While fans have gotten to see the King after Lakers practice, this game will give us our first look at how LeBron has been fitting in with the kids and the new veterans on this team.
The Nuggets not only butted heads with the purple and gold last season, but are also a team that is on the rise and barely missed the playoffs last season, finishing ninth in the western conference last season.
With LeBron coming to Los Angeles, the Nuggets could improve from last season, but still miss the playoffs this year.
Denver is bringing back most of their players from last year, but they did add former Laker Isaiah Thomas.
Players like Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray will be the primary focus from the Lakers defense, to the degree starters even play.
Jokic is an offensive monster who even LeBron sees as the center of everything the Nuggets do offensively; at 6’10” he sees over the top of defenses and shoots over defenders while making flashy-yet-precise passes. Murray is a score-first point guard who can really light up your defense in a hurry.
The one thing everyone should look during this game and for the rest of the seasons is Luke Walton’s rotations, and how much the team experiments with lineups. Will we see LeBron play center? How about Kuzma?
Walton will want to play as small as possible in the regular season, especially if the Lakers’ guard continue to make an impact on the boards this season, and Sunday could be our first look at just how unorthodox lineups could get this year.
Walton’s rotations might bounce around a lot during the preseason, but fans should be on the lookout for a lineup that seems to pop and start to get a feel for which players play best together.
That said, other than it being preseason, this game will also not provide a full picture of the Lakers’ potential because Lonzo Ball and Moe Wagner will not be suiting up. Wagner will miss the entire preseason, while Ball looks great in practice but the Lakers are being cautious.
All in all, this game will be forgettable for lots of reasons, but for the people tonight who watch the game at home or in San Diego, they will be able to say the say LeBron’s first minutes logged as a Laker. So for now, let’s just continue to take every opportunity we get to appreciate the fact LeBron James chose the Lakers and nobody else, which is pretty damn cool.
Time: 6:30 p.m. PT
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Editor’s Note: Today we are starting a bit of a procedural change for how we’ve done game threads in the past, combining the preview with the game thread post into one while also giving you the time and TV information. I hope this is helpful to you, and that there isn’t too much confusion about where the game thread is.