Here is what you need to know before the Lakers tip off the California Classic against the Sacramento Kings.
1) Rookies get their first chance to shine
While free agency might be the talk of the NBA world right now, the newest Lakers will get their first chance to play in front of their fans.
Drafted 25th and 47th overall, respectively, Moe Wagner and Svi Mykhailiuk are set to make their initial impressions in purple and gold.
Both players’ skill sets seem to be nice fits for the accelerated tempo of summer league.
Wagner is a stretch big with some wheels, giving him the ability to finish fast-breaks at the rim and the 3-point line. Speaking of 3’s, Mykhailiuk is a deadeye shooter who led the Big 12 in 3-point percentage last season.
Both rookies will also look to show off their skills in the half-court as well. Wagner sets powerful picks, and can effectively roll to the rim or pop out beyond the arc. Mykhailuk has underrated athleticism, good passing instincts and the ability to spot up or shoot while coming off screens.
2) Hart’s in charge
After an impactful rookie season, Josh Hart is the centerpiece of the Lakers’ summer roster.
The Lakers’ plan to have the 23-year-old play just one game apiece at the California Classic and Las Vegas Summer League, so it’s possible that they have him suit up another night in Sacramento.
Yet Hart is still the clear leader of the group, having shot a team-best 36.9 percent from 3-point range during the regular season. Hart finished the year by taking his game up a level, averaging 15.3 points and 6.8 rebounds post-All-Star break.
After proving his talents for shooting, defending and rebounding, Hart is now looking to show off some new skills that he has spent the offseason working on.
In particular, he has been honed in on improving his ball handling and refining his jumper. He shouldn’t have a problem getting his reps in once he’s out on the floor.
3) Sacramento’s unveiling its future
The Kings received their highest draft pick in 29 years, and used that second-overall selection to draft First Team All-American Marvin Bagley III, who will play his first game in his new home arena.
Bagley was also the easy choice for ACC Player of the Year, considering he led the conference in scoring (21.0), rebounds (11.1) and field goal percentage (61.4). The Lakers will get used to facing off against him, now that he’s on the team that plays four games against the Lakers every season.
The Kings will also have several other young pieces on hand, including De’Aaron Fox, Justin Jackson and Harry Giles, who is playing for Sacramento for the first time after missing all of last year due to knee injuries.
Tip-Off: 8 p.m. PT
TV: Spectrum SportsNet in L.A. NBA TV nationally.
Location: Golden 1 Center — Sacramento, California