The Los Angeles Lakers opened up the 2022 preseason on Monday night and although they were blown out by the Sacramento Kings, there were some positives to take away.
One of those positives was the play of undrafted rookie Cole Swider, who impressed with his outside shooting in Summer League after the Lakers signed him to a two-way contract out of Syracuse.
Summer League and the actual NBA are two completely different things though, and Swider got his first taste of what it is like to play for the Lakers when he took the floor at Crypto.com Arena for the first time in front of his family.
“It was amazing. It’s a dream come true,” Swider said after the game on his debut. “Obviously, like LeBron [James] on the sideline, didn’t get to play with him tonight, but just LeBron on the sideline. Being in Crypto was amazing. Obviously, I had parents, my dad and my grandfather in the crowd, that was special too.”
Adjusting to the NBA can be difficult for an undrafted rookie trying to get action right away, and Swider talked about how much faster it is at this level.
“Yeah, it’s definitely a lot different. I was saying this earlier, I think everyone was the best player on their college team at this place in the NBA, even players that play in the preseason.
“So it’s definitely a transition but at the same time, I feel pretty good out there speed wise in terms of the speed of the game, obviously got to get better on the defensive end and things like that.”
Swider played 19 minutes in his NBA preseason debut and showed off what he does best — shoot the ball — by finishing with 10 points on 3-of-7 shooting (2-of-4 from deep).
Swider focused on improving other parts of his game
Everyone who has watched Swider play knows he can shoot, but if he is gonna get minutes on this Lakers team then he will need to improve in other aspects of his game, something the 23-year-old is well-aware of.
“Yeah, I think for me, it’s all about impacting the game besides shooting the basketball. So obviously when I’m making shots, everything’s good. But when I’m not making shots, am I getting rebounds? Am I getting deflections? Am I getting stops? Am I helping LeBron and AD and Russ in other ways besides just shooting the ball? So I think for me, that’s been the biggest feedback. The feedback for me is just like you’re an MBA level shooter, but doing all the other things is what’s gonna get you on the court.”
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