What we are going to see tonight is far from a full picture.
What we will see tonight are the first few brushstrokes of a painting that will take all season to complete. By about 20 games in we can get a pretty good idea of the form the painting will take, but even then we are just one injury away from everything going Jackson Pollock on us.
Still, there are things to look for. Starting with how Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum look together. In case you haven’t seen it, Kevin Ding in the OC Register has Phil Jackson calling the duo “clumsy” together and Tex Winter suggesting Bynum could come off the bench to start if things don’t change. Maybe the most discouraging statement is this one from Drew:
“This is the first year where it’s kind of a little bit boring just because we have to run through the same stuff we already know,” he said (of the practices).
The pairing of Bynum and Pau was something I think will work out well — I even told that to Brent Edwards at Fanhouse for his division preview — but it doesn’t have to work perfectly from day one. Bumps and slow spots are to be expected.
The NBA season is a long, long grind with plenty of time for things to mesh. For the Lakers to be at their best, Bynum and Pau have to be on the floor at the same time. But that doesn’t have to happen the first preseason game in Anaheim, or even in the season opener against Portland. But tonight (with very basic offenses on display as neither team really puts in a detailed game plan) is a good time to start working them out.
The other thing I’ll be watching tonight — how does the defense look. Rust and missed rotations are to be expected right now, but is the team generally getting its head around the new system yet will be something to keep an eye on.
Bottom line — I’m just happy there is a game. Preseason or not. Let’s get it on.
PS. Baylor out of the Clippers front office? He has had that job for 22 years, but because of the owner there I’m not sure we really know how good a GM he was or could have been. Good luck to Dunleavy. You’re going to need it.