Lakers Training Camp Day Three: The starting lineup

Darvin Ham at media day for the Lakers 2022-23 season. IMAGE CREDIT: GARY A. VASQUEZ-USA TODAY SPORTS

The Los Angeles Lakers had a morning and evening practice on Wednesday, causing them to take Thursday off. The team was back at it on Friday, with plenty of comments coming afterward that have now shed some light on what we may see as the Lakers’ starting lineup in Monday’s preseason opener against the Sacramento Kings.

Darvin Ham reveals his current first unit

LeBron James and Anthony were, of course, always going to be in new head coach Darvin Ham’s first starting lineup. However, the other three spots were question marks up until Friday, as even Russell Westbrook wasn’t given a guaranteed spot during Ham’s media day appearance on Monday.

On Friday, Ham was pressed on who he has in his first unit given the fact that the first preseason game was only a few days away. He responded with the following:

Westbrook does, in fact, make an appearance in Ham’s first starting group. Maybe he has looked great in practice and has been doing all of the little things that Ham has repeatedly stated as needs for Westbrook to do. Maybe that hasn’t really happened and Ham is just trying not to make waves across the country with the fact that Westbrook will not be starting for him on day one.

Either way, it always seemed likely that it was Westbrook’s job to lose despite Ham continously stating that the job was more open than what people thought.

Other than Westbrook, LeBron and AD may be flanked by Kendrick Nunn and Damian Jones in Monday’s starting lineup. Both are technically former Lakers, as Nunn missed all of last regular season with a bone bruise while Jones had a 10-day contract with the Lakers in the 2020-21 season. Nunn improves the spacing in the backcourt alongside Westbrook while Jones provides a similar archetype of a starting center as the Lakers had in the championship season with JaVale McGee.

It’s likely that this group starts Monday; however, we’ll see if the starting lineup receives any additional changes between now and October 18th’s opening night game vs. the Warriors.

LeBron James likely to play in more preseason this year

We should have known how the rest of the 2021-22 season would go after watching the preseason. In those exhibition games, the Lakers went 0-6 and mostly lost those games in embarrassing fashion. The team brushed it off heading into the season. Looking back I think we all wish a lot more emphasis would have been put on those games.

It seems like LeBron James agrees, as he stated the following in regards to how much he’s going to play in this season’s six preseason games.

As Lakers reporter Mike Trudell notes, LeBron only appeared in three of the six games, playing only in the first half of one of the three.

With that being said, you have to assume LeBron misses at least one or maybe two games in their entirety given the fact that he’s entering in year 20 and needs to stay off those legs as much as possible. A middle ground between that idealogy and 110% effort must be found, however, if the Lakers are to enter the 2022-23 regular season on a much better foot than last season.

Stay tuned for our recap of Saturday’s training camp that included an open scrimmage seen by fans and media.

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