It’s only the beginning of the LeBron James era with the Los Angeles Lakers but this team looks like they will be fine in the stacked Western Conference.
The Los Angeles Lakers finished their preseason run 3-3 with a win against the defending champion, Golden State Warriors 119-105 in San Jose, California as they outscored the Warriors 65-38 in the second half.
LeBron James and Rajon Rondo rested in the Lakers’ preseason finale while Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope did not play due to minor injuries. Lonzo Ball did play in his second preseason game as he is back to health from rehabbing his left knee.
In this contest against the Warriors, the bench players put on a show led by Svi Mykhailiuk who finished with 22 points and four assists. Kyle Kuzma and JaVale McGee held it down for the starters with producing 35 combined points. Ball posted eight points, seven assists, and six rebounds.
Both McGee and Kuzma were productive during their minutes on the court. McGee filled his stat sheet within 18 minutes of play with 14 points, six rebounds, two assists, two steals, and a block while Kuzma had 19 points within 22 minutes of play.
Aside from scoring in this game, the Lakers’ team defense was looking better than it did early in preseason. Being consistent on defense will be a key to victory for this team this season.
It was good to see the Lakers’ 47th pick of this year’s draft, Mykhailiuk shakes off his shooting slump in this game. Prior to the matchup against the Warriors, he was shooting 16.7 percent from the three-point line and 30 percent from the field.
Mykhailiuk’s development throughout the season will be something to keep an eye out on. He stood out during Summer League but struggled early in preseason. With more reps with this team during the season, he will be a good piece for this team.
Lonzo Ball is Back
Ball is back healthy and is ready for a good sophomore season. Ball returned to the club in their matchup against the Warriors in Las Vegas two nights prior to their game against them in San Jose.
Ball scored seven points while having two assists, four rebounds, and four steals in 23 minutes of play in Vegas. He then followed up that showing with stellar passing in keeping his teammates active on the offensive end of the floor.
Ball is poised to have a good sophomore season playing behind, sometimes with, Rondo as they share point guard duties for the Lakers. His defense for the team also helps as they looked better on the court in their games with him on the court.
Ball’s shooting form also got a makeover in the offseason. His old form from last season allowed him to have 36 percent from the field shooting and a three-point percentage was at 30.5. This new shooting form is a bit more centered and is straight-on shooting. With his revamped shooting form, his shooting percentage will go up.
James and Ball got the chance to play together in that Vegas game against the Warriors. That is something that will a sight to see all throughout this season.
James played limited minutes throughout the preseason and sat in the preseason finale but in the time he was on the court, he looked good playing with his teammates. In the Lakers first preseason game, James posted nine points, three assists, and three rebounds in 15 minutes of play.
Coming into the preseason, it was already known that James would have so minute restrictions so we didn’t see much from him. When he did play, he got his points and kept his teammates involved.
In James’ appearance against the Warriors in Vegas, he was dominant in 15 minutes of play as he posted 15 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists.
As the Lakers play a fast-paced game, James helped the Lakers thrive in that during their matchup with the Warriors in Vegas. James getting on the boards allowed for good transition plays for the Lakers.
James’ play fits into this Lakers team that wants to play fast and run a tangible offense.
His presence on the team will also keep the young players structured on and off the court. His leadership will allow the players to learn how to win better and be consistent with their play.
This will be a good Lakers team to watch this season as they haven’t made the playoffs these last few seasons so it will be all good for Lakers fans for the team to make the postseason in a stacked Western Conference.
The Lakers will open the season on the road in Portland on Thursday at 10:30 PM ET on TNT.