I’d say second verse, same as the first, but it’d only be because I really enjoy that line.
While there was plenty of hype and hoopla surrounding that first preseason game – and for good reason – the actual game was pretty bleh (technical term). he Lakers shot just 29% and while there were plenty of highlights, the Jazz pulled away late. To his credit, Byron Scott started with the lineup most fans anticipated, but the rotations were definitely worth questioning.
It is worth noting, though, that the lineup Scott started with is much more important moving forward than how he dolled out minutes in a preseason game. This isn’t remotely close.
From last game to Tuesday night, it’d be nice to see a little more mixture of the first and second units. Sunday night, thanks in part to injuries, the group off the bench had no one to create for others. When Marcelo Huertas is available (he’s out both thanks to a Visa and hamtring issue), that playmaker is there when all the starters are out. Basically, any lineup featuring both Lou Williams and Jabari Brown in the backcourt will struggle to find any kind of rhythm in half-court sets.
That was really my lone major complaint in terms of decision-making on Scott’s part Sunday. Overall, it’s tough – if not impossible – to install anything on either side of the ball with little less than a week of training camp to work with. So, in Tuesday night’s game, it would be nice to see a little more rhythm on each side of the ball.
As the Lakers reportedly cut back on two-a-days, we might also see slightly more lively legs on all over the court. Those poor rims took a beating Sunday night as jumper after jumper fell short. Additionally, the tendency in players’ first games is to be nervous and aim jumpers. For both D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle, Sunday marked their first considerable NBA action in a year, if ever. Those nerves should be at least slightly calmed with that experience behind them.
More generally, it would be nice to see the units get into their sets a little more quickly on offense in the half court. Scott’s Princeton offense can get cumbersome when actions take so long to occur, leaving guys in positions where they’re forced to create a shot against both the defense and the shot clock. No, a day’s worth of practice will not resolve this issue in any noticeable fashion, but anything will help.
The number one takeaway I had from Sunday night was how much more excited I was before, during and after the game. As I was driving around today, I legitimately realized they had lost the game. In no way am I saying the outcome of these games matter, but progress is undoubtedly crucial.
D’Angelo Russell: Probable (foot)
Jabari Brown: Questionable (hand)
Anthony Brown: Questionable (shoulder)
Marcelo Huertas: Out (Visa, hamstring)