NBA 2018-19 Season: 5 Issues that will bug the Lakers
The Lakers' 2018-19 campaign is finally off and running as they played their 3rd preseason game today, winning 128-123 against the Sacramento Kings. They certainly looked good enough to be a playoff team on the night, while Brandon Ingram stood out with the most impressive preseason showing by any player in the league.
Preseason in the NBA can be misleading. Success or failure here isn’t always a good predictor of what will happen in the regular season. Minutes are distributed differently than they will be when the games count and coaches feel empowered to experiment with their lineups in order to gauge who fits best against specific opponents.
Luke Walton certainly used the opportunity to the fullest, and our first glimpse at the new-look Lakers did provide plenty to take away:
#1 The center problem
It's one thing to have JaVale McGee starting when you are the 2-time defending champions and have used him in that role for 2 straight seasons without missing a beat on either end of the floor.
But, try as they might, the Lakers will never accrue as much talent as the Warriors possessed last season, never mind the 5 All-Star lineup they'll field at some point this season.
The Warriors had a bazillion centers they could call upon at any time in any game depending on the matchup they faced. The Lakeshow will have no such luxury as they are constructed right now.
The Lakers will definitely have to swing a trade or two to stand a chance of making a deep playoff run. The likes of the Nuggets, Jazz, Thunder, Rockets and the Spurs all have at least one elite big man who will need to be matched up with by a 7-footer for 30 minutes a night.
LeBron as a small-ball center won't cut it against these teams, McGee doesn't have the fitness to average more than 24 mpg and Kuzma is just about learning and keeping afoot with the new position that he's been asked to play.
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