The Lakers have had a roller-coaster ride of a preseason this year. Filled with inconsistent play and mental mistakes, it has been what we should expect from a team led by a rookie head coach filled with young players.
The period of shaking off the rust is now, as the first regular season game is this Wednesday. Houston will be a tough team, as they have one of the best offensive guards in the league. Paired with offensive wizard Mike D’Antoni, it should be a tough offense to stop.
In this preseason, the starting lineup has struggled. The lineup included: D’Angelo Russell, Lou Williams, Luol Deng, Julius Randle, and Timofey Mozgov.
Russell was definitely not the problem, as he orchestrated the offense with his great passing, scoring, and leadership on the court. Randle has had a mix of good and bad games, but his good outweighs the bad. Mozgov has been pretty good as a roll man and on defense anchoring the middle.
These three have not been the issue for the starting lineup. It has been both Lou Williams and Luol Deng who don’t seem to fit all that well. Lou has a tendency to disrupt the ball movement in order to draw fouls or shoot leaning 3’s… along with his horrible defense. Deng hasn’t been able to get much going on offense as his shot has been off and he looks a step slower.
The overall lineup is struggling has prompted Luke to say this (via Mark Medina):
“I’ve gotten a pretty good feel for the second unit group, but we have to figure something out with the starting group,” Walton said. “Until we get that under control, those lineups are probably going to change.”
Possible changes would include inserting Larry Nance Jr, Jordan Clarkson, or even rookie Brandon Ingram to see what a new look can give the team.
Clarkson has really impressed, as he has improved his defense and his jump shot looks to be improving also. He has played well off the bench so it is interesting to see if Luke would be willing to disrupt that. Nance has had some good showings, so he might also be a guy that could be used to give a different look. Brandon Ingram has improved steadily over these few games so Luke might want to start him early on. Whatever change Luke decides to make, it will certainly be heavily watched as the first year coach carries a team with elevated expectations.
For all your Lakers Pulse news, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.