For the past few seasons, the Los Angeles Lakers have done an excellent job at identifying and developing players who were either second-round draft picks or completely undrafted. Alex Caruso and Austin Reaves are prime examples of recent success stories and the franchise has another intriguing prospect in Scotty Pippen Jr. who spent his rookie year on a two-way contract, mostly appearing in the G League with the South Bay Lakers.
Pippen didn’t spend much time on the Lakers main roster, appearing in just six games overall and averaging 2.3 points in 5.3 minutes. In his time in the G League, however, he flashed a lot of potential as someone who could potentially contribute down the line.
Appearing in 35 games, Pippen led the South Bay Lakers in scoring, averaging 22.2 points per game on 45.3% shooting from the field. He ranked second on the team with 5.3 assists and 1.7 steals per game, trailing only Shaquille Harrison, whom the Lakers would sign to their roster right before the playoffs.
Because of his performance, Pippen would be named to the 2023 NBA G League Next Up Game as well as the 2023 Rising Stars Challenge during NBA All-Star Weekend.
Pippen was also named NBA G League Player of the Week in December when he averaged 26.3 points, 5.0 assists and 2.3 steals while leading South Bay to three wins.
In terms of career highlights, surely nothing will top making your NBA debut on Opening Night, which Pippen did in the Lakers’ contest against the Golden State Warriors. He also got his first NBA points that night by sinking a pair of free throws. You could also point to Dec. 19 when he recorded his first NBA field goal against the Phoenix Suns.
In terms of his best overall outing in the G League, his Nov. 23 contest against the Oklahoma City Blue stands out as he scored a career-high 36 points while knocking down six 3-pointers to go along with six assists and three steals in a South Bay victory.
Pippen will likely be one of the primary players on the Lakers’ Summer League team where he will have an opportunity to show his growth and how he can potentially contribute to the main team. The Lakers’ point guard position is in question at the moment, so Pippen could turn some heads with a strong summer.
An impressive showing in Las Vegas along with a good training camp could see Pippen fight for a roster spot and have his two-way deal converted to a standard NBA deal or at the very least, implore the Lakers to keep developing him for another season.
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