While LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and Patrick Beverley sat again on Sunday, the Lakers gave their most minutes of the preseason to rotation players in a win over the Warriors, 124-121.
Anthony Davis did return to the court after sitting out last week’s back-to-back and looked like he hadn’t missed a second, dominating in the first half. He played only briefly in the third quarter before sitting, having played 21 minutes on the night.
The likes of Kendrick Nunn (25 minutes), Lonnie Walker IV (23 minutes), Juan Toscano-Anderson (22 minutes) and Austin Reaves (26 minutes) all saw extended action on the night as Darvin Ham gave rotation players an extended run against the defending champions.
Here’s a look at the three biggest takeaways from the fourth preseason game of the purple and gold.
Anthony Davis looks (maybe?) back to his best
It was three quarters of a preseason game that didn’t feature either of Russell Westbrook or LeBron James, but AD looked really dang good on Sunday evening. He totaled 28 points on 9-of-18 shooting, knocking down a pair of trail 3-pointers and all eight of his free throws.
That came after his preseason debut in which he played effectively one quarter and had a double-double. His jumper looks smooth, it’s falling unlike it did most of the last two seasons and he’s moving with a fluidity that looks reminiscent to the 2019-20 season.
Now, again, I can’t stress enough it’s a small sample size and it’s the preseason. But with the Lakers relying so heavily on him and LeBron this season, seeing positive first signs like this is very encouraging.
So, consider yourself warned, @NBA?
Kendrick Nunn continues to shine
It was about this point last year when Nunn went down with a bone bruise and became more a figment of imagination than anything else the rest of the season. This preseason, he’s shown all the promise and more that had the Lakers excited for his signing last year.
On Sunday, he continued a strong showing through the exhibition slate, knocking down a quartet of 3-pointers, connecting on four more baskets inside the arc and looking like a secondary ballhandler that the Lakers lacked last season.
Now, wrap him in bubble wrap for the remainder of the preseason so he can be a factor this upcoming season.
Lonnie Walker IV spot-up shooter?
The Lakers’ other recent mid-level signee, Walker looked comfortable in his second game of the preseason on Sunday, particularly as a spot-up shooter. He shot 3-of-6 from range and 5-of-12 overall for his 14 points and looked in a great flow when knocking down those 3-pointers.
The Lakers are banking on Walker being an improved shooter this season after shooting 31.4% in his final year in San Antonio. Through a pair of preseason appearances and a limited overall training camp due to injury, he’s shown some promising flashes.