With all of the moves the Los Angeles Lakers made this offseason, the question many have begun asking is who will be starting, particularly among the wings and guards.
With the team adding Dennis Schroder and Wesley Matthews while re-signing back Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and still boasting Alex Caruso, head coach Frank Vogel has plenty of options for how he chooses to work his rotation.
In the case of Schroder, some penciled him into a role off the bench, as that is what he thrived in over the last two seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Additionally, many viewed a pairing of him and fellow newcomer Montrezl Harrell as potentially having a dominant impact.
But Schroder didn’t seem too keen on that idea in his first media session since being traded to the Lakers, sounding relatively opposed to the idea of coming off the bench again. “I did this off the bench stuff already for two years with OKC,” he said.
“I think I try to move forward, and I think with A.D. and LeBron, I can be helpful as a starter in the PG position so that LeBron doesn’t have so much stuff in his mind. I can bring it up, call a set play or whatever, and put him in a position to score. I think for him to play off the ball is great.
“I think that’s the reason why they brought me in. I think I’m going to fit perfectly with LeBron, A.D., Caldwell-Pope, Wesley Matthews, Harrell. I think we all fit together and we’re looking forward to it.”
Schroder also added that his agent had spoken with the Lakers about a starting role prior to the trade being completed. Schroder summed up his thoughts with, “That’s that.”
The question now becomes who else would fill out the starting lineup which would likely come down to a choice between Matthews and Caldwell-Pope.
Caldwell-Pope’s play as a starter inside the bubble would seem to lend to him being the favorite to earn that role. That could put the Lakers in a bind defensively as Caldwell-Pope has struggled to guard the bigger wings that position requires, and which Matthews is more suited to defend because of his strength and physicality.
The other possibility would be starting Anthony Davis at center and having Marc Gasol come off the bench, but that would appear unlikely.
Schroder does bring a lot to the table as a starter, especially offensively, and his presence would relieve LeBron of some of his playmaking duties. While in Atlanta he averaged around 18 points and six assists in two seasons as a starter and his play has warranted that starting role.
In the end, however, it’s all about who ends the game and Vogel will have to figure out who is the Lakers’ best five-man group to finish out games.
LeBron sought playing with Schroder
Though it might be a surprise to some to see Schroder likely being a starter, perhaps it shouldn’t be as LeBron James has apparently been wanting him as a teammate for some time now. The Lakers looked at trading for Schroder at last season’s trade deadline and James is reportedly a fan of his game.
Davis has also been extremely complimentary of the move by the Lakers, so while it may not be the ideal trade in the minds of some, it might be exactly what the players themselves are looking for.
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