The Los Angeles Lakers were blown out of the gym on Thursday in game one of the season, so naturally, there will be some changes made. As the Lakers get ready to take on the Phoenix Suns in game two of their back-to-back to open the season, head coach Luke Walton has admitted that the team will have a new starting lineup, although he declined to state any details:
We'll see a different starting lineup for the Lakers tonight. Luke Walton wants some more natural energy in the group.
— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) October 21, 2017
One would assume that Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Brook Lopez are mainstays in the lineup but the two and four spots should be open to changes. Walton could opt to bench Larry Nance, Jr. in favor of Julius Randle or Kyle Kuzma. Walton had previously said that there was a 10 percent chance that Kuzma would start at the beginning of the season and the head coach was visibly frustrated with Randle’s energy against the Clippers.
At the two spot, the Lakers will have rookie Josh Hart active for the first time after his recovery process with Achilles bursitis, leaving the team with no significantly injured players. He could start in place of the suspended Kentavious Caldwell-Pope but he will have some competition as Jordan Clarkson, Luol Deng, Corey Brewer, and Alex Caruso are all potential fits.
Deng started on Thursday at the small forward position, pushing Ingram to shooting guard. Clarkson seems to have found a role as a scorer off the bench and Walton has been reluctant to mix up his units too much. Caruso, who is on a two-way contract, will likely continue to play plenty of minutes as this will not count towards his 45-day maximum time with the Lakers since the G-League season has not yet started. Vander Blue, another two-way contract player, is another option for Walton.