Checking in on South Bay: Kostas Antetokounmpo

(Image/Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

One of the Los Angeles Lakers’ two-way players this season, is Kostas Antetokounmpo. The surname is recognised worldwide, for obvious reasons. But Kostas’ talent, upon signing with the purple and gold, was relatively unknown.

Due to the Lakers’ deep veteran roster, Antetokounmpo, alongside fellow two-way player, Devontae Cacok, have had limited looks in the NBA thus far. Instead, developing their craft in the G League, with the South Bay Lakers.

Antetokounmpo has been called-up and featured in 3 NBA contests this season. With his debut coming against the Utah Jazz back in October. Followed by an appearance against the Charlotte Hornets, just 2 days later. His most recent playing time for the Lakers came against his former team, the Dallas Mavericks, in January.

In those 3 games, he’s only played in late-game situations. Averaging just 1.7 minutes per contest. He’s yet to record an NBA point for the Lakers. He was set to most likely to receive more playing time towards the end of this season, but the suspension stopped that. For the time being anyway.

Let’s continue and dig into Antetokounmpo’s progression in the G League throughout the 2019/20 campaign. Where he averaged 14.1 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.9 steals, and 1.3 blocks. All through 38 games (25 MPG).

Select the link below to navigate through the pages to see Kostas Antetokounmpo’s progress this season.

NEXT: Antetokounmpo’s Consistent G League Season

Checking in on South Bay: Talen Horton-Tucker

(Image/Brandon Dill/NBAE/Getty Images)

He became a high-school legend in his native Chicago. He impressed in the collegiate ranks at Iowa State University. Talen Horton-Tucker then jumped to the NBA after being selected with the 46th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers.

At the high-school level, Horton-Tucker won 3-straight city championships with Simeon Career Academy. For Iowa State, where he spent just the single-season, he averaged 11.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.3 steals, in 27 minutes per game.

To most Laker fans he was a relatively unknown prospect upon signing. But when you dig deeper, his unique 6-foot-4/234lb frame, along with his elite 7-foot-1 wingspan really does catch attention. His wingspan was the largest of any prospects at the 2019 Draft Combine. He’s also the second-youngest player on an NBA roster this season.

However, with the Lakers’ holding a deep, talented roster, full of veterans, 19-year-old Horton-Tucker has been assigned to the G League for the majority of the season. To develop and work on his craft.

Through 38 games (29.8 MPG) for the South Bay Lakers, he posted averages of 18.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1.4 steals. This is on 42.5% shooting from the field, 30.9% from 3-point land.

Select the link below to navigate through the pages to see Talen Horton-Tucker’s progress this season.

NEXT: Horton-Tucker’s Slow Start to the Season

Interview: Nick Lagios (South Bay Lakers/LA Lakers)

Matt from Lakers Fanclub UK speaks to Nick Lagios, who is the Director of Basketball for the South Bay Lakers, and a Basketball Development Coordinator for the Los Angeles Lakers.

The interview was conducted at the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo, just before the South Bay Lakers’ game against the Memphis Hustle on February 8th 2020.

The full interview is embedded below. Thank you to Nick for taking the time to speak to us. We hope you enjoy watching the interview.

See our interview with Lakers rookie Talen Horton-Tucker here.

Interview: We Speak to Talen Horton-Tucker

(Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty Images)

On Saturday 8th February, Lakers Fanclub UK were invited to attend the South Bay Lakers‘ G-League game against the Memphis Hustle. The game took place at the UCLA Health Training Center, home of the Los Angeles Lakers, in El Segundo, California.

Post-game, we managed to interview Lakers rookie Talen Horton-Tucker, who is currently on assignment with South Bay. We spoke about being drafted by the Lakers, his G-League progress, LeBron James/Anthony Davis, and more.

Thank you to the South Bay Lakers for the opportunity and the warm welcome, and thank you to Talen for taking the time to speak to us.

