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Roscoe Smith accepts training camp invite from Los Angeles Lakers

After traversing a long road by transferring from NCAA Champion Connecticut to UNLV in search of more playing time, forward Roscoe Smith will have his opportunity to crack an NBA roster according to Adam Zagoria.

A role player at Connecticut primarily known for his defense, Smith expanded his game at UNLV, particularly by becoming an impressive rebounder. His 10.9 rebounds per game were sixth in the nation and his prowess in that department is backed up by more advanced metrics, as his excellent 19.7 TRB% can attest to.

The issue for Smith is that while this is an impressive feat for a 6’8’’ forward, it has a lot less resonance for a guy who won’t be able to man the four in the pros except in situational small lineups and lacks the perimeter game to be effective at the three. The latter item is the most significant obstacle standing between him and a possible career in the NBA, as although he does enough of the ancillary things well to possibly find a niche as a reserve wing, he isn’t going to make a lot of headway until he’s a threat from beyond 17 feet or so.

Smith’s play in the Las Vegas Summer League didn’t really change this calculus, his respectable play whenever he got minutes notwithstanding. On an otherwise disorganized and rather poorly run roster – largely because player development coaches Mark Madsen and Larry Lewis had to run things with no set system as a result of the Lakers being without a head coach for most of the summer – his opportunities to produce were limited by the offense constantly getting bogged down. He did display flashes of a decent midrange stroke, but the majority of his time was spent getting open for cuts or putback attempts.

All of this lends itself to the notion that Smith is simply a camp body brought in to provide a fresh face for the team’s more established wings to play against. Granted, there are only four wings (Kobe Bryant, Nick Young, Wesley Johnson, and Xavier Henry, the last of whom is currently injured) on the roster, so there is an opening for a fifth wing and with the Lakers slated to go nowhere next season, they could do worse than burning a spot on an energy guy with moderate upside if he ever is able to cobble together a jumper.

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