Latest Laker: Malik Newman

By Joey Ramirez | July 2, 2018

Malik Newman has never had much issue filling the bucket, and now he’s looking to bring that scoring punch to the Lakers organization.

The combo guard was one of this year’s most sought-after undrafted free agents until he agreed to a two-way contract with the Los Angeles and South Bay Lakers.

Newman was a flamethrower in his lone year at Kansas, receiving distinctions including Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, Big 12 Tournament MVP and NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional Most Outstanding Player.

The 21-year-old earned those honors with the same skill that makes him an interesting prospect for the Lakers: his ability to fill the bucket.

Newman averaged 14.2 points and 5.0 rebounds at Kansas, and he took his game to the next level in the postseason.

In eight games at the Big 12 and NCAA Tournaments, Newman put up 22.5 points and 3.8 3-pointers, while shooting 52.7 percent from the field and 53.6 percent on 3’s.

This crescendoed with a career performance against Duke in the Elite Eight, when slashed and shot his way to 32 points — including all 13 of Kansas’ in the overtime period.

That win over Duke was an exhibition of the shooting prowess that could make his career in the NBA.

Newman hit 2.2 3-pointers per game at Kansas on a toasty 41.5 percent clip from long distance.

While Newman’s raw numbers are impressive, they become even more so when considering that his shooting ability isn’t hindered by shot type. He’s comfortable hitting from distance off the dribble, off screens and while spotting up.

He might be most dangerous out of pick-and-roll, where he is adept at creating separation for his jumper or hitting the defense with his trademark step-back.

Of course, as with any player spending time in the G League, there are areas that Newman needs to develop.

His scoring ability was never in question at KU, but it took a while for coaches to become satisfied with his focus on the defensive end. However, once he locked in on that side, his overall game flourished as he went on to have his monster postseason.

Newman’s role also had him more concerned about his individual offense, averaging 2.1 assists per game. Whether he can effectively run point for South Bay will be one of the focal points of his first year as a pro.

In the meantime, G League (and perhaps NBA) fans will get to know a pure shooter with a shifty handle.

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