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Lakers vs. Timberwolves Summer League preview: Basketball begins in Las Vegas

The Lakers' youth will compete together for the first time Friday night, taking on Towns and the Timberwolves.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The basketball world has converged on Las Vegas for it's annual farewell tour in the desert. Before the NBA's slumber until September is hoops under the blazing hot sun in Nevada, but Los Angeles Lakers fans are hoping their young team is what burns brightest.

The Lakers have one of the most talented Summer League teams this year -- so stacked, in fact, that it's even hard to say what the biggest draw is. Will it be the dynamic passing and sharpshooting of D'Angelo Russell that steals the show, or is Julius Randle's return going to be the big, buzzing story coming out of Vegas? Robert Upshaw is fighting for his basketball life, which means Lakers fans might get a glimpse of the kind of dominance that allowed him this final opportunity in the first place. Or he might join the pile of broken dreams buried under the sizzling sand. It could be second-year guard Jordan Clarkson blitzing defenses that leaves a lasting impression over the next few weeks. This young group is spilling with potential and could become the best show off the strip.

Their first test on the court together comes against the Minnesota TImberwolves and No. 1 pick Karl-Anthony Towns Friday night. Pitting Russell -- hopefully, as the Lakers haven't announced whether or not he'll be available for the first game pending on finalizing his contract -- against Towns is the perfect way to open Summer League.

The floodgate of built-up anticipation lifts Friday at 5:30 p.m. PT for Lakers fans. Summer League is finally here.

Time: 5:30 p.m. PT

Station: NBA TV, TWCSN

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