The Los Angeles Lakers are putting the finishing touches on their preparation for Las Vegas Summer League. The team gathered for one of their final times working together before the summer exhibition kicks off in Las Vegas on Friday, and the team is already showing promising signs of growth following the worst season in franchise history.
During the Lakers' introductory press conference for rookies Ivica Zubac and Brandon Ingram on Tuesday, both rookies raved about their new head coach and sounded excited to play in his Golden State Warriors-inspired system. After fans spent last season watching an offensive system seemingly inspired by bumper-to-bumper Los Angeles rush hour traffic, the promise of ball movement and creativity is an exciting one.
With the caveat that it's just one summer league practice possession, the Lakers look like they are getting a head start on implementing the type of off-ball activity that is so devastating for the Warriors. It would be beyond foolish to hope for similar results from the Lakers this season, but the young core is taking baby steps, as is evident on this possession the Lakers shared on their Twitter account:
.@Bari_BrownIDF for pic.twitter.com/HVw0fVAG52— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) July 6, 2016
It's the offseason, so I guess we are going to break down practice possessions to quench our thirst for basketball.
After giving up the ball on the wing, Ingram immediately shuffles towards the baseline, rubbing off of a screen from Jabari Brown, who pops open for a three when the defense scrambles a bit. This stuff is not groundbreaking, but it does represent progress following a stagnant Lakers offense that too often seemed to be run in molasses last year.
Modern NBA offense wasn't the only unexpected surprise at the facility on Wednesday. Third-year forward Julius Randle, who will not be playing in Las Vegas, decided to hop into the scrimmage with his new teammates:
.@J30_RANDLE out on the floor running with the #LakersSummer squad at today's practice pic.twitter.com/bNj7Nmoayo— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) July 6, 2016
Randle getting a crash course in Walton's sets is a good thing, even if it was just one practice. Also a good thing? His fellow power forward Larry Nance, Jr. stroking in rhythm three-pointers during the scrimmage:
Want more quick footage to overanalyze while we don't have basketball to watch? Glad you asked!
Buckets, Buckets, Buckets pic.twitter.com/1ttDKAziB3— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) July 6, 2016
The Lakers were also kind enough to share a few photos of the practice, including this year's second overall pick guarding the Lakers' last one:
B.I. guarding D-Lo pic.twitter.com/BnV2jQTemg— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) July 6, 2016
And here's a better look at Ingram's ridiculous wingspan in action:
⏪ LENGTH ⏩ pic.twitter.com/aiXqTnZuKM— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) July 6, 2016
Good luck to the rest of the NBA getting passes around those arms in a few years.
The Lakers kick off Las Vegas Summer League on Friday, July 8th. For coverage from Vegas, you can follow this author on Twitter at @hmfaigen.