April 12, 2018, 3:56 am
The Lakers defeated the Clippers 115-110 on Wednesday to end their season on a positive note.
The game had the feel of an exhibition — possibly due to the fact that many of the players occupying significant roles were in fact members of the NBA developmental league or G-league.
Los Angeles, the good one, was led by Josh Hart, who turned in an extraordinary performance with 30 points, five rebounds, five assists, one steal and a plus-9 rating while playing a game-high 36 minutes. He shot 9-of-15 from the field, 7-of-9 from the 3-point line and a perfect 5-of-5 from the charity stripe. Hart, the No.30 overall pick in this year’s draft, ended the season on a particularly high note, putting an exclamation point on an already stellar season.
Alex Ingram, the hero from the night before after being called up following a 10-year career in the NBA developmental leagues, was unable to duplicate his debut performance, finishing with five points, six assists, three rebounds, two steals and a game-high plus-23 on 2-of-9 from the field and 1-of-4 from 3-point range.
Instead, the hero of the day was Gary Payton II, known as the mitten due to being the junior version of his father Gary Payton, who went by the moniker “The Glove” during his illustrious NBA career. Payton II accrued an impressive stat line of 25 points, 12 rebounds, two steals and a plus-22 rating on 11-of-19 shooting from the field and 3-of-7 from 3-point range. Payton II, renowned for his length and defensive ability, looked comfortable on both ends of the court, effectively showcasing his developed skill set for the impending season.
Julius Randle, playing his last game before his Laker future is determined by restricted free agency, finished with six points, five rebounds and three assists in a short 17-minute stint. He appeared to be content to let his teammates enjoy the limelight. Randle ended the season as the only Laker to play in all 82 games, showing tremendous improvement across every facet of his game.
Alex Caruso excelled against lower-level competition, as he is apt to do, accumulating 15 points, seven rebounds, two assists and a plus-21 rating on 5-of-11 shooting from the floor and 3-of-4 from 3-point distance.
Thomas Bryant had his best game with the Lakers with six points, six rebounds, one steal and two rebounds on 3-of-8 shooting, though he did go 0-of-5 from 3-point range. Thomas is hoping to secure a role with the team next season with the Lakers expecting significant roster turnover.
The Clippers were led by mid-season acquisition Tobias Harris, who chipped-in 23 points, five rebounds, three assists and one steal. He also accumulated a minus-23 rating and three turnovers.
Boban Marjanovic, a talented but seldom used 7’3” big man, took advantage of added opportunity to tally 12 points and 10 rebounds on 5-of-7 shooting in only 13 minutes. If DeAndre Jordan chooses to opt out of the player option in his contract, Marjanovic may have a chance at a larger role next season.
Montrezl Harrell, who has taken advantage of added opportunity since the Blake Griffin trade, continued to impress with 15 points, four rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block.
Key Stats and Observations-
-The Lakers’ regulars struggled from 3-point distance and the free throw line all season. However, tonight their replacements demonstrated the ability to excel in those two areas, hitting 17-of-39 from 3-point range (43.6 percent) and 14-of-16 from the charity stripe (87.5 percent). In comparison, the Clippers converted 6-of-18 from deep (33.3 percent) and only 12-of-28 from the charity stripe (42.9 percent).
-The Lakers outrebounded the Clippers 49-41 on the glass.
-The Lakers played sound interior defense, gathering six blocks compared to only one rejection for the Clippers. The Lakers were led by Ivica Zubac’s three blocks, including two highlight reel stuffs on the same sequence.
-The Lakers led the league in points in the paint for the season but were absolutely dominated in that area in their final contest, getting outscored 64-38 by the Clippers.
The Lakers’ players head into an offseason that should begin with positive exit interviews, followed by an extensive training regimen.
Several players face free agency including Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Brook Lopez, Isaiah Thomas and Randle.
The Lakers have openly discussed their desire to add at least one star to their current roster, creating the necessary cap space to chase the likes of LeBron James and/or Paul George. They went as far as trading Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. to acquire the room to pursue such acquisitions. During that transaction, they added the first-round pick of the Cavaliers, which projects as the No. 25 overall pick in the impending draft. Free agency, league-high cap space and the draft will afford the front office ample opportunity to continue to improve this roster and attempt to return to the playoffs for the first time in over five years.
June 20, 2019, 12:01 amAaron Holiday - G - Indiana Pacers
Aaron Holiday is in demand when the Pacers are discussing trades with other teams prior to Thursday's draft.
Holiday is one of the five players under contract for the Pacers that averaged over 10 minutes per game last season, so he is definitely one of the primary assets on their roster. We could see Holiday on another team come Thursday night or sometime during this offseason as the Pacers could look to make a home run move.
June 19, 2019, 11:07 pmJon Leuer - F - Detroit Pistons
The Pistons have agreed to give the Bucks Jon Leuer for Tony Snell and the 30th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft on Wednesday night.
