Los Angeles Lakers fans got to see their team back in action for the first time in six months (not counting Summer League) on Monday as the team opened its preseason play with a 105-75 loss to the Sacramento Kings.
The outcomes of these preseason games do not matter but fans can learn a lot about the team and its players during these games. While the final outcome was not great, the overall consensus coming away from this game does appear to be positive.
There was one painful aspect of Monday’s game against the Kings and it was watching Malik Monk play for a different basketball team. Monk signed a minimum deal with Los Angeles last summer and ended up being the best value signing in the entire league (as well as the only good signing for the Lakers).
Despite his continual reassurances that he would take a pay cut to stay in LA, Monk (rightfully) took more money to sign with the Lakers’ rivals. Now that he is on the other side of the court, his former teammates have started to rip into him… jokingly. After the game, Anthony Davis went on a stand-up-worthy tirade about his former teammate and friend.
Anthony Davis straight-up said Malik Monk sucked and that maybe the Lakers can finally win now that he is out of LA… ouch. Obviously, AD is just teasing his good friend, who as he alluded to, now has his pockets full after signing a two-year, $19 million contract with the Sacramento Kings.
The Los Angeles Lakers desperately need someone to step up like Malik Monk.
As much as Davis kids, he knows that there is a big hole left behind that Monk and to be quite frank, the front office did not do a good job of filling it. There is not a single addition to this team that can shoot the ball as Monk can, which is a problem.
Three-point shooting is so important in today’s game and the Lakers are projected to be one of the worst three-point shooting teams in the league. Fans got a glimpse of that on Monday when the team shot a shoddy 23.1% from beyond the arc.
Granted, there were big minutes given to players that won’t have that big of a role during the regular season but the regular rotation guys didn’t shoot well either. Anthony Davis made two of four attempts, which was promising, but LeBron James, Kendrick Nunn and Patrick Beverley went a combined 2-8. That is not going to cut it.
The Los Angeles Lakers have had a lot of roster turnover in recent years but this new role player is already committing to LA long-term.
But the good thing is that Russell Westbrook did not attempt a single three in his 14 minutes of action.