Generally speaking, it’s bad practice to put too much stock into preseason games. That’s especially true when both teams rest their stars like the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets did Sunday afternoon.
But if there’s one thing that can be taken the Lakers’ 123-97 loss to the Nets on Sunday, it’s that Malik Monk is going to give Frank Vogel something to think about when it comes to the Lakers’ competition at shooting guard.
Although Monk didn’t get the starting nod, he looked like someone who could very easily enter that conversation with a stat line of 15 points on 6-12 shooting from the field and 3-6 shooting from behind the arc. Monk’s defense is still a work in progress, but the offense looks sustainable.
It was a less memorable night for two of the other guards vying for a spot in the starting lineup, Talen Horton-Tucker and Wayne Ellington.
Horton-Tucker arguably had the play of the night with a monster jam in the first quarter, but he ended the night with just 10 points on 3-11 shooting from the field. Meanwhile, Ellington couldn’t convert his 3-point shots, going 2-7 from deep.
The good news for Horton-Tucker and Ellington is that they both still had two of the high plus-minuses on the team. Horton-Tucker led the starters with -2, and Ellington led the bench with +3.
All in all, though, it was everything you’d expect the first game of the preseason: shots hit the front of the rim, guys picked up silly fouls — including Dwight Howard, who fouled in the preseason — and the bulk of the expected rotation rested the fourth quarter.
Still, each of these outings will presumably give us a better idea of who’s going to start alongside Russell Westbrook, LeBron James and Anthony Davis. On Sunday, Monk made his case — we’ll see who steps up on Wednesday.