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Russell Westbrook starts for Lakers on Opening Night vs. Warriors

After a brief cameo off the bench in the preseason finale, Russell Westbrook will start for the Lakers in the season opener against the Warriors.

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Minnesota Timberwolves v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

After experimenting with numerous lineup configurations throughout the preseason, Darvin Ham will roll out a lineup of LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, Patrick Beverley and Lonnie Walker IV in Tuesday’s Opening Night game for the Lakers against the Warriors.

While LeBron, AD and Russell Westbrook were the stalwarts of the starting lineup — when healthy — last season, the latter of those three was not a lock to retain his spot under a new regime. In fact, Westbrook was moved to the bench in the final match of the preseason, though that experiment was cut short due to a hamstring injury.

With a host of ballhandlers on the roster, something the team didn’t have last season, Westbrook’s spot as the starting point guard is far murkier. But at least for Tuesday, Westbrook retains his role as a starter.

Perhaps lost in the shuffle due to Westbrook’s status was the debate as to whether AD would start at center, a decision that seems to have come and gone without much fanfare. Given the limited amount of minutes he played alongside a traditional center this preseason, the decision seemed to have long been made.

With a host of Lakers guards on the roster, starting a three-guard lineup always felt like the likeliest outcome. Also mainly because there are next to no wings on the roster as well. Walker resembles the closest thing the Lakers have to a small forward on the roster as presently constructed, so having him in the starting lineup, especially after using the mid-level exception on him and his strong preseason, makes more sense.

Hilariously, this being the starting lineup means that PatBev did, in fact, spoil the starting lineup on his podcast before anyone else knew about it. It’s probably unlikely that the Warriors were scouting PatBev’s podcast, or that it really matters in the long run. But it’s so remarkably on-brand for the Lakers because, obviously, nothing can be normal with this franchise at any point.

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