On Friday night, the Los Angeles Lakers opened NBA Summer League in Las Vegas with a 85-65 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans, as rookies Brandon Ingram and Ivica Zubac both impressed in their first games wearing the purple and gold colors of the Lakers.
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Summer League is meant to showcase young talent, and the games are generally reserved for first and second year players. The Lakers have a young roster, so the likes of Larry Nance Jr. and D'Angelo Russell, who will both begin their second seasons with the Lakers at the start of the 2016-17 season, stood head and shoulders above the competition.
Russell recorded a double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds. The only knock on Russell was the point guard's poor start when he was looking to actively set up teammates. The no. 2 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft finished with five turnovers but also managed six assists before the final hord sounded.
Nance played a consistent game and finished with 11 points, nine rebounds, two blocks and a steal in an active outing that featured a made three-pointer. Nance previously talked about explanding his range, and Friday night provided an example of the progress the young forward has made this offseason.
Friday also happened to be fans' first chance to see any meaningful footage of Zubac. The teenage center from Croatia instantly became a crowd favorite with his defensive activity and propensity to block shots. Zubac finished with three of the Lakers' seven blocks in the game, and each of the defensive plays got fans up out of their seats. The crowd took to humming "Zuuuu" after each of the center's rejections.
Of course, the majority of fans in attendance and watching at home focused in on the Lakers' no. 2 pick in the 2016 Draft, Ingram. The lengthy forward with a slight frame made his first shot and proceeded to show his talents on both ends of the court. Ingram collected two blocks and scored 12 points on 5-9 shooting from the field. He had a good outing and looked comfortable in his first Summer League game.
All in all, Friday night in Las Vegas provided a glimpse into the future, and the future looks bright for the Lakers.
Notes: Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson enjoyed the game from the sidelines.