Pre Game Notes- Lakers Open Season Tonight
Finally opening night for the Lakers has arrived, as they get ready to open their season against the crosstown rivals, and personally hated by yours truly, LA Clippers. Let’s take a look at few noteworthy issues for the Lakers going into their season opener.
Lonzo Ball – All eyes will be on Lonzo Ball to open the season. He comes in with a whole lot of hype, and is considered to be the franchise savior. Tonight is the night that the games count, and if he is all that he is hyped to be. He will be going up against the Los Angeles Clippers in his debut, and he has no easy assignment in getting Patrick Beverly right out the gate. A strong opening test, as Beverly isn’t an all-star player, but he definitely qualifies as a legit NBA point guard with the ability and reputation for putting the clamps on opposing point guards. Leave him open and he has the ability to hit shots from all over the court. Beverly will also be motivated by the fact that he is making his debut as a Clipper having recently been acquired in the Chris Paul deal. Stepping in for Chris is also going to motivate him to play well as he has some big shoes to fill replacing one of the league’s all-time great floor generals. It’s not going to be an easy night for Lonzo, and it’s going to get tougher from here on out. How he responds to this initial challenge may speak volumes for what we can expect to see from him moving forward.
Who starts at PF? There have been plenty of questions in regards to who the Lakers will start tonight, at the power forward position. Julius Randle looked to be the starting power forward coming into the season, and strong play throughout the preseason didn’t do much to diminish that thought. But the coaching staff seem to like the way Randle plays coming off the bench, and the impact that he brings to the game, going up against the opposition second unit players. The popular choice to start at power forward is Larry Nance, due to his experience and the way his game seems to fit in with the other starters. But a dark horse candidate to start is Kyle Kuzma who arguably played the best ball during the preseason for the Lakers. Not a bad problem to have, and definitely the only position where they may have an issue of having too much depth. That being said I fully expect Nance to get the start here for the Lakers to kick things off.
Who starts at SG? KCP had some legal issues prior to joining the Lakers, and as a result he won’t be playing the first two games of the season. So who starts for him tonight, do the Lakers plug in Jordan Clarkson, who is slated to be the first guard off the bench for the Lakers? Or do they try and keep some continuity and allow Brewer or (heaven help us) Luol Deng to start, so that Clarkson can maintain his role off the bench. I fully expect Brewer to actually get the start, and maybe we will see Ingram spend some time at that position throughout the course of the game. Fortunately for the Lakers this is not as much of an issue for them as the power forward positon is, as KCP will return to the starting lineup upon his return.
Brandon Ingram – The much hyped second pick of last years draft, is expected to blossom this year into a special player in this league. He has stated himself that he feels like he should be able to average 20 points a game this year fairly easily. I think that might be shooting a bit high to make such bold proclamations, but maybe that is an indication of how much confidence he has in his game and the improvements he has made since last season. Lakers fans are definitely hoping that he turns out to be a highly efficiengt and prodigious scorer. But I’m wondering if he is so focused on scoring, is that going to effect him when it comes down to the type of defense he is playing for the Lakers. I think he has the tools to be an elite defensive player right now if he applied himself, so I’m hoping he isn’t forsaking his defense in an effort to showcase his offensive game. His development will be key to the Lakers being able to call this season a success, and in their ability to attract major free agents in upcoming years.
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