The Los Angeles Lakers are days away from opening night against the Minnesota Timberwolves, but their starting lineup isn't finalized yet. Lakers head coach Bryon Scott has Jordan Clarkson, Kobe Bryant, Julius Randle and Roy Hibbert pegged as starters Wednesday night, but has yet to commit to D'Angelo Russell rounding out the starting five at point guard to break open the new season, he told reporters during Lakers practice.
Russell was with the starting unit to open preseason, but an injury in the Lakers' second game against the Utah Jazz forced him to miss one game while shaking up his role in the rotation. D'Angelo told reporters he was uncomfortable playing off the bench after spending his time learning his place with the starting unit, then closed out preseason as a starter.
Marcelo Huertas has been impressive in his two outings with the team, fitting in naturally as a veteran comfortable playing against top competition. His passing has been impressive, but it's too small a sample size to make any definitive statements. Huertas has looked good in his limited run, even if he was just working back into the rotation following a hamstring injury. Marcelo's one of the many experienced players the Lakers have brought in to reinforce their youth movement.
Here are a few of the various bits of information reporters gathered on Russell's role from practice on Monday:
D'Angelo said Byron told him to focus on playing hard and defending and that playmaking will come naturally— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) October 26, 2015
Byron Scott said D'Angelo Russell has had a really good few days of practice, says he had a sit down talk w/ D'Angelo about his role.— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) October 26, 2015
D'Angelo said he and Byron hasn't talked about his role. Byron said they have since talked but said to ask D'Angelo what his role is— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) October 26, 2015
It seems more likely that the Lakers want to trot out their highly-touted No. 2 pick on opening night in Staples Center than not, but as of now Scott's still weighing his options. We'll continue updating on the starting lineup leading into opening night as a new Lakers season prepares to tip off.