It’s been a long and eventful 2019 NBA offseason, but the Los Angeles Lakers are finally back as 2019 NBA preseason is upon us.
That means basketball fans will get their first glimpse at the new-look Lakers, including Anthony Davis. Head coach Frank Vogel has his work cut out for him as he works to settle into his lineups and rotation, which are sure to be in flux for most of the preseason.
On this episode of the Lakers Nation Podcast, host Trevor Lane takes a look at three potential lineup combinations. Here’s a rundown of the ones that he is most excited for:
JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard with Anthony Davis: When DeMarcus Cousins tore his ACL in the offseason, the Lakers set out to find another true center and ultimately landed on Howard. While neither McGee or Howard can provide the kind of floor spacing that Cousins can, they are still intriguing options to pair with Davis.
The question is which one will have the best chemistry with the newest Lakers All-Star player?
Davis prefers to not spend too much time at the center position with the hope being that if the bulk of his minutes come from playing power forward, he won’t have to take a physical pounding on a nightly basis from playing against opposing centers. McGee and Howard are both more than happy to fill that role by playing defense, rebounding, and dunking the ball when defenses converge on Davis and James. Which one earns the bulk of the minutes, however, is anyone’s guess at this point.
Rajon Rondo, Alex Caruso, and Avery Bradley with the starters: With Kyle Kuzma on the mend, it appears that Vogel won’t be able to turn to a supersized lineup of James, Danny Green, Kuzma, Davis, and McGee/Howard right out of the gate. Instead, he almost certainly will slot in a player who can defend opposing point guards and provide some floor spacing. Who he turns to will likely come down to who fits best alongside James and Davis.
Statistically and stylistically, Rondo doesn’t appear to make much sense as a starter, but he is a favorite of Davis’ and has drawn rave reviews for his improved shooting in training camp, so it’s possible he gets a serious look. Meanwhile, Bradley is on a mission to prove that he’s still a lockdown defender — something that could prove valuable next to the team’s All-Star players. Caruso may be the best of both worlds, capable of knocking down shots while also playing stingy defense, though reports out of training camp suggest he has been playing primarily with the second unit. Who ultimately gets the nod may come down to chemistry.
Davis and James: The one fans are all waiting for. The on-court chemistry that James and Davis develop will have a major impact on just how successful the 2019-20 NBA season is for the Lakers. On paper, the two should play off of each other extremely well, but just how much control of the team’s offense James turns over to Davis will be an interesting subplot to watch. On the other end of the floor, Davis has already expressed that he will hold everyone accountable, but will that really include James (whose defensive effort can sometimes be lacking)? It’s going to be a lot of fun finding out.