Lakers Vs. Nets Preseason Preview: LeBron James & Austin Reaves Make 2023 Debuts
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers opened up preseason play on Saturday night with a loss to the Golden State Warriors, although they were without some key pieces in LeBron James and Austin Reaves while a number of other regulars only played the first half.

The Lakers take the court again on Monday night, hosting the Brooklyn Nets at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas in their second of six preseason games.

This time, the Lakers are closer to full strength with James and Reaves both in the lineup for the first time. With only a few exhibition games on their schedule, this should give guys a chance to gel and build some much-needed chemistry to avoid the poor start to the regular season that they had last year.

In addition to the returns of James and Reaves, players like Anthony Davis, D’Angelo Russell and Max Christie are looking to build off their solid efforts in the preseason opener.

In just 13 minutes of action, Davis led the way for L.A. with 15 points and five rebounds while Russell had 15 points and five assists in 16 minutes. Christie picked up where he left off in Summer League with 15 points of his own in 25 minutes, continuing to make his case for a spot in Darvin Ham’s rotation.

One thing to keep an eye on is how Ham changes his rotations in this game now that they’re close to full strength. There are a couple of players missing, however, with Cam Reddish (right ankle soreness) and Jarred Vanderbilt (left heel soreness) both sitting out. There are considered day-to-day, according to the Lakers.

With two wings out though, guys like Rui Hachimura, Taurean Prince and Christie should likely see heavy minutes against a Nets team that is also very strong on the wing. Ham has opened to go with Prince, who came off the bench in the fist game, to join the starting lineup in this one.

This is the Nets’ first preseason game so it remains to be seen how head coach Jacque Vaughn will arrange his starting lineup and rotation, but their backcourt of Spencer Dinwiddie and Mikal Bridges are a problem to be dealt with. If Ben Simmons is able to regain his previous form, then Brooklyn could be one of the surprise teams in 2023-24.

Los Angeles Lakers (0-1) vs. Brooklyn Nets (0-0)

6 p.m. PT, October 9, 2023
T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA

Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:

PG: D’Angelo Russell
SG: Austin Reaves
SF: Taurean Prince
PF: LeBron James
C: Anthony Davis

Key Reserves: Rui Hachimura, Gabe Vincent, Christian Wood, Max Christie, Jaxson Hayes

Projected Nets Starting Lineup:

PG: Spencer Dinwiddie
SG: Cam Thomas
SF: Mikal Bridges
PF: Ben Simmons
C: Nic Claxton

Key Reserves: Dorian Finney-Smith, Royce O’Neal, Dennis Smith Jr., Lonnie Walker IV, Day’Ron Sharpe

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