Undrafted free agent guard Keith Appling is expected to go to training camp with the Los Angeles Lakers this season, according to Shams Charania of RealGM.com.
Undrafted guard Keith Appling has reached agreement on a non-guaranteed training camp contract with the Los Angeles Lakers, league sources told RealGM.
In four seasons at Michigan State, Appling was an integral starter as part of two Sweet Sixteen teams and an Elite Eight finish this year.
Appling is a former McDonald’s All-American that started 123 games for Michigan State during his four years on campus. He was often the steadying force that gave the Spartans the balance they needed on offense. His ability to create shots both for himself and others was solid on the collegiate level, and his shooting ability continually improved into a level of consistency that wasn’t apparent during his sophomore and junior seasons. Plus, he was a trustworthy ball-handler who you could trust to not turn the ball over.
So why didn’t a guy like that get drafted? Well, I’m just not sure he has an “NBA-level” skill. Appling is one of those guys who is good at a lot of things but not great at anything. His first step isn’t great, his long-range shooting ability is average, his defensive ability skill is mediocre, and his size is very middle-of-the-road. In that regard, he’s actually quite similar to former Spartan point guard Kalin Lucas, this year of the Iowa Energy, coming out of college. There isn’t one thing that stands out about his game, but when you take it all in conjunction he was a solid college basketball player.
My guess is that Appling ends up as nothing more than a camp body, especially given the Lakers’ potential depth at point guard. They definitely have Jeremy Lin in the fold, will take whatever Steve Nash can give them, and have a better rookie in Jordan Clarkson. Simply put, there isn’t a lot of room on this roster for Appling, which means that you should probably expect him to either be in the D-League or Europe next season.