With LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and numerous role players sitting out the Los Angeles Lakers’ fourth preseason game, head coach Frank Vogel was in need of someone to step up and take on the scoring load. That extra punch came from Zach Norvell Jr.
Norvell Jr. is currently signed to a two-way deal and he is already looking like another potential diamond in the rough that the team’s scouting department has discovered. Starting for the Lakers, Norvell Jr. led the Lakers with 22 points on just 13 shots in the 104-98 win over the Golden State Warriors.
Following the game, Norvell received praise from Vogel.
“Zach’s got a real knack for scoring the basketball. He’s not just a shooter,” Vogel said.
“He understands reading the defense and how he’s being guarded and how the bigs are approaching him when he comes off screens … Those are things he does with the basketball and then everybody’s got to honor him, so he brings gravity to the team when other people have it. They know they got to stay out on a shooter.”
With so many rotation players sitting out this game served as an opportunity for others to step up and arguably none did so more than Norvell. He knocked down a trio of three-pointers while also shooting 7-of-8 from the free throw line hence why Vogel noted his knack for scoring.
The team’s scouting department has been excellent over the last few seasons, consistently finding great talent in the latter stages of the NBA Draft, undrafted players, and Summer League standouts. Alex Caruso was able to parlay his two-way deal into a full NBA deal and with some development, Norvell could potentially do the same.
Obviously, with the Lakers having championship aspirations for the 2019-20 NBA season, the likelihood of Norvell Jr. contributing to the team regularly are slim to none, but that is the purpose of the two-way deal. He will spend the majority of this season developing his game with the South Bay Lakers in the G League and hopefully, he’ll be able to develop into a regular contributor.
It may be only the 2019 NBA preseason, but this is the time for players in Norvell’s position to make a mark and he has done that. His ankle-breaking crossover on Jordan Poole might make all the highlight reels, but it’s his complete game that is catching the eye of Vogel, his teammates, and fans everywhere.