Monday, March 20, 2023

Lakers sign Scotty Pippen Jr., Cole Swider to two-way contracts, per report

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The Los Angeles Lakers have signed their two two-way players for the 2022-23 season, according to Shams Charania, and one of them has a name you’re likely quite familiar with. Syracuse sharpshooter Cole Swider will occupy one slot, while Vanderbilt guard Scotty Pippen Jr. will take the other. Pippen is, obviously, the son of former Chicago Bulls star Scottie Pippen.

The younger Pippen played three years at Vanderbilt and was a prolific scorer during his collegiate career. He averaged 20 points per game in back-to-back seasons while averaging 4.3 assists per game across his three seasons at Vanderbilt. His high basketball IQ is clearly a gift from his Hall of Fame father and that made him one of the better guards in college basketball.

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What Pippen didn’t get from his father was his size. At just 6-3, he might struggle to defend most NBA guards. He isn’t exactly a knockdown shooter either, hitting 34.3 percent of his attempts as a Commodore. Small guards typically need either elite athleticism or stellar shooting to make it in the NBA. Pippen doesn’t quite have either. That’s why he wasn’t taken in the 2022 NBA Draft

But the Lakers have a strong track record of developing under-the-radar college players. Austin Reaves and Alex Caruso are recent success stories, and now Pippen will attempt to follow their path into the NBA. For years, fans of LeBron James wondered what his career would have gone like if he’d spent his whole career playing with a sidekick like Scottie Pippen. Now, even if it isn’t one quite as talented as the one Michael Jordan played with, James has a Pippen of his very own.

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