3 Things to Know: Lakers vs. 76ers (Summer League)
Here is what you need to know before the Lakers open up the Las Vegas Summer League against the Philadelphia 76ers.
1) Bonga and Newman are ready for their debuts
With his trade from Philadelphia officially completed, rookie Isaac Bonga will get his chance to wear purple and gold for the first time, as he flew in from L.A. to Vegas on Friday.
Bonga — selected 39th overall — was one of the most unique prospects in the draft, as a giant, 6-foot-9 point guard with an even more impressive, 7-foot wingspan.
The 18-year-old was great in transition while playing in Germany’s top division last year, so look for him to push the pace at summer league, where the game is played at an even faster speed than the regular season.
Meanwhile, Malik Newman is also prepared to suit up after missing the California Classic due to a foot injury.
The Kansas product was recently signed to a two-way contract, meaning both the NBA and G League Lakers will have his renowned offensive services on hand this season.
A deadeye shooter and skilled ball handler, Newman is coming off a blistering college postseason that saw him average 22.5 points and 3.8 3-pointers while shooting 53.6 percent from deep in the Big 12 and NCAA Tournaments.
A 6'9" point guard with a massive wingspan, the 18-year-old recently became the youngest player to debut on the German national team in 40 years.https://t.co/kw6gURAKsv— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) July 6, 2018
2) Moe’s been leading the charge
Bonga and Newman’s reinforcements could be necessities for the Lakers, who aren’t sure if they’ll have Josh Hart on hand, as the sophomore wing is considered questionable to play.
Hart rested during Thursday’s Sacramento summer finale, but Moe Wagner was there to guide the team with 13 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks.
In fact, Wagner led the Lakers all three categories during their time at the California Classic, averaging 14.7 points, 8.0 boards and 2.0 swats.
The 25th-overall pick did have some struggles — shooting just 37.8 percent from the field and 31.2 on 3’s, while averaging 3.7 turnovers — but there was overall much more good than bad from the stretchy, ball-handling big man.
3) Vegas is unquestionably a Lakers town
After being relentlessly booed by Kings fans in Sacramento, the Lakers will now set up business in one of the most purple-and-gold cities in the country: Las Vegas.
The Lakers have always had a unique relationship with Vegas, where Kareem Abdul-Jabber once broke the all-time scoring record and Kobe Bryant captured the All-Star Game MVP.
Aside from those moments of spectacle, Vegas also turns out for the Lakers when it comes to summer league, always making every contest a home game for L.A.
Last season’s squad can attest to that, as Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and co. rode that energy all the way to the summer championship. This year’s team has the same goal in mind, as they begin against a Sixers side led by Furkan Korkmaz — who dropped 40 points and eight triples in Friday's game — as well as first-round picks Zhaire Smith and Landry Shamet.
Tip-Off: 8:30 p.m. PT
Location: Thomas & Mack Center — Las Vegas, Nevada