A lot has been made about the elusive fifth starting spot for the Los Angeles Lakers. Thus far, the starting lineup consists of D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves, LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Head coach Darvin Ham insists that he knows who the fifth starter will be but has yet to disclose that information. The preseason will serve as a chance to experiment and on Monday, Taurean Prince got the starting nod along those four players.
In 19 minutes, Prince scored 13 points on 5-for-7 from the field and 3-for-5 from 3. This was a strong performance from the forward and making his case to be in the starting lineup. However, it doesn’t matter whether Prince starts or not, he is focused on picking up wins.
“I’m ready for whatever,” Prince said when asked which role he prefers. “I started my first three, four years in the league, went to a bench role and then I’ve started throughout the last few seasons for every team I’ve been on, multiple games. I think I have a high winning record in those starts, just whatever is best for the team in general. Just coming off the bench, my occupation doesn’t change.”
Being only two games into the preseason, Ham may experiment with more starting lineups. He talked about why Prince would make sense with the starters though.
“You don’t have to spoil or coddle him,” Ham said. “He’s another multifaceted, he’s the quintessential 3-and-D wing, 6’8″, strong, can guard multiple positions, can shoot it at a high rate consistently from 3 and he allows the game to come to him. He’s not out there thinking he’s got to go get touches or certain number of shots that he has to get. You put him in a position, he’s going to do whatever he can in that position to help this team win. It’s not an individual accolade type of game for him, he doesn’t have to be noticed so to speak. He just wants to win and contribute to winning.”
Ham clearly likes the type of player Prince is and how he fits around James and Davis to provide that spacing for them. It’ll be interesting to see if Ham will give Prince more starting opportunities throughout the rest of the preseason or if others get a chance at the opportunity as well.
As mentioned, the fifth and final starting spot is being held tight to the chest by Ham and Prince could very well be that player. However, it seems Ham will do his due diligence and experiment with other worthy players like Jarred Vanderbilt and Rui Hachimura.
Ham wants Lakers to take more 3-pointers this season but not go ‘too crazy’
During the James and Davis era in L.A., it has been a struggle to have a roster built around the stars that can take and make 3-pointers at a high volume. After making 20 3s on Monday, Ham said he wants the team to continue to take those shots, but not get ‘too crazy’.
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