July 16, 2008 - 9:00 pm
As a second-round draft pick, Joe Crawford knows nothing is guaranteed as far as having a future in the NBA.
If he hopes to make the Los Angeles Lakers’ season-opening roster in October, he needs to start earning some Brownie points in Las Vegas this week in the NBA Summer League.
The 6-foot-5-inch guard from Kentucky knows he’s under the microscope. If he doesn’t perform for Lakers summer league coach Dan Panaggio now, he’s likely going to find himself playing for Panaggio this fall in the NBA Development League with the L.A. D-Fenders.
“Honestly, I really don’t think about that,” Crawford said. “I see it as an opportunity. I feel blessed to have been drafted by the Lakers.
“I know I have to prove myself every day. I’m used to that pressure. It was the same way at Kentucky. For four years I was always having to prove myself.”
Crawford scored 16 points Tuesday on 6-for-13 shooting as the Lakers lost to Philadelphia 81-73 to drop to 1-2 in the summer league. In three games, Crawford is averaging 11.3 points.
“I think I’m getting better,” he said. “There’s a lot to learn out here, but I think I’m handling it.”
• STUCKEY SITS — Detroit Pistons guard Rodney Stuckey sat out Tuesday’s game with Milwaukee with a foot injury. He injured his toe in practice Saturday and aggravated it during Sunday’s 75-66 win over the Los Angeles Clippers.
Without him, the Pistons lost to the Bucks, 73-59. Former UNR guard Ramon Sessions led Milwaukee with 21 points.
• IRANIANS TO VISIT UTAH — Following successful negotiations between the NBA and the State Department, Iran’s Olympic basketball team will train in Salt Lake City for six days and participate in next week’s Rocky Mountain Revue on its way to China for next month’s Beijing Games.
Iran qualified for the Olympics out of the Asia Zone. The team will play a total of four games with Dallas and Utah, and two games against a team of NBA D-League players.
“In an increasingly turbulent world, it is rewarding to bring people together to celebrate teamwork, discipline and respectful competition on the court,” NBA commissioner David Stern said in a statement.