The Los Angeles Lakers look like they have not missed a beat after collecting their second consecutive preseason win over the L.A. Clippers.
Talen Horton-Tucker has been the star of the preseason for the Lakers so far as the second-year guard has looked plenty confident on the floor. Horton-Tucker got the start at point guard and finished with 33 points, 10 rebounds, and four steals in Sunday’s 131-106 victory.
Head coach Frank Vogel has certainly gotten his team to play with effort and energy so far, an encouraging sign given all the new additions to the roster. Each new player has shown flashes of what they can do on the floor, making it reasonable to think that the Lakers could be better than last year’s title team.
Vogel has yet to play LeBron James and Anthony Davis during the preseason, but did reveal that he plans to play the two superstars in the two remaining preseason games against the Phoenix Suns.
“They’ve been participating heavily in practice and will sit these two Clippers preseason games out and hopefully play in the final two preseason games,” Vogel said. “I think some in Game 3 and more in Game 4 to make it as close to possible as a dress rehearsal heading into the regular season.”
As far as the playbook is concerned, Vogel will be running actions for James and Davis to get them warmed up for the 2020-21 season. “There will be a little bit of that,” Vogel said. “For the most part at this point it’s been watching them play together in practice and we’ll see it in the two Phoenix games as well.”
With the shortened offseason, it makes complete sense to limit James’ and Davis’ minutes in the preseason as they will need to be as fresh as possible come playoff time. Vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka made it a point to acquire younger players like Montrezl Harrell and Dennis Schroder to help carry the load.
However, given how the Lakers have looked so far, James and Davis may not be needed to play heavy minutes most nights. It is early, but the new-look roster appears well-positioned to defend their title.
Talen Horton-Tucker pushing for a rotation role
Horton-Tucker has been a revelation through two preseason games as he has taken the reins of the offense and run with them. His ability to finish around the rim and knock down open shots bodes well for his chance at more minutes.
Keeping James and Davis as healthy as possible throughout the year is of the utmost importance, so having Horton-Tucker continue his rapid development would make life easier for everyone.
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