NBA Summer League 2018 Championship: Trail Blazers Rout Josh Hart, Lakers

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistJuly 18, 2018

LAS VEAGS, NV - JULY 17: Gary Trent Jr. #9 of the Portland Trail Blazers goes to the basket against the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2018 Las Vegas Summer League on July 17, 2018 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The Portland Trail Blazers completed an undefeated stay in Sin City and downed the Los Angeles Lakers, 91-73, for the 2018 Las Vegas Summer League title Tuesday night at Thomas & Mack Center.

KJ McDaniels led a group of six Portland double-figure scorers with 17 points, while Wade Baldwin IV racked up 14 points, six assists and four rebounds in the wire-to-wire romp. 

NBA G League @nbagleague

#NBASummer Championship MVP @KJMcDaniels dropped 17 PTS, 7 REB & 1 AST in the @trailblazers win tonight! #GLeagueAlum https://t.co/iiEoZ5pX3W

Las Vegas Summer League MVP Josh Hart paced L.A. with 12 points, but he was ejected in the fourth quarter as frustration mounted late. 

Svi Mkhailiuk, Josh Hart Prove Their Worth With Strong Performances

LAS VEAGS, NV - JULY 17: Josh Hart #5 and Magic Johnson President of Basketball Operations of the Los Angeles Lakers talk before the game against the Portland Trail Blazers during the 2018 Las Vegas Summer League on July 17, 2018 at the Thomas & Mack Cent
Garrett Ellwood/Getty Images

It wasn't a banner evening for Josh Hart (12 points) and Svi Mykhailiuk (10 points), but it didn't need to be. 

The two Los Angeles Lakers youngsters proved their worth throughout the Lakers' first six Vegas Summer League contests and—to varying degrees—look like the kind of players who could seamlessly slot into head coach Luke Walton's retooled rotation. 

Hart romped his way to Las Vegas Summer League MVP honors by averaging a league-high 24.2 points per game on 47.1 percent shooting from the field entering Tuesday's championship, while Mykhailiuk clocked in at 17.7 points on 50.6 percent shooting from the field, including 42.9 percent from three, over that same span. 

Those numbers are nothing to sneer at, especially for a Lakers team that ranked 29th in three-point percentage (34.5) a season ago. 

Plus, the Lakers need all the spacing they can get. 

While the front office added quality ball-handlers like Rajon Rondo and Lance Stephenson to operate alongside LeBron James, the Lakers' depth chart—at least on paperdoesn't lend itself to stellar floor spacing. 

That's where Hart and Svi come in. 

Hart drilled 41.3 percent of his catch-and-shoot triples as a rookie, according to NBA.com's player-tracking data, and Mykhailiuk didn't skip a beat in Vegas after canning 40.9 percent of his long-range looks over four years at Kansas. 

In an offense captained by James, open spot-up attempts should abound for a Lakers team that's destined to snap its half-decade playoff drought. 


Jake Layman Makes Case for More Playing Time With Strong Summer League

Jake Layman has fought an uphill battle trying to find playing time in the Portland Trail Blazers' crowded wing rotation over the last two years. 

In fact, 70 career appearances dating back to 2016 have yielded a grand total of 409 minutes to date. 

All of a sudden, though, Layman looks like he could provide some real pop off the bench. 


Jake Layman opens up the #NBASummer championship game with a 3! 📺: ESPN https://t.co/cc5rD7ts7L

While he wasn't a name who figured to generate much buzz entering Vegas, Layman proved his worth by leading the Blazers to the Vegas Summer League title by dropping 14.0 points per game on 55.2 percent shooting from the field and 54.5 percent shooting from three before adding 10 points on Tuesday. 

Layman figures to be in a tough spot again when training camp rolls around considering Moe Harkless and Evan Turner are penciled into steady minutes at small forward. But if he can prove he has a steadier stroke than free-agent signee Nik Stauskas, it stands to reason he could soon fill the role previously occupied by Pat Connaughton.