Lakers basketball is back! Or, at least, there’s a Lakers preseason game. Baby steps, you guys. Honestly, I’ll take whatever version of Lakers basketball you want to give me, though.
After 4 days of training camp and a couple of scrimmages, the team is surely ready to face off against someone besides themselves and the Wolves will do just fine. The talk of camp to this point has been the team trying to improve defensively, sharpening their transition and early offense, and how Lonzo Ball can’t seem to lose when the team is scrimmaging. How all this translates tonight against Minnesota remains to be seen, but I’m excited to see it.
Speaking of the Wolves, if you thought the Lakers were a new look team, they’ve got nothing on the Wolves. A blockbuster trade with the Bulls brought them Jimmy Butler (and the 16th pick in the draft) in exchange for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, and the draft pick that became Lauri Markkanen (#7 overall). The team also traded longtime point guard Ricky Rubio away to the Utah Jazz in exchange for a 2018 1st round pick (via the Thunder).
Besides these blockbuster moves, the Wolves also signed point guard Jeff Teague from the Pacers and Taj Gibson from the Thunder in free agency while also getting Jamal Crawford to sign with them after the Hawks waived him (which came after a three way deal with the Nuggets that brought Danilo Gallinari to the Clippers).
So, if you’re counting at home, the Wolves have turned over their roster by half and added real fire and star power to a group that already had former #1 picks Karl Anthony-Towns and Andrew Wiggins. They’re stacked.
What this means for tonight is….well, who cares? I certainly don’t. This is the first preseason game of the year. It’s going to be sloppy. At Friday’s practice Luke Walton said zero percent of the halfcourt offense is installed. He also noted that he’s going to use the rest of the preseason as a faux training camp. So, there’s lots of work to do and that’s likely to be reflected in the level of play we see tonight.
In other words, enjoy the game for what it is — Lakers basketball. It’s back. And we’re here for it. Finally.