The 2019 NBA preseason has been something of a roller coaster so far for the Los Angeles Lakers.
They got off to an exciting start with a win over the Golden State Warriors but followed that up with two losses to the Brooklyn Nets in China. Play got particularly sloppy against the Nets, but is that cause for concern? Or can those issues be written off as simply hiccups caused by travel and shifting rotations?
On this episode of the Lakers Nation Podcast, host Trevor Lane is joined by Denise Jones to discuss what they’ve seen so far.
Anthony Davis and LeBron James are clearly the engines of the team and their connection on the floor has already been evident. As two of the very best in the league, James and Davis hope to push the Lakers back towards contention after six seasons of missing the playoffs.
They have been surrounded by a roster full of high-level role players, including JaVale McGee. With an open competition existing for the starting center role between McGee and Dwight Howard, the former has taken it upon himself to prove that the job should be his.
With impressive length and athleticism, McGee will be an integral piece for the Lakers on both ends of the floor and if his performance in the preseason is any indication, he’s more than ready for it.
Meanwhile, Howard has seen his once-elite athleticism wane over the years but has still been finding ways to contribute by setting timely screens and hitting the boards hard. While McGee may be outplaying him, Howard still figures to be part of the team’s rotation as a center they can expect to do the dirty work in the paint.
The team’s guards, however, have been a bit more of a mixed bag. Rajon Rondo has shown off some improved shooting, but questions about his defense and fit alongside James still linger. Alex Caruso hasn’t gotten off to the start that Lakers fans would have hoped, but the potential is still there to be a key contributor.
Danny Green and Avery Bradley, both brought in for their defense and ability to stretch the floor, haven’t been able to find the bottom of the net as much as the Lakers will need them to. That said, the sample size is incredibly small and head coach Frank Vogel will do all he can to get the team clicking prior to the season opener against the Clippers.