Before training camp kicked off, Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton spoke about how there would be open competition for the four starting spots around LeBron James.
While the frontcourt always seemed pretty set, the backcourt was another story. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Josh Hart would battle for the shooting guard spot, while Rajon Rondo and Lonzo Ball would fight to start at point guard.
With Ball recovering from knee surgery and missing the first four preseason games, it became pretty clear that Rondo would likely be the starter. The battle between Hart and Caldwell-Pope, however seemed to fluctuate between every game, but it now looks like Walton is leaning one way.
“At practice, we started Rondo and KCP,” Walton said. “We’ll continue to go day-by-day and see how it goes. KCP was great. He was flying up and down, pretty much did the whole practice. I took him out at the very last scrimmage we did, but besides that he was full go.”
Caldwell-Pope did miss the final preseason game in lieu of receiving treatment for tendinitis, but Walton brushed that off. “In my medical opinion, I think he’s going to be just fine. It was nothing that would’ve held him out during the regular season.”
Both Ball and Hart will still play a huge role for the Lakers this season, logging plenty of minutes and potentially closing games. But for the time being, they will lead the second-unit as Walton simply likes what he’s seen from the veteran duo more.
“KCP gives us shooting, he’s a guy that can defend multiple positions, put some pressure on guys,” Walton said. “And Rondo is an elite point guard in this league. Everyone on our team brings their own things to the table, but I like what I’ve seen from that group so far.”
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