As the Los Angeles Lakers are now in Las Vegas participating in the annual Summer League, I welcomed Christian Rivas on the show this week to preview that team just before he heads out to The City of Sin.
While this roster might not be as exciting as those teams during the rebuilding years, it does have a few guys worth monitoring, especially if the Lakers are too strapped for cash to offer an actual NBA player one of their last couple rotational roster spots.
Christian and I start with Mac McClung because he’s considered the Alex Caruso heir apparent (read: he’s white and went to college in the same state). He’s a hard worker out there with an impressive motor but is at least a few inches shorter than Caruso and thus probably won’t be that kind of defender. Still, he’s super competitive and can be fun to watch, even if he’s a few years away from being a few years away.
From there, we turn our attention to Austin Reaves, hero of the first Las Vegas Summer League game. He’s not the same athlete as McClung or Caruso but he’s very skilled and understands how to let the game come to him. Both Christian and I like his game, though I’d like to see him shoot more willingly, rather than pump faking and attacking every closing-out defender.
Next up is Joel Ayayi, who is probably the lone actual NBA prospect among the four players we focus on. Many were surprised to see him go undrafted given his ability to shoot, so it’ll be interesting if he showcases that ability more than he’s been able to thus far.
We finish our preview by discussing Devontae Cacok’s evolution into, hopefully, a small ball five who can spread the floor. We’re both pulling for him because of how difficult his first couple of years have been through no fault of his own.
From there, we jump back into the offseason the Lakers had, how much Christian likes this team, his thoughts on LeBron James and Anthony Davis playing their best positions, and more, including that time his soccer goalie hit him hard enough with the ball that he scored an own goal.
And for a short-form recap pod, check out Lakers Lowdown, in which Anthony Irwin recaps the previous day’s news and gets you ready for the day ahead in LakerLand, every weekday morning on the Silver Screen & Roll Podcast feed. You can follow Christian at @RadRivas.