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Lakers Summer League Preview

The Lakers begin NBA Summer League with the California Classic over July 4th weekend before heading to Las Vegas. Here is an in-depth look at every player on the roster, the impact they could make on the team this summer and when they’ll play.

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2022 NBA Draft Combine Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/NBAE via Getty Images

They say hope springs eternal, but for the Lakers, it was summer that couldn't get here soon enough after a disastrous 2021-22 campaign. And while general manager Rob Pelinka and the rest of the front office are hard at work building out the Lakers roster via NBA free agency, rookies and two-year players prepare for Summer League, which begins for the Lake Show not in Las Vegas, but in San Francisco with the California Classic.

Their first game is Saturday, July 2 at 2 p.m. PDT against the Miami Heat on ESPN2. With 13 players on the roster and under 24 hours until tip-off of the first game, Silver Screen & Roll has you covered on who these players are, how they ended up on the Lakers’ Summer League Roster, what their potential is, and when they’ll play.

Schedule and TV Info

Here is the schedule for all games the Lakers will be playing in the California Classic.

  • Lakers vs. Heat — Saturday, July 2, at 2 p.m. PDT on ESPN2
  • Lakers vs Warriors — Sunday, July 3, at 4:30 p.m. PDT on NBA TV
  • Kings vs. Lakers — Tuesday, July 5, at 2:30 p.m. PDT on NBA TV

For Las Vegas Summer League here is the schedule so far. More games can be added if the Lakers advance deeper into the tournament.

  • Lakers vs. Suns — Friday, July 8, at 7 p.m. PDT on ESPN2
  • Lakers vs Hornets— Sunday, July 10, at 6:30 p.m. PDT on NBA TV
  • Clippers vs. Lakers — Tuesday, July 12, at 8 p.m. PDT on NBA TV
  • Pelicans vs. Lakers — Friday, July 15, at 8 p.m. PDT on ESPN 2

Roster

Here is everyone who will be playing for the team in The Bay and Las Vegas:

Now, let’s break down what each player brings to the table.

Paris Bass

Bass spent the majority of 2021-22 with the South Bay Lakers. He did have two 10-day contracts with the Phoenix Suns via the hardship exemption in late December and early January and then returned to South Bay in mid-January. He averaged 17.3 points, 7 rebounds, and 1.6 assists and was named to the NBA G League All-Showcase Team. As a 6'8 forward with three-and-D ability, he appears a man amongst boys in the G League, and it will be interesting to see if he exerts his dominance in Summer League.

Vitto Brown

A professional basketball journeyman, Vitto Brown has been playing in the G League and overseas since 2017, putting up respectable numbers but nothing that jumps off the page. He spent the 2021-22 season playing with Real Bettis in Liga ACB. He is a 6'8 wing which sounds like what the Lakers need, but at 26 years old, you have to ask: Is he a diamond in the rough, or just another journeyman filling out this roster?

Max Christie

The Lakers drafted Max Christie with the No. 35 pick in this year's NBA draft. They had to trade to get the pick, so that tells us how fond the Lakers are of him. In fact, according to Rob Pelinka, the selection was unanimous.

On paper, the Michigan State guard is an exciting prospect. He's a 31% shooter from three, and, despite being a more undersized guard, he has the physical attributes to attack the basket and put pressure on the rim. Also, given the Lakers' incredible scouting department, it's fair to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume Christie is an NBA player. Either way, he is one of the most exciting players on this Summer League roster, and all eyes will be on him during these games.

R.J. Cole

The UConn point guard is a good shooter. When he gets hot from three he can be a flame thrower like Malik Monk is. He's a strong point guard who can't be pushed around. He played four years of college ball spending time at Howard and UConn, so he will likely be a bit more polished than the other first-year guys. Think of him as more of a Josh Hart than a Talen Horton-Tucker.

