If the Los Angeles Lakers continue on their current upward trajectory, they can attribute a fair amount of their success to the Las Vegas Summer League.
Josh Hart exploded for 37 points and rookie Svi Mykhailiuk poured in 31 to lead the Lakers past the Cleveland Cavaliers in a double-overtime thriller. Hart, even with all the new additions over the summer, has played his way into a prominent role for Los Angeles in 2018-19.
In addition to the two youngsters, the Lakers built a strong framework during the event last season, when Kyle Kuzma won the title game MVP, while guard Lonzo Ball was named tournament MVP. Both players figure to play critical roles for the Lakers this season, and the pair could wind up starting.
Hart, meanwhile, has showcased his full repertoire. Known more for his rebounding and defensive ability as a wing player, Hart has displayed great offensive potential. He has shot three-pointers at a high clip, and he has gotten to the rim at will.
The Lakers will take on the Portland Trail Blazers in the Summer League Final. Los Angeles, which has yet to lose, has also done much of the heavy lifting without Moritz Wagner, the team’s No. 25 overall pick in June’s NBA Draft. The Lakers shut down Wagner due to a left knee contusion.
The internal competition will serve the Lakers well, as the front office has emphasized that only LeBron James will be guaranteed a starting position heading into training camp.
For more Lakers news and tickets to select home games, keep it here on AXS.com.