The Los Angeles Lakers Las Vegas Summer League roster already looks like one of the more promising teams to grace the event. D’Angelo Russell, Larry Nance, Jr., Anthony Brown, and 2016 second overall pick Brandon Ingram are all expected to grace the Lakers’ roster in Las Vegas. That’s a really strong core four, and they will reportedly be flanked by Moustapha Fall, Jamil Johnson, Jabari Brown, Zach Auguste, and possibly even second round pick Ivica Zubac.
Just Russell and Ingram being in the fold give Los Angeles a significant talent advantage over the rest of the competition, especially with Russell coming off of a summer of applying all of the lessons he learned from his first NBA season. One of the early “favorites” to win the event could be about to receive a major infusion of talent however, because it now appears that if all goes as expected during the NBA’s free agency period, the Lakers could be adding third-year guard Jordan Clarkson to that group:
Btw, was told last week that Randle not playing Summer League but Lakers hopeful Clarkson will be signed & play in Las Vegas— Shahan Ahmed (@shahanLA) June 28, 2016
Even without Randle, a trio of Russell, Ingram, and Clarkson would give the Lakers’ quite obviously the most talented core in Sin City. Even though “winning” Summer League is not necessarily a big deal in the grand scheme of things, it would be a nice boost of positivity for a franchise coming off of the worst three-year stretch in franchise history.
More practically, while it’s still unknown whether or not the newly hired Luke Walton will actually coach the Lakers in Las Vegas, the more time the younger players get together in his brand new schemes, the better.
Throwing a wrench into this hypothetical is the matter of how quickly Clarkson re-signs with Los Angeles. His being back seems like a foregone conclusion at this point, but if the Lakers ask him to hold on while they chase bigger fish in free agency, there is a better than zero chance Clarkson's deal is not done in time for him to suit up in Las Vegas.
We’ll know a lot more about this when free agency gets going on Thursday, but Clarkson being willing to play at all as a third-year player who has had a fair amount of success is further evidence of how much of a gym rat he is, a positive quality for someone the Lakers are about to lock-up on a long-term contract.
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