The Los Angeles Lakers lost their fourth of five preseason games on Wednesday, falling to the Minnesota Timberwolves in what head coach Darvin Ham referred to as the first game with “real” rotation minutes. It was only the second preseason game where Russell Westbrook, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis played together.
James and Davis looked ready to go for the regular season. They combined for 44 points and went 16-of-23 from the field, while the rest of the team was 21-of-60. Westbrook struggled to find his footing in the offense, attempting only three shots in 25 minutes of action. He posted 4 assists with 3 turnovers and missed three of his six free throws.
Entering the game, with Dennis Schröder available and the rest of the guards healthy, the biggest question was how the Lakers would accommodate all the guards they signed. One of the options was moving Davis to the center spot, opening up another spot on the perimeter. Davis ended up starting at the five against the Timberwolves, with Patrick Beverley, Lonnie Walker, and Westbrook as the guards next to him.
Walker looked the most comfortable, using his athleticism to cut to the basket and hit pull-up jumpers. He had 12 points in 19 minutes, before having to exit the game with a sprained left ankle. He had some stand-out defensive moments on Anthony Edwards as well, doing a good job at the point of attack.
In his return, Schröder got backup guard minutes but missed all of his four shots and looked out of rhythm. Kendrick Nunn, despite what has been a very strong preseason, really struggled to get his offense going. He was placed off the ball more while playing with other ball handlers, going 2-for-11 and missing all six of his threes. Austin Reaves had trouble finding his offense as well. Most of the smalls only looked right when they were next to James and Davis, but those minutes are obviously limited.
On this week’s episode of “I Love Basketball”, Raj and Sabreena take a closer look at the guard rotation, diving into which of the guards should play and if there needs to be a change in the starting lineup.
You can listen to the full episode below, and to make sure you never miss a show, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Podcasts.
And for a short-form recap pod, check out Lakers Lowdown, in which Anthony Irwin recaps the previous day’s news and gets you ready for the day ahead in LakerLand, every weekday morning on the Silver Screen & Roll Podcast feed.