Lakers Nation Roundtable: Who Or What Has Impressed In Preseason?
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After an extremely long and eventful off-season, the Los Angeles Lakers finally took the court as they began their 2015-16 preseason. The Lakers played three games in the first week, two against the Utah Jazz and one against the Toronto Raptors. Even though the team failed to get a win, there were still many things that have Lakers fans excited.

A number of players have looked good so far. Veterans such as Roy Hibbert and Lou Williams have impressed while some young prospects like Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle have given fans hope for both the present and the future. Kobe Bryant looking rejuvenated is always a good thing as well.

Many questions that fans had about the team have also begun to get answered as well. Everyone is now able to see how Kobe looks playing small forward, how the team will look on defense, and what roles all of the new additions will have.

With that said, we asked our experts who or what has impressed them the most so far during the preseason. This is what they had to say:

Ryan Ward (@Lakers_Examiner): There hasn’t been one player in particular that has stuck out to me during the first three games of the preseason. I’ve been more impressed by the ball movement and chemistry this team is building in such a short amount of time.

It would be easy to say Julius Randle has shown some promise and Kobe Bryant has played better than anticipated in a different kind of role, but I believe the team as a whole has been most impressive thus far. Unlike the last few seasons, the ball is moving and rarely sticks. The offensive possessions in the past were painfully predictable.

The ball would come up the court and end up in Kobe’s hands. Bryant would then hold the ball way too long and force up an ill-advised shot. The rest of the team would stand around the perimeter and watch as Kobe struggled to return to his dominant form on offense.

This year the team already taking a much different approach. Although there’s still a lot of work to be done, the Lakers are making progress with everyone on the floor getting involved and clearly motivated to make an impact heading into the 2015-16 NBA season.

Trevor Lane (@Trevor_Lane): It may be something of a no-brainer after the last two preseason games, but Julius Randle has been the most impressive Laker thus far. In Summer League and in the first preseason game against the Jazz we saw Randle struggle to finish at the rim and try to force the action too much. He was clearly trying to cram as much action as possible into his time on the court, and the results weren’t pretty.

However, in his next two games we saw an entirely different player. This Julius Randle carefully chose his moments to attack, and read the defense prior to acting. Consequently he found lanes opening up for him to drive, and was put in better spots to take advantage of his impressive athleticism. On a few plays we saw Randle use his extremely quick first step to leave defenders in the dust, yet he still maintains the brute strength needed to finish through contact.

When the shot wasn’t there he drew defenders and then dished to open teammates, including one incredible play that saw him go behind his back around a defender at mid court, and then hit Kobe Bryant in stride for a three.

It was sheer brilliance.

Meanwhile, he was engaged defensively, shifting onto guards seamlessly and pressuring in a manner that was eerily reminiscent of his mentor, Metta World Peace. It was this kind of two-way performance that Lakers fans have been praying for.

For months we have heard rave reviews of Randle coming out of Lakers practice, but not seen that translate on the court, until now. While he still needs to improve his jump shot, Julius Randle has given Lakers fans a lot to be excited about.

Corey Hansford (@TheeCoreyH): Maybe it is because my expectations for him were relatively low, but I have been extremely impressed with Roy Hibbert so far in the preseason. The great thing about Hibbert is that his impact stretches beyond just himself, but to the whole team.

Hibbert has been very energetic and engaged on both ends of the floor. He is a constant presence on the defensive end, challenging shots at the rim and making life more difficult for the opposition. He has also been better on the boards than I expected, especially on the offensive glass where his activity has been contagious.

The best thing about Hibbert is that his presence and communication on the backend of the defense has forced the rest of the team to really lock down on that end. Not that the Lakers are going to be shutting down teams regularly this season, but are really locking into guys and getting in the passing lanes. When players fail to make the rotation, Hibbert holds them accountable and the rest of the team doesn’t want to let him down.

Probably my favorite thing I have seen from any player so far was Hibbert jumping up to defend Julius Randle after Trevor Booker pushed him. The Lakers haven’t had a big man be a real enforcer in a long time and Hibbert being willing to step up and defend any of his teammates will bring everyone closer.

Hibbert is impressing me as much because of his play on the court, though that has been surprising as well, but because I truly believe he’s changing the mindset of the team. The results may not show themselves immediately, but the long-term impact he could have on the Lakers is outstanding.

Jabari Davis (@JabariDavisNBA): The most impressive player so far has to be the big man Julius Randle.

