While the focus from the 2018 NBA Draft for the Los Angeles Lakers largely lied with selecting Moritz Wagner and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, the team also added Isaac Bonga. Not much was known of the international prospect who was brought stateside for Summer League.
Bonga showed some flashes of his potential during that time and preseason, and he began the 2018-19 campaign with the South Bay Lakers. Being assigned to the G League helped the 19-year-old further acclimate himself with the new organization.
After 12 games with South Bay, Bonga was called up by the Lakers for their road trip. He wasn’t necessarily expected to play much but appeared in both games.
On Saturday, he was sent to the free throw line on a technical foul late in the fourth quarter and made it for his first career point. The Lakers bench celebrated the moment, which is one Bonga said he appreciated and will keep with him, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“It was special. It was special for me coming up from the G League, playing in the last game a little bit, then playing again a little bit. I had my first points, so I’m definitely going to remember that. … I kind of looked to the bench and just saw everybody jumping up. It’s cool. You see we all enjoy moments like that. It’s pretty cool.”
Bonga’s NBA debut came in the final minute of a loss to the San Antonio Spurs, and the following night he played four minutes as the Lakers emptied the bench in a blowout win over the Memphis Grizzlies.
He presumably will remain with the team for the foreseeable future as Brandon Ingram is expected to be sidelined throughout the week until having his sprained ankle re-evaluated. Additionally, Michael Beasley left the Lakers prior to Saturday’s game due to a family health matter.