The Los Angeles Lakers will have LeBron James and Anthony Davis available for the first time this preseason when they take on the new-look Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night.
The Suns made a splash during the offseason by trading for All-Star point guard Chris Paul from the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for a massive haul of players and draft picks. Among those were Kelly Oubre Jr. and Ricky Rubio, who both are no longer on the Thunder after separate deals to their own destinations.
Paul now teams up with the Suns’ already-formidable duo of Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton to create one of the league’s best trios.
While it hasn’t translated to any wins yet — going 0-2 against the Utah Jazz — there’s no doubt that the Suns will be in contention for a playoff spot this season.
The Lakers, on the other hand, have added excellent rotation pieces to play alongside their superstar duo of James and Davis. Neither of the two played in L.A.’s first two preseason bouts against the L.A. Clippers, but that didn’t stop them from winning both games with the help of Talen Horton-Tucker.
Horton-Tucker played two incredible games that will undoubtedly earn him some regular-season minutes. However, he’ll likely take a back seat on Wednesday as the Lakers may have close to their full roster available, according to head coach Frank Vogel.
“The only guy injury-wise who will be out — or I should say doubtful — is Caruso is doubtful. Still has some soreness in his hip flexor, so he’ll be listed as doubtful,” Vogel said. “I do play on playing A.D. and LeBron some first-half minutes just to kind of get their feet wet. As of right now I think everybody else will be available.”
Vogel then said prior to tipoff that Kentavious Caldwell-Pope would be held out as a precaution due to hip soreness.
This should be be the perfect chance to see the team’s new additions — Montrezl Harrell, Dennis Schroder, Marc Gasol, and Wesley Matthews — alongside James and Davis. There will be particular interest with Schroder and James playing together and implications moving forward.
That will all be for the first half, meaning the second half will likely be similar to what we saw in the Lakers first two games. While getting a win is always the primary goal, Vogel had something different in mind for James and Davis.
“With LeBron and A.D., I just want to see them try to go out and get a rhythm, get comfortable with some of their new teammates and try to get their legs under them a little bit,” Vogel said. “We’ve been trying to every day monitor the amount of work we put on those guys in the shortest offseason in history. That will be no different these next two preseason games.”
Lakers (2-0) vs. Suns (0-2)
6:00 p.m. PT, Dec. 16, 2020
Phoenix Suns Arena, Phoenix, Arizona
TV: NBATV, Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: Dennis Schroder
SG: Kyle Kuzma
SF: LeBron James
PF: Anthony Davis
C: Marc Gasol
Key Reserves: Montrezl Harrell, Markieff Morris, Talen Horton-Tucker
Projected Suns Starting Lineup:
PG: Chris Paul
SG: Devin Booker
SF: Jae Crowder
PF: Dario Saric
C: Deandre Ayton
Key Reserves: Mikal Bridges, Jalen Smith, Langston Galloway, Jevon Carter, E’Twaun Moore
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