One of the biggest questions regarding the Los Angeles Lakers’ acquisition of Isaiah Thomas and Channing Frye at the trade deadline on Thursday was whether or not Thomas would start.
Thomas has spoken in the past about his preference to start and his agent even suggested that he would prefer to seek a buyout as opposed to coming off the bench. For the time being, however, that is exactly what he will do.
At Saturday’s shootaround, which was the first for Frye and Thomas with the Lakers, head coach Luke Walton confirmed he’s sticking with the current lineup and said Lonzo Ball will start at point guard upon returning from a knee injury, per team reporter Mike Trudell:
Luke Walton said he’ll keep the starting line up as is: Ingram, Hart, KCP, Randle and Lopez. Isaiah Thomas will come off the bench. Lonzo is out tonight but continues to progress and will start at PG when he returns.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) February 10, 2018
Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson previously stated Ball remained the team’s starting point guard, and general manager Rob Pelinka downplayed any concern or the notion Ball and Thomas wouldn’t be able to play alongside one another.
If Thomas is expected to eventually be a starter, the player most likely to move to the bench is Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
Moving both Caldwell-Pope and Josh Hart to reserve roles could severely impact the Lakers’ defense on the perimeter, but that is something Walton will have to work out. First things first is getting Thomas on the court and comfortable with what the Lakers need from him.
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