LeBron James Sends Strong Message to Lakers Rookie

LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers

Getty LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers

Heading into the off-season, one of the primary objectives for the Los Angeles Lakers was to get younger, as they looked to inject more energy into their aging rotation.

Perhaps that’s why the Lakers front office made the move to acquire Scotty Pippen Jr on a two-way contract for the upcoming season. Regardless of their motivations for extending the contract offer, the undrafted point guard has already begun to impress, averaging 11.8 points, 4.8 assists, and 2.6 steals during the Lakers’ five Summer League games. 

It’s that type of production that has led LeBron James to heap praise on the Vanderbilt product, as he recently took to Twitter to share his thoughts on the Lakers’ latest young prospect.

Pippen will likely spend most of the upcoming season with the South Bay Lakers, but if he impresses, there’s every reason to believe that Darvin Ham will give him an opportunity to impress at the NBA level.

Phil Handy Praises Pippen Jr.

LeBron isn’t the only member of the Lakers organization that has been impressed with Pippen Jr. as Los Angeles assistant coach Phil Handy has recently spoken of the explosive guard’s basketball IQ, noting how his basketball pedigree is ‘in his genes’.

“Man, it’s in his genes. His dad was a hell of a player, so you can see it. He’s very cerebral, very smart. His pace and his tempo, his change-of-pace is really good. He’s level with his body.

He had 15 and eight tonight in 19 minutes, four-for-seven, just very efficient. Just a smart kid, understands how to play and I think his skill set, I don’t even think you’ve seen the best of it yet. Just really high-level IQ,” Handy said following the Lakers’ 100-77 victory over the Golden State Warriors in Las Vegas.

Pippen ended that July 3 contest with 15 points, eight assists, three steals, and a rebound while shooting 57.1% from the field and 33.3% from deep over 19 minutes of game time.

Westbrook’s Career in Jeporady

While Pippen Jr’s career is just getting started, another Lakers guard has his hanging in the balance, as his future with the franchise looks all but over, but his enlarged contract means no other team is willing to table a trade offer.

Of course, we’re talking about Russell Westbrook, the superstar guard who has struggled to find a long-term home in the last few seasons and watched his debut season in Los Angeles turn into a nightmare.

That’s why, when speaking on the Hoops Collective podcast, ESPN analyst Tim Bontemps noted that Westbrook’s career could be coming to an abrupt end.

“He might be out of the league after the Lakers,” Bontemps said on the July 22 episode of the popular podcast.

Of course, there is still plenty of time for the Lakers to find a willing trade partner for Westbrook, and there is still the possibility that the Brooklyn Nets agree to take the ball-dominant guard in return for Kyrie Irving – who has made it clear he wants to leave the Nets this summer.

Still, if Westbrook is unable to find a new home, there’s no telling if his situation with the Lakers is going to improve anytime soon.

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