The Los Angeles Lakers will take on the New York Knicks with both teams looking for their first win of the 2019 Las Vegas Summer League.
The Lakers came into this year’s Summer League with very low expectations. The No. 46 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, Talen Horton-Tucker, was ruled out for the entirety of Summer League with a stress reaction in his foot. This meant that all of their players would either be undrafted rookies or assorted G League players.
While wins haven’t been a priority for this Lakers team, they have managed to find some success in terms of getting players to fill out their training camp roster. Zach Norvell Jr. will be joining the Lakers on one of their two-way deals, leaving one slot of that kind available.
They’ve also signed Devontae Cacok, Aric Holman, and Jordan Caroline to Exhibit 10 deals, meaning the Lakers will retain the rights of those players at least through training camp. They have three of those slots remaining.
Since the Lakers are expected to be a contending team for the 2019-20 NBA season, fueling their G League affiliate becomes the only purpose, something they have done extremely well.
The Knicks, on the other hand, are also winless in Las Vegas. However, their 0-3 record comes with a bit more issues as four of their players project to be major on-court pieces for them when the regular season rolls around.
Allonzo Trier and Mitchell Robinson have impressed through three games, something that all players in their second year should do. However, it’s Kevin Knox’s inconsistency and RJ Barrett’s complete disappearance that are the major cause for concern.
Barrett, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft, is averaging 11.7 points per game on an abysmal 28% shooting from the field.
So while both teams will be searching for their first win, it’s the Knicks who need it much more. If the Lakers go winless, they’ll still have LeBron James and Anthony Davis leading them to championship contention.
If the Knicks go winless, it could be a major black mark on their young players that will play major roles — and possibly even start — when October arrives. If the Lakers manage to beat the Knicks, it would only amplify that narrative, even if a win would be great for the morale of Los Angeles’ newest training camp players.