The NBA’s annual Las Vegas Summer League gets underway on Friday and all eyes will be on two of the top three picks in the 2019 NBA Draft as Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans are taking on RJ Barrett and the New York Knicks at the Thomas and Mack Center.
This year is a bit of a change of pace compared to the last few as the Los Angeles Lakers do not have any first round picks after trading the No. 4 pick as a part of the Anthony Davis trade with the Pelicans.
The Lakers had each of the last two Summer League MVPs in Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart, making the championship game in both years and winning it all in 2017.
As is always the case, the Lakers will draw well in Las Vegas. It appears even their players are looking forward to the Williamson-Barrett matchup as Davis and LeBron James have courtside seats for Friday night’s game, according to Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press:
Lakers star LeBron James and Pelicans star (until tomorrow) Anthony Davis will both have courtside seats tonight at Summer League. #ZionMania
— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) July 5, 2019
That game is set for 6:30 p.m. PT and will be televised on ESPN. The Lakers open up the Las Vegas portion of their Summer League against the Chicago Bulls the game before at 4:30 p.m. PT, but it is unclear if Davis and James will be attending that game as well.
Considering the team’s trade with the Pelicans cannot go through until July 6, Davis is not technically a member of the Lakers yet. This will be his first public appearance since the trade was agreed to and he could also be joined courtside by Kyle Kuzma and Jared Dudley, who recently signed with the Lakers.
While Williamson and Barrett may be considered the favorites to take home the Summer League MVP award this year, Zach Norvell Jr. — who signed a two-way deal with the Lakers after going undrafted out of Gonzaga — has gotten off to a good start. He averaged 14.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 4.0 assists in three games at the 2019 California Classic this past week.
The Lakers could also be getting Talen Horton-Tucker back at some point in Las Vegas after he missed the California Classic due to injury.