The two figure to compete for the starting point guard spot. Russell seems to be the early favorite for the position, but Vincent apparently shouldn’t be counted out easily.
“The projected lineups are fluid. Russell is the early favorite to start at point guard, but Vincent could earn the spot if he outplays him in training camp, team sources told The Athletic,” wrote Jovan Buha.
Though Russell’s return to the Lakers in the 2022-23 season was largely successful, he was benched in the team’s conference finals series loss against the Denver Nuggets. In that series, he recorded only 6.3 points, 2.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game while shooting just 32.3 percent from the field and 13.3 percent on his attempts from beyond the arc.
While the Ohio State University product is very talented and consistently excels during the regular season, his play tends to worsen during the playoffs.
He is still a microwave scorer, however, and has a career average of 5.7 assists per game.
As for Vincent, he had a solid 2023 NBA Playoffs for the Miami Heat, who made it all the way to the NBA Finals. During that playoff run, Vincent averaged 12.7 points and 3.5 assists per game on 40.2 percent shooting from the field and 37.8 percent shooting from 3-point range.
The California native struggled a bit against the Nuggets, but he came up huge for the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics, connecting on 51.6 percent of his 3-pointers.
Vincent brings toughness on defense as well as some decent playmaking on the offensive end. While he was naturally more of a shooting guard at the start of his professional career, the former undrafted free agent has spent tons of time as a point guard and continues to grow.
In Miami, he was eventually able to supplant Kyle Lowry, a likely future Hall of Famer, for the team’s starting point guard role.
The competition between Russell and Vincent should only make the two players better, and the team will surely benefit from that. Regardless of who ends up starting for the Lakers, a high-quality backup will be ready to go off the bench.