Last year, the Los Angeles Lakers were thought to have one most talented young teams heading into the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. Julius Randle was healthy and ready to get back on the floor alongside Jordan Clarkson and new teammates D’Angelo Russell, Larry Nance Jr., and Anthony Brown.
Unfortunately, the Lakers failed to live up to expectations. Los Angeles won only one game during their short stint in Las Vegas leaving a lot of questions about how this team would fair during the 2015-16 NBA regular season.
This summer, Los Angeles may have a talented young roster once again in the Summer League play. Russell is determined to play a second straight year and may be accompanied by Clarkson, Nance and one of the top rookies in this year’s class in Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram. Randle, however, may not be joining his teammates in Las Vegas, via Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News:
“I’m not sure. I feel like I probably wouldn’t play,” Randle said. “I want to get better and work on my game. Especially with Luke coming in, it’s important to get that chemistry going as a team and establishing how we wanted to play. Whenever that time comes, we’ll cross that bridge.”
If Randle decides to play, it will be the third year in a row for the Kentucky product. Clarkson, who’s status for Summer League is also uncertain, would be playing in his third consecutive year as well.
Ultimately, the Lakers roster in Las Vegas may consist of Russell leading the team’s young group without Clarkson and Randle. If the Lakers keep their draft pick and select Simmons, it could mark the first time Russell plays with his former high school teammate in a Lakers uniform.
The NBA Summer League will take place July 8-18. The start of Summer League play will be about a week after NBA free agency opens with the Lakers expected to be one of the most aggressive teams in the league in pursuing free agents.