The Lakers schedule for the Las Vegas Summer League has been released and there are some good match ups on the docket. Most interesting will be when the Lakers play the 76ers in what will be a match up of the top 2 picks in the draft — expected to be Ben Simmons to Philly and Brandon Ingram to LA.
Should Ingram indeed be the pick, there has been an open question about who of his young Lakers’ teammates would join him. Well, we might just have an answer according to the LA Daily News’ Mark Medina:
Lakers' No. 2 & 32 picks, D'Angelo Russell, Larry Nance Jr. & Anthony Brown plan to play in Summer League. Randle & Clarkson expected to sit
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) June 21, 2016
First off, while fans surely would want Clarkson and Randle to play, it is actually pretty rare for a 3rd year pro to play in Summer League. Clarkson was already showing he had outgrown that environment last season and when combined with his restricted free agency this summer, him not suiting up shouldn’t be a surprise.
As for Randle, while he missed his entire rookie season, this would also be his 3rd summer league if he suited up. Randle is already going to be training with the US Select Team in July and has also sounded lukewarm about playing in Summer League again, instead preferring to work on his game individually. Considering the strides Randle needs to make are, in many ways, tied to individual skill development — shooting, defensive drills, etc — I am fine with him abstaining from LVSL in favor of working out on his own.
As for the rest of the guys who will suit up, this is totally normal and expected. Even a high pick like Russell could use these games as a way to fine tune the work he’s already putting in and, as a point guard, continue to build chemistry with his teammates. Considering the team is also installing a new offense that he will need to run, these games also offer an opportunity to get some time behind the wheel of these new sets.
With Russell and, presumably, Ingram, Nance, Brown, and whoever is selected at #32, the Lakers should be a very fun team worth watching — even without Randle and Clarkson. I can’t wait to see these guys suit up and get back on the floor.