excited. So many great players have come through this organization. I'm excited to be a part of this organization. I was looking forward to today, my first NBA action, and getting involved out here. I was just excited and wanted to win.

"Every time I put my jersey on I get excited. They presented me with my jersey at the press conference, and I probably put it on like 10 times and just looked in the mirror and said, 'I'm a Laker.' It's crazy."
Part of being a Laker next season is playing for legendary head coach Phil Jackson.
"I heard that he's tough on rookies, but I'm excited about playing for him. He's only going to make me better. He's made so many players better, and I look forward to it."
If Crittenton continues to play like he did Sunday, Jackson and the Lakers just might have found themselves a real keeper.

The Los Angeles Lakers opened their Summer League schedule off with a thrilling 66-64 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks - paramount to the team's win was the clutch shot of Javaris Crittenton, the Lakers' 19th overall pick.
Basketball News, bringing you the best coverage of the Vegas Summer League, caught up with Crittenton right after the game to get his thoughts on his outstanding debut. Crittenton finished the game with 18 points on 8-13 shooting, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals in just over 25 minutes of play. Though he didn't start the game, Crittenton made his presence felt by scoring the final points of the game, knocking down a 20-footer with three seconds remaining in the game to give the Lakers the lead and sealing the victory.
Unlike Marco Belinelli's stellar introdcutory performance, Crittenton didn't wow spectators with gaudy statistics (although he did do so with a few rather thunderous dunks over his opponents. Although his statline was very good, it's important to remember that these games are Summer League games against sub-par, borderline-NBA talent (if not worse). It might go without saying but it should be reminded that scoring, rebounding, and blocking shots are amongst the things that are much easier to do at this level than in the league where the stronger, quicker players reside. Players can play very well against this competition, but it doesn't necessarily mean anything as far as projections go.
However, there are certain traits that talent evaluators look for in these games to see whether a player has the skills that translate well to the NBA. When observing the game through that lens, how did Crittenton perform?
As a team, the Lakers struggled offensively to start the game, missing their first five shots and not scoring a point until several minutes into the game. The Bucks hadn't opened up a tremendous lead because they, too, made offense look like rocket science, but they did have a lead that the Lakers didn't seem like they were going to cut because their defense was almost as bad as their offense. Jordan Farmar struggled early to stay in front of Lynn Greer, who blew by him on several occasions to start the game but couldn't make much of his opportunities after beating Farmar.
In comes Javaris Crittenton, who immediately affects the game defensively by forcing a turnover in the Bucks' backcourt on one possession and reading an inbounds pass in the Bucks' frontcourt for an interception on another. He remained aggressive on defense, fighting through screens (although, he was ineffective in doing so, as the screener was like a wall against him), and staying in front of Greer. One one occasion, Crittenton caught up with a Bucks guard that had a breakaway and leapt above him to block his layup attempt, a display of effort and pride. Crittenton showed exceptional footwork on defense in keeping his feet shuffling and agility in changing directions with his opponent. The shuffling of his feet is important in maintaining balance against guards and staying in front of them, a sign that bodes well for fans hoping Crittenton can provide better defense at the point guard position. Again, this was against Lynn Greer, a far cry from Steve Nash or Tony Parker, but Greer is a pretty quick scoring point guard and he did give Farmar fits earlier in the game.
The Lakers went on a 7-0 run after Crittenton entered the game in the first quarter and he continued the defensive effort throughout the game.
As happy as Laker fans should be about his defensive performance, Crittenton was very productive offensively as well, displaying a very fluid shooting form, an early understanding of the triangle offense, and solid vision in being able to set his teammates up in the system. After the aforementioned interception, Crittenton had a one-on-one with his defender but chose to pull back and displayed some patience in waiting for his teammates. He then passed the ball back to Andre Patterson, trailing the play and receiving at the free throw line before finding Larry Turner under the basket for an easy stuff. Crittenton didn't get the assist, but his fundamentals and maturity were displayed; as he showed later in the game, he could have easily gone to the rim and tried to jump over the man guarding him. A little later in the quarter, Crittenton was in the backcourt before lobbing an outstanding pass from just beyond half court to Turner who was alone in the paint for some reason - the vision and confidence required to make such a pass are noteworthy.
From that point forward, Crittenton began to show some of his "point star" qualities, as a league source indicated during the draft process that Crittenton has a scoring mentality mixed in with tremendous athletic ability. The source compared Crittenton to Steve Francis or Stephon Marbury, but insisted that Javaris had his head on straight. Crittenton began to display his athleticism with various dunks, including one he created off his own dribble penetration after a crossover that left his defender wondering where he'd gone. He combined his quickness with a good handle on the ball to penetrate and get to the basket often, which won't be as easy in the NBA but shows potential in that area. Crittenton also put back an offensive rebound after jumping from several feet from the basket and letting the ball go before landing. Combining his explosiveness with a sound understanding of the triangle offense, Crittenton made several quick cuts within the triangle offense that allowed him to get to the basket; he was pounded by defenders and went to the line on both occasions.
As rosy as all this sounds, there are several things Crittenton must work on as Summer League action continues. First off, he must improve his free-throw shooting, as he went 2-6 in the opener; there really is no excuse for him to be a bad free-throw shooter, as his mid-range game proved to be solid. More importantly, however, Crittenton must improve on his upper body strength - a guard with his quickness and dribbling ability will get to the rim often in the NBA, but the Big Leagues are a physical game where he'll be knocked around harder than he was on Sunday when he gets in with the trees. On Sunday, Crittenton was not able to finish shots around the basket when he was fouled, but an improved upper body strength would allow him to absorb contact and become more efficient in the painted area. In the same vein, Crittenton must work to show some of his toughness and a willingness to get into the paint on defense and grab rebounds if he has to; he finished with four boards, which isn't bad, but he consistently stayed out of the paint for those boards that bounced long. This isn't as important, but an improvement would be welcome. Lastly, it would be nice to see Javaris display some more of his point guard skills - he has them, but he didn't really get an opportunity to show them.
Consistency is key in Summer League - the question now becomes whether Javaris can keep it up.
No. This was one Summer League game and the Lakers' interest in Derek Fisher, Maurice Williams, and Steve Blake will continue. As the team continues to explore trade options and pieces worthy of the Mid-Level Exception in hopes of bringing in a solid veteran presence, the team will monitor Javaris' progress in Summer League and look at him as a backup combo guard. For minutes at a time, Lakers Summer League Head Coach Kurt Rambis used both Crittenton and Farmar in the backcourt together, so Crittenton's skills may be used in more than one position.
There were other Lakers on the court on Sunday, after all.
Jordan Farmar
Farmar had a bad game, but made it better with a good performance in the fourth quarter. Early on in the game, Farmar struggled to keep in front of Greer, as mentioned above, which could amount to nothing more than rust. However, he has known for a while that the Lakers will be counting on his defense at the one, so seeing this was disappointing. Also early in the game, Farmar made some atrocious decisions that could be attributed to his teammates not helping him out, but he shouldn't have put himself in those situations - Farmar was caught twice in the backcourt by double teams and picked up his dribble on both occasions, once leading to an ill-advised pass to get out of it that was stolen by the Bucks. This wasn't Farmar's only bad pass, as he finished the game with six turnovers and only one assist (on the Crittenton game-winner). On another occasion, Farmar received the ball at half court and put his head down and went full speed ahead toward the basket, in an attempt to almost go through a Bucks defender. He was out of control and was called for an offensive foul.
Farmar did redeem himself later in the game, hitting an open three (his only field goal - he finished 1-8 from the field, missing four of five three-point attempts) and using his knowledge of the triangle offense to make a few good cuts that got him to the basket and used his vertical to hang in the air before drawing a foul. He also made good passes in the second half, but certainly needs to show that he is one of the better players on the court next time he's out there. Farmar nabbed five rebounds, a positive for any point guard
Larry Turner
His name has been mentioned a few times as Turner was the main low-post bruiser for the Lakers, leading the team with six rebounds and literally living in the paint. He showed that he has a very strong post game, making moves with purpose and fluidity, but he struggled to finish around the basket, ending the game with six points on 2-7 shooting, with most of his shots coming in the paint. Turner is an active defender, but he struggled to deny position to his opponents - in general, his defense must improve. However, the effort is there and he may be a player to keep an eye on over the summer.
Coby Karl
Karl, son of Nuggets Head Coach George Carl, got the start at the two-guard spot for the Lakers. An inspiring young man who had cancerous lymph nodes removed from his neck just three months ago, his second bout with cancer, Karl is hoping his basketball IQ and smooth jump shot earn him an NBA job. As intelligent as he is, Karl looked like he was thinking too much out there on Sunday and wasn't in the flow of the triangle offense. "I’m trying to get to the point where I can just react and not have to think," Karl admitted after the game. "Although it is a difficult offense to run, I study after practice," he added. Karl finished with 10 points, going 4-7 from the field, but must show he can do more on the court - make solid passes, play better defense - to keep the Lakers' interest in him.



