The Lakers have yet to decide who will be in their starting lineup for their season opener against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday, Oct. 19. That much is clear. Head coach Frank Vogel has repeatedly and publicly stated that he doesn’t want to change his starters a whole lot this season, but is also still openly deliberating about who will get the final two spots next to LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook.
The shooting guard spot is so up in the air due to injuries and a disappointing preseason that Kent Bazemore has openly admitted he’s not sure he has earned the gig, but the center spot may be even more unpredictable. Vogel said he will consult with James, Davis and the front office on the decision before the opener, but is still publicly vacillating between whether or not to start a center next to Davis, or to start Davis at center.
The former decision would (likely) result in veteran seven-footer DeAndre Jordan getting a nod with the first five, based on the team rotating back and forth between him and Davis as starting centers through their six preseason games. But when asked after the team’s Friday practice if that’s something he would want, Jordan mostly tried to duck the question.
“Would I like that?” Jordan said, pausing to consider the query before trying to properly contextualize the situation. “I mean, I think there will be games where certain guys are in and out.
“It’s a long season, and a lot of people say that we’re an old group,” Jordan cracked. “So I’m sure that some guys will rest nights, or some little unlucky mishaps or whatever it may be, but I think when guys get in there we’re going to be able to pick each other up as best as possible.”
This mostly avoids a (probably obvious) answer about whether or not Jordan would personally like to start, but also echoes an earlier sentiment from Vogel, who said shortly after training camp started that he thought Jordan would be just fine regardless of his role.
“Everybody on this team knows coming into this group that whatever needs to happen for our team to win a championship, they have to be bought into that. That’s the minimum requirement for playing for the L.A. Lakers. And sometimes that does mean not playing. Everybody understands that,” Vogel said then. “DJ has been nothing but a first-class attitude for everything that we’re trying to do, and I think he’s on board with everybody else that whatever the team needs, that’s what they’ll be on board with.”
Jordan indicated that’s true, saying the whole team is rooting for each other, whether they’re in the game or not.
“When Dwight comes in for me, or vice versa, we’re excited for the next person coming in. I think that’s the way it will be the entire season,” Jordan said. “We know who our leaders are, and who our dogs are out there, so we’ve just got to be able to be a great supporting cast all around.”
Meandering back to the original question, however, Jordan said the team still wasn’t sure who was starting.
“We haven’t gotten any indication of who it is. But whoever is in there, I’m sure they’ll do a great job and we’ll have a next-man-up attitude,” Jordan said.
If that’s true, it could be huge for the team’s success, regardless of who starts in the regular season opener, or how long that unit lasts for.