The Lakers have had a bit of a helter-skelter rotation throughout the preseason so far, with a combination of various injuries and planned rest making glimpses of intact lineups that will actually play big regular season minutes together more infrequent than the team would probably hope under ideal circumstances. It certainly isn’t anything totally out of the ordinary for an NBA preseason for a team featuring two stars north of 30, and hasn’t derailed training camp by any means, but it has made it harder to get a full read on this group.
That might get a bit easier after Thursday, however, as Darvin Ham will finally provide us with three quarters of fuel for our online overreactions. He said after the team’s Sunday loss to the Bucks that the team’s preseason finale in Palm Desert, CA will serve as “a little bit of a test run for us to see what our normal rotation looks like,” which presumably means every healthy rotation player will likely play.
“We got a few days in between now and then,” Ham said. “For three quarters, we’ll see what we look like and, in between, continue to try to get better at different things.”
Those comments are certainly not a guarantee that LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Austin Reaves and other regular rotation players will play, but health permitting, it sure sounds like they’ll all suit up and play quite a bit. And while Ham has been loathe to officially confirm his already-chosen, not-that-much-of-a-mystery fifth starter next to those three and D’Angelo Russell, if Taurean Prince starts this game too, it’s safe to assume he has that spot.
And if all five of those guys start the game, we’ll get even more looks at how bench units will function alongside James and Davis as the two take turns throughout the first three quarters staggering as fulcrums of such reserve groupings. Both teams may not go at full regular season intensity, but if all that comes to pass, it will be fun to watch how L.A. tries to stop the new-look Suns’ explosive offense nonetheless.
The Lakers and Suns will tip off in the desert on Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. PT. Los Angeles’ final preseason game can be watched nationally on NBA TV, and locally on Spectrum SportsNet. Then the regular season begins on Oct. 24, and hopefully after Thursday, we’ll have a bit more glimpses of the full rotation as we continue to discuss how far this team can go.
You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.