The Lakers opened NBA Summer League with a win over the Heat in a matchup that featured the debuts of two players with very familiar last names.
Rookie guard Scotty Pippen Jr. and forward Shareef O’Neal took the floor in the purple and gold for the first time Saturday in LA’s 100–66 win over Miami. The sons of NBA Hall of Famers Shaquille O’Neal and Scottie Pippen, O’Neal and Pippen Jr. inked Summer League deals with the famed franchise after neither were selected in last week’s draft.
A two-time first-team All-SEC talent at Vanderbilt, Pippen started in the backcourt next to fellow rookie Max Christie, the Lakers’ lone 2022 draft pick (No. 35). Pippen, who signed a two-way contract upon his arrival, showed flashes of his two-way potential in a featured role; the 21-year-old impressed in the third quarter on a sequence that saw him score on a hard drive to the rim before blocking a shot on the other end.
Pippen finished the contest with 14 points on 3-of-9 shooting from the field (1-of-5 from three), six rebounds and three assists in 24 minutes of action. He also made seven of his eight free throw attempts, and committed five turnovers.
After starting the contest as a reserve, the 22-year-old O’Neal made his first appearance with 3:39 to play in the first quarter. The former UCLA and LSU big man wasted little time in scoring his first points after securing a pass and finishing with a layup after a strong dribble.
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He went on to play just under 16 minutes on the night, giving fans excitement to see the O’Neal legacy continue their first extended look at the newcomer after he battled injuries throughout his three collegiate seasons. O’Neal finished with six points (2-of-3 FG, 2-of-2 FT), six rebounds and one assist.
Aside from picking up the mantle left by their famous fathers, both Pippen and O’Neal enter summer league with something extra to prove as members of one of the NBA’s premier franchises.
Only time will tell, however, if either rookie impresses enough to end up on the main roster next season, where they’ll look to add a little extra “championship DNA” to the Lakers’ championship aspirations.
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