3 takeaways from rookies Bronny James and Dalton Knecht’s Lakers debut

We independently review everything we recommend based on our strict editorial guidelines. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Learn More

Last week Bronny James and Dalton Knecht made their highly-awaited debuts with the purple and gold jersey in the team’s first Summer League match against the Kings. Despite losing the game 108-94 and displaying poor shooting averages, the rookies showed some of their skills as potential Lakers stars. 

LeBron’s eldest son scored four points on 2-for-9 shooting, but he showed some promise when he posted a drive midway through the second quarter that proved he has an explosive quality towards the rim. In 21 minutes, the No. 55 pick also stole the ball once, added two assists and two rebounds to his total stats.

Most experts were far from impressed by the players’ exhibitions, but still point out some positive takeaways. “Quiet, and that’s not a bad thing. There’s only so much to take away from the first California Classic game. James and fellow rookie Dalton Knecht both struggled from the field — Knecht scored 12 points on 3-for-12 shooting — so that’s something to monitor as summer league continues.

“It wasn’t surprising that James didn’t have a stellar debut, and it will be more important to see small improvements as his summer league continues,” ESPN’s Kendra Andrews said after their debut last weekend.

Knecht, who excited many in the Los Angeles locker room when he got the team’s first pick of the draft, only dropped in 3-of-13 shots in 22 minutes of action, but was still able to score 12 points the following night.

Even though his precision wasn’t impressive, the rising star was able to show many movements during the game that excited Lakers fans, mostly off dribble-hand-offs and curls. “Just being patient with it,” Lakers summer league coach Dane Johnson said about his pupil’s struggles. “It’s a long summer league.”

“It’s going to come. He’s a great player, so I’m not worried about him missing some of the shots he’s taking. He’s a great shooter. Let the game come to him. There are some [flashes] where you see that he’s got it,” he added.

Knecht became an All-American mostly due to his incredible shotmaking in college, averaging 21.7 points per game on 42.3% from range. “I haven’t played since March,” Dalton explained. “Just finding my rhythm again and keep playing with these new guys and keep adjusting. … Shooters shoot. My dad always told me the next shot is going in. Shooters shoot.”

Bronny James suffers knee injury and Lakers decide not to play him on Sunday’s California Classic game vs. Warriors

In a precautionary move, the purple and gold decided not to play their rookie star Bronny James on Sunday, as the team clashed against the Warriors in San Francisco for the California Classic summer league contest. Apparently, the 19-year-old had swelling in his left knee and remained out of action.

“The hope is [and] the plan is for him to play the next game here. But that’s all the information we have so far,” Lakers summer league coach Dane Johnson expressed after the match which ended in a 92-68 defeat for the Lakers.

James is expected to play again in Wednesday’s last classic match against the Miami Heat, even though Johnson did say that the player’s availability is not up to him, but to the team’s medical staff.

“Our trainers deal with all of that. They just give me updates,” the tactician assured, as he hopes to see as much of Bronny as he can during this summer, while the athlete has so much to prove. “So, hopefully, you guys can have information on that later.”