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#pounditThursday, May 23, 2024

Darvin Ham reveals interesting plan for Lakers’ starting lineup

Darvin Ham smiling

Nov 30, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers coach Darvin Ham at a press conference during the game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Darvin Ham is trying his best to position the pieces on the chessboard.

The Los Angeles Lakers head coach Ham addressed the media on Thursday and revealed his interesting plan for the team’s starting lineup next season. Ham said that the Lakers’ starting backcourt will be D’Angelo Russell and Austin Reaves. Meanwhile, the third frontcourt spot next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis will be up for grabs in training camp, per Jovan Buha of The Athletic.

The Lakers have a good mix of bodies to contend for that fifth starting spot. Talented scorer Rui Hachimura should work for offensive-minded lineups while lineup connector Jarred Vanderbilt offers a slightly more defensively-oriented presence. The Lakers also brought in Jaxson Hayes and Christian Wood this offseason (though both, despite their athletic gifts, might be better off as bench pieces given their questionable fundamentals).

But perhaps the most interesting tidbit here is that Russell seems to be etched in stone as a starter. Though a former All-Star capable of 20 points a night, Russell was a big net negative for the Lakers during their playoff loss to the Denver Nuggets last season. He is a streaky shooter and consistently struggles on the defensive end. There is a real concern that the Lakers could hemorrhage points if they start Russell in the backcourt with Reaves (who works hard defensively in his own right but is still prone to getting beat).

The Lakers do have other good options at the guard position if Russell isn’t cutting it for them. But for now, it sounds like the backcourt duo is set for the purple and gold. The only question mark is the third starter in their frontcourt (which might not be that easy of a decision given the request Davis has reportedly made of the Lakers).

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