Basketball is finally returning and the Los Angeles Lakers are set to take the court against a budding rival in the Golden State Warriors on Saturday evening. A couple of stars aren’t available as LeBron James isn’t out for the Lakers, as is Austin Reaves. Meanwhile, Draymond Green is sitting for the Warriors, but this is still a first look at a pair of teams with championship aspirations.
Even without LeBron, there is still plenty to watch for with the Lakers. Seeing how Anthony Davis looks is of great importance, but the biggest thing undoubtedly is the battle for the team’s fifth starting spot between Jarred Vanderbilt, Rui Hachimura and Taurean Prince.
Each player brings something different to the table as Vanderbilt is a lockdown defender, Prince is the best deep shooter of the bunch, while Hachimura brings size and physicality. It will be interesting to see what each has worked to improve this offseason and a strong showing could give one of them the leg up in this competition.
Prince is one of many new Lakers making their debut on Saturday. Christian Wood has drawn praise from head coach Darvin Ham for his commitment to defense early in camp. Gabe Vincent is looking to translate his outstanding playoff run into consistent production for the Lakers. Both Cam Reddish and Jaxson Hayes are getting a chance to show that the flashes they’ve had in their careers so far are more than just that.
The Lakers also have a number of young players to watch as well with second-year guard Max Christie being chief among them. He has a real chance to earn a rotation spot and if he can continue his hot shooting from Summer League, along with excellent defense, he will be hard to deny. First-round pick Jalen Hood-Schifino has also turned heads in camp while second-round pick Maxwell Lewis and two-way players D’Moi Hodge, Colin Castleton and Alex Fudge are likely to get plenty of time to show why the Lakers have invested in their development.
Like the Lakers, the Warriors probably won’t be playing their stars too much in this preseason opener, but it is the first chance to see how offseason acquisition Chris Paul can fit next to Curry and Klay Thompson.
But in the opener, the key is simply to get a look at some things and players, and escape it without any injuries.
Los Angeles Lakers (0-0) vs. Golden State Warriors (0-0)
5:30 p.m. PT, October 7, 2023
Chase Center, San Francisco, California
TV: Spectrum SportsNet, NBA TV
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: D’Angelo Russell
SG: Gabe Vincent
SF: Jarred Vanderbilt
PF: Rui Hachimura
C: Anthony Davis
Key Reserves: Christian Wood, Taurean Prince, Max Christie, Cam Reddish, Jaxson Hayes
Projected Warriors Starting Lineup:
PG: Stephen Curry
SG: Chris Paul
SF: Klay Thompson
PF: Andrew Wiggins
C: Kevon Looney
Key Reserves: Gary Payton II, Moses Moody, Jonathan Kuminga, Dario Saric
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