Preseason basketball has an inherent amount of risk management built into it. A lot of risk management, to be exact. And the Lakers have been no different than any other team in the build up to the regular season, remaining extra cautious with their roster and, specifically, their stars.
The result has been Anthony Davis sitting out one game, Austin Reaves two games and LeBron James two games of the opening three contests. All of them are purely for precautionary reasons but it has limited the amount of time the Lakers starters, core or rotation pieces have been on the floor together.
There’s no sense of urgency on this necessarily. The team does have three games remaining, including Friday’s contest vs. Golden State. And Sunday perhaps is set to be a game better suited for a full-strength Lakers squad when they battle the Bucks who will have Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard debuting together.
Perhaps the Lakers don’t even need time together. The team has excelled despite not being whole this preseason, particularly players like D’Angelo Russell, Rui Hachimura and Taurean Prince. But the preseason is also about getting reps before the real thing starts.
The fortunate thing about the Lakers is that, for the first time in a long time, chemistry is something this team has. A half-season of playing together, a deep postseason run and now a training camp together has bonded them more than any Lakers team in recent memory.
At some point — maybe during the preseason, maybe not — the Lakers will be whole again. There’s a good argument for that being on Friday against a Warriors team that the Lakers will see often this season.
The overarching takeaway from this, though, is that there is excitement to see the Lakers play, which is not something that has not always existed in recent seasons.
Injury notes and updates
- The Lakers did not have practice on Thursday, so there was no update on any of the “injuries” that kept a number of players out on Wednesday. Anthony Davis, LeBron James, Austin Reaves, Jarred Vanderbilt and Cam Reddish all missed the game against the Kings.
- The notable injury for the Warriors is Draymond Green’s. In the first preseason meeting between these two, he did not feature. The big update on him was that he would miss the first three preseason games and would be questionable for the final two. If that timeline still exists, Friday’s game would be the second preseason game which would mean he’s still out.
The Lakers and Warriors will tip off on Friday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. PT in Los Angeles. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN 2, and locally on Spectrum SportsNet.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.