While I was looking forward to a couple of former Dukies doing battle tonight, Brandon Ingram being ruled out for the rest of summer league means that we won’t get to see him match up with Jayson Tatum — another smooth scoring SF who went number 3 overall in last month’s draft.
Instead, then, we’ll get to see how Tatum and last year’s #3 overall pick, Jaylen Brown, go up against Lonzo Ball. Ball will look to bounce back from a bad shooting night on Friday where he want 2-15 from the field for 5 points. Ball’s shooting distracted from some of the other good things he did offensively, where he ran the offense well, showed very good floor awareness, and mostly made good shot/pass decisions.
It will be a learning process for Ball, a 19 year old who has a unique approach to playing PG in comparison to what is widely viewed as the standard for lead guards in today’s NBA. How Ball adjusts to those norms and how he beats them back with his own game is one of the more intriguing storylines of every contest he appears in. It’s certainly something I’ll be watching for over the course of the summer as he gets more comfortable with the pace of NBA basketball.
Beyond Lonzo, I’m interested in seeing if coach Jud Buechler switches up his starting lineup or goes to a different rotation. In Friday’s loss to the Clippers, Buechler started Travis Wear and Vander Blue rather than giving those minutes to rookies Josh Hart and Kyle Kuzma. I’d like to see the latter find their way onto the 1st unit, but even if that doesn’t happen I do hope Hart sees more than the 13 minutes he played on Friday if only to see if he can find the rhythm and flow that was missing vs. the Clips.
I’m also hoping for a bounce back game from Ivica Zubac. As I said on our podcast following Friday’s game, Big Zu looked a bit winded and heavier than I’d like. It seemed to impact his ability to move around the floor and certainly impacted his activity level. This was in stark comparison to how Thomas Bryant played, who flew around the court like an energizer bunny of a big man. I’d like to see Zubac play more like he did last summer and throughout the regular season last year rather than what he did on Friday.
Beyond that, I’m really just hoping for a competitive game without any injuries. Let’s see how it goes.