We are about two weeks away from the start of the NBA season and the last thing head coach Luke Walton needs to decide is who his starting five will be.
Through three preseason games, four players have started every time: D’angelo Russell, Lou Williams, Julius Randle and Timofey Mozgov. Newly acquired small forward, Luol Deng, started the first game but suffered a bruised left knee, forcing him to miss the next two games.
In the first of two games against the Denver Nuggets, Metta World Peace joined the starting lineup followed by Nick Young in the second game.
Walton is likely testing different players at the three-spot in case Deng is unable to go come October 26 when the Lakers open their season at Staples Center with the Houston Rockets. But, if Deng is healthy, he will start. However, his position as the starter is not the one I am concerned about. It is Williams’.
Williams, known as one of the NBA’s elite sixth men, averaged 15.3 ppg (ESPN.com) in 67 games last season with the Lakers, having came off the bench in 35 of those games. Williams’ will score whether he starts or not and scoring is his primary role with this team, so why not bring him off the bench?
Jordan Clarkson, who just signed a four-year deal with the Lakers, is entering his third year in the league and with Kobe Bryant having retired, there are more minutes and shots to go around and Clarkson is hoping to be the recipient. Starting Clarkson would not only give the Lakers’ more defense in their starting lineup, but also, more scoring off the bench. And do they really want to bench a young player with potential who started all of last season? We saw what happened to ex-Golden State Warriors’ forward, Harrison Barnes, when Mark Jackson moved him to the bench after his rookie season. Yikes.
All I am saying is, Clarkson should replace Williams in the starting five alongside Russell, Deng, Randle and Mozgov. Hopefully Coach Walton sees this article and reconsiders.