The Los Angeles Lakers were back at practice on Wednesday morning, once again without Lonzo Ball, who sat out while getting treatment on his ankle. The debate continued about who will win the starting power forward slot and what will go into making that decision.
Head coach Luke Walton explained that it’s more than who is playing the best, and also about what makes sense for the overall team. Larry Nance Jr. has started the past two preseason games, with Julius Randle and rookie Kyle Kuzma in the second unit. Walton may decide to switch up that lineup for their final preseason game on Friday night against the L.A. Clippers.
In the videos below, Corey Brewer talks about his adjustment to a ‘teacher role,’ Randle answers questions about the power forward battle and Walton admits to noticing Larry Nance Jr.’s preseason frustrations.
Walton on power forward battle: “There’s going to be some tough decisions to be made coming up here pretty soon, but those are decisions that even though they are tough, they are good decisions to have, because they are all playing well, so we’ve got to decide between not only who is playing the best, but what makes the most sense for the overall team, which is more than who’s playing better than the other two, because you’ve got to think about making the second unit solid and being able to score enough and who plays well with Brook (Lopez) shooting with that first unit. So there’s a lot of things besides just who plays the best going into this. We’re very happy with all three of them.”
Randle on the importance of finishing games: “I think it’s very important for me to whether I’m starting or not. Me personally I have the belief in myself that I can affect the game to give my team the best chance to win and everybody should have the belief honestly, yeah I feel like it’s important and definitely a position that I want to be in to finish games.”
Corey Brewer on how he’s had to adjust his game: “I’ve had to adjust a lot, I’m more of a teacher I guess you could say, but whatever I’ve got to do I just want to win, so whatever I have to do to help the team, I have to do.”
– Walton said Lonzo worked out with assistant Miles Simon before practice
– Lonzo was shooting around in his slides after practice…
– Walton says he hopes Lonzo can play on Friday, but didn’t sound optimistic…said they’re preparing to play without him
– Chris Bosh was back at practice, watching from the sidelines
– Corey Brewer said he thinks the Lakers should be one of the top five teams offensively and top ten teams defensively this season
– Larry Nance Jr. is atop the Winners Board and Corey Brewer has creeped into second place
– Walton was happy with the team’s overall defense last night, but decided to focus on their defensive deficiencies in the film room this morning, which were transition defense, and fouling too many times at the rim
– Walton has been impressed with Alex Caruso’s play, who he says they’ve given minutes to ‘by design,’ but left him in to finish games, because he’s earned their trust and confidence in him to do so (Remember, Caruso is on that two-way contract, so once training camp for the G League starts, Caruso can only spend up to 45 days with the Lakers throughout the course of the season, unless the Lakers have a roster spot open and they sign him to a contract).
– Eventually, Walton would like to get to a point offensively, where their offense is all based on reads (rather, than play calls, as it is now).