3 Things to Know: Lakers vs. Knicks (Summer League)
Here is what you need to know before the Lakers take on the New York Knicks at the Las Vegas Summer League.
1) Looks like Hart’s in it for the long run
While the sports world is buzzing over the Lakers adding four-time MVP LeBron James, the squad out in Vegas is looking to improve to 3-0.
Josh Hart will have plenty of say in that. The sophomore was originally supposed to play only one game here, but appears to have lobbied to participate in the entire event, according to himself and summer league coach Miles Simon.
The Lakers will certainly benefit from Hart, who has been excellent through two games in Vegas. So far, he has averaged 21.5 points — second-most of any player — and has shot a toasty 46.7 percent from the field along with a wicked 8-of-15 on 3-pointers.
Hart’s main focuses over the offseason have been his ball handling and jump shot. So far, he has impressed with his improved ability to shoot off the dribble, displaying the strides he has made in both areas.
2) A rare bye is at stake
With all 30 teams participating at the Las Vegas Summer League for the first time, tournament seeding has changed so that only the top two squads receive a first-round bye for the tournament portion.
Denver, Houston and Phoenix have already swept pool play, and Portland could join them with a win today. But the 2-0 Lakers are in strong position for that bye if they beat the Knicks.
The tiebreaker system is based on how many quarters a team has outscored the opponent. The Lakers have “won” seven quarters and tied the last one. If they defeat New York (which means winning at least one quarter), they will leapfrog the Nuggets and Suns for the top seed.
3) New York’s rookies are off to a strong start
Taking down the Knicks should be a challenge, considering how impressive their rookies have looked in two summer games.
Ninth-overall pick Kevin Knox has been a lightning rod, averaging 20.5 points and 6.5 rebounds. He has shot just 37.1 percent from the field, but the explosive 18-year-old already has a highlight tape full of dunks.
Meanwhile, L.A.’s Moe Wagner should have his hands full matching up against 7-foot-1 Mitchell Robinson. Drafted 36th overall, Robinson has the tools to be a lob threat offensively and rim protector defensively. So far, he has averaged 10.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.0 blocks this summer.
Tip-Off: 5:30 p.m. PT
TV: Spectrum SportsNet in L.A. ESPN 2 nationally
Location: Thomas & Mack Center — Las Vegas, Nevada