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Lakers Training Camp Notes: Russell Westbrook practices with starters

The Lakers opened preseason officially with their first practice of the season on Tuesday, one that saw Russell Westbrook still practicing with the starters.

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NBA: Los Angeles Lakers-Media Day Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The 2022-23 season officially kicked off at the UCLA Health Training Center as the Lakers held their first practice of training camp. A new coaching staff — which was formally announced during the practice — led by Darvin Ham led a largely new roster of players through their first on-court work together.

Here’s a look at the news and notes from that opening practice.

Russ practices with the starters

If anyone left Monday’s media day under the impression Russell Westbrook’s starting spot was not guaranteed, Ham wiped those away by revealing on Tuesday that Westbrook practiced with the starters.

Westbrook, Anthony Davis, and LeBron James were the starters revealed by Ham, but the rest of the lineup remained a secret. Or at least if you assume the Showtime Lakers weren’t in attendance for practice on Tuesday.

With nearly a week of practice between Tuesday and the first preseason game, expect this to be a recurring topic of conversation over the coming days.

A new-look Lakers court

Coming into this season, Ham is looking to implement a 4-out, 1-in style for the Lakers offensively. It’s a change from Frank Vogel, who often deferred to a two-big system. To help illustrate how he wants to play, Ham put tape on the court on various areas. It’s an idea that was popularized by Ham’s former boss Mike Budenholzer in Milwaukee to help the Bucks with their floor balance.

A mixture of poor shooting and bad lineup construction led to the Lakers having some truly awful spacing with lineups last season, both in the half court and in transition. Seeing a coach emphasize spacing in this manner is certainly a very welcome change for the Lakers.

Injury update

Despite it being the first day of the season, the Lakers do have an injury report. The good news is Kendrick Nunn is not on that list as he was a full participant in practice on the day.

On the flip side, neither Troy Brown Jr. nor Lonnie Walker IV participated in practice. The former is day-to-day with back issues while the latter is still dealing with a sprained ankle but is nearing a return.

The rest of the Lakers were full participants in practice, hopefully a sign of better things to come after a season of veterans hobbling around during and after practice.

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