Check out the full interview below:


Lakers Fanclub UK are proud affiliate partners of Fanatics UK and the NBA Store Europe. We do possess unique promotional codes for both websites that can offer our readers and followers 10% off site-wide through the following weblinks.

Fanatics UK: http://tinyurl.com/y4vjv32b and enter the promotional code LAKERSUK10 at checkout to receive 10% off. This is not limited to just NBA apparel, but the discount can be used on MLB, NFL, NHL, Football/Soccer gear also!

NBA Store Europe: http://tinyurl.com/y585vud9 and enter the promotional code LAKERSUK10 at checkout. This is not limited to Lakers gear, the discount is available site-wide on any product you wish to purchase!

Gary Payton II, the Standout Early on for the South Bay Lakers

(Image/South Bay Lakers/Twitter)

Much anticipation surrounded the South Bay Lakers going into the 2019-20 NBA G-League season. In previous years, the Los Angeles Lakers themselves have been able to take on-board young talent to develop, in the tanking years, but not this season.

This season was set up was different, obviously, with the pairing of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, alongside a stellar supporting cast. Therefore, the young talent has been trickled down to the G-League, to represent South Bay, to further their development.

The Lakers’ G-League affiliate team looked stacked going into the season, with the likes of Talen Horton-Tucker, Zach Norvell Jr, Kostas Antetokounmpo, Devontae Cacok, Gary Payton II, David Stockton, Travis Wear, and Andre Ingram, among those on the books.

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(Image/The Lake Show Life)

All eyes have been locked on recent draft pick Horton-Tucker, two-way players, Antetokounmpo and Cacok. Eyes have also been set upon former two-way player, Norvell Jr, who recently lost his place to Cacok. But another name has stolen the show so far this season for South Bay. Gary Payton II, son of “The Glove” himself.

Production is sometimes hard to come by in the G-League, with numerous players looking for touches to impress the onlooking NBA outfits. Although, production has not been an issue for Payton II. His numbers are looking ever-so impressive.

Through 12 games, as South Bay sit 7-5, he is stuffing the stats sheet. Averaging; 18.5 points, 9.1 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 3.4 steals, and 1.1 blocks. All of this has been on an incredibly efficient 57% shooting from the field. Payton II has broken the 20 point barrier on 5 occasions, and has recorded 9 double-doubles already this season.

On December 10, Payton II recorded a season-high 30 points, against the Santa Cruz Warriors. Alongside the flurry of points, he added 7 rebounds, 10 assists, 3 steals, and 1 block, on 14-20 shooting.

What’s been even more impressive, is that pretty much all of his offensive damage, in terms of points, has been done from within the arc. Payton II’s 3-point game is virtually non-existent (15%), but that doesn’t appear to effect him, instead finishing at the rim at will, with the occasional ferocious slam. Whilst in-between, exercising his vision, and dishing out sweet assists to teammates.

Additionally, being just 6-foot-3 makes his rebounding numbers even more impressive. He can really do damage in that facet of his game, both defensively and offensively, where he is averaging 6.6 and 2.5 rebounds, respectively.

Defensively he is building a reputation as well. Again, his short height really doesn’t effect his game in this aspect. He is leading South Bay’s roster in steals with 42, the second is Cacok with 13. In blocks, surprisingly, Payton II is top too, with 13, trailing him is Antetokounmpo with 12. Very impressive for a 6-foot-3 guard.

A triple-double hasn’t been recorded yet for Payton II, but it will surely only be a matter of time. Multiple triple-double performances will be waiting in the wings, for sure.

At 27-years-old, these statistics aren’t a complete surprise, but the fashion in which he’s dominating games and leading a South Bay Lakers roster, packed with talent, is. Another NBA opportunity could come knocking very soon.

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(Image/The Lake Show Life)

Payton II last gave the NBA a crack in the 2018-19 season, with the Washington Wizards. Where he averaged 3.7 points, 1.3 assists, 1 steals, through 3 games (5.3 minutes per game), in the capital. He did represent the Lakers in the second-half of the 2017-18 campaign too.

