The Los Angeles Lakers are off to a solid start this preseason with a record of one win and one loss, but the most important thing is that the team has shown solid chemistry early on. Lakers head coach Luke Walton was tasked with bringing a new culture to the franchise, and it appears that he is having some success in this area.
At the outset of the preseason, it was considered something of a surprise when Walton decided to move newly re-resigned guard Jordan Clarkson to the bench, using him as a sixth man. However, the reserve unit, consisting of Clarkson, Brandon Ingram, Larry Nance Jr., Tarik Black, and one of the three point guards (D’Angelo Russell, Jose Calderon, or Marcelo Huertas) has thrived. They provide energy and athleticism and have managed to give opponents problems with their high-pressure defense.
Despite the success of the Lakers’ bench, the team lost to the Denver Nuggets, and Walton cautioned that his lineup will likely see changes as we move closer to the beginning of the regular season (via Kevin Baxter of the L.A. Times):
“Right now, there’s nothing set in stone. We’re just messing with lineups still.”
While the reserves have been solid, Walton could decide to try to switch up his starting five and try different combinations. That could involve switching Clarkson back into the starting five, or perhaps Nance. Overall, though, Walton was pleased with what he saw from his team, praising the way they moved the ball and the pace they played at:
“I was real happy with the way we played. Besides the first six minutes of the game, from that point on we really started competing. Moving the ball, playing at a pace that gives us our best chance. We did a lot of good things. The overall effort from the guys, I was very pleased with.”
It’s not clear what will happen from here, but so far the Lakers have had an optimistic air about them and shown a chemistry that they have lacked over the past few years.
Hopefully, as they grow and develop, they will maintain the camaraderie that they are building now, and it will lead to future success.