Vander Blue Summer League
Vander Blue drives for the Lakers at the Las Vegas Summer League.
(Ty Nowell/Lakers.com)

Latest Laker: Vander Blue

by Joey Ramirez
Digital Reporter

At the start of last season, Vander Blue had the opportunity to follow the money overseas. But, with his eyes locked on the NBA, he decided it would be worth it to remain in the NBA G League and within the Lakers organization.

Now his vision becomes reality. Three months after being named G League MVP, Blue signed with the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday.

Blue inked his deal with L.A. on the heels of a successful Summer League that saw him help the Lakers capture the championship in Las Vegas.

The 6-foot-5, 200-pound shooting guard was quiet at first, averaging 9.4 points over his first four games. But Blue turned it on when it was winning time, putting up 20.7 points from the quarterfinals onward.

Blue spent the summer showing off his elite slashing ability, constantly pressuring the paint both in half-court sets and on fast-breaks.

This kind of downhill play is something that has become a familiar sight for G League foes.

Blue averaged 24.8 points during last year’s MVP campaign, primarily through his driving ability and mid-range jumper, though he also hit 35.1 percent of 3-pointers.

Even when he didn’t finish at the basket, he constantly drew contact, leading the NBA G League in made free throws (7.7). This is a focal point of his game, as he led the league in free throw attempts for all three of his seasons with South Bay.

Getting buckets has never been an issue for Blue, who is South Bay’s all-time scoring leader and ranks third in NBA G League history.

Instead, his passing has been more of a question mark. Although he averaged 5.3 assists back in 2014-15, his numbers dipped when South Bay added point guard Josh Magette, who led the league in dimes for both of the last two seasons.

At Summer League, Vander made it a point to show his charitable side.

He had a game-sealing, cross-court assist during the semifinals, then tallied six dimes in the championship matchup.

“I know coming up in the G League it might have seemed like I was a selfish player or just all about myself because of the amount of points I was scoring and the rate I was scoring,” Blue said after the Lakers won the Summer League title, “but my whole life I’ve been about winning and I want to play with winners.”

After that game, Blue vocalized his desire for another shot with the Lakers, having played a couple games with them two years ago — including a 15-point, eight-assist, seven-rebound effort while playing all 48 minutes of the 2015 season finale.

With the summer championship won on his 25th birthday, Blue made his wish clear.

“I pray to God it’s here with the Lakers,” Blue said, “but we’ll see what happens in the next couple days.”

He had to wait a bit longer, but Blue’s opportunity is now here. Training camp is a month away, but Blue has been preparing three years for it.

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