The South Bay Lakers announced that No. 39 overall pick Isaac Bonga has been called up by the Los Angeles Lakers for their two-game road trip this weekend, starting in San Antonio on Friday.
The move isn’t for ideal reasons, as Bonga is providing insurance due to an ankle injury that has sidelined Brandon Ingram for the trip, but it might be a good opportunity for Bonga to show how much he’s grown.
Bonga’s Lakers career didn’t get off to an ideal start in Las Vegas Summer League, as the 19-year-old couldn’t take more than three steps on the court without traveling, but he’s since emerged as arguably the team’s most promising rookie.
In 12 games with South Bay, Bonga has averaged 14 points per game while shooting 47.5 percent from the field and draining 44.4 percent of his 45 total 3-point attempts. Only fellow rookie Svi Mykhailiuk is shooting the 3-ball at a higher clip than Bonga.
Bonga’s drastic improvement from behind the arc has been an unexpected development, but a welcome one. However, his shooting, as impressive as it’s been, is just one of the many exciting parts of Bonga’s game.
The 6-foot-9 German-born forward plays like a giant guard, and that’s because prior to coming to the U.S. to the NBA, he was a point guard. In fact, prior to him showing he can knock down open shots, his playmaking was the most exciting part of his game.
A point forward that can hit 3-pointers? That’s a player that can be plugged into almost any team, and the Lakers have the opportunity to see just how versatile he is with two of their key players sidelined.
Ingram and Rajon Rondo won’t suit up for the Lakers during their weekend road trip starting Friday in San Antonio. While both Ingram and Rondo are both flawed players, they at the very least provide consistent playmaking when they’re on the floor.
The same could be said of Bonga, making him the ideal player to plug into the second unit. Anything else he offers on offense is gravy.
Bonga likely won’t be Walton’s first option off the bench, but if Lance Stephenson and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope continue to struggle with the minutes they’re given, Bonga should be the next man — or teenager — up, and it would be an unexpected but potentially positive development if he could look like he fits in on an NBA floor.
You can follow this author on Twitter at @RadRivas.