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Analysis: Derrickson and Johnson lead Warriors to 77-71 win over Lakers in Summer League

In the final game of the California Classic in Sacramento, the Warriors capitalize on 23 Lakers’ turnovers to stay perfect in Summer League play.

NCAA Basketball: Providence at Georgetown Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

The Golden State Warriors capped a perfect 3-0 performance in the California Classic by defeating the Los Angeles Lakers 77-71 at the Golden One Arena in Sacramento as they completed the first part of their 2018 NBA Summer League.

Derrickson and Johnson make some noise

Marcus Derrickson and Omari Johnson both had outstanding games for the Summer League Warriors. Derrickson was another player the Warriors picked up as an undrafted free agent after the 2018 NBA Draft. Derrickson stuffed the stat sheet in Thursday afternoon’s game, scoring 24 points while also getting 11 rebounds, 4 steals, and 1 block.

Derrickson’s 3-point shooting improved greatly in his final year at Georgetown and against the Lakers he showed that he was continuing to improve in that area, going 4-for-7 from long distance. Seeing Derrickson, who is 6-foot-7 and nearly 250 pounds, make shots both from long distance and down low definitely piqued my interest in him.

While Derrickson is a new face, Johnson has some experience in the league, most recently with the Memphis organization which included playing in a couple of games with the Grizzlies last season. Johnson provided a complement to go with Derrickson’s scoring as he poured in 15 points of his own in the Dubs’ win over the Lakers.

As the Warriors continue summer league play in Las Vegas, these two will be players that one will want to keep an eye on. We still don’t have a sense of what exactly their ceiling is and yet they’ve given performances that are intriguing and have made me interested in how they fit into the Warriors’ plans.

Of the two, Derrickson looks to be the player who is closer to being ready to help at the NBA level, though given that the Warriors’ cup runneth over with young big men, he might not be able to get a chance to make an impact.

Noticeable absences

Most of the notable names on the Warriors’ summer roster— Jordan Bell, Damian Jones, Kendrick Nunn— did not play in Thursday afternoon’s game while first-round draft pick Jacob Evans only played sparingly.

All four of those players received a lot of playing time against the Kings on Tuesday so Willie Green probably wanted to reward them with some time off. We should be seeing more of them once the Summer League scene shifts to Las Vegas in the coming days.

Evans’ truncated performance against the Lakers might have had something to do with a slight rib injury/bruise.

Jordan Howard disappoints

One player I thought looked very good in Monday’s win over the Miami Heat was Jordan Howard. Against the Lakers, Howard was profoundly underwhelming as he scored zero points while turning the ball over twice. Howard also failed to covert a layup in transition that left both him and those watching shaking their heads.

As I wrote about while discussing the Warriors’ first game of their Summer League season against the Miami Heat, I was intrigued by Howard and what he could offer this organization. I will still be keeping my eyes on him, but I was expecting more from him in this game.

Maybe he was worn out from having to work double duty.

Oh wait...

Wagner looks good for the Lakers, but team still struggles

With the emphasis that the Lakers have put on acquiring veteran players this offseason (to compliment LeBron James), one wonders how much Moritz Wagner will be able to contribute to the team in this coming season. But the rookie from Michigan played well for stretches against the Warriors and ended the game with 13 points and 13 rebounds.

NBA: NBA Draft
Wagner played well in Thursday’s loss to the Warriors and looks to be an interesting piece of what they are building in Los Angeles.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Wagner did finish the game with four turnovers while the Lakers as a team had 23 turnovers. These turnovers resulted in Warriors points and were why the Warriors were able to win relatively comfortably, as they were able to get large, double-digit leads at various points in Thursday afternoon’s game. While some of that was due to sloppy play by the Lakers, the Warriors’ defensive pressure also created quite a few of those opportunities.

Even though the Warriors roster was by-and-large filled with players who won’t see a ton of playing time in the NBA (this season at least), you still knew you were watching Warriors basketball from the defensive pressure and the ball movement.

It speaks to the strength of the team’s scouting departments (as they find players who can play this way) and their coaches (who teach these younger players this style) that they can bring the Warriors’ style of basketball to the opening games of summer league. This is something that coach Green touched on this with some of his postgame comments.

If you would like to take a look back at the Warriors’ 2017-18 championship season please consider picking up a copy of my book, Golden Age: The Brilliance of the 2018 Champion Golden State Warriors. It is published by Triumph Books and available in both paper and digital copies.