I heard a lot about what he did. He made the Summer league all star team.

I heard he was very good and showed big time potential. I saw some clips of him and he was pretty impressive. Great ball handling skills and good court vision. Imo he had all the intangibles of being a great point guard in this league.

Also I think he was the 2nd best point guard in the draft behind Mike Conley Jr.


The return shall be legenday!
Ya I saw some highlights from some of his game and it was crazy what he did on the Basketball court. Especially the clutch shots he made. Should be really interesting to see Jordan Farmar and Javaris Crittenton compete for the starting Point Guard spot.

PS: Acie Law was the second best point guard drafted in the NBA Draft this year.


Ya I saw some highlights from some of his game and it was crazy what he did on the Basketball court. Especially the clutch shots he made. Should be really interesting to see Jordan Farmar and Javaris Crittenton compete for the starting Point Guard spot.

PS: Acie Law was the second best point guard drafted in the NBA Draft this year.

Yes you are correct my friend. I forgot about Acie. He is a hella of a PG himself.


Ya I saw some highlights from some of his game and it was crazy what he did on the Basketball court. Especially the clutch shots he made. Should be really interesting to see Jordan Farmar and Javaris Crittenton compete for the starting Point Guard spot.

PS: Acie Law was the second best point guard drafted in the NBA Draft this year.
I think Derek Fisher will be starting..