Although they have lost their first two games of the preseason, the Lakers have been ridiculously fun to watch with LeBron James at the helm.
Playing at an absurd pace of 112.18 possessions per 48 minutes (which is somehow only the fourth highest mark among the league as of this preview) the team has given its fans a sizzle reel’s worth of highlights thus far, culminating in James’ Staples Center debut this past Tuesday.
In only 14 minutes of action in front of his new home crowd, James notched 13 points (5-6 from the field) to go along with three rebounds and three assists while also being a game-high +13 in the box score.
Another Lakers’ offseason addition, JaVale McGee, also impressed with his consecutive solid outing against the Denver Nuggets in Tuesday’s loss.
McGee — who has thus far shown the ability to dwarf Inspector Gadget’s catch radius — has excelled in his defined role early on with the Purple and Gold. While his two-game averages of 16 points, 7.5 rebounds, and three blocks are impressive, the most notable number in regards to his play is the amount of minutes he has played so far.
Through two preseason contests, McGee has appeared in an average of nearly 19.5 minutes a game, and while the number may seem low compared to other NBA starters around the league, the mark would be his highest total since his 2011-12 campaign.
Hampered by asthma-related restrictions throughout his career, Luke Walton recently shared the team currently does not have any minute limitations in place for McGee. If he proves capable of handling an extended workload this season, this will be good news considering his early strong play, and the team being without their recent first-round-pick, Moe Wagner, for at least the duration of the preseason.
Making notable progress of late since recovering from his meniscus injury and subsequent surgery, Ball has yet to play in the team's preseason but indications are he should be ready to go sooner rather than later.
Although their opponents in this contest, the Kings, will likely not prove to be among the upper echelon of the Western Conference this upcoming season, they do have a hoard of bigs that will offer another good test for the Lakers’ small-ball scheme.
Out-rebounded in both of their first two games, the Lakers are still trying to find the right combinations that allow them to play small while without getting taken advantage of in the paint.
Fortunately for the Lakers, the Kings, like most teams, do not possess the singular talent Denver has in Nikola Jokic that can exploit a size and girth advantage and dilute the negatives of going small.
That being said, it will be interesting to see how the Lakers’ switching lineups fare against the Kings’ front court pieces, especially if they decide to roll out this marvel again:
For those who missed it, last night Dave Joerger played a lineup with Willie Cauley-Stein, Harry Giles, Marvin Bagley, and Skal Labissiere all on the floor at the same time. He played Skal at the 2.— Greg (@gwiss) October 2, 2018
Time: 7:30 p.m. PT
TV: Spectrum SportsNet | NBA TV
Stats provided by NBA.com