The Lakers once again were off to a lackluster start. There was a reason to be excited though. Julius Randle finally suited up as a Laker.
Julius Randle didn’t really play on the low block. Both offensive opportunities that he had in isolation situations were facing the basket. Both of those moves stand out. One move had Randle on the baseline 12′ on the right corner. He faced up the defender, and was able to use a spin move to get to the painted area for a 5′ push shot that ticked over the rim. The second move was more traditional. He faced up his defender 20′ away from the hoop, attacked left, used his right shoulder to bump the defender on the drive, and put up a soft bank shot from 5′. His other two baskets were dunks; one in transition from Kendall Marshall, and the other an assist from Trey Thompkins as Randle cut to the hoop. Randle looked great out there on the floor, particularly spry and energetic. Hopefully, he gets a few more touches in the post.
Jordan Clarkson didn’t shine like he did in the first game. While he shot decent from the field, 6 of 14 with 3 of 6 3-pointers made, he finished with zero assists and five turnovers. His aggression to the basket got the best of him and it was obvious there was a lack of continuity and flow with almost every line up out there.
The Hornets did a stellar job forcing turnovers and making perimeter shots all night long.
Trey Thompkins was the stand out player for the Lakers. He finished the 1st quarter with a baseline 3-point shot. He was able to finish around the rim. He was especially comfortable with the high-post action, being used as a screener while the guards used off-the-ball movement to create plays. Thompkins isn’t the most athletic guy out there, but he has a solid foundation of skills that are varied. Perhaps he’ll get a second look into Laker training camp.
Kendall Marshall looked more comfortable with Randle out on the floor. He’s simply more comfortable when he has finishers around him. Surprisingly, he used an isolation move 20′ from the hoop. He drove left, went behind-the-back, and pulled up for a midrange, hanging 15′ jump shot. It wasn’t a set shot. It wasn’t pretty. It did go in.
Rodrigue Beaubois should also get a look at Laker training camp. While he isn’t dominating in any fashion, he is hitting his 3-point attempts and slashing to the rim effectively. He finished with 11 points on 4 of 6 shooting, 3 of 4 behind the arc.
DeAndre Kane finally got action as a point guard. Though he went 0-3 from the field, he did finish with 5 assists and 1 turnover. One particular play had him breaking down his defender, slashing to the basket going left, drawing in the defense, leading to a pass and a dunk. He’s had back-to-back games with drives in similar fashion. Hopefully he can blend his playmaking along with his scoring abilities. Kendall Marshall isn’t lighting it up from the field.
Lakers are 0-2. Last years team actually won a few games. This years team is more talented, but has less rhythm and continuity on the court. Some of the talent just overlaps considering how many talented guards are on the current squad.
The Lakers have their next game on Monday at 7:00 PST against the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors have yet to lose a game in the past two summers.