Julius Randle Lakers Summer League

A few observations from Lakers 81-68 loss to Wolves in Summer League

(Photo: John Locher / AP)

The much anticipated debut of the recently drafted rookies for the Los Angeles Lakers finally took place today in Las Vegas as the NBA Summer League kicked off in Sin City. The Lakers with their number two overall pick, D’Angelo Russell, took on the Minnesota Timberwolves and their number one overall pick, Karl-Anthony Towns. 

The game went back and forth and was pretty even in every statistical category but the Wolves pulled away in the fourth quarter where they outscored the Lakers 25-12 and ultimately winning 81-68.

Here are some take-aways from the game:

  • D’Angelo Russell immediately showed off his passing skills by hitting Tarik Black for a nice bounce pass that led to a lay up and a beautiful, on the money, full court pass to Jordan Clarkson but he couldn’t convert, all within the first 3 minutes of the game. After that Russell struggled to shed his defender and get good looks., but even with the little space he did create, when he got up his jumper it looked smooth. Russell finished with 8 points on 3 for 8 shooting. Russell did fill up the box score with 5 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals. Overall, Russell looked really good.

  • Julius Randle did not show any ill-effects of this broken leg that ended this season after only 1 game. Randle showed his first step explosiveness and ball handling by blowing by his defenders all night, even had some nice throw downs at the rim. What Randle did not show was any improvement with his outside shot or ability to finish in traffic. Randle scored 11 points and only had 1 rebound. Reports from the Lakers camp is that Randle will sit out Saturday’s game in order to ease him back into action.
  • Jordan Clarkson picked up where he left off last summer league when he led the Lakers in scoring. Clarkson led the Lakers in scoring on the night with 23 on 8 for 17 shooting. Clarkson appeared to have packed on a few pounds of muscle which should help him with finishing at the basket. Clarkson was the best player on the court for the Lakers in game one.
  • Tarik Black started at center and looked good, scoring 9 points and leading the team in rebounds with 13. Black was overly aggressive and registered 10 fouls which is allowed in Summer League play.
  • One of the players that is most intriguing is Robert Upshaw who has a ton of potential but fell out of the draft due to reported off the court issues. Upshaw created a buzz in the predominately Lakers crowd the first time he touched the ball but he struggled on the night. Upshaw scored 2 points in 12 minutes but did have 3 impressive blocks which got the crowd going, especially a nasty one on Karl-Anthony Towns.

  • 2014 NBA Slam Dunk Champion Zach LaVine led the Wolves with 24 points and easily looked like the best player on the court. LaVine added 6 rebounds, 3 assists and a vicious alley-oop dunk. (Video: YouTube channel Ximo Pierto 2)

  • The Lakers take on Jahlil Okafor and the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday at 5:30 PT.
Writer & NBA fan who’s been hooked since the days of Magic v Bird. Love basketball debates without it ending in a knife fight. My BBall nickname: “Todo El Dia” (All Day.) Hit me up on Twitter @fullcourtfern or Instagram: @raining3sdotcom