Portland Trail Blazers' Jake Layman competes against the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half on Monday night's Las Vegas Summer League champonship game.
Portland Trail Blazers' Jake Layman competes against the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half on Monday night's Las Vegas Summer League champonship game. (John Locher / AP)

After struggling with his 3-point shooting for much of the NBA's Las Vegas Summer League, former Maryland forward Jake Layman hit five of eight 3-pointers in Monday night's championship game in the Portland Trail Blazers' 110-98 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, who played without Lonzo Ball, the summer's league Most Valuable Player.

Layman finished with 21 points, shooting 8-for-19 overall, to go along with seven rebounds in 29 minutes. Layman, who played sparingly for the Trail Blazers as a rookie last season after being acquired in a draft-night trade with the Orlando Magic (who picked him at No. 47), averaged 15 points in the summer league.

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In helping Portland reach the championship game with a four-game winning streak, Layman had three of his better performances in the past week. After back-to-back poor shooting nights when he went a combined 2-for-22 (0-for-7 on 3-pointers), Layman scored 22 points in a victory over the Chicago Bulls and 23 in a win over the San Antonio Spurs.

For a player who shot the ball with great consistency in College Park, Layman finished the summer league shooting a shockingly low 33.9 percent (37-for-119) from the field, including 32.5 percent on 3-pointers (14-for-43). Still, Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts said on Monday's ESPN telecast that he was happy with the way Layman played, particularly in putting the ball on the floor and with his defense.

"I think he played with a lot of confidence," Stotts said.

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Those who remember Layman's reluctance to shoot at times during his career at Maryland were taken aback by the 6-foot-9 forward hoisting 24 shots against the Spurs, perhaps the most he had ever attempted in a game on any level. Layman also made the kind of athletic drive-and-dunks he did only on rare occasions in College Park, such as the one at the end of the loss to West Virginia in the 2015 NCAA tournament.

Whether this summer league translates into more playing time in his second season in Portland remains to be seen. While the Trail Blazers used their first two draft choices this year to improve their inside game with former Purdue star Caleb Swanigan and Gonzaga freshman Zach Collins, Layman still has to outplay Maurice Harkless and Evan Turner to get more minutes behind starter Al-Farouq Aminu.

If anything, the combination of his length, athleticism and ability to get off his shot could also make Layman the kind of player NBA coaches and general managers seem to like package in trades. Should Layman languish on the bench again in Portland this season, his performance in Las Vegas (despite his erratic shooting) will likely have helped raise his stock among NBA front-office types.

Vander Blue of the Los Angeles Lakers drives against Jake Layman of the Portland Trail Blazers during the championship game of the 2017 Summer League at the Thomas & Mack Center on July 17, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Los Angeles won, 110-98.
Vander Blue of the Los Angeles Lakers drives against Jake Layman of the Portland Trail Blazers during the championship game of the 2017 Summer League at the Thomas & Mack Center on July 17, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Los Angeles won, 110-98. (Ethan Miller / Getty Images)

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