With the addition of LeBron James and several high-profile veterans during the free agency period, the Los Angeles Lakers have set themselves up for a fascinating 2018-19 season.
General manager Rob Pelinka stated during a press conference that all four starting positions next to LeBron would be up for grabs come training camp, which will push each member of the team.
With a deep roster, we take a look at the top five position battles worth following for Lakers fans:
5. Kyle Kuzma vs. Moritz Wagner (center)
The center position will be an interesting one for the Lakers. They could go a number of different directions based on style, and the size redundancy throughout the roster will give Luke Walton maximum flexibility. While Wagner will come along slowly, he offers the size of a center with the shooting of a small forward. He could provide some small-ball tendencies on offense while giving the Lakers big-man size on defense.
4. Kyle Kuzma vs. JaVale McGee (center)
If the Lakers want to go with a traditional big man, McGee likely gets the nod at center. However, most teams employing the run-and-gun small-ball lineup will necessitate more Kuzma. Following LeBron, Kuzma could actually be the second most talented player on the roster. Matchups and his growth will likely dictate usage.
3. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope vs. Josh Hart (guard/wing)
Hart is often the forgotten man for the Lakers, but he has put forth an eye-opening performance thus far in the Las Vegas Summer League. Hart’s ability to rebound, defend, and shoot three-pointers will make him a valuable piece for Luke Walton. The fact that he and Caldwell-Pope play such similar styles will make this a contest worth watching.
2. Brandon Ingram vs. Lance Stephenson (wing)
Although none of the starting spots are set in stone, Ingram is probably as close to a starter as a Laker can get at this point. Ingram has length and is one of the few Lakers who can create his own offense. His versatility can also be exploited on both ends of the floor. Stephenson’s scrappiness and ability to get to the rim could make him a favorite of LeBron’s, though. There will also be lineups that feature both players on the floor.
1. Rajon Rondo vs. Lonzo Ball (point guard)
The matchup that will captivate NBA fans will involve the veteran Rondo and the emerging Ball. Rondo enjoyed a renaissance season with the New Orleans Pelicans, and he comes with a championship pedigree and LeBron-like court vision. Ball, however, has youth, length, and speed on his side. Both players will enter camp looking to pilot the Lakers’ offense.
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