Along with the new Sacramento Summer League, Las Vegas will once again play host to the NBA’s summer list, but with a twist. As you’ve probably heard, all 30 teams will be represented, making the competition for the Lakers attempting to defend their championship all the more difficult. Wednesday afternoon, the Lakers announced their full roster and that Miles Simon will be at the helm for the games.
Simon will take Jed Buechler’s spot on the sidelines as head coach, as first reported by Mike Trudell of Lakers.com. Simon — who earned praise as Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma’s player development coach this season — will have a tougher job than Buechler, who coached the team last year, as he won’t have high-end lottery talent to lean on.
Neither Lonzo Ball or Kyle Kuzma will be participating in any of the games and Josh Hart will only be used sparingly, as Magic Johnson said yesterday.
Here’s the full roster, via Lakers.com:
As you can see, at least two three of the players the Lakers drafted will be available in Las Vegas. Defense isn’t really a priority, so Moe Wagner and Svi Mykhailiuk should show out fairly well. Isaac Bonga — who the team can’t complete a trade for until July 6 but will likely play in summer league as well — is almost a complete unknown, but as a lengthy guard/wing, if he can get out on the break, he could find some success as well.
One guy I’m particularly interested to watch play is Thomas Bryant. He was a crowd favorite a year ago and has the kind of skillset that translates well to how games are played in that league. So long as he maintains his usual insane amount of energy, knocks down some shots and gets up above the rim every so often, he’ll remind fans why they loved him so much last year.
Of the players who hadn’t been previously reported, Stephaun Branch is an interesting name who acquitted himself well in the G League with the South Bay Lakers last season. Demarcus Holland also played for South Bay last season, and Xavier Rathan-Mayes is presumably just extra guard depth.
With today's announcement, this gives us the following likely SL rotation:— Ben Rosales (@brosales12) June 27, 2018
PG: Caruso | Berry
SG: Svi | Newman | Holland | Rathan-Mayes
SF: Hart | Bonga | Branch | King | Carroll
PF: Wagner | Pope | Williams
C: Bryant https://t.co/vkuYXcWT5O
If you haven’t had the chance to get out to check out summer league, you really should. It’s a great opportunity to see these guys from fairly good seats and at a decent price, even if the basketball can get pretty sloppy.
The Lakers play their first Sacramento Summer League game on July 2, and begin play in Las Vegas on July 7.