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Lakers Nation Roundtable: Who Will Be The Starting Frontcourt? Reviewed by Momizat on . While we know that Pau Gasol will be returning to his natural position at starting center, the question of who else will fill out the starting frontcourt still While we know that Pau Gasol will be returning to his natural position at starting center, the question of who else will fill out the starting frontcourt still Rating:
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Lakers Nation Roundtable: Who Will Be The Starting Frontcourt?

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While we know that Pau Gasol will be returning to his natural position at starting center, the question of who else will fill out the starting frontcourt still remains unanswered. Mike D’Antoni has experimented with various frontcourt lineups during the four preseason games thus far to see which frontcourt rotations work the best.

Based on what the fans have seen so far in the preseason, what should the starting frontcourt be for the Lakers? The Lakers Nation roundtable writers decided to tackle this topic this week. Here’s what they had to say:

Suki Thind (@TheRealSuki): Well, we know that Pau Gasol will be starting in the frontcourt at center, so let’s discuss the other two positions.

I’ve stated recently how I feel that Jordan Hill could be an X-Factor for the Lakers this season, as well as explored multiple scenarios for the starting lineup to begin the season.

In both of these assessments, I came to the conclusion that Jordan Hill should start at power forward. He’s an extremely talented offensive rebounder with endless hustle.

I conceded that Shawne Williams may end up starting as a stretch four, as D’Antoni prefers to run his system that way.

However, over the past few days, I’ve rethought this. Chris Kaman and Pau Gasol displayed a natural chemistry while playing together and switching off at the four and five slots. Both do similar things on the floor in terms of having the ability to shoot from distance, possessing solid post moves, and being willing and able passers.

Essentially, Kaman gives the Lakers a little bit of both inside and outside game offensive–as does Pau. The two are interchangeable on defense as well. To start games, I would go with these two in an effort to utilize size and superior passing in the high and low post.

Then, Hill and Williams can come off the bench and provide energy (Hill) and the ability to stretch the floor (Williams) at the five and four slots, respectively.

As for the small forward position, while Kobe Bryant’s out, I would go with Wesley Johnson if he can compensate for his lack of offense through defense, or Xavier Henry if D’Antoni wants more offensive production. I wouldn’t start Nick Young at the three simply because I feel he should be a scoring punch off the bench and is a natural shooting guard.

I’m sure we’ll get to witness plenty more experimentation with the lineups throughout the rest of preseason and beyond, though, so it should be interesting.

Corey Hansford (@TheeCoreyH): Assuming the Lakers have Nash and Kobe in the backcourt, I believe the best starting frontcourt for the Lakers would be Wesley Johnson, Chris Kaman, and Pau Gasol.

Originally I believed Jordan Hill should start next to Gasol down low, but Kaman and Gasol have shown such good chemistry in their time together during the preseason that it would be foolish not to have both of them on the floor together as much as possible, which would allow Hill to bring much needed energy and athleticism off the bench.

The argument for the small forward position is a difficult one as Nick Young is almost definitely a better player than Johnson. However, Johnson would be the better fit next to Bryant as a defensive stopper and spot-up shooter. Young is a gifted scorer, but having another ball dominant wing player next to Kobe is never a good mix, and his scoring ability would be much better served off the bench. Meanwhile, Johnson can assume a lesser role in the starting lineup and focus on the little things to make him a more effective player for the Lakers.

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Ramneet Singh (@RamneetSingh24): The NBA preseason has finally tipped off, and the Los Angeles Lakers now have a chance to evaluate their lineup. Over the summer, the team brought in a few big men, including Chris Kaman. Although Kaman’s original role on the team was the back up Pau Gasol, he has shown me that he is fully capable of starting alongside the Spaniard.

Kaman and Gasol have formed great chemistry in their short time together, and it will only improve as the season progresses. Kaman is an experienced frontcourt player, and there is never any harm in starting someone with his skill-set. Jordan Hill was the early offseason favorite to be in the starting five, but his energy and level of play will work best off the bench.

The Lakers lost Dwight Howard over the offseason and although Kaman is no Howard, he can certainly make a huge impact on the court. Over the course of the preseason, Gasol and Kaman have been able to find each other easy, open shots, and they play with such grace and effectiveness. As time goes on, Gasol and Kaman will develop an even stronger bond and the Lakers will surely benefit from two skilled big men.

Elizabeth Benson (@gobibs): After signings were made this offseason, I thought Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill should team up to lead the Lakers’ frontcourt. I initially thought Chris Kaman should be the substitute for Gasol in the rotation and in some instances, share time on the court together.

However, after watching the last two preseason games, Mike D’Antoni’s experiment of starting Gasol and Kaman in the frontcourt was a very pleasant surprise. Their experience and high basketball IQs came together, and they worked in sync with each other immediately.

Their chemistry was apparent, as they work off each other in the high and low post, while still looking for plays for their other teammates. Notably, they held down the defensive end while sharing the court for the most part, something I previously thought would be a nightmare. They still need to be more active on defense, but it was much better than I originally thought.

Playing Gasol and Kaman together resulted in having Jordan Hill rotate in as the center and Shawne Williams come in as a stretch four. This rotation showed energy, athleticism, and hustle.

