The Lakers are in Las Vegas, NV for a preseason run against the Kings at the Thomas and Mack Center. In the previous game, the Lakers returned to The Fabulous Forum in Inglewood, CA, only to have the nostalgic run end in defeat to the Warriors, who shot better than Los Angeles in the second of back to back games.
The Kings have made several additions to the squad in the offseason, such as first round picks PG/SG Tyreke Evans & F Omri Casspi, SG/SF Desmond Mason, SF Andres Nocioni and PF Sean May. Their new head coach, Paul Westphal, is big on versatility in his players, and he will employ a three-guard lineup against the Lakers tonight.
It appears to me that the move is more of a gimmick than a solution to what ails the team. Don’t get me wrong. Versatility is good for any team, and will benefit a team in the long run.
Beno Udrih is an effective point guard, and Tyreke Evans can be a very effective combo guard as well, but losing Francisco Garcia for a while—in the second high-profile weight lifting accident in sports—causes a need to attempt to replace his point production, which will cause a team to make adjustments.
No disrespect, but the Kings are a team that will be lucky to sniff 30 wins this season. In my opinion, it is not really about positions, but more about putting the best five guys on the floor.
The Kings also have more depth at the guard positions and at small forward. The Lakers have one of the most versatile rosters in the league; it will be on full display tonight. Los Angeles will use defense as their calling card tonight, as they will the entire season. The Lakers could match the Kings' three-guard lineup with Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest and Shannon Brown.
Derek Fisher is the starter at point guard, but matched up against a 6’6” Tyreke Evans in the post, it might be necessary to double-team, which will force the defense to rotate. The Kings will have to adjust to the Lakers regardless of what lineup is on the floor. Los Angeles will focus on player movement and ball movement, as well as executing their offense.
The fact that Luke Walton hasn’t played a lot of minutes is due to the fact that more time was given to Ron Artest and Adam Morrison. The coaching staff has big plans on how they’ll deploy both players. Morrison will come off of the bench, but Coach Jackson wants the opponents to figure out how Artest will be utilized.
Look for the Lakers to play inside-out and allow Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom to go to work. You might see Kobe Bryant in the post as well. I want to see Jordan Farmar, Sasha Vujacic & Adam Morrison consistently knock down open shots.
Tip-off: 7:00 p.m. PDT
• Los Angeles: KCAL 9 (HD)
• Sacramento: KXTV News10 (HD)
• Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
• Sacramento: KHTK 1140 (Gary Gerould)
• PF/C Pau Gasol (Hamstring Strain)
• C DJ Mbenga ( Misalignment of his hips/ hip flexors)
• SF Luke Walton (Minor Back Pain)
• SG Francisco Garcia (Forearm)