While things have not always been sunshine and rainbows for the Los Angeles Lakers in recent years, the one thing that the team has been great at is developing players. Whether it be via the South Bay Lakers in the G League or with a late pick on the NBA roster, Los Angeles has found some hidden gems in recent years.
That makes the South Bay Lakers more prominent than other G League franchises. Right now, there are promising players such as Cole Swider and Scotty Pippen Jr. on South Bay that could end up being legitimate rotation guys in the future. Not every G League team has that.
Unfortunately, the South Bay Lakers are losing one of their most promising players thanks to the Washington Wizards. Washington signed big man Jay Huff to a two-way contract, ripping him from the Lakers’ clutches.
Huff is averaging 16.3 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 3.2 blocks per game. He is attempting 2.4 threes per game and is shooting 36.4%. Obviously, the NBA is a much tougher place, but the Lakers had a valuable rim protector that could space the floor all along.
Why did he never get a chance, especially with LA having an open roster spot since waiving Matt Ryan? Now, fans have to accept the reality that he is with the Wizards.
This isn’t the first promising G League big man the Lakers lost to the Wizards.
Washington has a knack for taking promising G League big men from the Lakers and realizing their NBA potential. Five years ago in the summer of 2018, Washington claimed Thomas Bryant off of waivers and allowed him to carve out his role in the NBA.
Bryant thrived for the South Bay Lakers prior to being waived and absolutely earned a chance to at least get a crack at the NBA rotation. Nope. The team let him walk for free (something I called a mistake at the time) and he showed the NBA world that he could be a viable rotation player.
Los Angeles eventually tried to make right by bringing Bryant back into the fold this season but that too did not last forever. Bryant wanted a bigger role on the team and essentially asked for a trade. He was shipped off to the Denver Nuggets, where he is playing 13.4 minutes per game (an eight-minute decrease from what he was getting in LA).
So if history truly does keep repeating itself, the Lakers will re-sign Huff in 2027 and trade him to another Western Conference team at the deadline for several second-round picks. All the best to Huff in Washington.