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If you ask Luke Walton he’ll tell you that the starter for the Lakers power forward position is yet to be determined. There are three candidates – Julius Randle, Larry Nance Jr., and Kyle Kuzma. Each offers specific skill sets that are varied and useful enough to be considered legitimate answers.

Walton, does seem to be leaning towards Randle or Nance, however:

Are either Randle or Nance the best answer? Is it actually Kuzma? While Walton and his staff will have the final say, we commissioned our writers to weigh in on the topic too. So, without further ado, here’s what the folks at FB&G think about it all…

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Lakers preseason is over and the regular season is around the corner. But before we close the chapter on the exhibition season, it’s good to take a look back and think about what we learned and how those games can inform our expectations for the real games. So, without further ado, here are ten takeaways from the Lakers preseason.

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With the NBA season starting within the week, the Lakers waived Vander Blue, Briante Weber, and Travis Wear per a press release Saturday. The roster now stands at 16, with no other cuts expected (Alex Caruso, the 16th player on the roster is on a two-way contract and does not need to be cut). No additional Lakers roster moves are expected before the start of the season.

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It is the final Lakers preseason game before the regular season starts. If we’re tracking news, Lonzo Ball is out and Andrew Bogut is too — which should not be a surprise considering we were told this exact thing could happen. And, honestly, this is what I would have done too if the decision was up to me.

Look, I wish Lonzo could have played more this preseason. The Lakers need him; they depend on him. The fact that he didn’t play a single minute with Brook Lopez in an actual game situation isn’t ideal. The fact that, despite playing well in summer league, Lonzo hasn’t gotten much floor time to find his stride against better players is not good either. But, there’s nothing to do about that now. He’s out this game and will be thrown into the fire next week when the games “count”.

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The Lakers sign Travis Wear┬áisn’t something I expected to hear today, but here we are. The team announced Wear’s signing via a press release today. Wear, who played for the Lakers summer league championship team, is a stretch PF who helped space the floor as both a 4 and, in some super small lineups, a 5 in Las Vegas.

If the timing of this deal seems strange, it kind of is. After all, the Lakers just released two players this week to bring their training camp roster down to 18. Wear’s signing, then, brings them back up to 19, and does so right before the last exhibition game and before additional cuts will need to be made.

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While some might lament another Lakers preseason loss — this time to the Jazz — or rejoice in what has been the revelation that Kyle Kuzma is legit, the status of that pesky Lonzo Ball ankle injury has been lurking in the background. The prized rookie point guard missed his third consecutive preseason game Tuesday and it seems he’s still not ready to get back on the court.

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Okay, let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first. The Lakers lost to the Jazz 105-99 to fall to 1-4 in the preseason. Down the stretch of the game they played some bad offense, led by Brandon Ingram reverting to isolation basketball while taking tough shots which he should have avoided. In a league where process matters as much as results, Ingram’s approach down the stretch was not only disappointing but damaging to the team’s chances of winning.

Here’s the thing, though, if that’s your only takeaway from this game you and I don’t watch basketball the same way. Yes, his (and the team’s) failures in the final 5 minutes were glaring and frustrating. They’re also teachable moments that happened when the team was playing 3 rookies (Kyle Kuzma, Alex Caruson, and Josh Hart), Ingram (in his 2nd season), and then either Randle or Lopez. Mistakes and bad choices are going to happen with that group on the floor. The players in decision making positions — regardless of their poise or basketball IQ — are young and will make mistakes.

That is context to how the game ended. It wasn’t pretty, but I’ll live with that. They competed hard, they just didn’t play well (or very smart) in some critical moments. I think they’ll learn to be better with time and experience. I know fans want to give them those chances…I also know fans lose patience when the scoreboard tilts in the wrong direction.

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After earning their first win of the preseason on Sunday against the Kings in Las Vegas, the Lakers are back in Los Angeles tonight to face off against the Utah Jazz. This is truly the “home stretch” of preseason, with only two games remaining before the regular season starts.

In saying that, I’d imagine the coaches are going to want to play things a bit more “straight” when it comes to lineups, personnel groupings, and rotations, some of which is evidenced by the team waiving VJ Beachem and Stephen Zimmerman on Monday. So, it could be noteworthy that the starting lineup for tonight’s game is unchanged from the one against the Kings:

Nance, of course, replaces Randle with the first 5. He’ll lineup with Ennis (I think), KCP, Ingram, and Lopez. Lonzo Ball remains out with his ankle injury. Andrew Bogut remains out with his strained groin.

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