The Los Angeles Lakers continued a flurry of roster activity that has now seen them add five players to their roster for Sacramento and Las Vegas Summer League when they signed Malik Pope of San Diego State to their roster for the offseason exhibitions.
Sean Cunningham of ABC had the scoop:
Sacramento native (Laguna Creek HS) & San Diego State star Malik Pope will be joining the Los Angeles Lakers for Summer League, according to sources. That means he'll be playing in his hometown during the California Classic - before heading to Vegas.— Sean Cunningham (@SeanCunningham) June 24, 2018
Pope was the 81st-ranked prospect on Jonathan Givony of ESPN’s list of the top 100 players in the 2018 Draft, so while it’s not surprising he wasn’t drafted, it’s also equally unsurprising that the Lakers front office picked him up as a deep cut reference to the time Kobe Bryant dropped 81 points on
Jalen Rose the Toronto Raptors.
In his senior season at SDSU, Pope averaged 12.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and 0.7 steals. He also posted incredible measurables at the NBA Draft combine, being measured at 6’10 with a 7’2 wingspan.
If Pope can channel some of those natural gifts into a strong summer league as a rim protector and roller, then he might be able to surprise people and get a training camp invite from the Lakers. At the very least, a decent showing could see Pope given one of the South Bay Lakers’ roster spots and the opportunity to earn an NBA call-up.
Pope will join an increasingly crowded Lakers summer league roster that is set to include sophomores Josh Hart and Thomas Bryant along with drafted rookies like Mo Wagner and Svi Mykhailiuk (and maybe even Isaac Bonga if the trade for him is ever finalized and he decides to come over rather than being a draft-and-stash).
The Lakers have also added Malik Newman, Joel Berry II, Jeffrey Carroll and Johnathan Williams to their summer league roster, so Pope will face stiff competition if he wants to make the Lakers’ roster.
We’ll see if he can make an impression when Sacramento summer league kicks off in Pope’s hometown on July 2.
You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.