Last year, the Los Angeles Lakers were able to play out the remainder of their 2019-20 season in Orlando, where the NBA created a bubble environment for the 22 teams that were invited. The South Bay Lakers weren’t’ as fortunate.
In June, when the NBA was in the early stages of restarting its season, the NBA G League announced that the rest of their 2019-20 campaign would be canceled. South Bay finished their season ranked 11th in the Western Conference with a 19-25 record.
There was hope that South Bay would be able to resume their season in 2021, but they opted out of the G League Bubble in February. South Bay hasn’t played since March 11, 2020.
When South Bay will play again is still unknown, but the team’s head coach Coby Karl and his coaching staff will have their hands full until then. In a recent interview with Silver Screen and Roll, Karl revealed that the Lakers kept him and his assistants on staff with their scouting department:
“The Lakers have maintained our employment and we’re doing prep for the upcoming draft, and our Exhibit-10 guys and possible two-way (contract players) in the future.”
The Lakers also kept Karl and his assistants on staff when the G League season was canceled last year even though their contracts only lasted through the 2019-20 season, as Kyle Goon of the OC Register reported in January.
Karl is eager to get back out on the sidelines, where he’s coached since 2016, but he said he said he hasn’t minded doing a little extra homework for his team and the Lakers:
“It’s always been part of what we’ve done in the G League. It’s definitely not my favorite part, I like the connection of seeing a guy face to face, and being able to give him some tips and tricks on the game of basketball and the competition of it. But it’s fun to practice anything and get better at it. I enjoy that process for sure, and I’ve picked the brains of guys like Jesse Buss and a couple different scouts I know throughout the NBA just so I can learn how to do it better.”
Given how successful Karl and the South Bay Lakers have been in developing talent in the past, it’s easy to see Karl and his coaching staff fitting right in with the Lakers’ scouting department. As things stand, the Lakers only have one pick in this year’s draft, but it’s a first-round pick in a spot they’ve been known to have success in, especially when compared to other teams.
So, if there’s another Alex Caruso or Talen Horton-Tucker in this year’s draft — or on the outside of it — the Lakers’ expanded scouting super team will surely spot them before anyone else does.