Los Angeles Lakers: The importance of Summer League

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 26: Brandon Ingram
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 26: Brandon Ingram /

The Los Angeles Lakers will be starting their Summer League in Las Vegas very soon. Here are a few things to watch for from L.A.

The Los Angeles Lakers have lost at least 55 games each of the past four seasons. During that painful four-year stretch, the organization saw three different head coaches on top of a front office shakeup this past season.

With Magic Johnson in charge of the front office and no pick to tank for this season, the Lakers can finally shift all of their attention to winning basketball games. Improving a team starts with building winning habits and that is exactly what Lakers fans should expect to see in summer league. Here are a few things Lakers fans should watch for as summer league kicks off.

Defensive Intensity 

The Lakers finished last season 27th in opponent points per game and 30th in opponent field goal percentage. It’s safe to say that something dramatic needs to change on the defensive side of the ball. Lakers’ Summer League head coach Jud Buechler recently emphasized how he wants the team to develop a different mentality on the court this season.

Rookies Josh Hart and Kyle Kuzma are two players who pride themselves on playing great defense so look for them to provide great energy and effort on that side of the ball. I would also expect Brandon Ingram to control that end of the floor in Summer League with his prior summer league experience and his freakish physical attributes.

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Lonzo Ball Effect

With all the hype surrounding Lonzo Ball, it’s time for Lakers fans to finally see what Ball is all about. Billed as a player who makes his teammates better, I am looking for Ball to absolutely destroy the opposition in Summer League.

The Lakers’ Summer League roster is absolutely loaded with studs featuring Brandon Ingram and Ivica Zubac who both excelled in last year’s Summer League as rookies. Ingram, in particular, should look to dominate summer league with his incredible scoring ability. The second-year pro David Nwaba will also look to have his way this Summer League having played well for the Lakers late last season.

Then there are rookies Josh Hart and Kyle Kuzma, seasoned college players who should both make immediate contributions. With such a talented supporting cast look for Ball to pick opposing teams apart with his elite court vision.

Enjoy the Show 

Having lost miserably each of the past four seasons, Lakers fans have been wondering whether all of this losing would eventually pay off. Lakers fans should embrace Summer League as the light at the end of the tunnel.

Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Ivica Zubac should power the Lakers to a Summer League championship. While a summer league championship may seem irrelevant in the grand scheme of things it would help further instill confidence in the team’s young players.

Next: Breaking down the Summer League roster

That winning momentum should carry over to training camp and into the regular season. Establishing a championship culture takes time but for the Los Angeles Lakers that process starts right now with summer league.