I don’t care if it’s summer league, winning is fun. And since the Lakers haven’t done much winning in recent years, I’m going to enjoy the W’s in any environment, thank you very much. The Lakers are now 3-0 in Las Vegas and after struggling in their 2nd game on Saturday, the team was back to playing well in game 3, controlling the matchup with the Warriors for most of the game to win comfortably 78-65.
The star of the night was D’Angelo Russell. After hitting a game winner vs. the 76ers two days earlier, Russell dominated the Warriors to the tune of 26 points on only 13 shots to go along with 5 rebounds and a single assist. He also had 4 turnovers, and so if you want to nitpick, I guess you can complain about the lone dime to his 4 giveaways, but…well I don’t care.
Russell was clearly the best player again and his confidence is sky high right now. He was making shots all over the floor and punishing the defense no matter what strategy they took. When his man went under screens, he simply hit a long jumper. When they tried to chase him over the top of a pick, he kept his man on his hip and hit a lean-in mid-range shot. When working in isolation he used a tight, low handle to create space. Russell simply looked fantastic all night offensively and had all the answers.
I’ve been saying this a lot lately, but what a difference a year makes. At this time a year ago, fans were openly calling Russell a bust. They were saying he couldn’t create good shots, wasn’t hitting the ones he was creating, and simply didn’t look the part of a pro-ready point guard. Twelve months later, he looks like he’s already outgrown this environment. Yes, there are still things to work on. The defense is still not yet all the way there and his scoring is still ahead of his playmaking. But Russell is 20 years old. His future looks quite bright.
On to the other notes…
- Brandon Ingram went 0-5 from the field but still had 7 points by getting to the foul line 9 times. Defenders tried to contest his jumper, but his high release point meant they got wrist and arm instead of the ball. He also drew fouls when creating off the dribble against defenders who are respecting his ability to get off his jumper.
- I would still like to see Ingram get more looks off pin-down screens and more off-ball work. He was creating a lot of his own looks, but I would like to see more of the offense helping him more.
- Last point on Ingram — even though he wasn’t super effective offensively, he still led the team with 7 rebounds, had multiple deflections defensively, and never really forced the action. He plays with a calm and poise beyond his years.
- Anthony Brown can really defend the ball. We can always go back to the “its summer league” caveat, but he’s so sound in his fundamentals, chases hard off picks, and uses his length well to contest shots. He also had a nice drive and finish when he was pressured above the arc, which was nice to see.
- Quiet night from Larry Nance, Jr. in this one. He didn’t score and only took one shot all night. He did have 4 rebounds, but only played 17 minutes — which was probably needed after playing so many in the team’s first 2 contests.
- In my game preview I asked for more Zubac and, boy, did we get that. He had 9 points on a perfect 3-3 shooting, 5 rebounds, and 2 blocks. He hit a long jumper from the baseline, taking it with confidence and without hesitation. His effort was high and his timing on contesting shots was stellar. He could still do better using his size to create space on the defensive glass, but that will come with time and experience. I really like this kid.
- Moustapha Fall is tall and knows how to use his height and length. He understands verticality when challenging shots and showed good hands when getting drop off passes for strong finishes inside.
- I enjoyed Trevor Lacey’s game. He settled for a few too many mid-range and long two pointers, but he showed some shake offensively and has nice vision as a passer. He’s a tweener guard and is undersized to be a full-time SG, but he’s fun.
Overall, this was just a fun game. In the first half Russell had 22 points to the Warriors’ 27. The rest of the game the team worked hard on defense and whenever the Warriors looked like they might make a push, the Lakers responded with a stop, a bucket, or both. All in all, I have zero complaints and am happy to see this team continue to make strides and grow together.
Russell needs to cut down his turnovers. Other than that, he shows flashes of superstar potential with his quick release off the dribble from 3, solid mid range game and clutchness.
Agree on the points about fall and lacey, but we already have a couple of guys like lacey on our roster and fall wont see much time if any at all. Hope we keep them on our d league team though and see if they can develop
very happy with the way DAR is playing this Summer League.
looks like he’s on a mission, i hope this translates well come regular season.
Ingram very promising with his shooting and agility, he can dribble past his defender and create his own shot. Should not have a problem getting his points.
Lance and Brown i think are ready for more minutes.
Here’s a hot take: Byron Scott’s tough love approach last year is helping Russell this year. Now, hear me out… I feel like Russell is just so relieved to be working with a new coaching staff that knows how to nurture players, it feels like night and day for him.
Some of the quotes I’ve heard from Russell and Mermuys makes it sound like there’s a mutual trust in each other. Russell is willing to run the offense but he’s also given the freedom to create when there’s a better option than the set play. This freedom on the court prevents him from thinking too much, which I believe was one of his biggest issues last year and had to do with B.Scott’s short leash.
