Best Los Angeles Lakers Starting and Closing Lineup for 2019-20 Season - Lakers Daily
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Best Los Angeles Lakers Starting and Closing Lineup for 2019-20 Season

LeBron James and Anthony Davis

The Los Angeles Lakers will be fielding a very different roster heading into the 2019-20 NBA season. They rebooted last season’s unusual mixed bag of personalities beginning with a blockbuster trade that landed them All-Star center Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans.

The only holdovers from last season’s team are LeBron James, Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Rajon Rondo, JaVale McGee and Alex Caruso. Gone are starters Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram, as well as guard Josh Hart. All three were shipped off to the Pelicans in the Davis trade.

After they failed to recruit Kawhi Leonard, the Lakers proceeded to sign other free agents to fill out the roster.

This revised roster necessitates a new starting and closing lineup with a couple of positions to be earned during training camp.

There are only two players assured of a position in the starting lineup due to their statuses in the league’s hierarchy of stars — six-time All-Star Davis and four-time MVP James. The rest of the starter positions are still up for grabs.

LeBron James and Anthony Davis

Not only will the team have a vastly different starting unit, but the Lakers will also discover during the season which lineup will close games for them. Though it will vary depending on the matchup, there is definitely going to be a staple lineup for most games.

Here is how the current Lakers roster looks like:

G – Alex Caruso

G – Rajon Rondo

G – Quinn Cook

G – Avery Bradley

G – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

G – Troy Daniels

G – Danny Green

G – Zach Norvell Jr.

G – Talen Horton-Tucker

F – Jared Dudley

F – Kyle Kuzma

F – LeBron James

F/C – Anthony Davis

C – JaVale McGee

C – DeMarcus Cousins

As presently constructed, the roster is heavy on guards with nine players checking in at the position. Expect the Lakers to trim it down. Horton-Tucker, the team’s second-round draft pick, and Norvell will have to try and earn a spot on this team.

Green could spend time at the small forward position when head coach Frank Vogel goes small. Caruso is an underrated returnee from last season. He averaged 9.2 points in 21.2 minutes per game.

More importantly, he shot 48.0 percent from three-point range, making him ideally suited to play alongside James and Davis. If only he didn’t have so much competition.

Kuzma, a starter last season who averaged 18.7 points per game, should come off the bench this time around. He will be the primary scorer for the second unit which includes Rondo, Bradley, Dudley and McGee. As the team’s sixth man, he’ll have more scoring opportunities than if he were a starter.

Here is an ideal starting lineup for the 2019-20 Lakers:

G – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

G – Danny Green

F – LeBron James

F – Anthony Davis

C – DeMarcus Cousins

James would have two shooters and two big men around him with this group. He’s a forward in name only since he’s reportedly going to play the point guard position full time.

Over the past three years, the 15-time All-Star has been dishing 8.8 assists a night, the best three-year average of his career. As a full-time facilitator with scoring threats from various points on the court, James could come close to Magic Johnson’s 11.2 career assists mark.

LeBron James Los Angeles Lakers

Despite playing in only 56 games and 33.0 minutes a night, Davis still put up 25.9 points, 12.0 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.6 steals and 2.4 blocks per contest last season. As amazing as these stats may be, they could be even better now that he’s playing with a pass-first superstar. A nightly dose of pick-and-roll between James and Davis would be devastating for opponents.

Recovering from an Achilles injury and trying to fit in with the Golden State Warriors was quite the roller-coaster experience for Cousins. Vogel had a successful run with the Indiana Pacers featuring 7-foot-2 Roy Hibbert at center, and he could set some plays for Cousins to be successful both offensively and defensively. We might just see regular flashbacks of Cousins during his Sacramento Kings days.

Caldwell-Pope and Green would be tasked with manning the perimeter. Caldwell-Pope only shot 34.7 percent from three last season, but he should be able to bounce back with better teammates around him.

Green continues to be one of the best 3-and-D players in the league, canning 45.5 percent of his three-point attempts last year for the Raptors and locking down on the opponent’s wing players. This twosome should be able to keep most guards and some small forwards from heating up too much on most nights.

As perfect as the starting lineup might appear to be, the closing team would probably be more lethal:

G – Rajon Rondo

G – Danny Green

F – LeBron James

F – Kyle Kuzma

C – Anthony Davis

Kuzma would come in to add more scoring punch to the closing unit. He’s a big-time scorer waiting to explode and this coming season could be the year he averages more than 20 points a game.

Meanwhile, James is too gifted a scorer to stay as a passer when the Lakers have to make a basket. One thing many basketball experts would like to see more of from him is for him to play in the post and take advantage of mismatches. It would be just like his time with the Miami Heat years ago when he won his first two championships.

The fourth quarter is when Rondo could come in with his uncanny ability to find the open man. If the team needs more shooting, Caruso, Cook, Caldwell-Pope and Bradley might earn some minutes in Rondo’s place as well.

Kyle Kuzma Lakers

This lineup has the firepower to score in bunches on offense while also being adaptable enough to defend multiple positions.

Of course, it helps when Davis is there to erase any defensive lapses. James (27.59) and Davis (27.42) rank second and third on the all-time career list for player efficiency rating (PER). Having both of them on the same team is a privilege and one that could result in a Lakers championship at the end of the year.

But winning a title is a collective effort with each player contributing to the team’s overall success. The first few months of the season will be a feeling-out process, but once they’ve settled on a proper rotation, don’t be surprised to see the Lakers at the top of the standings.

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