The Los Angeles Lakers played their third of six preseason games on Wednesday night against the Sacramento Kings. It was a nice distraction for Los Angeles Dodgers fans as the Lakers actually won their game despite not having four of the team’s five usual starters.
In the end, the outcome of the Lakers-Kings game did not matter. Fans are not worried about the win-loss record in the preseason, they are worried about how the players are looking ahead of the regular season when the games really count.
And for the third time in three games, there was a lot to love for Lakers fans in this game. It is hard to single out the best of the best from Wednesday night. It is also hard to pinpoint who stood out for the wrong reasons. But alas, we must keep the preseason tradition going.
Lakers who stood out and lit the beam against the Sacramento Kings
For those that are unaware, the Kings “light the beam” every time they win at home.
This is not the first time that D’Angelo Russell has balled out in the preseason and it likely won’t be the last. Russell and new point guard addition Gabe Vincent started together and there were some really fun moments in the game as a result.
When the dust ultimately settled, Russell had an extremely efficient night, scoring 21 points in 21 minutes on 8-12 shooting while shooting 3-5 of three. If that was not enough, Russell tacked on eight assists on top of his 21 points scored.
This is the enticing part of Russell’s game that gets Lakers fans so excited. At his best he is so fun to watch and can be a true third star on the Lake Show.
Speaking of point guards, having two point guards in the starting lineup did not slow the Lakers down in this one. While this probably is not something the team should implement all that often in the regular season, it was fun to see how Ham utilized Russell and Vincent in this game.
Vincent was right behind Russell in terms of production and finished with a near-identical scoring stat line. In 26 minutes Vincent scored 18 points on 7-12 shooting while going 4-8 from beyond the arc. He only added two assists.
If Vincent can look like this consistently in the regular season then he is going to prove that the 2023 NBA Playoffs were not a flash in the pan and that is was one of the best value signings of the offseason.
From an overall output standpoint, Rui Hachimura would likely jump out to more fans as the third player that should be included in this article. After all, Hachimura’s game is just so crisp and it is easy to see the strides that he made over the summer.
But we have already seen that out of Hachimura. What was more impressive was Taurean Prince’s performance as he had just as good of an offensive night while also making his impact felt in other areas as well.
The 2023 Bi-Annual Exception signing hauled in seven boards with two steals in 21 minutes played. He scored 13 points on 5-9 shooting while going 2-4 from three. With numbers like those, Prince is going to become an undeniable member of the Lakers’ rotation who sees the floor often.
Max Christie struggled for the Lakers against the Kings
The one player who stood out for the wrong reasons was Max Christie. Most of the Lakers team was very efficient on the offensive end in this game and Christie was one of the few exceptions. The second-year point guard shot just 2-9 from the field and did not make any of his threes.
Christie got ample playing time in this game and after looking great in the preseason opener, the holes in his game were more apparent on Wednesday. Christie is still a second-year second-round pick, after all, and there are going to be growing pains.
It will be interesting to see how the Lakers handle Christie in the 2023-24 season. The team doesn’t really have any other options to play the backup shooting guard and it can be dangerous relying on a 20-year-old to be the lone depth option.