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Lakers vs. Pacers Preview: Welcome to town, Myles Turner and Buddy Hield

Can Myles Turner and Buddy Hield prove to the Lakers up close why they’re worth giving up more draft picks for?

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Indiana Pacers v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

The Lakers are back home on Tuesday after a relatively successful road trip where they won two out of their three road games, making it a total of five wins in their last six games. Led by Anthony Davis’ superb recent stretch and the return of LeBron James, Los Angeles has been stacking up wins as of late and is now 7-11, which is two games out of the play-in territory and within reach for the sixth seed in the mediocre Western Conference so far.

It seems Davis (who is now averaging a tremendous 26.3 points, 12.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.2 blocks on 57% shooting per game this season) and James (who had 39 points and 11 rebounds in Saturday’s victory against the Spurs) are once again at the top of their game. It’s almost as if like they’ve made a statement over the past couple of games, probably letting their performance speak to Rob Pelinka, Jeanie Buss, and the rest of the Lakers brass to go all in and get them some more help now.

And what’s ironic is that on Monday, Myles Turner and Buddy Hield — who both were linked to the Lakers all of last summer and were reportedly really close to starting the season with the team — will be in the building but on the opposing end with the Indiana Pacers. Turner and Hield have become prevalent names around Lakerland for the past couple of months, and for good reason. Aside from their strong individual starts to the season, the duo has made a case for why Los Angeles should heavily consider partnering them up with Davis and James to maximize what is left in their championship window.

But as the story has been all season, the biggest hurdle in acquiring the Pacers duo is the Lakers’ unwillingness to part ways with their draft capital for 2027 and 2029. The same reason why they’ve reportedly moved their own trade deadline from November to December. Despite Hield (who is averaging 17.7 points per game on 38.8% 3-point shooting this season) and Turner’s potential fit, the purple and gold remain bullish that they’re not worth giving up more than one draft pick for.

And that is why Monday’s primetime match against the Indiana Pacers will be an interesting one, to say the least. Will Turner and Hield stand out and justify why they’re worth two draft picks? Can James and Davis continue to play well enough to warrant the Lakers’ front office to make a trade ASAP? Better yet, what if both scenarios take place? It’s a battle of who is going to look good between the Lakers and Pacers’ respective managements.

It could also very much be a tryout game for Turner and Hield, who are huge reasons why this Pacers team (11-7) is currently holding the fourth seed of the Eastern Conference. This game should be a fun one, and one that might have a significant impact on the Lakers’ decisions and plans moving forward.

Notes and Updates

  • The Pacers will be on the end of a back-to-back when they face the Lakers on Monday. Despite that, the Lakers can’t dare to take this team lightly. Indiana ranks sixth best in the league in winning percentage (61.1) thus far, have the league’s eight best offense and 18th best defense. They have a ton of firepower with Tyrese Haliburton, rookie Bennedict Mathurin, Hield and Turner leading the way.
  • Before I get to the injury report for Monday’s match, can we once again appreciate this transition sequence by LeBron and Russ? I don’t know about you, but this is by far the most electrifying play of the season.
  • Injury report: LeBron James (Probable, left abductor strain), Anthony Davis (Questionable but seems likely to play per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, left calf contusion), Patrick Beverley (Out, league suspension), and Scotty Pippen Jr. and Cole Swider (Out, G-League two-way transfer)
  • For news around the league, here’s a fun fact. The Boston Celtics (11-2) and Pacers (8-3) had by far the best winning record in November. Both teams have been rolling this month and it’s ironic how they have ties with the Lakers, one way or another.

The Lakers and Pacers will tip off at 7:30 p.m. PT on Monday. The game will only be televised locally on Spectrum SportsNet.

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Nicole on Twitter at @nicoleganglani

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