(Photo By: Atiba Jefferson/Getty Images)
3 Things to Know: Lakers vs. Warriors (10/10/18)
Here is what you need to know before the Lakers’ Las Vegas matchup with the Golden State Warriors.
1) Lonzo’s back
For the first time in more than six months, Lonzo Ball will suit up for the Lakers. The 2017 second-overall pick had spent training camp working his way back from arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, and now he is ready for his preseason debut.
Ball — who started 50 of his 52 games last year — will come off the bench in Vegas, running point for the second unit. However, coach Luke Walton expects him to play in lineups composed of both starters and reserves.
Lonzo — owner of the NBA’s third-highest individual pace last season — should jump-start a team that is already running at every chance it gets. And while he wasn’t able to work on the court much over the summer, he did bulk up, estimating that he added another 15-20 pounds, which he says will help him get to the basket and switch onto bigger players.
2) Don’t forget about Rajon
With Ball serving as a substitute, Rajon Rondo will continue to start at point guard for the Lakers. The three-time NBA assists champion has shown his passing brilliance often this preseason.
The definition of a pass-first player, Rondo has more than twice as many assists (28) as shots attempts (12) so far, with only nine turnovers mixed in.
He has also been effective when he has decided to try to score, hitting half of his field goal attempts, including 4-of-5 from 3-point range, as some opponents have been burned by daring him to shoot.
Walton said that he wants to get a look at Rondo and Ball on the floor together — giving the Lakers two or three (depending on LeBron James’ presence) elite playmakers on the court at the same time — so keep an eye out for multi-point-guard lineups.
Rondo with the tough board and the outlet to KCP! pic.twitter.com/0IyAJySYAH— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) October 7, 2018
3) The 2-guard battle is in swing
While we know that Ball will be in action, Josh Hart is considered questionable to play due to a tweaked hamstring suffered in Monday’s practice. He has started at shooting guard twice this preseason, while Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has made the other two starts.
The two have similar player profiles: Both are 3-point shooters, finishers at the rim, elite positional rebounders and strong perimeter defenders.
So far, Hart has found more success in preseason, averaging 11.5 points while shooting 45.5 percent from the field and 33.3 on 3-pointers. KCP has put up 7.3 points and hit 36.0 percent and 14.3, respectively.
While preseason can only indicate so much, Hart has also played better among the starters, scoring 15.5 points with the opening five and 7.5 off the bench.
The battle for the starting shooting guard spot is one of the most closely contested battles of training camp. We’ll see whether Hart plays and if either player further makes his case in Vegas.
Tip-Off: 7:30 p.m. PT
TV: Spectrum SportsNet in L.A. ESPN nationally.
Location: T-Mobile Arena — Las Vegas, Nevada