Once their 2015 Summer League roster was announced, the anticipation surrounding Los Angeles Lakers rose quickly. The team was full of known quantities such as second overall pick D’Angelo Russell, last year’s lottery pick Julius Randle, and first-team All-Rookie pick Jordan Clarkson. Additionally, second-year players Jabari Brown and Tarik Black, 2015 draft picks Larry Nance Jr. and Anthony Brown, and talented undrafted center Robert Upshaw made the Lakers must-watch this summer.
Ramping up the anticipation even more was the fact that the team’s first game would come up against the Minnesota Timberwolves and first overall selection Karl-Anthony Towns. All of that combined to make the Lakers’ first Summer League game the most watched ever according to Jerry Zgoda of the Minnesota Start-Tribune:
NBA TV's Lakers-Wolves game Friday was its most watched summer-league game of all time, w/ an average of 277,000 viewers
— Jerry Zgoda (@JerryZgoda) July 14, 2015
That is a pretty impressive number, especially for a Summer League game, but just shows how much Lakers Nation is ready to see the team return to glory. That excitement was also apparent in Las Vegas where the Thomas & Mack Center was forced to open up its normally closed off upper bowl to accommodate the number of fans in attendance.
Unfortunately for fans, the play on the court hasn’t been as hoped so far. The Lakers fell to the Timberwolves 80-68 in that game as both Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell struggled to find a rhythm. That has been a consistent theme throughout Summer League for this Lakers team who won only one of their first three games.
Nonetheless, three Summer League games isn’t nearly enough of a sample size to judge how effective the guys will be once the regular season rolls around. If this is any indication, however, the fanbase has not wavered despite the Lakers lack of success, and Staples Center will still be the place to be once the season begins.