The first look at the 2022-23 Los Angeles Lakers comes on Monday night as they host the Sacramento Kings in each team’s preseason opener. While normally the preseason doesn’t mean much for a lot of teams, that is not the case this year for the Lakers, who have a lot of question marks heading into the season.
First and foremost all eyes will be on the trio of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook to see if the fit will be better after things were extremely underwhelming last year. New head coach Darvin Ham has brought in a new system and the trio is more focused on being aggressive and attacking this season.
There will also be a lot of questions as to the rotation, especially in the backcourt, as well as the starting lineup overall. Reports out of training camp have pointed to Kendrick Nunn and Damien Jones filling out the starting lineup next to James, Westbrook, and Davis. Some have wondered whether this lineup provides enough shooting to keep defenses honest and Ham is sure to experiment and tinker with different looks and combinations.
Unfortunately, the Lakers will be without a couple of backcourt options as Dennis Schroder still isn’t with the team due to a visa issue while both Lonnie Walker IV and Troy Brown Jr. will sit out due to injury.
Patrick Beverley and Austin Reaves are surely still in consideration for starting spots battling Nunn for the position, so that will be worth keeping an eye on as will the center battle between the athletic Jones and the more offensively skilled Thomas Bryant. Wenyen Gabriel and Juan Toscano-Anderson will also be battling for that backup forward position as well, not to mention the team’s younger players such as Max Christie, Scotty Pippen Jr. and Cole Swider getting some minutes.
Perhaps most important is seeing Ham’s impact on the identity of this team. He has harped on the importance of defense and aggressiveness so seeing that on display is a must for this opening contest, especially against an intriguing Kings team led by De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis.
Fox and Sabonis showed some very intriguing chemistry during their short time together last season and the additions of Kevin Huerter, former Laker Malik Monk and rookie Keegan Murray, who took home Summer League MVP, give this team some excellent offensive potential. The Lakers will need to be locked in if they plan on coming away with a preseason victory that eluded them last year.
Sacramento Kings (0-0) @ Los Angeles Lakers (0-0)
7:30 p.m. PT, October 3, 2022
Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, California
TV: Spectrum SportsNet, NBA TV
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: Russell Westbrook
SG: Kendrick Nunn
SF: LeBron James
PF: Anthony Davis
C: Damien Jones
Key Reserves: Patrick Beverley, Austin Reaves, Thomas Bryant, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Wenyen Gabriel
Projected Kings Starting Lineup:
PG: De’Aaron Fox
SG: Kevin Huerter
SF: Harrison Barnes
PF: Keegan Murray
C: Domantas Sabonis
Key Reserves: Malik Monk, Davion Mitchell, Richaun Holmes, Trey Lyles
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