The Los Angeles Lakers spent the 2019 NBA offseason building their team around LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
With expectations high and pressure on to end the team’s six-season playoff drought, general manager Rob Pelinka focused on adding players who could provide defense and shooting in order to maximize the talents of their All-Star players.
On this episode of the Lakers Nation Podcast, host Trevor Lane is joined by Joey Ramirez, who is the Lakers digital content manager. They start the show by breaking down the team’s preseason performance and what it means moving forward.
While Davis and James saw limited action in order to keep them fresh for when the games count, preseason still gave fans a glimpse into what this Lakers team can be, both good and bad. They looked dominant in the paint when pairing Davis and JaVale McGee. Both possess 7’6″ wingspans that can make life difficult on opponents on both ends of the floor, though it has to be noted the Warriors were severely depleted at the center position.
Still, the Lakers figure to give teams problems with their size, particularly when they run a starting lineup consisting of James, Avery Bradley, Danny Green, Davis, and McGee.
They also struggled somewhat defending three-point shooters, particularly when they turned to their bench unit that features less lanky defenders like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Rajon Rondo, and Alex Caruso. Some of these issues can be fixed through practice, but head coach Frank Vogel will need to do what he can to scheme around any of these weaknesses.
On Oct. 22, the Lakers will open the 2019-20 NBA season up against the Los Angeles Clippers, who had a big summer of their own as they landed both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. It’s a marquee matchup to begin the season and one that will begin to set the narrative surrounding which team is the best in Los Angeles.
They break down the matchup, comparing the two teams and discussing whether the Lakers perceived advantage in the paint can make up for the one that the Clippers hold on the perimeter. Neither team will be at full strength as the Clippers will be without Paul George, who is still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery.
In terms of their record, Oct. 22 is just one of 82 games, but it definitely feels like it carries much greater importance.