We hear the term, “It’s just Summer League,” all the time. We try not to overreact on everything. So let’s do our best not to do that.
There is hardly anything positive to take away from their 76-66 loss to the New York Knicks. The Lakers offense was as dry as the desert here as they only scored a whopping five points in the first quarter. They did come back from that deficit but could never get quite over the hump.
Jabari Brown scored 20 points in his first Summer League game to lead the Lakers in scoring. But the team shot only 31 percent from the field, while only going 3/16 (I can hear the glass shatter) from behind the arc. D’Angelo Russell, who didn’t go back at the end of the game, continued to struggle in terms of taking care of the ball (eight turnovers) and he lamented that in his postgame comments. The Lakers were booed by the Vegas fans after their slow start but Russell pointed out “that he didn’t hear them.”
Summer League head coach Mark Madsen defended Russell saying that everyone has a down game. He thought that giving his players the day off in Vegas “was probably a mistake.” Regardless, the team never got into a good rhythm on both ends of the floor. Madsen pointed out the 20 turnovers and that “it does not work at this level.” He pointed out that Julius Randle had “excellent playmaking” after a “slow start.” Coach went on to say that D’Angelo was a “little out of sorts” but praised his work ethic and emphasized that “he WILL be great.”
After an excellent two games, Jordan Clarkson didn’t have a great game as he finished with 13 points off 3 of 14 shooting. Clarkson pointed out the horrendous start and their lack of stops on defense. He also talked about the lack of ball movement (SIX assists overall by the team). Jordan thinks the chemistry is right around what he expected with D’Angelo Russell.
As for Julius Randle (seven points, 2/8 shooting), he was clearly frustrated after the game. He said he couldn’t get into a rhythm and that “he had to be better.” Randle said that he knew he could get to whatever spot he wanted on the floor but, as we all saw, he just couldn’t finish. He mentioned how “extremely frustrating” it was to get a rhythm going, especially since he’s playing in “five-minute spurts.” But Julius did say that he’ll work through it and that the goal was “the first game of the season.” He said he’s not worried about his physical state when he’s out playing so that’s definitely a good sign after having such a devastating injury.
Overall, though, not a good showing. We probably shouldn’t look into the rotations too much since the coaches tend to try to play everyone. But they did look lost once their offense broke down and that slow start really killed the team. They do get another chance on Wednesday and all you can ask for them is to get better.
Yes, they looked like the worst team ever on Monday. And some people are calling for D’Angelo Russell’s head already. Let’s also remember that this is only July. It’s Summer League. It’s really the offseason. Let’s all not get too heated.