The Los Angeles Lakers have made a significant roster move by signing former Florida forward Alex Fudge to a two-way contract, the team announced on Wednesday. Despite an underwhelming college career, Fudge’s wiry and athletic playing style caught the attention of Lakers’ scouts during the NBA Summer League, prompting the team to secure his talents.
Fudge’s transition from LSU to Florida showed signs of promise, averaging 5.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per game in 19 minutes per contest with the Gators. While his shooting splits (40/23/59) may not stand out, his exceptional hops were on full display during the NBA Summer League. Despite limited opportunities during the Summer League games, Fudge is viewed as a project player with immense potential, particularly with the Lakers’ G League affiliate.
The six-foot-eight forward’s strengths are evident on both ends of the floor, as he utilizes his springs for legs to excel in protecting the paint and finishing highlight plays. His skill in transition aligns perfectly with the Lakers’ fast-paced system, which ranked fourth in pace last season. Additionally, Fudge has showcased decent floor-spacing abilities, making 15 of 62 triples (24%) in college and two of three in Summer League. Defensively, he has proven his worth with 14 steals and 25 blocks in 32 games with Florida and two steals and five blocks during the Summer League.
While Fudge’s athleticism is his main highlight, the Lakers’ brass is optimistic that other aspects of his game will develop with time and experience in the G League. The decision to promote him from his previously-signed Exhibit 10 contract demonstrates the team’s belief in his potential.
To sign Alex Fudge, the Lakers waived forward Cole Swider, who exhibited impressive shooting skills during the Summer League, averaging 15.2 points per game on 42.5% shooting from beyond the arc. However, given the number of wings on the roster, the Lakers decided to part ways with Swider, who is viewed as more one-sided due to his defensive limitations.
The signing of Alex Fudge may have initially come as a head-scratcher to some, but the Lakers have a track record of successful player development through their G League affiliate. Fudge’s two-way contract allows him to split his time between the Los Angeles Lakers and the South Bay Lakers in the G League. As he continues to refine his skills and gain valuable experience, Fudge has the opportunity to make a name for himself and earn greater opportunities in the future.
At just 20 years old, Fudge’s journey with the Lakers presents a solid stepping stone for his career. While he may not be an immediate contributor to the NBA team, a standout season in the G League could open doors for him to make a significant impact in the future. The Lakers’ investment in Fudge showcases their commitment to nurturing young talent and building a competitive roster for the seasons ahead.