Marcelo Huertas followed up his six-assist debut with eight more dimes against the Portland Trail Blazers, closer to unwrapping his golden ticket to the Los Angeles Lakers' 15-man roster one pass at a time. The Lakers will need stability behind D'Angelo Russell, and Marcelo looks more than capable of stepping in as a professional who knows how to play organized basketball. Lakers head coach Byron Scott credited Huertas for taking control of the second unit following their win over Portland, and followed up on that sentiment during practice Wednesday telling media Marclo has "pretty much" solidified his spot in the rotation.
Jordan Clarkson and Lou Williams both function as players who attack with the ball in their hands, and with the current roster construction, are going to log most of their minutes as "shooting guards." Russell absolutely should absorb the majority of minutes at point guard, but the Lakers need someone who can check in and manage the offense. Huertas is perfect in this role.
Though he's never played in the NBA, what he's developed while playing internationally is transitioning without a hitch. He's a traditional point guard who'd much rather make the perfect pass than create for himself, turning into some pretty passes in his two outings. That 32-year-old Marcelo has probably made passes like this entry into the paint more times than he can count ... :
... should absolutely help the Lakers' second unit scoring. Having a player Scott can rely on to handle big minutes should help him manage Russell's playing time, providing solid depth in the reserves. Huertas is a proven commodity who's simply never had the opportunity to make the leap to the NBA, for one reason or another, until now.
"I've always had this dream and I think that I came to a point in my career that I finally had the chance to be here and compete against the best. I think I'm ready for it," Marcelo said after his Lakers debut in San Diego. "I've lived and played at such a high level in Europe for so many years."
"I just try to play my kind of game, run the floor, and try to be Byron's voice on the court when I'm out there. I just try to do my best and play basketball. That's all I do."
Whatever "his kind of game" is, it's an unquestionable joy to watch him work that Marcelo Magic:
The Lakers have already made roster cuts to pave Huertas' path to the final roster, waiving Michael Frazier II and Robert Upshaw. They still have to narrow down 17 players to a maximum of 15, but everything seems to point to Huertas spending his first season in the NBA with the Lakers. Yes, the team is focusing on developing young talent, but it's clear having veterans around the young players they want to focus on in Year 1 together is a piece of the puzzle the front office isn't overlooking.
Marcelo's been nothing but grateful for the opportunity allotted him, and in return, has all but punched his ticket to Oct. 28 and beyond. Mining someone that can zip passes around the court while assisting in the cultivation of their young nucleus isn't a bad find at all for the Lakers, about as win-win as it gets in these situations.