With the 2023-24 season officially tipping off next week, the Los Angeles Lakers are figuring out the most optimal lineups and rotations.
This year’s version of the roster is filled with quality role players who are deserving of minutes, leaving some to wonder who Darvin Ham will ultimately roll out once the games start to matter. The starting lineup has been an interesting conversation to have as there are several candidates who could fit right next to D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves, LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
With how Ham likes to play a five-out style, it feels like either Rui Hachimura or Taurean Prince will get the nod. The latter seems to be in the lead, though, as he’s seen the most time alongside the other starters during the preseason.
Russell has gotten several reps with Prince on the floor and believes the forward has been a great addition to the team so far. “He’s fit right in,” Russell said. “I think offensively he’s done what he’s always done. Been aggressive behind the arc, attack closeouts, do it efficiently.
“He’s got a lot to his game, he’s not just a shooter. Then on the defensive end, he’s just fearless, competitor. Seen him trying to block shots, he does everything. So just to have another guy like that with that versatility I think it just helps our group.”
Russell’s comments echoed Reaves’ about Prince in that he’s a defensive-minded player who has a knack for hitting open shots from distance. The 3-and-D wing is the most prized commodity in the NBA and Prince fits the mold.
With several ball handlers in the starting lineup, Ham will likely go with Prince as the final starter as he doesn’t need the basketball to be at his best. While Jarred Vanderbilt and Hachimura are probably still in consideration, it feels like Prince has made the biggest impression on everyone and it’ll be interesting to see if he’s in the starting lineup in the Lakers’ final preseason game against the Phoenix Suns on Thursday.
D’Angelo Russell wants to play like Derrick White
Russell has arguably been the most impressive Laker during preseason as he’s shown more command of the offense and has even looked good defensively. Russell drew a lot of flak and criticism for his playoff performances, but it seems like he took that to heart and worked on his game.
As for who he’s trying to emulate on the court, Russell said he’s looking to play more like Boston Celtics guard Derrick White.
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