In what was supposed to be a summer filled with promise and potential, the Los Angeles Lakers stint in the 2023 NBA Summer League took an unfortunate turn as they suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday, with a staggering final score of 100-69.
Slow Start Dooms Lakers
Right from the opening tip-off, it was evident that the Lakers were in for a tough night. The Grizzlies stormed ahead with an unstoppable offensive onslaught, scoring the first 13 points of the game.
Los Angeles seemed lost and couldn’t find their rhythm until big man Colin Castleton finally managed to put a point on the board with a solitary free throw, almost halfway through the first quarter.
It was a painfully slow start for the Lakers, and their first field goal didn’t come until the 3:30 mark of the opening period, courtesy of Jalen Hood-Schifino.
Max Christie’s Absence Felt
One glaring absence that severely impacted the Lakers’ performance was their star player of the summer, Max Christie. Sidelined with a right hip strain, Christie’s absence was felt keenly, not only in terms of scoring but also in his defensive prowess.
He had been the driving force behind the Lakers’ previous successes in the summer league, averaging an impressive 19.0 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game. Christie’s impact extended to the defensive end as well, where he averaged an impressive 2.3 blocks per game, showcasing his all-around skills.
Lakers Set for Consolation Game
With the disappointing loss against the Grizzlies, the Lakers’ hopes of advancing to the summer league tournament were dashed. As a result, they find themselves in a consolation game on Sunday, facing off against their hometown rivals, the Los Angeles Clippers.
While not the outcome they desired, this game presents an opportunity for the Lakers to salvage some pride before the summer league concludes.
Hood-Schifino’s Rollercoaster Performance
Jalen Hood-Schifino, the 17th overall pick in the recent NBA draft, has experienced a mixed bag of performances in the summer league. After showing promise with a couple of solid displays, he struggled significantly in the latest game against the Grizzlies.
With a poor shooting night, going just 3-of-17 from the field and 2-of-9 from beyond the arc, Hood-Schifino only managed eight points and one assist in 27 minutes. Despite the setback, his ability to limit turnovers has been a positive aspect of his game, giving hope for improvement in the future.
Swider’s Shooting Display
Cole Swider has been one of the bright spots for the Lakers in the summer league, showcasing his shooting range with consistent displays from downtown. While he had a slight dip in his shooting efficiency in a previous game, Swider bounced back with an impressive 3-of-8 performance from beyond the arc against the Grizzlies.
In addition to his scoring, he also demonstrated his versatility by contributing nine rebounds in 32 minutes of play. For Swider to solidify his place in the NBA, his defensive and rebounding capabilities will be crucial factors in determining his success.