Finally, the Los Angeles Lakers are back on the basketball court after a long but eventful offseason. With LeBron James in town and a number of new faces, there has been an adjustment period but also moments of brilliance sprinkled in as well.
This episode of the Lakers Nation Podcast focuses on breaking down what we have seen so far in preseason play. Trevor Lane and guest Hannah Kulik analyze all of the highs and lows as the new team comes together.
JaVale McGee, in particular, has stood out as someone who is thriving in Luke Walton’s up-tempo system. The pace seems to fit his springy athleticism-based game and it’s allowed him to put a stranglehold on the center positions.
McGee is also providing veteran experience out on the floor, which is something that is critical for a team that needs to see a jump in play from their young talent.
Not every veteran has fared as well as McGee, however, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, in particular, has struggled, and now looks to be on the verge of losing his starting job to Josh Hart.
It was expected to be one of the biggest battles of training camp, but Hart’s impressive play in the team’s second preseason game against the Denver Nuggets when he was inserted into the starting lineup has left many convinced that he may have surpassed Caldwell-Pope already.
Ivica Zubac has similarly struggled, which is bad news for a Lakers team that is desperate for centers. The big Croatian has been particularly challenged on the defensive end, though part of that could be because he was going up against Denver’s devastating tandem of Nikola Jokic and Mason Plumlee.
It has only been two games but we have already learned a lot about the new-look Lakers. To listen to the show just click the player above.