Here is what you need to know before the Lakers face the Brooklyn Nets in the Summer League quarterfinals.
1) Summer League has become the Zo Show
Lonzo Ball is putting up numbers that have never been seen at Summer League.
His twin triple-doubles are two more than the last decade of summer hoops. His 9.8 assists per game are on pace to break the event’s record. He also leads the Summer League in steals, while topping all guards in rebounds and blocks.
Lonzo has stepped up with Brandon Ingram shut down for precautionary reasons. After a dud of a first game, he has the Lakers rolling with his up-tempo, spread-the-ball-around style of play.
With a trip to the semifinals on the line, all eyes will be on Los Angeles’ 19-year-old point guard.
2) Kuzma has hit his stride in the scoring department
While Ball has undoubtedly been the star of the summer, Kyle Kuzma is also having a not-so-quiet breakout, leading the Lakers with 18.3 points per game.
Kuzma looks like just the kind of player that the Lakers’ front office wanted, as he has out-hustled his fellow power forwards on fast-breaks and spaced the floor with his 3-point shooting.
He’s been more than just a scorer, adding 6.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists.
Now Kuzma will get a shot against Brooklyn — the team that technically drafted him last month before trading him to the Lakers in a prearranged deal.
3) Ball and Kuzma will face their toughest defender of Summer League
The Lakers have faced some solid defenders, like Boston’s Jaylen Brown and the Clippers’ Sindarius Thornwell, but Rondae Hollis-Jefferson will be their biggest challenge yet.
Armed with a 7-foot-2 wingspan and the quickness to match, Hollis-Jefferson will surely see some time guarding both players, which will be an interesting test for the young Lakers.
Hollis-Jefferson will likely be tasked with stopping Kuzma first, but look for him to get sicked onto Ball in order to disrupt the focal point of the Lakers’ offense.
4) Zubac is finding his groove
For the first three games of Summer League, Ivica Zubac bore little resemblance to the player who thrived at this event last year and then turned some heads in the regular season.
But the 20-year-old has been key in L.A.’s last two wins, scoring 21 points with the game-winning free throws against Philadelphia before notching a 13-point, 10-rebound double-double versus Cleveland.
If Zubac finds an early rhythm with his jumper of post-up game, look for the Lakers to keep feeding him the ball.
5) Brooklyn brings in a crew of seven regular-season Nets
About half of the Nets’ roster figures to suit up in the regular season, and Brooklyn even has its head coach, Kenny Atkinson, on the sidelines while most every other team sent an assistant to Las Vegas.
No, we won’t see the return of D’Angelo Russell, who (like most third-year players) is not participating in Summer League. But the Nets still have NBA-quality players that have earned a 3-1 record thus far.
While Hollis-Jefferson leads Brooklyn’s defense, Caris LeVert spurs the offense with 14.3 points per game at Summer League. Isaiah Whitehead, Spencer Dinwiddie and Archie Goodwin round out the cast of summer Nets who played last season in the big leagues.
Tip-Off: 7 p.m. PT
TV: Spectrum SportsNet and Spectrum Deportes in L.A. ESPNU nationally
Radio: ESPN 710