After losing their first 2 games, the Los Angeles Lakers Summer League squad won the next six in a row to win the 2017 NBA Summer League championship. Lonzo Ball showed flashes of brilliance with his passing. Kyle Kuzma lit opposing defenses up with his offensive brilliance. Overall the young players did well, and despite not having Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and PJ Dozier, the Lakers still managed to win it all.
To start, Lonzo Ball wasn’t good, he was fantastic. The first summer league player to record a triple double, he did so twice, and added a game in which he scored 36 points with 11 assists and 8 rebounds. Every time he picked up a rebound, his first move was to look for the open man down the court, even if he was 85 feet on the opposite end. Most importantly he had games in which he was willing to take over and score. There were times in which his teammates weren’t cutting it and he had to take over. The Philadelphia game was one of those times and he passed with flying colors. He didn’t shoot very well overall, however, many guards didn’t shoot well in summer league, including Steph Curry.
Kyle Kuzma was an absolute surprise. Receiving a lukewarm reception from Lakers twitter at best (including a few that are very good). He lit up the entire league with his fantastic shooting stroke and solid defense. His shooting, as a 6’9 stretch 4, were the most surprising part about the summer league. Lonzo and Kuzma found great chemistry, and it seemed that every time Kuzma was at the end of one of Lonzo’s flashy passes, the ball was going in. Averaging 21.6 points per game, he lead the team, with Lonzo out, to win the championship game with 30 points and 11 rebounds. With a crowded front court, there is no doubt in my mind the Lakers will have no choice but to find him minutes.
Beyond that, the play of Alex Caruso, Vander Blue, Matt Thomas, and 2nd round pick Thomas Bryant electrified the crowd in Las Vegas that was mostly Laker fans. Whether it was Matt Thomas’s automatic 3-point shooting, or Alex Caruso lighting up the Kings Summer League squad (mostly NBA players) it was a fun and eventful summer league. Sure, it was summer league, but after the last four seasons, some success on a basketball court was nice to see. I would not be surprised to see all of these players on the preseason camp roster. Unfortunate for Laker fans, that won’t be until September 30th.
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