The biggest question surrounding the Lakers as preseason rolls on is the team’s starting lineup. Each of the first two practices of the season were highlighted by different players appearing in that lineup.
On Thursday, Darvin Ham revealed that the suspense around the starting lineup wasn’t all that suspenseful.
Here’s all the notes from the team’s third preseason practice of the day.
Ham decides on a fifth starter
The Lakers have made their decision on what the starting lineup will be this season...we’re just not going to know the details yet.
Darvin Ham says the Lakers know who they want to start as the fifth starter but he won’t reveal it yet.— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) October 5, 2023
The first thought would be that we would get a sneak peek of it at the preseason games, which might eventually be true. But LeBron James also revealed on Thursday that he wouldn’t be playing in Saturday’s preseason opener, so that potential reveal is going to take some time.
So far, we know that both Jarred Vanderbilt in day one and Taurean Prince in day two. Rui Hachimura is also the other likely candidate and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him take LeBron’s spot in the lineup on Saturday.
Max Christie impresses
One of the early stories of training camp was Jalen Hood-Schifino impressing on day one. A different Lakers youngster has impressed this week as well.
Jaxson Hayes asked if anybody has impressed him thus far that he wasn’t necessarily expecting:— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) October 5, 2023
“Max Christie. Max Christie is a dog. His game has stood out a lot to me. His game has surprised me a lot.”
Christie showed his skills and improvement at Summer League where he was one of the best players in Las Vegas. With the players that exited this summer, the opportunities will be there for Christie.
The Lakers have tweeted out a number of highlights from training camp with a couple of those featuring Christie.
Rui Hachimura’s summer
One of the stories coming out of the summer was Rui’s work with LeBron in the offseason. LeBron revealed that Hachimura was the only teammate who worked with him this summer and that the two had multiple trips together this summer.
LeBron revealed that Rui Hachimura is the only teammate who tagged along with him this summer and that Hachimura "made a few trips" to travel with James on the road this offseason.— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) October 5, 2023
Rui himself spoke about what he focused on during the offseason while working out both with LeBron and with assistant coach Phil Handy.
Rui Hachimura said his main area of focus with Phil Handy this offseason was his footwork. He’s very comfortable getting to the various spots on the court he prefers, after showing himself to be a three-level scorer for the Lakers.— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) October 5, 2023
There is certainly a ton of hype around Rui this preseason. A strong postseason paired with his offseason work has raised the bar of expectation, but it could potentially be a huge year for him in his first full season in Los Angeles.
LeTamper goes international?
On media day, LeBron spoke about his plans and desire to potentially play for Team USA in the Olympics this summer. That came after a report over the summer indicated LeBron was leading the way in recruiting players to join Team USA after a fourth-place finish in the FIBA World Cup.
On Thursday, Joel Embiid committed to play for America over France and Cameroon. Did LeBron have anything to do with that?
"I was gonna ask about Embiid (and Team USA)."— Dime (@DimeUPROXX) October 5, 2023
LeBron: "What happened?"
LeBron: "That's awesome. To us?"
LeBron, smiling: "Great. That's big time."
"Did you make any calls on that?"
LeBron: "I have no idea."
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.