After a long and eventful offseason, the Los Angeles Lakers are finally tipping off the NBA preseason. Optimism is high after a summer trade that brought superstar Anthony Davis to town, whose arrival has the Lakers on a shortlist of contenders this season.
On this episode of the LN Podcast, host Trevor Lane shares in the excitement for the new season and discusses what Lakers fans should be looking for in preseason play. Since the games don’t count towards a team’s record, there will be opportunities to experiment and perhaps get a look at lineups and players that may not see much time during the regular season.
For example, the Lakers will certainly experiment with their guard and center rotations as new head coach Frank Vogel attempts to figure out which pairings work best. Will the incumbent JaVale McGee keep his starting role from last season, or will as resurgent Dwight Howard usurp his role? It’s going to be an interesting battle to watch and one that may ultimately come down to which of the two pairs better with Davis in the starting lineup.
Likewise, the Lakers have a number of guards on the roster that deserve minutes, like Alex Caruso, Rajon Rondo, Quinn Cook, Avery Bradley, Danny Green, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Troy Daniels. It will impossible for all of them to have a consistent role during the regular season, so preseason play gives each of them an opportunity to prove that they should be part of the rotation.
Vogel will have plenty of chances to move guards in and out of different lineups as he searches for combinations that work. Is it better to have Rondo on the floor with shooters like Cook and Caldwell-Pope or is he best used as a starter with James and Davis? Can Caruso earn minutes playing off the ball as a shooting guard or does he have to be a point guard?
While there will be plenty of Vogel to experiment with, ultimately, the most important thing that needs to come out of preseason is health. The Lakers have had horrific luck with injuries in recent years, watching every key player on the team go down for extended periods last season. This summer, Kyle Kuzma is already dealing with a foot injury that will hold him out of at least the first three preseason games and center DeMarcus Cousins is likely lost to the season as a result of a torn ACL.
As such, the starters may not play much, but the bottom line is that the Lakers are finally back in action.