UCLA basketball links: Bruins in the NBA Summer League

Los Angeles Lakers’ Lonzo Ball shoots over Los Angeles Clippers’ Brice Johnson (10) during overtime of an NBA summer league basketball game, Friday, July 7, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher) ORG XMIT: NVJL117

Lonzo Ball‘s much-anticipated NBA Summer League debut for the Lakers started with a bang: an alley-oop pass to Brandon Ingram on the team’s very first possession.

The former UCLA Bruin’s night ended with his father LaVar Ball saying Lonzo did “the worst you can do,” after Ball was 2 for 15 shooting in the Lakers’ 96-93 overtime loss to the Clippers in Las Vegas on Friday.

Despite struggling with his shot, Ball still made an impact with five assists, four rebounds, two steals and one block.

More on Ball’s Summer League debut

Other links:

  • TJ Leaf was one of NBA.com’s 10 standouts from the Orlando Summer League with the Indiana Pacers. He played in three of the Pacers’ five games, averaging 12.7 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.
    • Fellow Pacers draft pick Ike Anigbogu did not participate in any summer league games due to a knee injury, according to the Indianapolis Star.
    • Undrafted guard Isaac Hamilton averaged 5.3 points and one rebound in three summer league games with the Pacers.
  • From the Albuquerque Journal: Bryce Alford, who landed with the Golden State Warriors after going undrafted, will stick to what he knows best: shooting. The Warriors start their summer league schedule Saturday at 7:30 p.m. PT on ESPN against the Philadelphia 76ers in Las Vegas.
  • Jonah Bolden, who attended UCLA for one year before going to Europe to turn pro, played in three game with the 76ers in the Utah Summer League, averaging 10 points and 5.3 rebounds. The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote about Bolden’s defensive versatility after he had a team-high four blocks in his debut. His team will continue summer league play in Las Vegas.

Is Bryce Alford a good enough shooter to be NBA material?

Bryce Alford was the most athletically disadvantaged of UCLA’s eight rotation players last season. He was the weakest on defense. He had the most trouble driving to the basket – he shot 46 percent at the rim, 18 percent less than the closest UCLA player.

But the 6-foot-3, 185-pound guard may find his way onto an NBA roster because his strength is the fastest-rising commodity in the league. Alford shot 43 percent from 3-point range his last season at UCLA. And as far as volume is concerned, he set the school’s single-season and career record for 3-pointers, surpassing the marks of nine-year NBA veteran Jason Kapono.

Alford has been invited to his share of workouts approaching Thursday’s NBA draft, including by both the Lakers and Clippers, and the Pacers from his native Indiana.

Alford’s assessment of his chances to be one of the 60 draft picks? He is right on the edge, meaning he could be one of the 60 or he may not. He was clear about where he wanted to end up.

“My dream has been the NBA my whole life,” Alford said following his workout with the Pacers. “I’ve never been interested in going over seas. That would be a plan C, plan D kind of thing. If I had to spend a year in the D League that would be fine. Or if I had to spend a year overseas to get a shot that way, whatever it takes for me to get to the NBA, that’s what I’m going to do.” Continue reading “Is Bryce Alford a good enough shooter to be NBA material?” »

UCLA basketball 2017 report card: Bryce Alford

Bryce Alford is one of the most divisive players in UCLA history, but it’s hard to say the coach’s son didn’t maximize his potential

Strengths: In his one season as a non-point guard, Alford proved his value as a specialist. He didn’t have the athleticism to do much other than be a spot-up shooter, but he proved his strength by setting a school record for 3-pointers on top of a vital role as team’s primary vocal leader. To put Alford’s shooting accomplishments in perspective, he shattered UCLA’s school record for 3-pointers in a single season by making 116, passing Jason Kapono’s career record for 3-pointers in the process. The difference this season? Efficiency. Alford shot a career-high 43 percent from 3-point range after shooting 38 percent his previous three seasons combined.

Weaknesses: UCLA’s team defense evolved into a decent unit during the final third of the season, but Alford was the most glaring reason why the Bruins needed to be so adept at help defense. Alford was the first to acknowledge he wasn’t blessed with an abundance of athleticism, but his honesty didn’t help him stay in front of his man. Defense is what kept UCLA from being a convincing championship contender and Alford was the poster boy for the problem – though there were plenty of others who contributed to the Bruins’ defensive deficiencies.

Best moment: Alford’s best moment didn’t occur on the basketball court. Continue reading “UCLA basketball 2017 report card: Bryce Alford” »

Video: Lonzo Ball, Bryce Alford, Steve Alford talk about second-round win

UCLA head coach Steve Alford and guards Lonzo Ball and Bryce Alford talk about UCLA’s 79-67 win over Cincinnati on Sunday in the second-round of the NCAA Tournament.

Ball led the Bruins with 18 points, seven rebounds and nine assists with only one turnover as he hit back-to-back 3-pointers in the second half that spurred UCLA to the win. Alford had 16 points (13 in the second half) on 5-for-13 shooting with three assists and one steal.

UCLA advanced to its third Sweet 16 in four years and will face No. 2 Kentucky on Friday at 6:40 p.m. PT in Memphis.