Los Angeles Lakers: Three trends to focus on during preseason

Kyle Kuzma #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images)
Kyle Kuzma #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images) /
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Los Angeles Lakers
Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports – Los Angeles Lakers /

Dennis Schröder

Dennis Schröder could start at point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Dennis Schröder recently announced he’s tired of coming off the bench, and he wants to start. Most folks don’t think Schröder will end up with the starting gig. The Lakers did just win a title in dominant fashion with KCP starting at the 1.

It also makes way too much sense to space out LeBron James’ and Dennis Schröder’s minutes because they are the only two genuine playmakers on the squad.

It’s nice to have a guy on the floor at all times who can make sure the offense doesn’t break down into a bunch of isolation sets, like what we saw from the Clippers during their meltdown against the Denver Nuggets during the second round of the 2020 playoffs.

Here’s the thing, though; Dennis Schröder is easily the Lakers best point guard, and he’s a very hard worker, especially on defense. Frank Vogel loves guys who grind in the gym and get after it on the less glamorous side of the ball.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s had an amazing last few months. He won his first championship, and he inked a lucrative three-year deal with the Lakers, the consensus 2021 title favorites.

KCP’s also entering preseason off a foolishly short offseason.

We don’t know how Caldwell-Pope spent the last two months. He could have relaxed for a couple of weeks and then hit it hard again. He also could have soaked up the good vibes and put on a few extra pounds.

Suppose KCP comes into training camp out of shape with an entitled attitude, and at the same time, Dennis Schröder shows up from day one in the preseason and simply outworks and outplays Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. In that case, Vogel could send a clear message to his players by starting Schröder.

Forcing KCP back into a reserve role would let every player know that complacency is not an option, and it doesn’t matter what you did last season; the players who perform best in practice are going to get the bulk of the minutes.

During the preseason, Frank Vogel will go with many different looks. He’ll undoubtedly start Kentavious Caldwell-Pope at point guard for a game or two, and he’ll also give Schröder time with the first unit. It’ll be hard to know which player has the starting edge, based on when they get their minutes.

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Instead, look at KCP’s overall performance versus Schröder’s. If KCP seems out of shape and uninterested (even though it’s only preseason) and Dennis Schröder crushes it, the former Thunder player could end up getting the starting point guard assignment.