The Pistons now own two picks in the first round, but they take on Tony Snell's contract for this season and next season. The Pistons are stuck in the middle of the Eastern Conference right now, so they are trying to acquire picks hoping that they can find a gem that will lift their franchise.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter
June 19, 2019, 11:02 pmTony Snell - G - Milwaukee Bucks
The Bucks have agreed to trade Tony Snell to the Pistons for Jon Leuer on Wednesday night.
The Pistons will also receive the 30th pick in the first round of Thursday’s draft. The Bucks made it clear that they were trying to trade Snell and Ersan Ilyasova, so they have accomplished half of their goal. The Bucks save $4 million in salary this season and no longer have Snell’s $12 million on the books for the 2020-21 season.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter
June 19, 2019, 10:14 pmR.J Barrett - G - College
The New Orleans Pelicans are looking to assemble a package to get themselves the 2nd overall pick in the draft so that they can draft R.J Barrett before the Knicks can according to Peter Vecsey of the New York Post.
This potential deal would hinge on convincing the Grizzlies to pass up on Ja Morant, a seemingly unlikely move seeing how they just traded Mike Conley with no PG coming back in return. With all the assets in their arsenal it’s certainly feasible that the Pelicans could find a way to make this work, but as of now it seems like a steep mountain to overcome.
Source: Peter Vecsey on Twitter
June 19, 2019, 8:05 pmRomeo Langford - G - College
Romeo Langford said that his right thumb surgery recovery is ‘going good’ and that he expects to be ready to go for Summer League.
The injury was never thought of being anything serious so this is right about where his recovery should be expected. Following a rough shooting season, the 19 year old guard has seen his draft value fluctuate a good amount since the beginning of the year, going from a sure-fire top 10 pick to floating around as a mid-first rounder. Still, he possesses solid two-way potential and could see some early playing time depending on the situation he lands in.
Source: Scott Agness on Twitter
June 19, 2019, 7:54 pmDejounte Murray - G - San Antonio Spurs
Meeting with reporters on Wednesday, Dejounte Murray said he has begun 4-on-4 scrimmages and expressed confidence that he will be ready for training camp.
Murray seems to be on course to meet the timetable he was hit with after tearing his ACL a year ago. The young guard still figures to play a prominent role with the Spurs when he is able to suit up and should still carry some of that luster of fantasy potential that he carried at the beginning of last season. We'd like to see how he looks in the preseason before sounding off the hype alarms again but he could be a productive, top-70 type of guy once he returns to full speed.
Source: San Antonio Express-News
June 19, 2019, 5:46 pmRJ Barrett - SG/SF - College
The Knicks decided to work out prospect Darius Garland on Wednesday but Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN has reported that they will still be selecting Duke prospect RJ Barrett with the third overall pick.
It was very confusing for Knick fans today as the team decided to workout PG prospect Darius Garland a day before the draft. However, with the Pelicans potentially shopping the No. 4 pick, perhaps the Knicks were attempting to see what assets would be worth parting in order to acquire Garland and pair him with Barrett. They probably don’t have the assets that the Pelicans desire, but it is always worth a phone call.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter
June 19, 2019, 5:29 pmTravis Schlenk - Team - Atlanta Hawks
The Hawks have traded their second round pick, No. 44, to the Heat in exchange for a conditional 2024 second-rounder and cash considerations.
The Heat had only one pick (No. 13) in the draft before acquiring this pick from the Hawks. They are currently hamstrung financially so they may have done this to add a player to their roster who they can add for the price tag of a second-rounder. The Hawks did this as they had six picks in this year’s draft and already have a roster filled with young talent. With five picks after this trade, the Hawks will continue to stay active in trade talks as there is no way that they add five rookies to their already youthful roster.
Source: Chris Vivlamore
June 19, 2019, 5:19 pmDarius Garland - PG - College
According to John Gambadoro, the Pelicans are receiving plenty of interest from other teams who are looking to move up to the No. 4 pick to select point guard Darius Garland.
The Pelicans have agreed to trade Anthony Davis to the Lakers and one piece that they would receive in return is the 4th overall pick in this year’s draft. With several teams interested in acquiring the Vanderbilt product, the Pelicans may look to move down in the draft while trying to acquire a veteran who can help this young core compete as soon as this upcoming season.
Source: John Gambadoro on Twitter
June 19, 2019, 4:03 pmSteven Adams - C - Oklahoma City Thunder
According to Jake Fischer of SI, the Thunder are looking to shed salaries of players like Steven Adams, Dennis Schroeder and Andre Roberson to get under the salary cap and are willing to toss in the No. 21 pick to sweeten the deal.
Fischer isn't typically a big newsbreaker but there have been several stories indicating that the Thunder are attempting to shed some salary. Steven Adams has two more years on his contract that will pay him a total of $53M. Despite the big price tag, there will be interest in the Kiwi by some teams with cap space in need of a rim protector, especially when the Thunder throw in a first round pick.
Source: Jake Fischer on Twitter