For those of you who haven’t been following the NBA Summer League (or the TSSF’s post-article comments section), Zach Norvell Jr. is kinda killing it for the Lakers.
From July 1-3, the Lakers played a round-robin event in Sacramento called the California Classic. The three California teams, the Lakers, the Golden State Warriors, the Sacramento Kings plus the Miami Heat(?) played one another over three days. In the Lakers first contest on 1 July, a 106 – 79 ambushing by the Miami Heat, Snacks was one of Lakers few bright spots. He filled up the stat sheet with 11 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal.
In the 2 July 100 – 90 win against the Golden State Warriors, Snacks led the Lakers in scoring with 20 points while also grabbing 5 rebounds with an assist and a steal. The Warriors squad featured a 30-year-old Jimmer Ferdette trying to return to the NBA following a stint with the Phoenix Suns last season and three incredible years in China where he averaged 37 points per game. Jimmer only scored 5 points in 16 minutes of play and quit the team shortly after the game.
In the 3 July 99 – 97 against the Sacramento Kings, Norvell not only hit the winning shot with 4 seconds left to play to cap an 18-point comeback, he also dished out 8 dimes to go along with his 11 points and another steal. The Kings got a double/double from a young Dolph Lundgren lookalike named Eric Mika who spent last season playing in Italy and Germany. The Kings also featured former Zag antagonist Isaiah Pinerio from San Diego who dropped 8 points in 7 minutes.
Tonight, the Lakers moved to Las Vegas to take on the Bulls in a game broadcast on ESPN and in front of King James (LeBron) himself. The Lakers were playing their fourth game in five nights against a team playing their first game of the season and fatigue seemed to be the defining factor for Los Angeles. Snacks committed three early (and silly) first quarter turnovers while looking a step slow on defense as Chicago went on a 17-1 first quarter run. The Lakers found a spark to close the second quarter and begin the third with Norvell hitting 4 threes, but ran out of gas in the forth as the Bulls closed the game with a 15-2 run giving them a 96 - 76 victory. Snacks finished the game with 15 points and 5 assists while giving the ball away 4 times. The Lakers play the Clippers tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. on ESPNU.
For those who don’t closely follow the NBA, the Lakers traded both of their 2019 draft picks (as well as their #1 picks for the next two years) to acquire All-NBA big man Anthony Davis. They’ve also depleted their roster to open up salary cap space hoping to acquire free agent Kawhi Leonard. This means they will have several roster spots available for the upcoming season for players with league minimum salaries. This situation bodes well for both Snacks and JWII to get roster spots or at least get a chance for call-ups from the G League.
Also in action tonight (at least on the Hornets roster) was Josh Perkins. The Hornets played 10 players, each with double digit minutes, but sadly Perk was not one of them. Thanks to a big 4th quarter, the Hornets beat the Golden State Warriors 93 - 85.
Tomorrow, Rui is scheduled to make his Summer League debut for the Washington Wizards and so is Brandon Clarke for the Memphis Grizzlies. Memphis plays Indiana tomorrow at 4 p.m. with the game telecast on NBA TV. The Wizards play the New Orleans Pelicans at 7 p.m. on ESPN giving Rui a chance to go head to head with Zion Williamson.