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Top picks shine as NBA summer league finishes with Lakers win

Los Angeles Lakers' Kyle Kuzma, right, reaches for the ball in front of Portland Trail Blazers' Caleb Swanigan during the second half of the NBA summer league championship on Monday. (John Locher / Associated Press)
Los Angeles Lakers' Kyle Kuzma, right, reaches for the ball in front of Portland Trail Blazers' Caleb Swanigan during the second half of the NBA summer league championship on Monday. (John Locher / Associated Press)

Kuzma hit 6 of 10 3-pointers and Matt Thomas scored 23 points on 8-of-9 shooting and 5 for 5 on 3s to help the Lakers overcome the loss of Ball, who sat out with a calf injury.

Caleb Swanigan had 25 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists and Jake Layman had 21 points and seven boards for Portland.

The depth and quality of the 2017 NBA draft had teams tanking at the end of the regular season in hopes of vaulting into the top three picks.

With the huge caveat being that it was only summer league action, those at the top of the draft made quite a first impression.

Summer league play ended on Monday night as Kyle Kuzma had 30 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Los Angeles Lakers past Portland 110-98 in the Las Vegas league championship game.

Kuzma hit 6 of 10 3-pointers and Matt Thomas scored 23 points on 8-of-9 shooting and 5 for 5 on 3s to help the Lakers overcome the loss of Ball, who sat out with a calf injury.

Over leagues played in Orlando, Salt Lake City and Vegas, many of the top 10 picks gave their teams plenty to feel good about before heading into the league’s quiet period for the next two months.

No. 2 pick Lonzo Ball owned Vegas with a pair of triple-doubles and was named Vegas MVP. Top pick Markelle Fultz showed off his wide array of scoring tricks in Utah before sitting out much of Vegas with an ankle injury and No. 3 pick Jayson Tatum of Boston was drawing comparisons to Paul Pierce while dominating both in Utah and Nevada.

The competition these rookies will face will increase exponentially when training camps open in October. But for struggling franchises like the Lakers, Sixers, Suns and Kings, seeing some real promise from their youngsters on the court is encouraging.


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