(J Alexander Diaz and Ty Nowell/Los Angeles Lakers)
Lakers Training Camp Roster Breakdown: Shooting Guards
The shooting guard position battle will be closely monitored at training camp, as two similarly talented returnees compete for the starting spot. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Josh Hart are both marksmen from deep, strong defenders and elite rebounding guards, and they’ll each have a shot at securing the role come opening night.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (13.4 pts, 5.2 reb, 2.2 ast, 1.4 stl, 42.6% FG, 38.3% 3P)
KCP’s first campaign with the Lakers was a career year, as the 25-year-old shot personal-best percentages from the field and 3-point range. He was especially potent down the stretch, nailing 42.3 percent of his 3’s post-All-Star Break.
Caldwell-Pope was also willing to scrap on the glass and on defense. He led all NBA shooting guards in rebounds, and was one of the Lakers’ most reliable perimeter defenders, both on and off the ball.
Josh Hart (7.9 pts, 4.2 reb, 1.3 ast, 46.9% FG, 39.6% 3P)
While KCP started all 74 games that he appeared in, Hart has made a case for a spot among the first unit. In his rookie season, the 23-year-old led the Lakers in 3-point percentage, played impressive defense and was a rebound magnet, finishing with the most double-doubles (eight) of any shooting guard.
Hart was also the star of the Lakers’ offseason, earning Las Vegas Summer League MVP honors by averaging 22.4 points. Already a sizzling spot-up shooter, he previewed some new tricks in Vegas, including a much-improved handle and ability to shoot off the dribble.
Jeffrey Carroll (NCAA: 15.4 pts, 6.2 reb, 1.8 ast, 40.6% FG, 33.2% 3P)
Fresh off a productive career at Oklahoma State, Carroll joined the Lakers’ summer league squad for their run to the Las Vegas title game. He was at his best getting to the rim, shooting 14-of-18 on two-pointers.
Carroll struggled with his 3-point shot in Vegas, but has been successful from outside in the past. As a junior at OSU, he shot 44.4 percent from 3-point range, though that dipped to 33.2 last season.
Shooting guard and small forward may be the most similar positions in basketball, so it’s no surprise that the Lakers have a couple wings who have experience playing either spot.
Lance Stephenson (9.2 pts, 5.2 reb, 2.9 ast, 42.7% FG, 28.9% 3P)
While most wings lean toward playing the two-position or the three-, Stephenson is just as suited for either role (though he may have more opportunities at small forward).
Stephenson is at his best with the ball in his hands, as he does the most damage by slashing to the hoop. On the other side of the ball, he is a long-armed, aggressive defender who doesn’t back down from a challenge. New teammate LeBron James can attest to that.
Svi Mykhailiuk (NCAA: 14.6 pts, 3.9 reb, 2.7 ast, 1.2 stl, 43.4% FG, 44.4% 3P)
The 6-foot-8 Mykhailiuk would be an oversized shooting guard, but also one that fully embodies the “shooting” label. He torched at summer league, hitting 40.8 percent from 3-point range, and was even better at Kansas, sinking a Big 12-best 44.4 percent.
Mykhailiuk also has a slick handle to attack closeouts and set up his own shots. Defensively, his quick feet and size should be helpful tools against NBA talent, particularly at the two-position.
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