With the highly anticipated 14th roster spot still yet to be filled, fans of the Los Angeles Lakers are beginning to become uneasy. However, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka is in no rush to fill that spot and it seems that Christian Wood, a target of the Lakers, is in no hurry to sign either. While Wood is an intriguing option for the team, there are others in consideration for the spot, including Bismack Biyombo and two-way player Colin Castleton.
Castleton went undrafted out of Florida but signed with the Lakers shortly after the draft ended.
Heading into Summer League, Castleton made a quick impression on Lakers fans with his rim protection, comfortability bringing up the ball, passing and high IQ. It did not take long for the coaching staff to make the Florida native a focal point of the offense and it proved to be effective.
“I knew once I got the ball in my hands, I was able to operate with space,” Castleton told Lakers Nation about his ability to run an offense. “After the first game, getting more and more comfortable, like you said it could organically happen and things can be played through me because I am used to that. My last year at Florida, I was able to play make a lot more, so that wasn’t too much of an adjustment for me, it just helps when there’s more spacing, y you know?
“Things are five-out, there’s no defensive 3-seconds, so I can set up teammates a lot easier than in college and I feel like it showed in Summer League as well as the coaching staff telling us that they like playing through their five, like playing through their big men, so just being able for this Summer League to play through me as a hub and just a lot of short-roll stuff, lot of screening, which I feel like I do really well at. They talked to me about that and worked on areas that I can improve on as well.”
The 6’11” center spent four years at Florida, a rarity in today’s day, although it usually results in more refined players. Fans saw that Castleton is a well-rounded, fundamental big man who doesn’t try to do too much and sticks to what works best for him. Something that the Summer League coaches preached to him is to continue to do what he does best.
“Continue to do the things I’m good at, obviously. Like setting screens, rolling hard to the basket, using my touch around the rim really well, I feel like I do a really good job at. As well as just working on timing on defense, being able to adjust like in college there is no 3-second calls, so you can just sit in the paint and camp out all you want, but at the next level you got to be able to time things a little bit quicker, quicker first step on defense. People always talk about a quick first step on offense, but trying to protect the rim and being a shot blocker or just being a good defensive player, you got to have a quick first step as well. So, being able to adjust to that is something they were talking to me about, showing me a lot of film, watching a lot of film with different clips. Things I did well on obviously, but continue to hone in on the little things to get better at.”
Castleton has shown through Summer League that there is some upside there and deserves a look on the Lakers’ regular-season roster at some point. The Lakers scouting department has been able to get some steals in the second round or undrafted players and now Castleton may be next.
Reaves never stopped believing in himself despite going undrafted
With Castleton going undrafted, he was, unfortunately, unable to live the moment of getting up on stage to shake the commissioner’s hand. However, he has a blueprint with Austin Reaves, who was the most recent undrafted pickup for the Lakers and earned himself a new contract and a prominent role on the team for years to come. The thing for Reaves was he never stopped believing in his dream to play in the NBA, which is good advice for all undrafted players.
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