With the free agent market cooling off and Kawhi Leonard still at large, Laker fans get to take their mind off the crippling anxiety for a brief time as the Lakers’ Summer League squad makes their debut in Sacramento at the California Classic.
Facing a talented Heat team in their first matchup, the California Classic should serve to be a solid tune-up before the Lakers head into the ever popular Las Vegas Summer League.
Lakers Summer League Roster & Starting Lineup vs Heat
* – Denotes Starter
PG: Joe Young*, Marcus Allen, Conner Frankamp, Codi Miller-McIntyre
SG: Dakota Mathias*, Jeffrey Carroll, Talen Horton-Tucker (expected to not play)
SF: Zach Norvell Jr.*, Rosco Allen
PF: Jordan Caroline*, Aric Holman
C: Nick Perkins*, Devontae Cacok
Joe Young Among Top Lakers To Watch
With a few years of NBA experience under his belt and a monster season in China behind him, Joe Young looks to head back to the States and make his mark on the NBA. Known affectionately as “Joey Buckets”, Young should be expected to have a prominent role on the Lakers’ summer league roster and will likely function as the primary scoring option on the team. Don’t be shocked to see Young put up some huge numbers as his experience should play a huge role in his ability to dominate the young Summer League competition.
Outside of Young, it is worth keeping an eye on the pair of Gonzaga & Nevada rookies Zach Norvell Jr. and Jordan Caroline. Norvell Jr. is a jack of all trades guard who should offer the Lakers a bit of versatility on the wing while Caroline is a productive, yet undersized defensive-minded big man. Both players are lacking the overall game to make an immediate impact at the NBA but could show enough in Summer League to prove themselves to be extremely viable longterm options moving forward.
Talen Horton-Tucker to Sit in California Classic
Unfortunately, the Lakers one and only draft pick is sitting out the California Classic as he is rehabbing a stress fracture in his foot. The Lakers were aware of the injury upon drafting him and there is still a good chance Horton-Tucker is good to go a few days down the road for Vegas Summer League. This is most likely a precautionary measure as the Lakers test out their new draftee’s health and nothing to worry about in terms of his long term health or production.
Horton-Tucker is an interesting prospect who while not possessing elite leaping ability, remains a very above average athlete for his position. Much heavier and stronger than opposing guards on the perimeter, he has the ability to stop defenders in their tracks and competently switch onto much bigger defenders in the post. He has a high basketball IQ and while his actual ability to put the ball in the net is still pretty raw, he looks to have the upside to be an incredibly versatile role player for years to come.