Rookie, Isaac Bonga made his NBA debut for the Los Angeles Lakers in the closing stages of 133-120 defeat to the San Antonio Spurs, on 7th December 2018. The German guard recorded his first NBA point the following night, in LA’s 111-86 blowout of the Memphis Grizzlies, much to the delight of the veterans on the team. Having been called up to the Lakers from the G-League affiliate the South Bay Lakers, the team turned to Bonga in the wake of Brandon Ingram’s injury leaving the rotations thin.
Spending the main bulk of his time in the G-League developing his craft, Bonga is actually the youngest active player in the NBA with the birth date of November 8th, 1999. Bonga is 1 month and 24 days younger than the Memphis Grizzlies’ Jaren Jackson Jr. Third youngest sits in the form of the New York Knick’s Kevin Knox, with Troy Brown of the Washington Wizards and Anfernee Simons of the Portland Trail Blazers rounding out the top-5.
Standing at 6-foot-8, Bonga has the size to play on the wing but for the most part, plays through the point guard position. Through 12 games with the South Bay Lakers in the G-League, Bonga is averaging 14 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.2 steals per game. Shooting .472% from the field, and an impressive .444% from three-point range.
Isaac Bonga took a somewhat different path to the NBA, playing professionally in Germany for the Fraport Skyliners in the Basketball Bundesliga, between 2016 and 2018. During his time playing for the Fraport Skyliners’ junior and senior teams, Bonga averaged 7.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.2 steals. This gained Bonga a reputation going into the 2018 NBA Draft as being one of Europe’s top prospects.
Being selected with the 39th overall pick in the 2018 NBA draft by the Philadelphia 76ers on behalf of the Lakers, shortly after, Bonga was officially traded to Los Angeles for a 2019 second round pick and cash considerations.
Bonga is certainly an intriguing talent, and if developed correctly, could very well be a contributor to the Lakers in the coming years. The team have already committed to Bonga with a 4-year, $2.5 million guaranteed contract, knowing full well that he is going to be a long-term project.
All eyes may not be on Isaac Bonga at present time to produce, however he is certainly one to keep a track of as his development continues.
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By Matt Evans (@mattyyyevans)