As the Lakers continue training camp, it sounds like new head coach Darvin Ham has been experimenting with a few different variations on what could be the starting lineup for the team this year.
Unsurprisingly, it seems as though LeBron James, Anthony Davis and — despite Ham’s assertions to the contrary — Russell Westbrook are basically locks so far, but Ham also revealed at practice on Friday that there have been a few contenders for the team’s open shooting guard spot, and (seemingly) very little competition at center.
Darvin Ham said an early starting group has been:— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) September 30, 2022
Westbrook, Nunn, LeBron, Davis and Jones
Ham today noted how well Nunn has been playing thus far.
Austin Reaves has gotten looks at SG as well, and clearly, Patrick Beverley can fit well with any group.
We’ll get to the center part of this equation in a second, but it does seem as though Nunn has the early edge at shooting guard in his return to the floor, based on both behind-the-scenes buzz and Ham’s own public comments.
Ham noted how well Nunn has played offensively, scoring at all three levels, and added that defensively, he’s like a water bug out there, and can “Squeeze through pick and rolls, avoid screens, contest.”— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) September 30, 2022
Nunn — a career 36.4% 3-point shooter — would give the team at least a little spacing alongside Russell Westbrook in the backcourt, but given that LeBron James (34.6%) would be arguably the most proven shooter in that lineup, it would hardly be ideal from a spacing perspective. Beverley has shot nearly 38% from deep for his career on the other hand, and would seem to give the team a bit more spacing and defense than Nunn in the first group, but it also does sound like this is early on, and it’s good that there appears to be true competition for the spot between him, Nunn and Austin Reaves. Or maybe they could start over Westbrook, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on that, at least not right off the bat.
More surprising is that Thomas Bryant didn’t get a mention as someone the team is evaluating as a starter. Maybe that was an innocent oversight by Ham, or maybe he just hasn’t gotten a shot to play with the first group yet, but given how cramped we saw a floor with LeBron as arguably the best shooter on it next to Russ and AD could be last year, Bryant’s theoretical utility as a spacing big would seem to make a lot of sense alongside them as the Lakers look to unclog the offensive toilet they operated within last year.
Again, it’s early, so this is certainly nothing to overreact to, but who do you think should start when the Lakers tip off their preseason schedule on Monday? Do you want to see the team give a few different units a look, or are you happy with this one? Let us know in the comments below.