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Lakers vs. Pistons Preview: First look at Spencer Dinwiddie

Spencer Dinwiddie makes his Lakers debut on Tuesday against a very familiar foe for him in the Pistons.

Los Angeles Lakers v Detroit Pistons Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images

After a well-deserved three-day break, the Lakers are back on their home floor on Tuesday. They will take on the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday on the first night of a back-to-back.

Start time and TV schedule

Who: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Detroit Pistons

When: 7:30 p.m. PT, Feb. 13.

Where: Arena

Watch: Spectrum Sportsnet

The Lakers’ most notable addition during the trade deadline week will make his debut on the purple and gold on Tuesday. Fresh off the buyout market, Spencer Dinwiddie ended up being that ball-handler that Rob Pelinka sought after for weeks. Now, that vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka successfully recruited him, the challenge for the 30-year-old L.A. native and the Lakers is to find a way to fit and ease him into the rotation.

The skillset that the combo-guard provides, specifically his ability to handle the ball, playmake, create his own shot, score off the ball and get to the rim are qualities that this Lakers team should welcome with open arms. The ideal scenario for Dinwiddie is to add offensive juice and be the competent point-of-attack defender that the Lakers have needed all season.

Those are the qualities that even LeBron James and Anthony Davis also highlighted when they were asked about their newest teammate:

But with 28 games to go and the need to catch up in the Western Conference standings, the Lakers are pressed for time. It’s either Dinwiddie fits on the team right away or not. That’s why Darvin Ham's challenge is to ease the veteran guard into the rotation and find a way to instantly get the best out of him. This starts on Tuesday.

How Ham plans to handle Dinwiddie:

When Ham was asked about Dinwiddie’s potential role on the team during Monday’s practice, the sophomore head coach highlighted the guard’s versatility and ability to compliment Austin Reaves and D’Angelo Russell and hinted the return of the three-guard lineups that Los Angeles often utilized last season.

Now, that doesn’t mean Ham will adjust his starting lineup and replace Rui Hachimura for Dinwiddie on Tuesday. He pretty much just gave an idea as to what type of lineups Dinwiddie is going to be part of. However, what’s also worth noting is that Ham hinted that his new combo guard could be an option to close some games with his ability to defend, pass, shoot, and dribble the ball well.

What Ham mentioned are just possible roles for Dinwiddie, but no one really knows how he’s going to fit in until we finally see him don the purple and gold armor on Tuesday. It’s going to be interesting to see how his first game turns out.

Last meeting against the Pistons

Ironically, Dinwiddie’s first game with the Lakers is against the team that drafted, and eventually traded, him two years later, in the Pistons. Interestingly enough, the guard once admitted that he takes it personal every time he plays Detroit. Well, he couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity to make a great impression on Tuesday.

Tuesday’s game against the Pistons should be a win for the Lakers. With all due respect to the Pistons, they have a bottom-tier offense and defense. They’re 23rd in the league in points per game (113.2) so if they somehow walk out of Arena on Tuesday with a win then the Lakers have a lot to ponder on heading into the All-Star break.

But with a three-day rest advantage and having won six of their last 10, the Lakers should be in a good position to take care of business at home. The last time these two teams faced, D’Angelo Russell exploded with 35 points and it’s fair to expect him to roll again given that he’s been on a heater these past few weeks. It would also be ideal if the Lakers can end this one early as they take on a pesky Jazz team — who are just below them in the standings — the following night.

Let’s see if the Lakers can do exactly that and how Dinwiddie’s debut transpires on Tuesday.

Notes and Updates:

  • For the Lakers’ injury report, Anthony Davis (bilateral Achilles tendinopathy and hip spasms) and LeBron James (left ankle peroneal tendinopathy) are listed as questionable while Jarred Vanderbilt (right foot soreness), Max Christie (right ankle sprain), Cam Reddish (right ankle sprain) and Gabe Vincent (left knee surgery) are out.
  • The Lakers announced on Monday that Christie, Reddish, Vanderbilt and Vincent will be evaluated after the All-Star break.
  • As for the Pistons, Isaiah Stewart (left ankle sprain) and Quentin Grimes (right knee sprain) are out.
  • If the Lakers beat the Pistons on Tuesday, their record will improve to 14-8 against teams under .500 teams. Now is the time to capitalize especially with the Golden State Warriors and Jazz aiming to get past them in the Western Conference standings.

You can follow Nicole on Twitter at @nicoleganglani

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