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Lakers News: Latest on Brandon Ingram, Marcelo Huertas and More

Nate Loop@Nate_LoopFeatured ColumnistJuly 9, 2016

The Los Angeles Lakers' No. 2 draft pick Brandon Ingram, left, and Ivaca Subac, of Croatia, selected No. 32 in the second round, pose with Lakers owner Jim Buss are introduced at the NBA basketball team's headquarters in El Segundo, Calif., Tuesday, July 5, 2016. The Lakers believe Ingram will be a big piece of their next title-contending roster. Ingram, the smooth-shooting forward begins summer league practices this week, and the rebuilding franchise gets a glimpse of its future. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
Reed Saxon/Associated Press

Los Angeles Lakers fans finally caught a glimpse of what could be a glorious future when Brandon Ingram made his Las Vegas Summer League debut on Friday.

Ingram was sharp in the Lakers' 85-65 win over the New Orleans Pelicans, tallying 12 points, four rebounds, two blocks, one assist and a steal in 25 minutes of play. The No. 2 pick of the 2016 NBA draft wasn't the most impressive Laker on the night—that honor belonged to D'Angelo Russell, who picked up 20 points and 11 rebounds—but it was a satisfying debut nonetheless.

SportsCenter highlighted a key block from Ingram in the lane:

SportsCenter @SportsCenter

Brandon Ingram was showing off on defense last night. https://t.co/Zm3p7VX3FT

The 6'9" swingman's length and defensive ability were key reasons so many teams had him high on their draft boards. Offensively, Ingram looked good hitting a couple of jumpers. He praised his young teammate Russell after the game, per Lakers Nation's Serena Winters: 

Serena Winters @SerenaWinters

Brandon Ingram on Russell: “Playing w/ D’Angelo, he makes the game a lot easier. He has confidence in me, so I had confidence in myself."

Ingram wasn't the only rookie to impress on the night. Ivica Zubac, a 19-year-old Croatian and the No. 32 pick of this year's draft, contributed 11 points, five boards and three blocks in a solid defensive effort.

As the franchise's highest-profile draft pick of the past few years, Ingram has Lakers fans hoping he can develop into a bona fide star and help lead the team in a post-Kobe Bryant era. 

The next time to catch Ingram and the rest of the Lakers' summer-league roster is Saturday, when the purple and gold play 2016 No. 1 pick Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN 2.

The Lakers didn't manage to land any top-tier free agents this summer despite having ample cap space and a desirable location, so it will be up to the young guns like Ingram, Russell and Julius Randle to fire up the fanbase and lift the Lakers out of the doldrums of the past few seasons. 

In other news coming out of Lakerland, the team agreed to a two-year deal with point guard Marcelo Huertas, per The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski. Huertas also confirmed the deal via his Instagram:

Huertas, 33, was a pro in Europe for over a decade before joining the Lakers and the NBA last season, averaging 4.5 points and 3.4 assists per game in limited time off the bench. While he brings little to the table defensively or as an outside shooter, Huertas possesses excellent court vision, a nice bit of flair for the dramatic and can marshall the Lakers' second and third units.

For what it's worth, he also came up with perhaps the craftiest steal of last season: 

Huertas isn't an exciting signing, but he adds depth at the point guard position behind Russell and Jose Calderon, whom the Lakers acquired this offseason in a trade with the Chicago Bulls

As a sort of housekeeping note, many of the Lakers' reported offseason moves became official as of July 7, such as the signings of Jordan Clarkson, Luol Deng, Timofey Mozgov and Zubac, per Lakers.com. Free agency began on July 1, but deals could not be made official until July 7.

The signings of Mozgov and Deng, along with the addition of Calderon, bring new blood to the Lakers but likely aren't going to reverse the fortunes of the franchise on their own. Instead, Lakers fans can hope that they bring veteran stewardship and insight to a young locker room, providing the young guns with mentors while still contributing valuable minutes on the floor.

The Lakers aren't going to run the Western Conference anytime soon, but they should be able to make significant strides in the upcoming season.

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