Lakers Vs. Kings Preseason Preview: Russell Westbrook To Come Off Bench, Anthony Davis Ruled Out In Final Exhibition Game
Anthony Davis, Lakers
Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers have their final tuneup before the regular season on Friday night when they travel to take on the Sacramento Kings.

The Lakers come into this game at 1-4 in the preseason, although the record isn’t what’s been important with players being in and out of the lineup.

Darvin Ham has tested out five different starting lineups in five games and will go with a sixth against the Kings. This change was the most drastic as the Lakers will test out bringing Russell Westbrook off the bench.

Westbrook hasn’t come off the bench since Nov. 28, 2008, the 17th game of his NBA career. Ham has said since the summer that it was a possibility though and will now test it out for the first time after Westbrook struggled in the Lakers’ last game against the Minnesota Timberwolves with just five points, four assists and three rebounds.

It remains to be seen if Westbrook will be willing to buy in, but if he is, this may be something that could work for the Lakers as it will allow the point guard to run the second unit instead of playing off ball with LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

The Lakers have recently been going small with James and Davis at power forward and center, respectively. That allows Ham to start three guards and without Westbrook in the lineup, it will likely be Patrick Beverley, Lonnie Walker IV and Austin Reaves. That should give the Lakers some more floor spacing as well as quality defense on the perimeter.

In this one though, the Lakers are without Davis as he stayed back in L.A. Ham said at shootaround that it is just precautionary as he has been dealing with minor back tightness.

In other injury news, Walker suffered a mild ankle sprain in the loss to the Timberwolves but avoided serious injury and should be good to play. Juan Toscano-Anderson is also expected to return to the lineup after missing the last game with a minor back issue. Dennis Schroder will be out, however, as his status for the regular season opener is in jeopardy due to a finger injury.

In this final preseason tuneup, it will be interesting to see how much Ham plays his key players. In the last game they played around three quarters, so perhaps he goes will full rotations this time considering the regular season opener isn’t until Tuesday.

Sacramento Kings (3-0) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (1-4)

7 p.m. PT, October 14, 2022
Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, California
TV: Spectrum SportsNet, ESPN
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA

Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:

PG: Patrick Beverley
SG: Lonnie Walker IV
SF: Austin Reaves
PF: LeBron James
C: Damian Jones

Key Reserves: Russell Westbrook, Kendrick Nunn, 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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