Steph! Durant! Draymond! Klay!
Wait. No. None of them. Sorry.
The Lakers play the Warriors tonight in Las Vegas and will play an interesting mix of young guys and veterans the
defending world champs (oh that’s right they blew a 3-1 lead) Dubs will throw out there. You might even recognize a few names — including former Laker Xavier Henry.
But we’re not really worried about those guys, are we? No, tonight I’ll be watching the Lakers’ young guys very closely. These guys are 2-0 and had a nice comeback win against the 76ers on Saturday. That game saw some tired legs and good pressure defense bother the Lakers, so here’s hoping tonight they have recovered some and can put forth a cleaner game.
With that, a few other things I will be watching for:
- Can Brandon Ingram bounce back? Against Philly Ingram didn’t have his best showing, missing some shots and sort of floating around for long stretches. After his strong opener, I’m hoping he reverts to Friday’s form rather than having a repeat performance from Saturday. I’ll especially be watching how he works coming off picks and if he can continue to create off the dribble for himself and teammates. I’d also like to see improved effort on the glass so he can grab and go more.
- Speaking of grab and go, I’m looking for more of the same from Larry Nance. The 2nd year player has had a nice showing to start summer league and I’m interested in seeing him continue to push the ball, take open jumpers with confidence, and defend with vigor. A highlight dunk would also be nice. That’s not too much to ask for is it?
- D’Angelo Russell has played well, but even more important has been a good leader out there. I’d like to see that continue. I’d also like to see less turnovers, though that’s not so important to me at this point. Making mistakes is totally okay in this environment, as long as they are ones of aggression. Him driving the ball and losing it every now and then or forcing a few passes isn’t something I’m going to get worked up over.
- More Zubac, please. I like this kid. I like how he moves, I like how his offensive skill, I like how he wants to defend the rim.
- Beyond these core four guys, I’m interested in seeing how the schemes work on both sides of the court. Is the ball moving? Are guys talking defensively? How sharp are the cuts? How solid are the screens? While I’ll never get too concerned over execution in this environment, these guys starting to understand the nuances and doing the little things better is always good.
- I am intrigued by Zach Auguste. I like his energy and bounce. I like how he attacks the ball on the glass. I like how he sets screens and how he rolls hard to the rim. There’s a numbers crunch on the main roster and I doubt he makes the team, but I would welcome a longer look in training camp if he continues to play how he has so far.
Lastly, I mentioned this the other day, but I really enjoy Jesse Mermuys and how he’s handling this group. The tenor he takes in interviews and the points he emphasizes all point to a guy who understands player development and how to get guys on the right path towards becoming better. It’s really great to have him managing the young guys this year.