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Lakers vs. Warriors Preview: Second matchup this summer will provide insight into the future

L.A. and Golden State will meet for the second time this summer for another round of “who has the brighter future down the road.”

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Los Angeles Lakers v LA Clippers Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

It’s definitely not a time to panic about the young Lakers going 0-2 in Las Vegas Summer League so far. Mainly because summer league ultimately doesn’t mean much for a playoff contender with next-to-no young players like the Lakers.

Still, for those who do care about the results, there are reasons to be optimistic about the Lakers’ second summer showdown against the Golden State Warriors, and if the second game will be anything like the first, it should be an interesting match up.

The summertime Lakers have showed signs of dominance throughout their five games this summer between the “California Classic” and Las Vegas. But they’ve also showed signs of being the opposite of dominant, which has led to their 2-3 record overall across the two events.

Tonight is Round 2 between the Lakers’ and Warriors’ futures. The underdogs (the Lakers) took the win in Round 1 in Sacramento, and the second matchup will be another chance to see if either of these teams have any young impact player who could help either squad moving forward.

The Warriors have four draft picks on their summer roster, while the Lakers have none. But even with Golden State’s draft picks, L.A. fought its way to a win with a roster filled with undrafted free agents and summer-league invites. Which is ironic considering the Lakers are without a prospect on the roster.

Four players had a positive plus-minus outing in the Lakers 100-90 win against the Warriors last week, but Zach Norvell Jr. (who’s been the Lakers’ prime player on the court this summer) wasn’t one of them.

With Talen Horton-Tucker out of Summer League with a stress reaction, Norvell has taken a small piece of the spotlight this summer. Since the Lakers are signing free agents left and right (and missing out on Kawhi Leonard), it’s commendable that he’s been a headline out of Las Vegas, and could show that he might be able to contribute if called upon this season.

Norvell is shooting an average of 41.7 percent from the field in four games for the Lakers. His shooting has been consistent, but he’s flip-flopped between good rebounding and weak assisting (7 rebounds, 3 assists against the Miami Heat) or vice versa (2 rebounds, 8 assists against the Sacramento Kings). Even with missing Saturday’s game against the Clippers, Norvell is shooting 43 percent from the three-point line. Norvell is day-to-day, but according to Miles Simon there is hope he will be back on the court in Las Vegas.

At the end of the week, summer league will weigh next to nothing for the Lakers. Only a couple of these guys — if any — will see minutes on the court alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis. But in the meantime, it’s worth seeing just how the Lakers’ summer signings and invites can hold up against top draft picks, and if there are any (beyond Norvell) worth keeping around for training camp or in the G League.

Tonight’s game will tip off at 8:30 p.m. PT on NBA TV at the Thomas and Mack Center.

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