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Lakers vs. Kings: 3 Big Questions (10/8/17)
Two months removed from their Summer League title, the Lakers return to Las Vegas for a matchup with the Sacramento Kings on Sunday.
This time they’ve brought their full roster, including a scoring center approaching his first game and the preseason’s leading scorer.
How does Laker Lopez look?
After missing the first three preseason games with back spasms, Brook Lopez appears ready to debut on Sunday.
Lakers President Magic Johnson has called Lopez the key to the team’s offense, particularly highlighting his ability to space the floor, which should open up the paint for the likes of Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson.
While Lopez did score the second-most points among centers last year (20.5 per game), he should also help shore up a Lakers defense that gave up 122 points to Denver on Wednesday.
The 7-footer has been an underrated rim protector throughout his career, and averaged the league’s seventh-most blocks last season (1.65). He should have an immediate defensive impact in however many minutes he plays in his first exhibition.
Will preseason remain in Kuz control?
Kyle Kuzma has been an absolute flamethrower in the preseason, putting up 21.0 points per game which places him just ahead of Kyle Lowry and Paul George (20.0 apiece) for the most in the NBA.
While the Lakers’ rookie certainly has a ways to go before reaching the level of All-Stars and Olympic gold medalists like Lowry and George, he has also shown a promising amount of talent this preseason.
Kuzma has shot a blistering 65.8 percent from the field (25-of-38) and done so in style, showing off spinning hook shots, crafty footwork, 3-point range and more.
The 22-year-old has been a threat across the floor, hitting all three of his mid-range looks and 35.7 percent from beyond the arc. But he has been especially dangerous inside the paint — be it on drives, fast-breaks or cuts — as he has shot a nigh-perfect 15-of-16 from inside of 10 feet.
Will we finally get the Ball-Fox rematch?
Though Lonzo Ball took home the Summer League MVP trophy, he did miss two games including a much-anticipated matchup against Kings rookie point guard De’Aaron Fox.
Ball and Fox last matched up seven months ago in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament. While Ball put up 10 points and eight assists, Fox was the aggressor, pouring in 39 points to lead Kentucky past UCLA.
Lonzo is considered questionable for Sunday’s game due to a left ankle sprain. However, there will be plenty more opportunities for these division foes to clash, as they face off four times this season, beginning in Sacramento on Nov. 22.
Tip-Off: 6 p.m. PT
TV: Spectrum SportsNet and Spectrum Deportes in L.A. ESPN nationally.
Radio: 710 ESPN and 1330 KWKW