The young Los Angeles Lakers had a very good showing in Summer League, and head coach Luke Walton was in Las Vegas to check out everything.
Second-year players D’Angelo Russell and Larry Nance Jr. looked far improved from their rookie NBA seasons, while rookies Brandon Ingram and Ivica Zubac showed flashes of great talent and seem primed to make the Lakers scouting department look good again.
According to ESPN’s Baxter Holmes, Walton was not only pleased with the young Lakers’ performance on the court, but their hunger and desire to get better off of it:
“I think summer league has gone great, but I’m looking at more than just the games, like practice, how hard they’ve worked and how they’ve embraced competing, whether it’s a summer league game or practice and the drills. [I’m looking at] their acceptance of wanting to win. Even if it’s a defensive drill or anything, they want more. They keep asking for more. They keep coming in the gym every day and working. Overall, I’m thrilled with all of them.”
Walton added that they still have a lot to work on, but he is pleased with how they have been so far:
“There’s a lot we’ve got to work on to get better at. But as of now, I’m very pleased with the way the guys are playing, acting, representing themselves. Everything. They’ve been great.”
Walton has every reason to be pleased with his team so far. Summer League isn’t about results, but about development, and there was plenty on display throughout the Lakers roster.
Russell was one of the best players in Las Vegas, and Nance wasn’t far behind him with his all-around impact, especially on the defensive end. Ingram ended the Summer on a great note with his performance in the final game and Zubac is already a fan favorite thanks to his game and enthusiasm.
Walton is right in that the Lakers have a lot to work on, but as long as the work ethic and development continues, things will get better in Los Angeles quickly.