Las Vegas Summer League is coming to an end for the Los Angeles Lakers. There's one game left to play, and it's against the Bryce Cotton led Utah Jazz. Cotton is averaging 15.4 points per game, has logged three 20-plus point games (including his play during Utah Summer League) and should be a challenge for D'Angelo Russell to chase around the court.
Lakers Summer League head coach Mark Madsen was complimentary of Russell's on-ball defense following their loss to the Dallas Mavericks, but he's struggled in team concepts as every young player does. The Lakers have fallen back into zone defensive schemes at times to try and help the group generate stops, but that's been a flimsy band-aid at best.
This is the final chance to see this group of players compete until preseason, so savor the moment and hope they show progress both as individuals and a team. Russell did a much better job of taking care of the ball, and his teammates looked more prepared for his out-of-nowhere passes. He's still struggling to split pick-and-rolls, but he's aware he's forcing the issue.
Julius Randle had his best game of Summer League, finishing with 17 points, but was still frustrated with the lack of playing time he's getting. A player trying to find his rhythm after spending months out of action is definitely looking for more than five-minute spurts, but the coaching staff is more interested in protecting him.
The end is here for the Summer League Lakers. It hasn't been the highlight-riddled show many were hoping for, but those moments when it comes together have been enjoyable. Considering we wont see any actual Lakers basketball until October, savor it while you can. It's all about to blow away in the hot Vegas wind.
Time: 3:30 p.m. PT
Station: TWCSN, NBATV