The Los Angeles Lakers enter the 2022-23 campaign with plenty of questions to answer after an up-and-down preseason that saw them win only one game out of six.
The Lakers showed an improved defense compared to the woeful 2021-22 season. However, they looked very much like an unfinished product on the offensive side of the ball and couldn’t work on their chemistry as much as they wanted to because of the injury bug that hit the team early.
Back issues held back Anthony Davis during the preseason and will sideline Troy Brown Jr. in the first week of 2022-23. Lonnie Walker IV, Juan Toscano-Anderson and Russell Westbrook all struggled with minor injuries but should be ready for Opening Night.
Meanwhile, Thomas Bryant and Dennis Schroder are dealing with thumb injuries, which required the latter to undergo surgery that will keep him out of the court for a few weeks.
In addition, the Lakers will open the 2022-23 season with seven difficult straight matchups against tough Western Conference opponents, including the defending champions Golden State Warriors in the Thursday curtain-raiser and the L.A. Clippers two days later.
But despite the uncertainty around the Purple and Gold, Davis told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin he hopes L.A. will be able to spoil the Warriors’ ring night:
“Our first two games are against two title contenders,” Davis said Monday, referring to Tuesday’s opener on the road against the defending champs, followed by a home game against the LA Clippers on Thursday. “It’s always good to spoil a ring night. So our mindset is going up and starting this season with a couple W’s.”
Davis added the Lakers are determined to improve on the nightmare 2021-22 season during which they missed out on playoff basketball:
“We’re motivated to get back to where we belong. The last two seasons were not what we envisioned,” Davis said. “It was not Lakers basketball and we know that. Not what our organization’s standard is. Our standard is to compete for championships, and the last two seasons, we have not. So, it’s motivation and hunger from every guy on the floor. Everybody in the locker room, all the coaches, the front office, to make sure that we get back to that level of basketball that we know we can play at.”
In addition to the Warriors and Clippers, the Lakers will face two other playoff-bound Western Conference teams before the end of October: the Minnesota Timberwolves and Denver Nuggets.
Then, on Nov. 2, they will match up with the New Orleans Pelicans, who should have Zion Williamson back after the former No. 1 pick missed the entire 2021-22 season with a foot injury.
Toscano-Anderson describes difference between Lakers & Warriors
Toscano-Anderson will collect his championship ring on Tuesday in a brief reunion with former Warriors teammates. Ahead of the game, the 29-year-old wing discussed differences between the Lakers and Warriors franchises, comparing the Purple and Gold to Jay-Z.
“You know I try to find the perfect analogy for it and maybe the better analogy I can come with is, the Lakers are like Jay-Z,” Toscano-Anderson said.
“Longevity, everybody knows that Jay-Z is like a great, the great, and that’s kind of like what the Lakers are. They’ve been so good for so long, they are like the team in the NBA, it’s kinda like what the Cowboys are to the NFL.
“The Warriors, they just got good like 10 years ago, and I can say that because I’ve been a Warriors fan my whole life, I used to go to Warriors games when they were giving out free tickets.”
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