As Vander Blue lifted the Las Vegas Summer League championship trophy over his head, he couldn’t have asked for much more from his 25th birthday.
The reigning NBA G League MVP had just scored 20 points to help the Lakers beat Portland in the title game, 110-98.
“It’s been a big day for me,” Blue said. “It’s been a great day. I’m just in a good spot, happy for everybody.”
With Lonzo Ball out due to a mild calf strain, Blue assumed part of the ball-handling duties and performed admirably, handing out six assists while shooting 7-of-12 from the field.
Blue — who averaged 20.5 points in his last four games after providing only 9.5 in his first four — saw this summer as an opportunity to reject misconceptions about his game.
“With Zo out tonight, I had to do a little bit of everything,” Blue said. “… I think (the Lakers) got a good chance of seeing me run the team, show my leadership.
“I know coming up in the G League it might have seemed like I was a selfish player or just all about myself because of the amount of points I was scoring and the rate I was scoring, but my whole life I’ve been about winning and I want to play with winners.”
It was a team full of winners by the end of the night, as Blue was joined by fellow South Bay Lakers Alex Caruso and Travis Wear.
Caruso started in Ball’s place and gave the Lakers a bit of everything by scoring 15 points with nine assists and seven rebounds. Wear, meanwhile, added 10 points and five boards.