I don’t say these things to berate Byron Scott, he’s still a great Laker legend, he just isn’t the best coach for the millennials.
– Agree that after the last three dreadful seasons, it’s good to see the team doing this well, even if it’s only Summer League. While Russell’s scoring has been impressive, the following article about how the coaching staff feels about Russell’s offense bought a smile to my face.
– Coach Luke, keeping it real.
You nailed it.
While Russell has the swag and huge upside we need and is showing he has real potential, the key is Zubac. If he can develop then it opens so much else for so many players. With some real improvement by these young guys, Westbrook might seriously consider coming here next summer.
Minor Threatt says
I agree about Zubac. About the only bad thing you can say about him is that he’s getting pushed out of position on the defensive end. (He’s so big that he still gets a hand on the ball — think how many times in these first three games you’ve seen him swat at a defensive rebound and just tip it out.) But that has less to do with strength and more to do with experience. When he figures out positioning and angles, and learns how to really use his size, he’s not going to get beat on the boards too often. He’s pretty nimble for a guy his size. And on the offensive end, he’s already fairly advanced. If he’s ready to play 10-12 minutes a game this year, Mosgov may be “mentoring” a lot earlier in his deal than we figured.
– For a different prospective on Russell & Summer League: http://www.hoopscritic.com/the-all-shouldnt-be-at-summer-league-team/
J C hoops says
I’d have to say Byron’s approach w DAR last year is actually paying dividends now. Keeping him tied down a bit really whetted his appetite.
I was a big Byron detractor last season. Now I hope everyone can appreciate that he was in some ways the perfect man for the job at the time, and that his Laker legacy remains mostly untarnished.
if you didn’t know better..Subscribe looks like a better prospect then Ingram…Ingram is having trouble getting his shots off in traffic….Plus it’s easy to have 7 rebounds with all the missed shots…Ingram needs alot of work still….
Nik K says
Any reason why Zach Auguste didn’t get any run last night? Saw him on the bench with that bleached hair of his – but no PT.
Last year the Lakers were presumed favorites going into the summer league because of their talent. They played terribly. What a difference a year makes! I can’t wait to see the whole team play.
The more I watch Summer League the more I view it as primarily an exercise in conditioning. The fact that they have back to backs in an exhibition where teams only play 6 games total in one of the hottest cities (and hottest night-lifes) on the continent makes me feel like it’s a test. Sophomores tend to handle it fine but it’s probably the first time rookies have been through this consistent onslaught. I’m chalking up Ingram’s shooting issues mostly to this for now (especially in game 2), along with trying to feel things out
Anthony Brown seems to want to prove that he can handle the ball more than a 3 and D guy and has mostly convinced me he should stick to 3 and D
Nik K I’m not sure why he received no playing time other than the
staff wanted to see some of the other players on the roster.I watched Auguste at Notre Dame the last two
seasons.He’s the kind of player the
Lakers should find a way to retain to see how he develops during the next few
Nik K says
CHearn Agreed – I like his motor and is pretty crafty around the rim, finishing around the rim. I feel like I have to * all SL comments with “in SL.”
However, I did like what I saw in games 1 and 2 – for an un-drafted rookie.
Varnado 10 rebs 3 blocks
Russell is showing himself, to the point where no one can dispute his talent.
Even that guy from this forum last season, what was his name? The “eye test” guy that called Russell, Marshall 2.0?
I’m really jazzed about Zubac! I saw a turn and fade away splash from behind the basket, reminiscent of Shaq last night. He can move, and shoot with surprising skill and I believe he will play a large part in our future greatness.
Kudos to Kupchak for scouting him!
I highly appreciate Anthony Brown’s defense,.. and now it’s time for him to work on his shot, but until it starts falling at a decent rate in practice, he should pass more and shoot less.
Ingram had a great first game, but now seems to be losing his way and his shot has lost it’s form. It looks like he’s forcing it, and too hyper at times, but I’m sure it will pass, probably by next game.
Still much happier with him than I would be with Simmons. Yeah sure, Simmons is a great passer, but I know that D’Angelo is as well.
Some of these strange new players are interesting like Fall, for example, but I doubt we pick any of them up. I just hope we finally take Jabari Brown into the fold.
Go Lakers !!!
I just can’t go there. Byron was an awful coach whose terrible offense and communication skills turned last year into a wasted year for Russell. I think it is Russell’s ability and offseason work ethic and a more modern offense this year that should be credited for his improvement, not the ccontributions of one of the worst coaches in NBA history. If Scott was the right coach for the Lakers it was only because of his ability to produce high lottery draft picks.