Johnathan Williams put up six points on 3-3 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds in 20 minutes for the Los Angeles Lakers in his NBA Summer League debut Monday night. The Lakers fell to the Kings 98-93 as part of the California Classic.
Williams was the second guy off the bench for the Lakers and played the kind of game we are used to seeing from him. He was heavily involved in pick-and-roll actions and was a monster on the glass. His eight rebounds led all players in the game.
The biggest questions surrounding Williams are his range offensively and being able to defend at the NBA level with his size. We didn’t get a chance to see the range in this one, as all three of his baskets were dunks. He never got an opportunity to show off any post moves either, as all of his touches came off dribble hand-offs and rolls to the basket. He did, however, show off his length defensively. The stat sheet only shows a single block and steal, but he was active inside and altered several other shots. His only glaring mistake was biting on a pump fake that led to an up-and-under layup.
With LeBron James signing in Los Angeles, it’s hard to tell what the Lakers are going to do with their roster. They drafted Michigan big man Mo Wagner (23 points, 7 rebounds on Monday) in the first round, have Kyle Kuzma coming off a solid rookie season, and already signed JaVale McGee. But the fact that Williams has a big role on the Summer League team is a positive sign. If it doesn’t work out with the Lakers, a good showing can prompt another team to sign him for the regular season.
Williams and the Lakers will be back in action Tuesday night against the Miami Heat. The game will air on ESPN2 at 6 pm pacific.