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USA Today via Reuters

USA Today via Reuters

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  Debate

Debate

Bronny James' debut—Is he living up to the hype or still has a long way to go?

With more pressure than any No. 55 draft pick has ever faced before, it was finally time for Bronny James to put his words into action. Dawning Purple and Gold for the first time, he finally made his long-awaited pro debut in the California Classic Summer League on Saturday. Although the teenager only finished with 4 points, he did have a lot of takeaways, especially about the difference in pace between a college game and basketball at the elite level. Meanwhile, Rob Pelinka and Co. also found two new gems in the process.

Going head-to-head against the Sacramento Kings at Chase Center, Bronny’s first bucket in the Lakers uniform came with an athletic drive to the rim. Soon after, he showed off his handles by hitting a smooth behind-the-back pull-back jumper.

Unfortunately, that was not enough to get his first win as the Kings beat the Lakers 108-94. Looking back on his debut performance, in the post-game presser, Bronny revealed the difference he felt in Summer League as opposed to his usual college game, “To be honest, the college game is much faster. I feel like I really slowed down, especially on the offensive end.”

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Missing seven of his nine field goal attempts, Bronny was clearly having an off-shooting night. But that didn’t stop him from showcasing his basketball IQ as he made several amazing passes during the game, including multiple hockey assists and two direct ones. Obviously, it will take some time for him to get used to the transition from college to the NBA as it does for most rookies, but Bronny’s debut performance showed a lot of potential.

Poll of the day

Who impressed you the most in the Lakers' Summer League debut?

Bronny James

Blake Hinson

Colin Castleton

Other

And talking about what surprised him the most, Bronny said, “Maybe the atmosphere. It was more than I expected. I mean, it’s a big game for me, but I didn’t know if people from Golden State would come and rep for me. So that was pretty nice to see.” And once he gets used to the roar of the crowd and the pace of the game, Bronny has the ability to shine in the upcoming Summer League games.

Bronny James gets outshined by two Lakers teammates

While Bronny was still getting used to the spotlight, two of his teammates seemed ready for the big stage. Yes, we are talking about second-year player Colin Castleton and recently acquired rookie Blake Hinson. Going undrafted out of Florida in last year’s draft, Castleton signed a two-way deal with the Lakers right away. He played only 16 games for the main roster in his rookie season, mostly during garbage time, however, Castleton showcased his true potential at the South Bay Lakers.

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Averaging a double-double with 16.4 points and over ten rebounds in the G League, Colin really impressed the Lakers front office. He did it again in today’s game against Sac, finishing with 11 points and 10 rebounds, stealing the spotlight.

Pelinka might have found another hidden gem as his undrafted pickup Blake Hinson also balled out in his Summer League debut. And Hinson also earned a two-way deal with the LA side. He might soon make the jump to the big leagues as he shot lights out, finishing with a team-high 17 points on 5 of 7 shooting from deep against the Kings. And we all know how much this team needs a sharpshooter.

So, it looks like Bronny James has some tough competition to book a spot in the main roster as both Colin and Hinson had much better performances than him, raising the need for the level-up.

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Before you go, do not forget to check out Shaquille O’Neal’s ex-agent, Leonard Armato, to open up about the infamous Shaq-Kobe feud. Keep checking this space for more such updates.