Fellow “sophomore” Jordan Clarkson looks stronger and even more poised by the day as he continues to answer questions about whether his second-half performance as a rookie was due to simply producing for a bad team. Veteran Roy Hibbert has also shown plenty of encouraging signs this preseason for those that wondered whether he could return to his All-Star form of just a couple seasons ago, but Randle is probably the player that came into the season with the most questions about just how effective he would be at this level?

The 20-year-old has already made a believer out of teammates that are able to compete against him on a daily basis, and now both his physical transformation and the continued evolution of his overall game have been on display for the rest of the world. From tracking and snatching rebounds in traffic to bullying his way through the lane for a powerful finish at the rim, Randle appears to be finding the more and more confidence in his body as he continues to round into form following last year’s injury.

His outside shot remains a work-in-progress, but he looks far more comfortable taking them and his willingness to do so will make a difference in the way opposing players are able to defend him. He may be a bit overly reliant upon finishing with and toward his left hand at this stage, but he’s already shown signs that he’s at least attempting to become comfortable with drives and finishes to his right.

There’s no mistaking his potential to be very good at this level if health permits, but what’s most impressive is the fact that it still appears that Randle has plenty of room for further improvement. That should actually be the scary thing for opposing teams over the next few years of his development.

All great opinions and I agree with them. Randle, Hibbert, Clarkson and Kobe all looking good. Russell hasn’t had a chance yet. Even Metta has shown some good energy and is surely providing defensive motivation to the rest of the team. We have reason to be excited about watching this team grow together and with so much young talent it’s gonna be fun to see it unfold. I am really interested in seeing just what happens when Russell gets into the groove.

  • All great opinions and I agree with them. Randle, Hibbert, Clarkson and Kobe all looking good. Russell hasn’t had a chance yet. Even Metta has shown some good energy and is surely providing defensive motivation to the rest of the team. We have reason to be excited about watching this team grow together and with so much young talent it’s gonna be fun to see it unfold. I am really interested in seeing just what happens when Russell gets into the groove.

  • I’m most impressed with Kobe. No one knew what he would look like. All the other guys we knew how they would look or what was expected.

  • I’m most impressed with Kobe. No one knew what he would look like. All the other guys we knew how they would look or what was expected.

  • Impressed:
    – Scott (handling Kobe’s minutes well, even taking Kobe out when he’s hot)
    – Hibbert (rebounding, protecting paint, easy shots in the paint)
    – Randle (aggressive on both ends of the floor last 2 games)
    – Kobe (looks good in terms of conditioning, some shots look smooth, good passes)
    – Clarkson (continues to develop, still aggressive at both ends, improved his D)
    – Russell (few nice passes in his first game)
    – Bass (solid, period)
    – MWP (energy at both ends)
    – Young (hitting some of his shots)
    – Williams (solid scorer off the bench)
    – Upshaw (great height, lots of potential, defensive minded, seems to have a midrange game too)
    – Nance (energy off the bench)
    – Kelly (shooting not that bad, I got to admit. Still hope he’s released)
    – Holmes (only his rebounding)

    The bad
    – Scott (haven’t seen much of Tarik Black. Jabari Brown and Frazier can’t play PG. Kelly is also not a SF)
    – Sacre (RELEASE HIM NOW)
    – Kobe (some bad shots that were contested, but still playing well)
    – Russell (I get that he’s injured, but Hibbert-Randle-Kobe-Clarkson are starting to play well with each other, he needs to get healthy as soon as possible and build that chemistry on the court with those four guys)
    – Holmes (offense doesn’t look that good, defense either. He’s supposed to be a 3&D guy….)
    – Huertas (I understand injury, but we have yet to see him. Plus, he’s supposed to be the backup point… concerned)

  • Impressed:
    – Scott (handling Kobe’s minutes well, even taking Kobe out when he’s hot)
    – Hibbert (rebounding, protecting paint, easy shots in the paint)
    – Randle (aggressive on both ends of the floor last 2 games)
    – Kobe (looks good in terms of conditioning, some shots look smooth, good passes)
    – Clarkson (continues to develop, still aggressive at both ends, improved his D)
    – Russell (few nice passes in his first game)
    – Bass (solid, period)
    – MWP (energy at both ends)
    – Young (hitting some of his shots)
    – Williams (solid scorer off the bench)
    – Upshaw (great height, lots of potential, defensive minded, seems to have a midrange game too)
    – Nance (energy off the bench)
    – Kelly (shooting not that bad, I got to admit. Still hope he’s released)
    – Holmes (only his rebounding)

