(Too Early) Lakers Line Up Guesses

Lakers Reporter

With the official signing of rookie Jordan Clarkson on Monday, L.A.'s roster stands at 13 players, out of a possible 15 that can be kept by any NBA team for the regular season, and as such, GM Mitch Kupchak could add another player or two.

What will new coach Byron Scott's rotations look like in the coming-faster-than-you-think 2014-15 season?

Here are a couple of (slightly) educated guesses based on our conversation with the former Showtime shooting guard from last week:

LAL LINE UP VERSION 1

PG: Jeremy Lin
SG: Kobe Bryant
SF: Wesley Johnson
PF: Carlos Boozer
C: Jordan Hill
Sixth Man: Nick Young
Bench Rotation: Steve Nash, Xavier Henry, Julius Randle and Ed Davis
Deeper Bench: Robert Sacre, Ryan Kelly and Jordan Clarkson

The one absolute lock for the starting five is … you guessed it … Kobe Bryant. Lin's the next most likely starter, his relative youth -- 10 years younger, to the day, than Bryant -- and athleticism a good compliment to Kobe. Ditto for Johnson, whose talent Scott really likes and wants to maximize after an inconsistent 2013-14 for the 27-year–old wing. (Johnson's been working out with Bryant throughout the summer, and having No. 24 on the floor with him could well be a boon for Johnson's motor.) The frontcourt is less certain, but Boozer and Hill's respective high/low post games could mix well on offense, and the two can likely best take care of L.A.'s glass on both ends of the floor. Scott plans to account for the lack of rim protection by playing "a lot of help the helper to keep the ball from getting into the paint," which will take time to learn. He specifically said he'd like to see the rookie Randle playing next to Boozer, so Julius could be an early sub off the bench alongside Swaggy P, whom Scott prefers in the sixth man slot to maximize his offensive gifts and time on the ball. If healthy, Nash remains the NBA's best shooter and can still create plays off the dribble, while Henry showed strong flashes last season before succumbing to injuries he continues to rehabilitate. If Xavier hasn't fully recovered from surgeries on his wrist and knee, Clarkson could get some early run, but Henry does expect to be ready by the start of camp. Davis is the best rim protector on the team and is absolutely worth an extended look.

Steve Nash

LAL LINE UP VERSION 2

PG: Jeremy Lin
SG: Xavier Henry
SF: Kobe Bryant
PF: Julius Randle
C: Carlos Boozer
Sixth Man: Nick Young
Bench Rotation: Jordan Clarkson, Wesley Johnson, Ryan Kelly and Jordan Hill
Deeper Bench: Ed Davis, Robert Sacre, Steve Nash

Nash is currently 100 percent healthy and feeling no nerve pain for the first time in two years, but if that changes, he'd drop from the bench rotation in favor or Clarkson or some guard to be named later. Meanwhile, Randle could impress in camp to the point that Scott wants to reward him with a starting slot. If Johnson struggles or Henry looks great, Xavier could find himself next to Bryant on the wing. Scott could also be intrigued by a smaller bench line up featuring Kelly's capabilities as the lone stretch four on the roster, which would make frontcourt minutes harder to come by for Davis, Hill and Sacre. There is a situation where Young could start next to Bryant, but he's more likely to finish games than start them.

Bryant Nash Hill

LAL LINE UP VERSION 3

PG: Steve Nash
SG: Jeremy Lin
SF: Kobe Bryant
PF: Carlos Boozer
C: Jordan Hill
Sixth Man: Nick Young
Bench Rotation: Jordan Clarkson, Xavier Henry, Ryan Kelly, Julius Randle, Ed Davis
Deeper Bench: Wesley Johnson, Robert Sacre

It's unlikely that you'll see such a group, but Scott did mention the small Nash-Lin-Bryant group as a possibility if he's not getting what he wants from wings Johnson or Henry. This group would struggle defensively on the perimeter, but be difficult to track offensively, with three playmakers who can all shoot and space on the opposite side of the floor as well. You can flip flop the bigs as well, with Randle, Hill, Davis and even Kelly or Sacre getting into the rotation depending on the skill set required on a given night.

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