LOS ANGELES — It rhymes with indeed, or friend in need.
The NBA has enough under-25 stars to fill up several red carpets. Maybe the league can loan Joel Embiid to the NFL, or some other distressed business that seeks a savior.
On Wednesday night, in a building that has celebrated two NBA championships, two Stanley Cups, Adele and Taylor Swift, Embiid stapled a new page in league history. He also punched a hole in the Lakers, or at least in their delusions that they’re anywhere close to catching up to the times.
Ordinarily you’d need a whole frontcourt to put together
EL SEGUNDO — Luke Walton on Friday was focused on implementing defensive schemes and the long list of things he had been unable to get to during the Lakers’ truncated training camp. The preseason game that awaited his team the next day was not yet his focus.
Nor was the circus that awaits the rookie sensation he plans to start at point guard. The fervor surrounding Lonzo Ball, after all, comes with hope that the Lakers are on the cusp of a return to legitimacy.
“I’m sure when we get there tomorrow I’ll have some excitement about that,” Walton said.
LAS VEGAS — Lonzo Ball’s statistics were down after two big games, but he still had the building buzzing Saturday night at the NBA Summer League.
Ball flirted with another triple-double, Vander Blue had 27 points and Kyle Kuzma added 26 as the Lakers topped the Brooklyn Nets, 115-106, in a quarterfinal at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Ball finished with 14 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in 34 minutes, again having more success as a facilitator than a shooter (4 for 12 from the field, 1 for 3 from 3-point range).
EL SEGUNDO – The day began at 5 a.m. when Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka woke up so he could make phone calls with Eastern Conference teams starting their workday at more conventional hours.
The day ended with the Lakers experiencing the predictable and unexpected. To no one’s surprise, the Lakers selected UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball with their No. 2 pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft. But Pelinka felt “gratitude,” because the team then added three more players by virtue of two trades.
The Lakers selected Utah forward Kyle Kuzma with the No. 27 pick, which they acquired from Brooklyn after
LOS ANGELES – The two close friends laughed endlessly almost as soon as they walked on the stage Monday night. Then, Magic Johnson and Pat Riley relived memories of their time together with the Showtime Lakers.
Nearly 45 minutes later, Riley addressed a more sobering subject, offering some honesty and perhaps some inside information regarding Johnson’s first season as the Lakers’ president of basketball operations.
“When things aren’t going good the first year, he’s going to go down there and want to be Lonzo Ball’s mentor … ” Riley said, his trailing off.
Some in the audience for the American Express-sponsored event at