The NBA preseason is essentially a movie trailer. For some teams, these games will present their entire plot, main characters and action scenes as a preview of what’s to come in the new campaign.
For other clubs, these snippets will have to be combed through frame by frame to get a clearer picture of what the story actually will be come showtime.
On Monday night, the Lakers gave their fans a first look at their reshaped cast and Darvin Ham’s coaching direction. Although the sample size is minuscule, and should mostly be taken with a grain of salt given the context required with any exhibition contest, there were still scenes worth monitoring going forward as we inch closer to real games.
For example, one of the biggest takeaways of the night was the play of team’s new starting lineup.
Russell Westbrook showed flashes of control, defensive activity and an ability to get to the cup within Ham’s 4-out-1-in offense. Kendrick Nunn looked healthy, and capable in his duties on-and-off the ball. LeBron James spent most of the game kicking off the rust of the summer, preserving his energy in the process. Anthony Davis crashed the glass and surprisingly confident in his 3-point stroke, shifting as the roller, operating out of the dunker spot and spacing it for his teammates. Damian Jones played drop coverage, and served as the team’s rim deterrent with mixed results.
When the starting five and team's expected core rotation played, the results were mostly positive. However, the totality of the 48 minutes also raised the same concerns many voiced in the offseason. Most notably the still present question marks surrounding their perimeter shooting, guard log-jam and thin wing depth.
It was ultimately one preseason game, but the glimmers of what this team is on track to be is becoming clearer. This brings us to today’s episode.
On this edition of Talk-O-Tuesday, hosts Alex Padilla and Alex Regla recapped the Lakers’ loss to the Kings in their preseason opener, offered up what their biggest takeaways were and what — if anything — they consider cause for excitement or concern.
Later, the Alex’s go-over the league’s annual GM survey and whether or not they agree with the Lakers projected to finish 8th in the Western Conference this season.
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.