The Los Angeles Lakers’ roster is nearly complete after the first couple days of free agency, and the team did an outstanding job of maintaining their most important free agents while also adding a couple of intriguing new pieces. D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura were all retained while new additions include Gabe Vincent, Taurean Prince, Cam Reddish and Jaxson Hayes.
Out of all the new additions, it is Vincent who could make the biggest impact for the Lakers next season. He is coming off of an excellent postseason run in which he was a big factor in the Miami Heat making the NBA Finals, starting all 22 games and averaging 12.7 points.
Russell’s playoff run with the Lakers was disappointing to say the least, but it looks as if he is still in line to be the starter next season. According to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, Russell is the early favorite to start at point guard, though that could change if Vincent outplays him in training camp:
The projected lineups are fluid. Russell is the early favorite to start at point guard, but Vincent could earn the spot if he outplays him in training camp, team sources told The Athletic.
It looks like Russell and Vincent will be in a head-to-head competition to earn the Lakers’ starting point guard position and that could bring out the best in both players.
Russell is the better offensive player at his best, thriving in the pick-and-roll and shooting 41.4% from 3-point range in 17 regular season games with the Lakers after being acquired at the trade deadline. Vincent is the more gritty player who is solid on offense, but not as reliable a shooter as Russell when he’s hot. But Vincent, especially coming from the Heat, will grind on defense and do the dirty work.
Both Russell and Vincent will be important contributors for the Lakers this season and Darvin Ham will need to find the right lineup combinations to bring the best out of both. Who will start opening night is unclear, but the two pushing each other will hopefully bring positive outcomes for the Lakers as a whole.
Lakers outbid Miami Heat for Gabe Vincent
Because of how important he was for them in the playoffs, the Heat obviously wanted to keep Vincent around. Heat president Pat Riley even met with Vincent personally, but it wasn’t enough to make up for difference in money the Lakers were offering.
The Heat were reportedly only able to offer Vincent $24 million, much less than the $33 million he signed for with the Lakers, and that was ultimately the difference in him coming to L.A.
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