With the Lakers, Payton II featured in 11 games, averaging 3.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.1 assists, in 10.5 minutes per game. In the final contest of that season, against the Los Angeles Clippers, he scored a career-high 25 points, and also posted a career-high 12 rebounds.

The talent is certainly there, but time may be running out for Gary Payton II. However, he is doing everything right at present time, and multiple NBA teams must be casting an eye over the South Bay Lakers star. He may not find the NBA opportunity with the Lakers themselves, but he might find it elsewhere.


Lakers Fanclub UK are proud affiliate partners of Fanatics UK and the NBA Store Europe. We do possess unique promotional codes for both websites that can offer our readers and followers 10% off site-wide through the following weblinks.

Fanatics UK: http://tinyurl.com/y4vjv32b and enter the promotional code LAKERSUK10 at checkout to receive 10% off. This is not limited to just NBA apparel, but the discount can be used on MLB, NFL, NHL, Football/Soccer gear also!

NBA Store Europe: http://tinyurl.com/y585vud9 and enter the promotional code LAKERSUK10 at checkout. This is not limited to Lakers gear, the discount is available site-wide on any product you wish to purchase!

Alex Caruso, the Man Who Should Be Top of the Lakers’ Retain List

(Image/Getty Images)

Following Alex Caruso’s career-night at the Staples Center against cross-city rivals the Los Angeles Clippers, fans are praying that the Lakers front office choose to retain his talents. Caruso poured in a career-high 32 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals, on 52.6% shooting, including 5 from deep.

Through 23 games this season, Caruso is converting in lights out fashion from three-point land (53.3%). In addition, he has shown an ability to get to the free-throw line, on average 2.5 times a game, converting 81% of the time. Shooting was a clear weakness of Caruso’s last season, however this season he has stepped up in an emphatic manner, in search of a permanent NBA contract.

The 25-year-old sophomore dominated down the stretch against the Clippers, showing exactly what he is capable of when confidence is running through his veins. Such performance, paired with the numerous others since being called up from the G-League, has had many fans pleading with the Lakers’ front office to sign Caruso as a back-up option for the point guard position next season.

Alex Caruso has certainly taken a long path to reach his NBA opportunity. Born in College Station, Texas, Caruso attended his local high school, A&M Consolidated. In his senior year, he averaged 18 points and 9 rebounds, being named to the TABC All-Regional and All-State teams, as well as picking up TABC All-Star and district MVP honours.

Opting to stay in Texas, he then took his talents to the collegiate level, committing to the Texas A&M Aggies. Over his four-year career, the 6-foot-4 point guard averaged 8 points, 3.7 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 2 steals, over 137 games.

The next stage of Caruso’s career was stepping up to the professional level, where he went undrafted in the 2016 NBA draft. During the off-season of that year, Caruso joined the Philadelphia 76ers for the NBA Summer League. In September 2016, he signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder before being waived a short time later. In November 2016, he was acquired by the Oklahoma City Blue of the then NBA D-League.

(Image/Texas T&M Athletics)

During the 2016/17 D-League season, Caruso averaged 11.9 points, 3.9 rebounds, 5.2 assists, and 2.1 steals. This earned him a shot with the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2017 NBA Summer League, where he impressed and signed for the team on their first two-way contract. He later became the first player to be called up from the D-League to the NBA via a two-way contract.

Caruso made his NBA debut on October 19, 2017 against the Los Angeles Clippers, recording 2 points, 1 rebound, and 2 assists, in 12 minutes. He went on to feature a further 36 times (15.2 mpg) for the purple and gold, averaging 3.6 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 2 assists, on the season.

Even though he experienced a rocky start to his NBA career, Caruso flourished in the development league (now the G-League) for the South Bay Lakers during the 2017/18 season. Through 29 games, he averaged 19 points, 3.8 rebounds, 7.8 assists, and 2 steals, per game. The following season, he signed another two-way contract with the Lakers.

