With a roster full of both young talent and reliable veterans, new Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton will have a lot of decisions to make regarding the rotation once the season begins.
Even with all of the team’s additions this summer, most have put together an assumed starting lineup of D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Luol Deng, Julius Randle, and Timofey Mozgov. Doing so may have been a mistake however, at least according to Walton himself.
According to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders, Walton won’t lock anyone into the rotation and says that everyone will have to earn their spot:
I asked Luke Walton if I should pencil in Deng as the starter – he said I can, but he hasn't – everyone has to earn their spot in rotation
— Eric Pincus (@EricPincus) August 31, 2016
This is an interesting thing to say, but likely the correct one for Walton. On a team that is beginning a new chapter, nothing should be guaranteed. In this particular case, Brandon Ingram could beat out Deng for the starting job, and he should have every chance to do so.
Walton will be creating competition in practice as everyone will be working hard to prove themselves as worthy of playing time. With the additions the Lakers have made this off-season, Walton will have a lot of decisions to make in sorting out the rotation.
Marcelo Huertas, Lou Williams, and Jose Calderon will all be pushing Russell and Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr. and Randle will likely battle it out for the starting power forward role, and Mozgov, Ivica Zubac, Yi Jianlian, and Tarik Black all bring something different to the table as big men.
The Lakers are young and unproven, but there is a lot of talent on the roster, and Walton refusing to guarantee anybody their spot should result in great things come training camp.