Only one preseason game remains, meaning the time has come for the Los Angeles Lakers to start making roster cuts to get down to the maximum limit of 15 players.
The first wave of cuts came down today, starting with sharp-shooter Michael Frazier II. The rookie out of Florida did not get a ton of preseason burn, but was still up and down in his efforts nonetheless. His perimeter shooting and potential on defense could certainly provide value to an NBA roster down the line, but naturally as a young player, will need to refine his game.
Perhaps the most polarizing roster battle has officially been settled. With Roy Hibbert and Tarik Black presumably the starting and backup centers already on the roster, that leaves room for just one more at the position.
Robert Upshaw and Robert Sacre were the two vying for the spot, and the Lakers have made their choice. It seems they have elected to bring Sacre back for another run over the rookie, the team confirmed on Tuesday.
Upshaw was a fan favorite in Las Vegas during summer league play and in preseason action, after watching off-court issues cause his draft stock to plummet back in June. Once a certain first round pick, the 21-year-old now finds himself without a team, although an NBA Developmental League assignment with the Los Angeles D-Fenders looks like a real possibility.
Instead of taking the rookie with an intriguing amount of upside, the team elected to take the center that is more ready to contribute his efforts right now. Choosing Sacre over Upshaw will certainly have some fans up in arms, but in the end we are talking about the 14th or 15th spot on the roster that will see minimal minutes this season.
If Upshaw ends up on the D-Fenders, it will be interesting to see if he can continue to develop his overall raw skill set and earn a spot with the Lakers down the road.
As of right now, however, Sacre will be back for his fourth season in Los Angeles, while the Lakers still need to cut two more players.