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In the latest Laker Film Room Podcast, Pete and I discuss the Lakers first three games of the season and, specifically, the lineups Luke Walton has been using.

We dive hard into whether Walton is starting the team’s best 5 players, whether the players who are starting complement each other well, and whether the Ingram/Nance forward combo is the right combination for this team long term.

We also get into who we think should be in the Lakers rotation and whether shortening the rotation and excluding some guys who Walton clearly trusts is the better approach than what has been used in the first 3 games.

Lastly, we give some love to Jordan Clarkson and try to sort out some the best ways to deploy him in the context of what works best for the team and the personnel groupings he can excel in. This was a lively conversation that is heavy on some questions that we both think need answering in order for this team to show progress when looking towards next summer.

Click through to give the entire show a listen.

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In all my time of being a fan and writing about the Lakers, few players have shifted my view of them more than Metta World Peace. I remember when he — then known as Ron Artest — originally signed by the team, I had my doubts about how he’d fit in, how focused he’d be, whether he could acclimate to being an ancillary piece rather than a frontline player he’d been for most his career. I wasn’t alone, either.

Ron-Ron won me over, though. With his all out play every night. With his straightforward nature and honesty. With his tough nosed defense. With his deference to the team’s established players. Then, with the shot. And the post-game presser. He became immortalized to me and he will live on in Lakers lore forever. He wasn’t the perfect player and offered frustrations that most every player does in their own way. But he was ours. The guy who loved being a Laker and did what he could to help the team, regardless of role assigned or his minutes played.

That trend, it seems, is now continuing into his post playing days after being named as a player development coach for the team’s G-League affiliate, the South Bay Lakers.

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The Lakers fell to 1-2 on the season, losing an entertaining yet in some ways frustrating game to the Pelicans 119-112. The game wasn’t so much a back and forth affair as much as it was a contest where both teams put their stamp on the game, only for the Pelicans superior top-end talent to win out in the end.

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The Lakers are coming off a fun 132-130 win over the Suns and are looking to keep things rolling against the winless (0-2) Pelicans. The good news is that the Lakers are back at home and the Pelicans are coming off a cross country flight after losing to the Warriors on Friday. More good news is that the Pelicans haven’t yet won a game, sitting at 0-2.

Unfortunately, the bad news is that the Pelicans have Anthony Davis. And DeMarcus Cousins. And Jrue Holiday. They may not have much more than that (Rajon Rondo and several other rotation players are injured), but when you have three players the quality of them — especially Davis and Cousins who are two of the best bigs in the league — some nights you don’t need much more.

The question, then, is whether the Lakers have enough defensively in the front court and depth across the rest of their rotation to manage NOLA’s twin-towers and secondary units which will be shallow on strong NBA talent.

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On the second night of a back to back, on the road, and coming off a one sided loss in their home opener I did not know what to expect from the Lakers. Would they come out flat again? Discouraged? Would they play hard and compete? I really didn’t know.

After a 132-130 win against the Suns, maybe I shouldn’t have had so many doubts. Or maybe it was just one game and they won’t always be this fun. Either way, I’m going to enjoy this win for what it was. A fun contest that saw the cornerstone young players show out and some key veterans really play well, showing the poise and resiliency to keep the game close and seize control when it really mattered.

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lakers-preview-suns

The NBA is an unforgiving league. While the season start date has been pushed up and a fair amount of the scheduling hardships have been removed, some things are unavoidable. Stuff like opening the season on a Thursday, getting your butt kicked, and then having to fly out right after to play a back to back game on the road in another city Friday is still a thing.

And that’s what the Lakers are facing.

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Well, how was that? Not what you expected? The Lakers opened their season in about as rough a way as possible, losing to the Clippers 108-92. The game was a sloppy, offensively challenged affair that saw both teams struggle to make shots, but also saw a Lakers team ill-prepared to combat a more seasoned team.

If there’s a story to this game, it’s really that the Lakers just played a disjointed brand of basketball on both sides of the floor.

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lakers-game-preview-clippers-season-opener

How do you write a Lakers game preview for the first game of the season? Especially after dropping over two thousand words for their season preview? Well, you kind of don’t. So I won’t do so now.

Look, the Lakers play tonight. It’s their first game of the season. They play the Clippers, their co-tenants at the Staples Center and the team that has pretty much owned this matchup for the last handful of years. The Clippers don’t project to be the same caliber of team they were before trading Chris Paul, but they still project to be in the hunt for a 5-8 seed in the playoffs.

If we were going to dive into X’s and O’s, I’d talk about how Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan are still a dynamic front court pairing. How Danilo Gallinari is a huge upgrade on the wing. And how Patrick Beverly is going to be a menace defensively — especially in his matchup with Lonzo Ball. These things matter and, well, will likely be a huge factor in this game.

But, honestly, the above paragraph is about all I’m going to say about the X’s and O’s of this game. We know what the Lakers did in the preseason. We have the key stats and have some of the more important takeaways. Those things matter too, but, in a way, they really don’t.

The regular season is here and these games really do count now. For that reason alone, I am excited. Add in the journey that is ahead, with Lonzo starting his career, Ingram looking to take the next step in his 2nd season, Randle and Nance battling for PF minutes, Kuzma looking to usurp them both, and Brook Lopez being the anchor in the middle and I’m geeked for this year to start.

I don’t know how many games this team will win. I don’t even know how competitive they’ll be from night to night. I do expect them, over time, to be a fun team that plays hard. And, heading into tonight’s game, that’s about all that is on my mind.

The NBA is back. Lakers basketball is back. And I couldn’t be more excited about it. Let’s go.

Where you can watch: 7:30pm start time on TNT.