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Summer league was successful in accomplishing a few things. One was showing off the Lakers’ young talent and how the returning young guys had improved while giving us a first glimpse at the skill of the newly drafted kids. A second was allowing us to somewhat forget about Julius Randle.

I know. I know. This is an exaggeration. No one really forgot about Randle.

But I do believe there has been a bit of “out of sight, out of mind” going on with Julius. After all, we got to see Larry Nance, Jr. play really well before his hand injury. Nance flashed an improved jumper, an emerging “grab and go” game off the defensive glass, and a sharpening of his already strong defense. Nance’s development was happening in front of our eyes while Julius’ was going on in private workouts.

That is no longer the case, though. Randle has joined the Team USA training camp as part of the Select Team. He’s practicing, going through drills, and scrimmaging. He’s out there for everyone to see and is looking like an improved player. Or, at least he is in the short glimpses the public has been exposed to. For example, here he is working in one-on-one drills:

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I know the caveat. It’s only summer league. I’ve been saying it myself since before the games started and continued echoing the point through every performance by every player. Here’s the thing, though. While it’s easy to dismiss any strong (or poor) performance with that mantra, evaluations from the summer aren’t completely useless.

Summer will never tell us the entire story, but if you watch intently enough, it can give you hints as to what is possible for a player. Especially when what you see isn’t so much based on athleticism or eye popping numbers, but innate skills or traits which will carry forward regardless of the competition level.

This brings us to Lakers’ 2nd round pick Ivica Zubac. The Bosnian by way of Croatia had a really strong showing in Vegas and looks as though he might end up being a steal of the draft. His all-around play showed glimpses of high level two-way play and hinted that he might be more ready than assumed for a 19 year old Euro big man who missed most of last season dealing with injury and contract issues.

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Heading into Friday night’s summer league finale, Brandon Ingram had done lots of things well but not had a singular strong performance. His best game in the four previous contests to that point was the Lakers’ Vegas opener where he scored efficiently and played a nice all-around game. But even that game was just sort of a let-the-game-come-to-me sort of performance rather than one where he actively tried to take control.

That approach changed on Friday against the Jazz and, boy, was it fun to watch. Ingram finished the night 22 points on 13 shots, grabbed 5 rebounds, and dished 4 assists. Down the stretch he made key plays, but more than that showed a certain assertiveness throughout that was great to see. Just watch the highlights:

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In case you hadn’t heard, Kobe Bryant retired at the end of this past season. He culminated a 20 year career with as Kobe a performance as possible, pouring in 60 points while everyone pretty much marveled at what he was able to accomplish.

Looking all the way back to when it all started, maybe it wasn’t clear Kobe would end up being the player he became, but there were certainly flashes. Jerry West saw it in pre-draft workouts and did everything he could to acquire him on draft night.

Then, in the summer of 1996, Kobe showed summer league spectators a glimpse of what was to come. In (grainy video) footage I’d never seen until today, here is a 17 year old Kobe playing at the Pyramid in Long Beach in a Lakers’ summer league game against the Suns. Even then, he looked like something special.

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Even in summer league the 2nd night of a back to back matters. The Lakers dealt with some heavy legs and strong ball pressure from the 76ers and looked the part of a team struggling. After having everything work out for them against the Pelicans on Friday, Saturday brought a slog of a game which looked very much like a contest the Lakers would not win.

Until, well, they did.

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The Lakers’ offseason has some landmark dates coming up — today, July 1st — but, for the players, their summer routine has already begun. Most have already likely taken their customary break from basketball activities and are now likely to be back on the grind.

This is especially true for the young players who are looking to take major strides forward next season, which means putting in the work now. And there is no player who this applies to more than D’Angelo Russell. As the highest of the draft picks among the Lakers young core, he has the most expectations placed on him to pan out as a top player. Fair or not, then, fans will look first to see how he’s progressing rather than concerning themselves with Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, et al.

It’s good, then, that it seems Russell is doing his part by putting in the work. Or at least that’s what it looks like from these twitter and instagram videos.

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The Lakers are in that weird in-between time where they have a head coach, but since he’s still working for another team others have to speak for him. So, here’s Mitch Kupchak speaking on how Luke Walton’s past has informed his coaching perspective and the style he envisions the Lakers’ playing. There’s insight to be gained from those comments, but in reality, until we get those comments from the horse’s mouth with more detail in the plan to make those things happen, there’s really very little to learn there.

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I don’t often discuss what happens with players off the court. But, dammit if I’m not going to share this fantastic ESPN 30-for-30 short film with you on A.C. Green called “Iron Virgin”.

Green, who had two stints with the Lakers and won three championships (1987, 1988, 2000), was the hard working, blue collar type player most title teams have at least one of. He defended, rebounded, ran the floor, finished inside*, and even had a pretty reliable 15-18 foot jumper. He was a key contributor to the Showtime teams and even made an All-Star game in 1990.

While Green boasted a portable game (he could have been a high level contributor on countless teams), what he was best known for during his career were two traits: his durability and his virginity.

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