The Los Angeles Lakers opened up their Summer League slate in Las Vegas against their crosstown rival Clippers. The Lakers would fall to their rivals in overtime thanks in large part to the play of their 2016 first-round pick Brice Johnson.
With 23 points on the night, Johnson went shot for shot with Brandon Ingram and showed what he is capable of. In one of the most memorable moments of the game Johnson spent baseline on second overall pick Lonzo Ball and threw down a massive slam over the rookie.
Johnson spoke about the dunk to Mark Medina of the OC Register, saying it wasn’t about showing up Ball, but rather proving something to himself:
“If you play me high-side, that’s what I’m taught to do,” Johnson said. “I’m taught to go baseline. It’s a natural instinct, especially against a little guy. If a little guy is going to do that, you have to make him pay.”
Though Johnson talked trash afterwards, he had no intentions in upstaging Ball. Johnson made the play to fulfill a larger purpose.
“I had something to prove myself,” Johnson said after the Clippers’ 86-67 win over the Utah Jazz on Sunday at Thomas & Mack Center. “It was my first time since playing in Summer League last year.”
Johnson has definitely been proving what he can do in Las Vegas, averaging 18.5 points and 6.5 rebounds. That dunk showed everyone that he is someone to watch out for this upcoming season.
The Lakers have their own young players who have been proving themselves this summer. Brandon Ingram quickly showed that he was above the Summer League competition in his lone game while Ball and Kyle Kuzma have each had moments that will get Lakers fans excited about what they can become.