The Lakers’ preseason ends tonight with a match up against the Suns. While the team still has a couple of roster cuts to make — and maybe an assistant coach to hire? — and then sort out whether or not to treat this game like a real dress rehearsal, I think there is really only one goal for tonight: No one get hurt.
The regular season starts next Wednesday. The Lakers have plenty of work to do before then and pretty much all the goals should be to get to that date healthy with several practices and teaching sessions leading up to that point to help fine tune this team. So while tonight’s game is happening, I wouldn’t say it “matters”.
Of course, I still would like to see how the starters play — including seeing Luol Deng back in the lineup to get some reps with the 1st team. I would also like to finally get sorted out whether Clarkson is going to be a reserve or a starter while also getting a few minutes from Calderon if he is completely healed and ready to go. You can even add in to that whether you want to look at Lou Williams and Nick Williams as a primary wing backup (i.e. can/do you want Nick to play some SG and, if so, what does that mean for Lou), but that seems like a stretch for this game.
Other roster questions and lineup configurations matter, but not more than surviving this game with full health in tact. I am open to hearing arguments about this game being treated as some sort of real build up to a regular season game, but, honestly, just like the final NFL preseason contests, I don’t think that’s necessary. This the 8th exhibition game for the Lakers. They’ve had enough moments to get a lot of answers already.
Now, just get to Wednesday healthy.