Darvin Ham had said that the Lakers would try to approach the last two games of the preseason as close to real as possible, and one more piece of the team’s rotation just became available for these two contests. Dennis Schröder, who only arrived in Los Angeles for his first practice Monday, is available for tonight’s matchup against Minnesota.
The Lakers already have a deep guard rotation, having started seven different guards during the first four preseason games (Russell Westbrook, Patrick Beverley, Kendrick Nunn, Austin Reaves, Lonnie Walker IV, Max Christie, and Scotty Pippen Jr.), and this gives Ham one more player to add to that mix.
Perhaps as a result of the glut of options at that position, the Lakers are rolling with a three-guard lineup to start against the Timberwolves. flanking LeBron James and Anthony Davis with Westbrook, Beverley, and Walker. Walker has only been available for half of the team’s exhibition slate thus far after suffering an ankle injury during training camp, but he did start in the Lakers’ lone preseason win over the Warriors Sunday.
Lakers will start this group against Minnesota in their fifth preseason game:— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) October 13, 2022
Darvin Ham said he’ll use the first three quarters to simulate more of a regular season rotation.
Another notable takeaway from Ham’s chosen starting five is that Davis is once again beginning the game at center. The Lakers head coach said that Davis playing the five was “under heavy consideration”, and in a game when the team plans to use a regular-season rotation, moving Davis to the center spot makes a statement, whether that is Ham’s intent or not.
Unfortunately, Davis won’t get to match up with an All-Star center on the other side, as Minnesota is resting both Karl-Anthony Towns and the newly-acquired Rudy Gobert. It would have been interesting to see Davis have to hold up against one of the stronger centers in the league in Gobert, and one of the more offensively skilled in Towns.
No Gobert, no KAT, no Taurean Prince tonight for Minnesota among a host of guys sitting out against the Lakers.— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) October 13, 2022
Until then, time to get Schröder up to speed and continue to figure out what starting lineup will take the floor when the games start to count. Six more days until real Lakers basketball.