With the preseason over the Los Angeles Lakers now have their sights set on Tuesday’s season opener against the Los Angeles Clippers. Head coach Frank Vogel learned a lot about his team over the last few weeks as he experimented with lineups and plays searching for combinations that will find success in the regular season.
On this episode of the Lakers Nation Podcast, host Trevor Lane discusses what the Lakers learned from their preseason play. They only took on two teams, the Brooklyn Nets and Golden State Warriors, which somewhat limits opportunities to analyze the team. Still, we saw some noteworthy trends to dig into.
First and foremost, the Lakers were even more dominant in the paint than we expected. It was a clear strength of theirs on paper but the combination of JaVale McGee and Anthony Davis at the rim was still impressive. Both players have a 7’6 wingspan, and when added to a frontcourt that includes LeBron James, the Lakers will have an advantage over most teams.
It does have to be noted that the Warriors were missing starting center Kevon Looney as well as backup Willie Cauley-Stein, which suggests that we should perhaps reserve judgment until we see them take on some legitimate NBA frontcourts. Still, the extent to which they bullied the Warriors was something to behold.
We also had a chance to witness how good the Lakers can be when they have their role players clicking. James and Davis will draw plenty of attention and be able to consistently produce, but for the team to hit their peak they will need the other guys to step up and perform in their own specific roles.
Against the Warriors, we saw players like Danny Green, Avery Bradley, and Quinn Cook step up and take advantage of the open looks that come from playing alongside James and Davis. On the other end, the defense locked down on an overmatched Warriors squad, providing a blueprint for how the team can find success moving forward.
Lastly, we learned how devastating the James-Davis pick and roll can be. On paper, the combination has the potential to be incredibly difficult to defend since both have the ability to handle the ball, pass, shoot from outside, and the freakish athleticism to create something out of nothing when the play gets blown up. It’s going to take time, but the Davis-James pick and roll could lead the Lakers to big things this season.