Moritz Wagner pulled up for a corner three with no one around him. He set his feet and, like he had several times already, clanked it off the rim. Less than a minute later, he grabbed a pass in the paint and slammed it home.
It was that kind of night for the 25th-overall pick. He flashed moments of promise and moments of concern, but in the end, his 23 points weren’t enough as the Kings outplayed the Lakers late to secure a 98-93 win in the first game of the NBA summer league at Sacramento’s California Classic.
“We come in not only to compete, but to win,” Lakers summer league coach Miles Simon said. “This team is very resilient … There’s no doubt in my mid that we’ll bounce back tomorrow.”
Wagner shot one of five from the field to open play and improved a bit from there. He finished six of 18, including two of nine from behind the arc.
His greatest strength was his ability to get to the foul line, where he went nine of 10. At halftime, he’d attempted as many free throws (eight) as the rest of the Lakers combined. He also secured seven rebounds, good for the second most on the team behind Johnathan Williams.
He received a chilly introduction to NBA basketball from Kings fans, who serenaded him with boos when he entered the game in the fourth quarter. It was unclear why, although he ingratiated himself further when, moments later, his shot was blocked by Marvin Bagley III and his shoulder met Bagley’s head as he reached for the ball. Bagley soon blocked him again. And again, much to the Golden 1 Center’s delight.
“I’m not ignoring them,” Wagner said of the booing. “Let’s just put it that way.”
Fellow 2018 draft pick Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk had a quieter night. He finished with 15 points on six-of-10 shooting and didn’t record an assist or rebound.
He hit a pair of three-pointers late in the fourth quarter, but the Lakers couldn’t defend the Kings well enough for them to matter.
“I thought they played really relaxed,” Simon said of the two draft picks.