Scotty Pippen Jr. and Cole Swider receive two-way contracts from the Lakers.

Scotty Pippen Jr.  and Cole Swider receive two-way contracts from the Lakers.

According to Shams Charania, the Los Angeles Lakers have signed their two two-way players for the 2022–23 season, one of whose names you’re probably pretty familiar with. One spot will be filled by Syracuse shooter Cole Swider, and the other by Vanderbilt guard Scotty Pippen Jr. Scottie Pippen, a former star with the Chicago Bulls, is Pippen’s father.

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.

The younger Pippen spent three seasons playing for Vanderbilt and was a successful scorer as a student. Over the course of his three seasons at Vanderbilt, he averaged 4.3 assists per game while also averaging 20 points per game in consecutive seasons. He certainly inherited his high basketball IQ from his Hall of Fame father, which helped him become one of the top guards in college basketball.

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