Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton has kept true to his promise that the team would evaluate multiple lineups and a slew of rotations throughout training camp and the preseason. But Saturday’s game against the Clippers saw arguably his most aggressive and unique attempt.
It in large part was dictated by LeBron James sitting for his first time this year, and Lonzo Ball not yet making his preseason debut. Walton suggested postgame that both could be on the court for Wednesday’s matchup in Las Vegas with the Golden State Warriors.
So it went that with 2:40 remaining in the second quarter, Lance Stephenson checked in for JaVale McGee. Stephenson joined Rajon Rondo, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Josh Hart and Kyle Kuzma on the floor.
Walton then took it a step further one minute later when Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk replaced Kuzma, giving the Lakers a five-guard lineup. “Just to see how they looked running,” Walton later explained of the odd group.
“I thought they did a nice job scrapping defensively. We kind of just stood around too much offensively. Lineups like that can be dynamic but we have to still penetrate into the paint. Whether it’s by cutting, passing or driving, that’s where you create the shots for your teammates.”
Whether with that specific lineup, or with or without James, Walton has key areas he believes the Lakers must continue to execute. “We’re looking for setting screens, the angles, things that no matter what the lineup is, we should be doing consistently,” he explained.
“We did some nice things tonight, we did some things we obviously got to do a lot better still.” Though he didn’t specifically reference the extreme version of small-ball lineup, Walton restated the Lakers would continue to evaluate multiple lineups and rotations ahead.
Want to get your content COMPLETELY AD FREE? Follow us on Apple News!