The Los Angeles Lakers and their revamped roster begin their march together with a preseason opener in San Diego against the Denver Nuggets. Although not a meaningful game, the Lakers will be debuting several new players against a tough Nuggets team.
Head coach Luke Walton spoke about the approach the Lakers will be taking into the game, explaining, “For us, we’re looking at the whole preseason as getting ready for the whole season. Not that we have to be ready for Sunday’s game in San Diego.” As Walton has been transparent of throughout training camp, each game will be a learning process.
However, there is definite reason to be excited as Sunday will be the fans’ first opportunity to see LeBron James playing basketball in a Lakers uniform. There’s been months of anticipation leading up to this, even before James agreed to sign with the team, as many fans have felt that this is the year the Lakers break their five year playoff drought. With James at the helm, this goal becomes much more achievable.
Sunday also marks the debuts for Rajon Rondo, Michael Beasley, JaVale McGee, Lance Stephenson and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk. This is a highly anticipated bunch for the team, as a consistent story line throughout the year will be based on how much this group can contribute to the team’s success.
On the flip side, we will likely not be seeing Lonzo Ball suit up as he finishes the rehab process for his surgically repaired knee. This appears to be the only injury for the team as they head to San Diego to face the Nuggets.
Something else to keep watch over is how well the Lakers can space the floor and shoot the three ball. One of the greatest criticisms of this roster is the so-called lack of three point shooters. However, many Lakers, including Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Beasley have repeatedly refuted the critique.
With Ball out, it is likely that Rondo will see extra minutes, and we may even see Brandon Ingram playing some point guard. And of course, James will likely be leading the way for the team in terms of playmaking.
While this isn’t an immensely important game, it will be nice to see the Lakers back on the floor, with plenty to be excited about.
Los Angeles Lakers (0-0) Vs Denver Nuggets (0-0):
6:30 P.M. PST, September 30, 2018
Valley View Casino Center, San Diego, California
TV: Spectrum SportsNet, ESPN
Radio: 710 AM (ESPN)/1330 KWKW (Spanish)
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: Rajon Rondo
SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
SF: Brandon Ingram
PF: LeBron James
C: JaVale McGee
Key Reserves: Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart, Michael Beasley, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk
Projected Nuggets Starting Lineup:
PG: Jamal Murray
SG: Gary Harris
SF: Will Barton
PF: Paul Millsap
C: Nikola Jokic
Key Reserves: Isaish Thomas, Trey Lyles, Mason Plumlee