With the Los Angeles Lakers being eliminated from playoff contention during the final week of the regular season, the team had the opportunity to give some younger players an opportunity to play big minutes. One of those was rookie guard Mac McClung.
McClung spent most of the season in the G-League with the South Bay Lakers where he put on a show. In 26 games with South Bay, McClung averaged 21.7 points, 7.7 assists and 6.7 rebounds per game. That was good enough to be named G-League Rookie of The Year and just before the season ended, the Lakers gave McClung a two-way contract.
McClung then appeared in the Lakers’ final game of the season against the Denver Nuggets, capping off the team’s incredible comeback with a huge slam to end the game in overtime. Overall, it was an incredible year for McClung and he spoke about how appreciative he was of the awards in the G-League as well as his two-way deal.
“It meant a lot,” McClung said during his exit interview with the Lakers. “It’s not something I was really focused on at all. I wanted to win a championship for the South Bay Lakers. Coach [Miles] Simon just announced it and I was kind of shocked because my mom wasn’t there, but it’s definitely a huge honor and I’m very appreciative of it and my coaches and everyone; it wouldn’t have happened without them. Super lucky to have them and getting to play last night was an honor and I’m super appreciative.”
That mindset is definitely something the Lakers value as it shows a lot about McClung’s character. Oftentimes players in the G-League are looking to do whatever they can to get the call-up to the NBA which can lead to selfish play.
But McClung wasn’t focused on the individual rewards, but rather the team goal of winning a championship with the South Bay Lakers and in the midst of that, he was able to achieve individual accolades as well.
As a two-way player, McClung will likely be on the Lakers’ Summer League team, giving him another opportunity to showcase his growth and that he can produce for the main team as well.
McClung reflects on final dunk, performance with Lakers
While McClung didn’t put up crazy numbers in that final contest, his first with the Lakers he still made an impact all-around, not to mention that final dunk was extremely impressive.
After the contest, he reflected on the dunk itself and his performance as a whole.
“I really didn’t think of it much, but all my friends and family said it was on all the websites and everything, which was cool,” McClung said. “But I tried to make the most out of the experience. It was great getting a win. It was a fun game to be a part of, so it was just a lot of joy.”
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