New addition Tarik Black comes to the Lakers with a reputation as a gritty defender, writes Bill Oram of the Orange County Register. Coach Byron Scott believes Black could become a contributor to the team. “All the reports are that his upside is tremendous,” Scott said. “It was a no brainer for us. Once he gets out here, we’ll put him out here and see what he can do.” Los Angeles ranks 30th in the league on defense, allowing 109.2 points per game.
Here’s more from the Western Conference:
- Josh Smith‘s deal with the Rockets covers just this season, as Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders confirms. There were previously conflicting reports about the length of the contract. In his first two games for Houston, Smith has scored 26 points on 28 shots from the field, which are the second most attempts on the team during that stretch.
- Jordan Hill has struggled recently for the Lakers and he could lose playing time in a suddenly crowded front court, writes Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times. Hill has a $9MM team option on his contract for the 2015/16 season. If he keeps up this level of play, it might be hard for the Lakers to justify picking that up, although that is just my speculation.
- The Suns believe they have a star in second-year center Alex Len, writes Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic. “He’s not afraid of anything,” coach Jeff Hornacek said. “He’s not afraid of big moments. He’s not afraid of hitting somebody or getting hit. He just plays. That’s great to see in a young guy.” The team is 6-1 since it moved Len into the starting lineup.
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.