With the Los Angeles Lakers losing their first three contests in Las Vegas, this year’s Summer League experience has thus far been uneventful compared to seasons’ past for Lakers’ fans. That will likely be par for the course for the foreseeable future.
The years of rebuilding, first glimpses at lottery talent and a collective hope among fans in the Thomas and Mack Center that the players on the court would help lead the team back to prominence has evaporated, because the team is back now.
But although that shared summer experience was fun, and will be looked back upon nostalgically by the fans that stuck it out for the lottery years, these exhibition games have become just that — exhibition — once you have LeBron James and Anthony Davis on your roster.
This is not to say, however, that the current roster has not shown promise despite their lack of lottery talent or even a first round selection.
Continuing an encouraging tradition of finding “diamonds in the rough,” the Lakers’ scouting department may have hit once again on their recent Exhibit 10 contract signees —Devontae Cacok and Aric Holman.
Devontae Cacok hammers the oop on the lob from Jordan Howard! #NBASummer @LAClippers/@Lakers on @ESPNU. pic.twitter.com/yCsv4pBMI6— NBA (@NBA) July 7, 2019
Cacok, the undrafted 6’7” energizer bunny has been impressive on and off the floor for the Lakers this summer, leading the club in both rebounds and steals in only 22 minutes of action per contest.
Although not posting notable numbers thus far, Holman, the 6’10” big man who buried his threes at a near 43 percent clip as a senior at Mississippi State may arguably be the most intriguing player on the roster.
Only attempting four field goal attempts a game (2.7 of which have come from behind the arc) Holman’s stroke is still encouragingly intact, as he has shot 37.5 percent from three in the team’s first few games in Las Vegas to go along with impressive flashes on defense (1.3 blocks per game).
The Lakers (0-3 in Las Vegas so far) will likely need efforts from both Cacok and Holman if they look to snap their losing skid against the Knicks, who will march out the notable trio of Mitchell Robinson, Kevin Knox and recent No. 3 pick — RJ Barrett.
Barrett will definitely look to bounce back and have a strong night against the Lakers as he has thus far disappointed in his initial summer league-debut performances. Through two games, the Duke standout is shooting only 31 percent from the field and 22 percent from three.
Although ultimately not meaning much in the grand scheme of things, it would be nice to see the Lakers get in the win column, especially against bigger name talent. If they do, it could provide the latest example that the team’s scouting department is something to be proud of.
The Lakers will take on the Knicks at 6:30 p.m. PST on ESPN2. You can follow Alex on Twitter at @AlexmRegla.