Here We Go Again: Summer League Expectations from a Lakers Optimist (@SpectrumSN @LakersOptimist @Lakers)

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Well here we are again! Summer League! What’s familiar about this? Well for the last couple of years the Lakers have been actually favored to win it all…in Summer League. This is because of the Lakers grabbing #2 draft picks (Russell and Ingram) the last two years. The expectations somewhat fizzled by the end of each Summer League campaign.

The Summer League has begun with much fanfare once again. In many ways it’s the same. Lakers picked up very talented draft picks, yada, yada. So based on previous years, they’ll do okay and then fall short of the lofty expectations to dominate. Both Ivica Zubac and Lonzo Ball expect to dominate and win the whole thing. Brandon Ingram didn’t say as much, but came as the voice of reality saying that this is just Summer League.

As I mentioned, this is different. But why? It’s different because Lonzo Ball is not a “face-of-the-franchise” hopeful like D’Angelo Russell. He IS the face of the franchise. Brandon Ingram has a year under his belt is across the board considered to have no ceiling. He is also expected to be the team leader. Ivica Zubac wowed everyone in his debut last year and now has full year under his belt.  David Nwaba impressed in the latter part of last season defensively and is expected to develop into a lockdown defender. They’ve also added some solid pieces in Kyle Kuzma, Thomas Bryant and Josh Hart. These are very exciting players that many are looking forward to seeing them play extended minutes. This is also different because what you see on the Summer League court may very well be some of the combinations you see during the regular season. This also places value on actually dominating and winning during Summer League.

Having said all that, does winning the Summer League Championship mean ANYTHING? Yes! Ever since the changes that the Lakers have made, which include hiring Luke Walton and replacing Jim and Mitch with Magic and Rob, the goal has been to establish a winning culture. This means that Summer League does matter. The Lakers of Summer League must set the tempo for the season. Winning the championship sets the tone and affirms what everyone has been talking about. Surely, losing Summer League will get people talking…in a negative way. Yes, we watch Summer League to see how these guys look on the court and how they gel. It’s important to develop chemistry, camaraderie, etc. But it’s important for these Lakers to dominate and to prove a point. The mentality they must have is treat Summer League like the NBA Finals.

It’s a bright new day in Lakerland! The Lakers Optimists are revitalized and ready to see what the future holds for the Magic, Rob, Luke, Ingram and Ball era!

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