The Los Angeles Lakers are continuing to fill out their roster in the aftermath of the 2019 NBA Draft. The team already traded for a second-round pick to select Talen-Horton Tucker and signed Devontae Cacok to an Exhibit-10 contract, and have now added undrafted Gonzaga guard Zach Norvell to their roster as they get ready for summer leagues in Sacramento and Las Vegas:
Undrafted Gonzaga guard Zach Norvell has agreed to a two-way NBA contract with the Los Angeles Lakers, league sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 21, 2019
In two seasons at Gonzaga, Norvell shot 37 percent from 3-point range — on 7.1 attempts per game last season — meaning that the Lakers have finally acquired some shooting. Norvell additionally averaged 14.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists as a sophomore last season. He was also teammates with Horton-Tucker in high school:
Un dato interesante: Zach Norvell Jr. y Talen Horton-Tucker fueron compañeros en Simeon Career Academy High School, en Chicago. Ambos son muy, muy amigos. pic.twitter.com/JvKqQYlb2b— NBA Lakers Blog (@NBALAKERSBLOG) June 21, 2019
Analytics expert Kevin Pelton ranked Norvell as the 26th-best player IN THE ENTIRE DRAFT coming into the night, and according to ESPN’s list of the best remaining players following the draft, Norvell was ranked 15th, so this is a decently high-upside get on a two-way deal. Here’s why he was ranked so high:
Teams that emphasize shot attempts at the rim or beyond the arc will like Norvell, whose disciplined shot selection resulted in a strong 59.2 true shooting percentage doing two years in Spokane. More than 60% of Norvell’s shot attempts came from beyond the arc, and he made them at a solid 37% clip. When Norvell did come inside the line, it was typically to get all the way to the basket, helping him shoot a robust 56% on 2-point attempts.
Norvell is a below-average athlete, one reason he was ranked just 83rd by ESPN Recruiting Nation in the 2017 high school class. His 30-inch max vertical was the third-lowest recorded by any player at the combine, per NBA Advanced Stats.
Two-way contract players split time between the NBA and the G League, and each team is allowed to have two such players (who do not count against the normal roster). Players on two-way contracts are allowed to spend up to 45 days on an NBA roster, after which they must be converted into a regular contract or the player must be sent back down for the remainder of the G League regular season.
The Lakers’ most well-known two-way contract product so far is Alex Caruso, and the team will now have one more such contract to give out next season. With Norvell in tow, the Lakers now have at least three players — Norvell, Horton-Tucker and Cacok — for their California Classic Summer League roster in Sacramento. The California Classic begins on July 1, while the more well-known Las Vegas Summer League starts on July 5.
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