    The bad
    – Scott (haven’t seen much of Tarik Black. Jabari Brown and Frazier can’t play PG. Kelly is also not a SF)
    – Sacre (RELEASE HIM NOW)
    – Kobe (some bad shots that were contested, but still playing well)
    – Russell (I get that he’s injured, but Hibbert-Randle-Kobe-Clarkson are starting to play well with each other, he needs to get healthy as soon as possible and build that chemistry on the court with those four guys)
    – Holmes (offense doesn’t look that good, defense either. He’s supposed to be a 3&D guy….)
    – Huertas (I understand injury, but we have yet to see him. Plus, he’s supposed to be the backup point… concerned)

  • If Young brings 15 points to the table with the 2nd unit, and plays reasonably good D, I can live with a few bad shots. His 15 plus Lou Williams production will mean, we have no dry sells in scoring off the bench. If your 2nd unit can stay even with a team, and your starters are good enough to get a lead, you win.

  • If Young brings 15 points to the table with the 2nd unit, and plays reasonably good D, I can live with a few bad shots. His 15 plus Lou Williams production will mean, we have no dry spells in scoring off the bench. If your 2nd unit can stay even with a team, and your starters are good enough to get a lead, you win.

  • True, but I don’t if we can expect an exact number from Young with Williams coming off the bench with him. I just ask that both Lou and Nick remain consistent in their production throughout the season.

  • True, but I don’t if we can expect an exact number from Young with Williams coming off the bench with him. I just ask that both Lou and Nick remain consistent in their production throughout the season.

  • As usual Ryan Ward seems to be living in a parallel universe. Which fucking games did he watch??? <:-)

  • As usual Ryan Ward seems to be living in a parallel universe. Which fucking games did he watch??? <:-)

  • Keep your comments short clown. Kobe doesn’t feel the weight of having to carry the team, which is great. The last 3 games are irrelevant at this point. The thing that’s important is they continue to get better every game and keep sharing the ball. I can see this team developing a really good chemistry with more games together. As Clarkson and Randle continue to improve, so will the team. There’s a reason why they play 82 games and not go straight to the playoffs.

  • Keep your comments short clown. Kobe doesn’t feel the weight of having to carry the team, which is great. The last 3 games are irrelevant at this point. The thing that’s important is they continue to get better every game and keep sharing the ball. I can see this team developing a really good chemistry with more games together. As Clarkson and Randle continue to improve, so will the team. There’s a reason why they play 82 games and not go straight to the playoffs.

  • Hibberts much needed defense inside and Lou’s offensive ability have stuck out to me most.

  • Hibberts much needed defense inside and Lou’s offensive ability have stuck out the most.

  • ya keep saying man. ill be here fucking your wife long dick style while ur still there saying “its JUST preseason man” :D!!!!!!!

  • Really so your gonna start Anthony Brown at the 3 instead of defensive player of the year in larry nance Jr?? or still pretty solid MWP?? :D!!!!! grow a brain u dumb delusional lakers franchise 😀 oh wait u would have to have one in order to grow one. sorry ;D

  • Really so your gonna start Anthony Brown at the 3 instead of defensive player of the year in larry nance Jr?? or still pretty solid MWP?? :D!!!!! grow a brain u dumb delusional lakers franchise 😀 oh wait u would have to have one in order to grow one. sorry ;D

  • Of course, we all expected JR to do well, and JC to continue to improve, and Kobe recovered, etc.
    The three unexpected improvements that I saw were:
    1) Roy Hibbert making assists.
    2) Ryan Kelly attacking the basket. ( and making most of them )

    3) Team chemistry. ( Hibbert should have gotten a technical for chest bumping Booker, but I still liked the esprit de corp )

  • Of course, we all expected JR to do well, and JC to continue to improve, and Kobe recovered, etc.
    The three unexpected improvements that I saw were:
    1) Roy Hibbert making assists.
    2) Ryan Kelly attacking the basket. ( and making most of them )

    3) Team chemistry. ( Hibbert should have gotten a technical for chest bumping Booker, but I still liked the esprit de corp )

  • What the hell is wrong with Ryan Rainy Day Ward. Mr. negativity.

    Dude is worse than some of the trolls here.

  • What the hell is wrong with Ryan Rainy Day Ward. Mr. negativity.

    Dude is worse than some of the trolls here.

  • Randy and Numbr1 , we got our wish, A.Brown will start ..he should take full advantage of this opt…

  • Randy and Numbr1 , we got our wish, A.Brown will start ..he should take full advantage of this opt…

  • The thing that’s wrong with him is that he should write about something he understands. Not basketball! Perhaps reviewing fastfood chains?

  • The thing that’s wrong with him is that he should write about something he understands. Not basketball! Perhaps reviewing fastfood chains?

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