With the preseason behind them, the Los Angeles Lakers can begin to focus on their Opening Night game against the Golden State Warriors.
The Lakers have already had to deal with a rash of injuries to their backcourt, but fortunately, their frontcourt rotation remains intact. Anthony Davis looks more like his 2019-20 self, while Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan have each looked solid.
As far as the starting lineup goes, Jordan has been getting the nod when the Lakers go big with Davis at power forward, although he is unclear whether or not that will remain true on Tuesday.
“I think there will be games where certain guys are in and out,” Jordan explained after Friday’s practice. “You know it’s a long season and a lot of people say that we’re an old crew, so I’m sure guys will take some rest nights or some unlucky mishaps or whatever it may be. But I think when guys get in there, we’ll be able to pick each other up as best as possible. When Dwight comes in for me, or vice versa, we’re excited for the next person to come in and I think that’s the way it’ll be the entire season. But we know who our leaders are and who our dogs are so we just got to be a very supportive cast all around. But as far as starting, we haven’t gotten any indication of who is but whoever is in there, I’m sure they’ll do a great job and then you got the next-man-up attitude.”
Head coach Frank Vogel seems to prefer Howard coming off the bench, but Jordan emphasized that he, Howard and Davis all have their strengths and can work together when needed.
“Versatility. Dwight is extremely physical in there, sometimes he gets picked on [by the refs]. But that’s just who he’s been for the past going on 18 years, so when he comes in he’s a hard roller, a hard screen-setter, super physical trying to create extra possessions for our team and just trying to create havoc underneath the basket on both ends of the floor.
“And then with AD, with him at the four or the five, it’s a problem for a ton of defenses. He’s able to space the floor and switch on pick-and-rolls onto guards… And then when we have a big lineup, he’s able to be a playmaker some and create and have fours on him, which a lot of the time he’s taller and more physical and able to shoot over a lot of those guys. But I think that will be used the way the games need us to use.”
The trio of bigs the Lakers possess indicates the team will return to a more physical style of play and it will be exciting to see if they can use it to emulate their successful 2020 championship run.
Carmelo Anthony’s job remains unchanged if starting or coming off bench
If the Lakers do opt to start a smaller lineup with Davis at center, then Carmelo Anthony could get the start at power forward. He shared a similar sentiment to Jordan when it comes to starting or coming off the bench in that his job remains unchanged regardless.
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