On Friday, exactly one week ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers' first game in Las Vegas, the team announced its 2017 NBA Summer League roster, and the talent on the roster suggests the Lakers should probably be considered favorites to win the tournament.
Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram, who were picked with the no. 2 over all pick in back-to-back seasons, headline the roster with second-year Ivica Zubac expected to start at center. LA's no. 27 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, Kyle Kuzma, will likely start in the front court, as well, but the no. 30 selection, Josh Hart, faces stiff competition for a starting spot from David Nwaba, who joined the team as a defensive specialist and undrafted free agent at the tail-end of the 2016-17 season.
Considering Nwaba's seniority, general play in the previous season and the fact that the Lakers recently picked up the option on his contract, the LA-native will likely start.
Also, the Lakers have a 19-year-old, 6-foot 10-inch rookie center that can shoot three-pointers in Thomas Bryant, and the coaching staff will likely play the 241-pound big man meaningful minutes to better evaluate his talent.
True, the Lakers have notoriously underachieved in the competition in recent years, but this team has even more young talent than those previous incarnations. After all, the Lakers not only drafted four players in 2017, but Nwaba, Zubac and Ingram combined for 137 appearances and 53 starts during the 2016-17 season. Add in that the Lakers are also bringing along NBA Development League Most Valueable Player Vander Blue, and suddenly, the Lakers not winning the 2017 NBA Summer League, or at least advancing to the final, would likely be viewed as a massive disappointment for Lakers Summer League coach Judd Buechler.
Another notable player on the Lakers' 2017 NBA Summer League roster is former UCLA forward Travis Wear. Here's the full roster: