2016 Las Vegas Summer League Champions! How does that sound, Lakers fans? Most teams don't put too much stock into the outcome of Summer League games, and rightfully so, but this year the Lakers must care about the outcomes. With most teams in the Summer League only having 1-3 players that will make their regular season roster, the Lakers Summer league team has 5. Almost half of their Summer League team will be their REAL team. So starting off 3-0 is a good sign.
D'angelo Russell has easily been the team’s best player through three games. From grabbing a team high in rebounds with 11 in the first game, to making a game winning, three-pointer buzzer beater in game 2, to scoring 22 first half points in game 3, Russell has definitely impressed Lakers fans through the first three games.
Russell is averaging 22.7 PPG on 53.3% shooting to go along with 6.7 rebounds and 4 assists. These are huge improvements from only scoring 11.8 points on 33% of his shots during last year's Summer League.
Seeing Russell's improvement has to be somewhat encouraging to the Lakers front office. After a up and down rookie season on the court, in addition to many locker room issues, Russell needed to take his game to the next level. In this rebuilding process for the Lakers, "bust" is about the worst word they could hear. As analyst Mark Jones said during the Lakers Broadcast on ESPN, just because you're having a great Summer League doesn't mean he will have an amazing NBA season, but having a terrible Summer League would show you probably won't be very good when the competition gets tougher in the regular season. Russell, Lakers Management, and the fans have to be encouraged with what they are seeing.
It's only Summer League, but Russell definitely has ice in his veins.