As for the small forward position, I would start Wes Johnson as he will add defense to the starting unit and won’t disrupt the flow of the offense, even when Kobe Bryant returns. Nick Young’s offensive skills and mentality will be best served coming off the bench, when the Lakers will need it the most.

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About The Author

Elizabeth is a graduate from Arizona State University and has her master's from Duquesne University. She is currently an associate editor at Lakers Nation. To read more of Elizabeth's articles click here. You can also follow Elizabeth on Twitter @Gobibs

Number of Entries : 381
  • Daryl Peek

    Based off the chemistry were seeing so far between Chris and Pau, I like the twin towers. The problem with that is the drop off when they come off the court. Offensively we lose our identity when the towers aren’t on the floor. Kobe’s return will help ease that burden big time. Pau will likely be on limited minutes early into the season. Hopefully Kaman can handle more minutes on the court and function well with Hill or Williams playing the 4.

    I really worry most about the consistency of our rebounding. Pau needs to give us about 11 a game, Hill needs to be in that 6-9 range, and Kaman needs to be a double, double staple also. We need at least 30-35 rebounds a game from our front court, Gasol, Kaman, Hill and Williams. Another 10-15 rebounds from all others and we’ll be great on the boards like we’ve always been in the Kobe era.

    Kobe will give us his usual 5-6 a game. Blake and Nash are good for 6 between the two. Johnson and Young are the X-factors. What they give us will determine how well we do rebounding as a team.

    • cj

      if pau can get 11 hill 8 kaman 8 williams 6 kobe 5 thats 38 from our main rebounders.
      last season we got 45 a game so we would need around 7 from nash, blake, farmar, wes, meeks, and young to equal our last seasons output. if we go with a ten man roation and meeks is out i could see us easy geting 10 from the rest. there is no reason we arnt a top 10 rebounding team this year.

      • Daryl Peek

        I’m kinda worried about our front court. Pau is used to having Bynum, LO or Howard types helping him on the boards. Pau will be the guy this season. Kaman is not a great rebounder like the guys Pau is use to playing next to. Hill is very inconsistent. This will be a huge step up for him. Williams has been out of basketball for over a year and boards is not really his game.

        The system is what worries me most! Were already seeing a serious lack of offensive board focus. I hope they get it together as the rotations shorten over the next few games. After China we should start seeing rotations that will mirror what we will see in the regular season.

        • http://www.haveslot.com/ richard

          I am not worried about offensive rebounding… it’s the defensive rebounding I am most concerned… can we get the rebounds we suppose to and need to get? Can we defend and get a stop when we need to? That is what I want to see my Lakers achieve during the course of the season or get of semblance of before the preseason ends.

          • Daryl Peek

            They’ve been winning the defensive rebounding in the preseason so far. Offensive rebounds is the problem. With all the quick shots were jacking up it destroys our fast-break defense because there’s no offensive rhythm.

          • http://www.haveslot.com/ richard

            Daryl… there is clearly offensive rhythm… you just don’t want to see it… just becuase we can’t get to offensive rebounds does not mean we don’t have offensive rhythm…. the coach said it, the core players said it… now, if you say otherwise, I don’t know how to argue with you on that… maybe we are watching 2 different teams.

          • http://www.haveslot.com/ richard

            last season.. the top 5 offensive rebounding teams were the following…

            Denver, memphis, Brooklyn, Indiana, Chicago… .

          • Daryl Peek

            I guess we are watching two different teams. From what I see, more often than not were taking very quick shots with no one in position to grab an offensive rebound. Many of those shots are very bad decisions. Were barely averaging 9 offensive rebounds a game as a team. We are doing well on the defensive boards. That is very encouraging but if we don’t become a very proficient fast break team, we’ll need to crash the offensive glass to manufacture easy points in the paint.

            Good three point shooting is great for spacing when your shooters are on but points in the paint is where you get your offensive flow/consistency… inside out offense. I see more outside in so far.

            At best a team shoots 25-35% from behind the arc. 45-50% is what you get on regular FG%, and that’s driven by points in the paint.

            Kobe, LO, Pau and Bynum were excellent on the boards. We were good last season also. I get it, it’s early in the process so hopefully were correcting mistakes.

          • http://www.haveslot.com/ richard

            as I have mentioned above… the following questions must be satisfied in order for this team to contend…

            can we get the rebounds that we are suppose to and need to get? Can we defend and get a stop when we needed to?

            We will never be a great rebounding team… Even the Lakers with Shaq whre never a great rebounding team… but they got the rebound they were suppose to get. They got the stop they needed when they needed it. That’s the mark of great teams…. not offensive rebounding — defensive rebound is the key.

        • cj

          offensive rebounds will be down this season in favor of better court spacing so were not killed in transtion this year

  • Jim213

    Agree with Mr. Singh given the potential chemistry of both Pau and Kaman. Guess one will play the 4 and the other the 5 if they start. Which also leaves to question, how much the coach will fully implement his style of play?

    Especially since the team hasn’t demonstrated consistency with its shooting. IMO, 50-60% run and gun implementation as they may have to rely more on the big guys to score from inside.

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