Despite a valiant effort, the Lakers couldn’t mount another massive Summer League comeback. Dropping their Vegas Summer league opener 96-76, the Lakers wound up being embarrassed in the final minutes of the game. The Bulls had strong showings from rookies Coby White and Daniel Gafford who helped will the Bulls down the stretch and survive a close shave from the Lakers early in the fourth quarter.
Lakers Thumped By Bulls In Vegas Summer League Debut, Zach Norvell Jr. Shines Again
Leading the way offensively in the comeback effort was once again rookie Zach Norvell. Norvell has shown himself to be a reliable scorer at the Summer League level at the very least and should have plenty of room to grow on his two-way deal that more or less ensures he sees at least some minutes at the G-League level this year. However, if Norvell continues producing at this level through Summer League and camp, expect him to play an important role on the NBA squad as some offense off the bench.
However, the talent difference in the two teams was apparent as 2019 draft pick Daniel Gafford had his way down low while lottery pick Coby White struggled shooting but was able to get to his spots at will. The Lakers – with Talen Horton-Tucker being shut down for Summer League – only have Joe Young as a player taken in the NBA draft on their roster (in 2015).
The Good and Bad From the Lakers’ Vegas Summer League Opener
Aside from Norvell once again standing out the rest of the Lakers were a mixed bag. As a whole, they started out flat once again and while they did mount a comeback effort, this time it was not enough. The Lakers struggled to finish easy baskets at the rim in crunch time and allowed a number of transition buckets to a talented and athletic Bull team.
Nick Perkins started out hot but struggled to handle bigger bodies down low as the game went on. His initial success was promising and at times he looked like a baby Julius Randle – as the booth so kindly mentioned multiple times. Devontae Cacok shined in his role of the bench once again and while he wasn’t the most efficient, his ability to somehow find himself in the mix on every play is impressive. If Cacok can learn to play with controlled aggression, he could be a solid weapon off the bench in due time.
Marcus Allen played an excellent defensive game once again and while he is definitely limited offensively, looks to be the type of player who could contribute some NBA caliber defensive minutes at the point if needed. He still needs to develop the offensive game in order to stick around but he has a solid foundation set on the defensive front.
What in the world has happened to Joe Young? The explosive scorer formerly known as Joey Buckets was able to dominate the Summer League as a rookie in 2015 yet after a few years in the NBA and a year spent torching the CBA, Young hasn’t been able to get anything going so far for the Lakers. Dropping a whopping 0 points on 0-9 shooting from the field and 0-5 shooting from deep, Young’s inability to score has been a huge hindrance for the Lakers.
As a whole, the Lakers simply looked overmatched against a much more talented team and they will need to find a way to score baskets in halfcourt sets and slow teams down in transition. The road won’t get much easier for the Lakers and barring a miracle return from Joe Young, their summer league prospects don’t look very promising.