(Image/South Bay Lakers Twitter)

The Lakers, now with LeBron James, suffered numerous injuries in the middle of the 2018/19 season. Consequently Caruso was called up to the NBA yet again, although he found his opportunities limited under Luke Walton, until the Lakers found themselves out of the playoff race. With the team shutting down their star players for the remainder of the season, this was Alex Caruso’s chance to shine. Well, he has certainly made the most of his opportunity this time round.

Caruso possesses a team-high +4.8 plus/minus in his last 13 games. This statistic beats LeBron James in such category, and records Caruso as being only one of four players on the Lakers’ roster to hold a positive plus/minus. Additionally, he has broken the 15 point barrier on 6 occasions. With one of those being a 23 point outing in a win against the New Orleans Pelicans, and obviously the 32 point masterclass last time out against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Caruso has shown more than enough upside to be the Lakers’ back-up point guard option next season, behind Lonzo Ball. He would be a cheap, viable option for the team, providing them with the flexibility to strengthen in other positions.

Lakers front office, you know what to do.

By Matt Evans (@mattyyyevans)

Get To Know Jemerrio Jones, The Lakers’ Latest Addition

(Image/Getty Images)

Earlier today the Los Angeles Lakers announced the signing of 23-year-old Jemerrio Jones from their G-League affiliate team, the South Bay Lakers. The 6-foot-5 forward averaged 9.4 points, 9.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.4 steals, and 1 block through 47 games in the G-League this season.

Whilst the Lakers have not disclosed the details of the deal, it is believed that Jones has signed a two-year deal with the purple and gold. With there being a team option for the 2019-20 season. For now, Jones will suit up for the remaining six games of this season to prove his worth.

Growing up in Nashville, Tennessee, Jones attended Melrose High School in Memphis. Unfortunately, he suffered a torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament injury in his junior year which limited his college options.

Consequently, Jones committed to Hill College in Hillsboro, Texas, where he averaged 11.7 points through two seasons. His reputation as a ferocious rebounder grew as he broke the NJCAA tournament rebounding record, with 72 in five games. From here, the forward took his talents to New Mexico State.

In his first season at New Mexico State, Jones came off the bench. However that did not stop him making the most of his opportunities, averaging 9.7 points, 8.4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1.1 steals in 24 minutes. In his senior year, Jones solidified himself as a starter and excelled, further developing himself as an exciting prospect in the rebounding category. He became the first player since 1997 to record 20+ rebounds in three straight games.

(Image/New Mexico State Athletics)

In 34 games as a senior, he recorded an average of 11 points, 13.2 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.1 steals, on .503% shooting. Jemerrio Jones’ performances saw him named the 2017-18 WAC Tournament Most Valuable Player and the 2017-18 WAC Player of the Year. He also set a WAC single-season record with 450 rebounds. In addition, he received further honours being named to the NABC All-District 6 first team and to the USBWA All-District VIII Team.

Following his college career, Jones went undrafted in the 2018 NBA Draft and was selected with the 18th pick in the 2018 NBA G-League Draft by the Santa Cruz Warriors. Shortly after, he was traded to the South Bay Lakers.
Jones has been described as a highly energetic, efficient player who crashes the boards with intensity.

Taking a somewhat difficult route to the NBA, Jemerrio Jones will now get his shot in the big time. Moving forward, Jones’ tenure for the Lakers could work out and he stays, or the additional year on his contract could make him a piece in a potential summer trade.

Either way Jemerrio Jones looks an interesting prospect that could add something different to the Lakers’ roster.

By Matt Evans (@mattyyyevans)

Isaac Bonga, The Youngest Player In The NBA

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(Image/Getty Images)

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.

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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.

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(Image/sbsun.com)

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.

Thank you for reading, follow us on Twitter at @lakersfanclubuk. 

By Matt Evans (@mattyyyevans)