The Los Angeles Lakers completely remodeled their roster this summer, leaving a lot of unanswered questions going into training camp.
Perhaps the biggest question is what the starting lineup will be as LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook are the only guarantees. That leaves to open spots and a ton of different possibilities for L.A., and Frank Vogel recently revealed that he won’t settle on a starting lineup until he sees his team in training camp and the preseason.
Before the Lakers can fill out the last two spots, the main thing that needs to be answered is if Anthony Davis will start at power forward or center. While the Lakers’ best lineups over the last two seasons have featured Davis at center, he has previously been unwilling to start there in order to preserve his body.
It appears he has changed his stance on that though as Bill Oram, Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic are reporting the expectation is he will start at the 5 and the starting lineup will be rounded out with Wayne Ellington and Trevor Ariza:
Since Davis arrived from New Orleans two years ago, the Lakers’ best lineups have featured him at center. With Westbrook aboard, sources said Davis has emerged as the expected starting center, clearing the way for a likely starting five of him, Westbrook, Ellington, Ariza and James, according to sources. Third-year guard Talen Horton-Tucker, a rising, young talent for the Lakers, is also expected to compete in camp for a possible starting role.
If true, this is good news as the Lakers often got off to slow starts when another true center has started next to Davis. It appears they realized that and want to change things up this season, which should lead to more success.
Just because Davis starts at center doesn’t mean he will be playing there full-time though as the team still has Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan.
What Ellington will provide the Lakers’ starting lineup is one of the best spot-up shooters in the league, which is necessary with players who like to get to the paint, as is the case with their three stars.
Ariza isn’t quite the shooter that Ellington is, but he will bring the Lakers some defensive toughness, likely guarding the opposing team’s best wing player.
What bench unit could look like
If that is indeed the starting lineup, and that isn’t certain as it looks like Talen Horton-Tucker also has a chance to work his way in, then that should leave the Lakers with an interesting bench unit.
In the backcourt, Horton-Tucker will be vying for playing time along with Kendrick Nunn and Malik Monk. Rajon Rondo is also an option although Vogel recently implied he won’t be seeing the court often.
Then on the wing, the Lakers will have Kent Bazemore and Carmelo Anthony with the twin towers of Howard and Jordan in the frontcourt.
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