Jay Huff

Jay Huff started the 2021-22 campaign on a two-way contract with the Lakers. He was then waived and re-acquired by the South Bay Lakers and spent the rest of the season in the G League. His potential is clear; he's a 7'1 center who can dunk at will. Can he be a Deandre Ayton type of player? Someone who can just convert close to the basket at a high percentage? Or is he just too big and strong for the G League but unable to do it at the NBA level? A strong showing with the Lakers in Summer League could convince the team to give him another look.

Mason Jones

Mason Jones put up monster stats with the South Bay Lakers last season. He averaged 25.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 6.1 assists, dominating the league. Only Mac McClung put up numbers that rival Jones' in South Bay. Similar to McClung, Jones got some experience in the NBA with the Lakers. He signed a two-way deal on Dec. 21 and averaged 6.8 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 1 assist in the four games he played. Jones is an NBA-level talent and is one of the main players on this team outside of the rookies to keep an eye on this summer.

Mac McClung

Speaking of McClung, he is also playing with the Lakers in Summer League. He was fantastic in Summer League last year. He took that momentum to South Bay, where he became the G League rookie of the year, signed two 10-day contracts with the Chicago Bulls, and eventually signed a two-way contract with the Lakers to end the season on the main team. He is no longer just a prospect; a roster spot is a realistic possibility for McMcClung and he can jump out of the gym. Expect him to have Vegas rocking after one of his windmill dunks.

Javonte McCoy

The Boston University graduate joins the Lakers for Summer League after spending five years at BU. He is a certified shooter who averaged 43% from three in his last season in college. McCoy has Kyrie-esque ball-handling ability, is excellent coming off of screens, and will pull up from deep like he's Steph Curry. He did wear number 30 in college, and I'm guessing that isn't a coincidence. Should be a fun player to watch.

Shareef O'Neal

The son of Lakers legend Shaquille O'Neal joins the Lakers Summer League team. He participated in a pre-draft workout with the Lakers and went undrafted but apparently left an impression on the Lakers organization. He isn't just the son of an NBA superstar, he's a good prospect, and at 6'10, he has an NBA body. People will undeniably want to compare him to his father, but Shareef is his own man and will have an opportunity to showcase his ability with the Lakers.

Nate Pierre-Louis

With the South Bay Lakers, Nate Pierre-Louis was a lockdown defender, a good ball-handler, and a great passer. His stats don't jump off the page, but watching him play, he excelled in the South Bay system. Pierre-Louis plays with a natural understanding of the game you just can't teach. Reaching in, getting steals instead of fouls, jumping into passing lanes, and making the right passes in the fastbreak. Expect a couple of highlight dunks from him as well.

Scotty Pippen Jr.

The son of Scottie Pippen joins the Lakers on a two-way contract. Like Shareef, Scotty Pippen Jr. will be starting his own NBA journey and will have extra eyes on him because of his name recognition. In his final season at Vanderbilt, Scotty averaged 20.4 points, 4.5 assists, and 3.6 rebounds. Given that he will be one of the Lakers' two-way players, he's someone all of Laker Nation should be watching closely in these games.

Cole Swider

The Lakers used their second two-way contract on Cole Swider. At Syracuse, he averaged 13.9 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game. What stands out is his three-point shooting; he shot 41% from three, and being that he is a 6'9" wing, he's precisely what every NBA team is looking for. Well, the Lakers found him and liked what they saw enough to offer him the two-way deal before seeing him play any type of professional games. Let's see how he looks against NBA-caliber competition.

Fabian White Jr.

Rare to see someone playing in college for five years, but that's exactly what Fabian White Jr. did. His stats aren't all that impressive; however, he does have upside. He improved every year, has good footwork in the post, and defends the rim well.

Closing Thoughts

The Lakers have had a lot of success with undrafted players, and late-round draft picks in the last five years. Players like Talen Horton-Tucker, Austin Reaves, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart, Thomas Bryant, and Alex Caruso all made their debut with the Lakers at Summer League. It was the first time we saw them play against pros, and they not only played well but went on to go above and beyond our wildest expectations. Hopefully, we have another one of those cases in the year's group of players.

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Edwin on Twitter or TikTok at @LakersTakes.