Pacific Notes: Upshaw, Warren, Williams

Lakers rookie center Robert Upshaw saw his first NBA preseason action during the team’s 105-97 loss to the Raptors on Thursday, and the young big man contributed six points, three rebounds, two blocks, one assist and one turnover in 25 minutes. When asked to assess Upshaw’s first showing for the team, coach Byron Scott said, “He was OK. He made a ton of mistakes on both ends of the floor. That’s probably to be expected in his first game,Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News relays.

Scott was pleased with how Upshaw is physically rounding into shape, as well as the athleticism Upshaw displayed during Thursday’s contest, Medina adds. “That’s something we didn’t see in summer league,” Scott said. “In summer league, he was much heavier than he is right now. He’s in much better condition right now. He’s much lighter getting up and down the floor. He’s getting off his feet much better. We’re able to see some of the things we kept hearing about.

Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said that T.J. Warren‘s overall game has improved since last season, and it may make his decision regarding the team’s regular season starter at small forward difficult, writes Matt Petersen of “When we can get him the ball and get him opportunities, he makes the plays,” Hornacek said. “Defensively, he’s much better than he was last year. I like what he’s doing defensively on guys. He’s taking challenges. He’s got a great knack.P.J. Tucker is Phoenix’s incumbent starter at the three.
  • Despite winning the 2014/15 Sixth Man of the Year award, the Raptors didn’t make an effort to re-sign Lou Williams this offseason, but according to Raptors coach Dwane Casey, “It wasn’t for the fact that we didn’t like Lou or want Lou,” Bill Oram of The Orange County Register tweets.
  • Williams, who signed a three-year, $21MM deal with the Lakers back in July, was allowed to depart because Toronto had more pressing roster concerns, and not because the Raptors didn’t think he was a valuable player, Oram writes in a full-length piece. “He has a huge value,” Casey said of Williams, “but it depends on the other needs that you have on the team. He won a lot of games last year for us with his scoring. We had nights where we had nothing going, and he would come in and change the game with his scoring. And there’s a value. There’s a huge value to that.”
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