Lakers Vs. Warriors Preseason Preview: Anthony Davis Playing; LeBron James, Russell Westbrook & Patrick Beverley Out
Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers are yet to win a preseason game in the lead-up to the 2022-23 season’s tip-off — with the next chance to get back in the W column coming against the Golden State Warriors on Sunday.

Head coach Darvin Ham’s lineup shuffling is one of the main reasons behind the Lakers’ 0-3 record. Ham said he wouldn’t play Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis and LeBron James in back-to-back games, leading to an inexperienced Purple and Gold roster facing the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday.

The same will be the case on Sunday night against the Warriors as Ham ruled out James, Westbrook and Patrick Beverley before the game. Meanwhile, Dennis Schroder is in L.A. after sorting out his visa application and should join the rest of the team on Monday, so he is out as well.

L.A. does get Davis back in the lineup which is a good sign after he sat out the last two games with minor back tightness. The Lakers were said to be sitting him out for precautionary reasons so much feel he is healthy enough to play against Golden State.

The shorthanded Lakers will have to face a tough Warriors offense though — characterized by an elite off-ball movement — making for the perfect opportunity for Ham to take a closer look at Davis at the center in a smaller, switch-happy unit.

However, Thomas Bryant and Damian Jones should be ready to enter the game at any point as Draymond Green will miss the clash due to his altercation with Jordan Poole earlier this week. Green’s absence could lead to an even longer shift for the seven-foot James Wiseman, who already clocks in 21.1 minutes per game this offseason.

The Warriors will also miss Klay Thompson as head coach Steve Kerr takes a cautious approach in reintroducing the four-time NBA champion back to the rotation.

Expect Austin Reaves and Kendrick Nunn to come out extra motivated for the game for the Lakers. Both guards are having a terrific preseason: Nunn leads the Lakers in scoring, averaging 15.0 points and shooting 50% from 3-point range on 5.0 attempts per night; Reaves leads in assists, registering 4.3 dimes per game — in big part after his near triple-double outing against the Suns that saw him score six points in addition to nine assists and seven rebounds.

With Schroder soon joining the crowded Lakers backcourt, Nunn and Reaves will want to show Ham they are worthy of a spot in the starting lineup. And the head coach has only three preseason games left to test different configurations and pick his go-to unit.

Los Angeles Lakers (0-3) @ Golden State Warriors (2-0)

5:30 p.m. PT, October 9, 2022
Chase Center, San Francisco, California
TV: Spectrum SportsNet, NBA TV
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA

Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:

PG: Austin Reaves
SG: Max Christie
SF: Lonnie Walker IV
PF: Juan Toscano-Anderson
C: Anthony Davis

Key Reserves: Kendrick Nunn, Damian Jones, Thomas Bryant, Wenyen Gabriel, Cole Swider, Matt Ryan

Projected Warriors Starting Lineup:

PG: Steph Curry
SG: Jordan Poole
SF: Andrew Wiggins
PF: Jonathan Kuminga
C: Kevon Looney

Key Reserves: James Wiseman, Moses Moody, Patrick Baldwin Jr., Donte DiVincenzo

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