While Darvin Ham will ultimately decide the starting lineup for the Los Angeles Lakers, an NBA insider has offered his opinion on the team’s starting five for the upcoming season.
Zach Lowe, host of “The Lowe Post” podcast, spoke with ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne about a number of Lakers-related topics, and noted (at the 12:08 mark) that his opinion is simply something that he envisions.
“So, based on what I’ve heard, my prediction for what will be the starting five, not what should, but what will, is Russ (Russell Westbrook), [Kendrick] Nunn, and the Nunn buzz…there’s a lot of Kendrick Nunn talk, among 25 people who care about it,” Lowe said. “Russ, Nunn, LeBron [James], A.D. (Anthony Davis) and I think Damien Jones is right now the frontrunner to start at center, and I am as big a Damian Jones fan as exists in the NBA media.”
A Closer Look at the Potential Lineup
The status of Westbrook has been an offseason saga that’s included the Lakers’ efforts to trade the veteran guard. Those attempts actually began last season when it appeared that Westbrook simply didn’t mesh in the Lakers’ lineup.
Starting James and Davis are givens, considering their overall value to the team. Their combined production helped lead the Lakers to their first NBA title in a decade in 2020.
However, since that moment of glory, the two players have had problems staying healthy. Davis has been especially vulnerable, playing in just 76 regular season games over the past two years.
James has been known for his durability throughout his legendary career. However, during the past two campaigns, he’s only seen action in 101 regular season contests.
Those extended absences have resulted in two straight disappointing seasons. In the 2021 playoffs, the Lakers made a quick playoff exit and last year failed to even reach the postseason.
The inclusion of Nunn is something the Lakers have been looking forward to since last year after they signed him to a multiyear deal. However, he suffered a bone bruise during training camp and never took the court once the season started.
The Potential Wild Card
Perhaps even more intriguing than Nunn’s potential starting role is the possible presence of Jones, who was with three other NBA teams prior to joining the Lakers.
Jones played in eight games for the Lakers last season, getting the starting nod six times. Perhaps not surprisingly, he delivered modest statistics of 5.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and .9 blocks per game.
In reality, Jones’ scoring numbers wouldn’t matter in this hypothetical lineup. That’s because the trio of James, Davis and Westbrook would provide the bulk of the scoring, with Nunn also offering his own contributions.
Of course, the opinions of someone not on the Lakers’ coaching staff should be taken with a certain amount of skepticism. Ham and his staff will render their final decision once the team’s training camp comes to an end.