The Los Angeles Lakers appear to have a starting lineup problem, a problem that they’ve seemingly had for most of the season. That problem was accentuated in the Lakers’ Game 1 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night, as the starters posted terrible plus/minus totals. These totals included Danny Green and Anthony Davis both with -20 each, as well as Kentavious Caldwell-Pope with -18. Green and Caldwell-Pope were especially bad during the game, combining for 2-of-13 from three. The pressure is starting to build for head coach Frank Vogel to make a change to a lineup that he probably should have changed or tweaked a while ago.
Vogel was asked about this prospect today, and had the following to say (per Christian Rivas of Silver Screen & Roll).
Frank Vogel said he's open to changing the starting lineup, but he's confident with the group that's out there.
— Christian Rivas (@RadRivas) August 19, 2020
That definitely makes it sound like there won’t be a change in Game 2, as Vogel stated this today after their practice. Still, if the shooting continues to be where it’s currently at then Vogel may be forced to make a change, especially when he has a new player to inject into the lineup in Rajon Rondo.
One of the most logical players to replace possibly KCP or Green in the lineup would be Kyle Kuzma. Although he had a poor shooting night in Game 1 (everyone did) he has been probably the best player for the Lakers in the bubble not named LeBron James or Anthony Davis. He has easily been the team’s lone bright spot from three in Orlando, with that shot possibly needing some more minutes if the Lakers intend to keep up with Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers on the scoreboard.
Kuzma was asked about possibly being put into the starting lineup by Dave McMenamin of ESPN, saying this (video from Kyle Goon of the OC Register).
After @mcten asks Kyle Kuzma if he thought he could be more helpful as a starter, he said is here to star in his role, BUT: “If they call on me to start, then obviously you guys have seen what I’ve done, what I do. Just come in and try to be myself.” pic.twitter.com/qxPT4X4Ki2
— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) August 19, 2020
This doesn’t even begin to address the problems the Lakers have been having with JaVale McGee in the starting lineup, as it continues to be hard for Vogel to even keep him on the court (only 12 minutes played in Game 1). Either way, a loss in Game 2 would almost assuredly cause Vogel to make some sort of lineup change. He could be proactive and make a change now, but this is still (except Avery Bradley) the same starting lineup that led the Lakers to the number one seed in the Western Conference.
We’ll see on Thursday if any changes are made.