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Lakers using Russell Westbrook, Kendrick Nunn and Damian Jones in first unit at training camp thus far

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LeBron James and Anthony Davis will move to the Los Angeles Lakers when they are healthy. It is obvious. But after those two? In the starting lineup, things are a little worse. Russell Westbrook was a starter all last season, but given the disappointment of missing the play-in, his position is no longer guaranteed. Sophomore defenseman Austin Reeves and acquired player Patrick Beverley have been mentioned as replacements in the backcourt, while Damian Jones and Thomas Bryant are battling for the starting position at center.

Nothing decided yet, new Lakers coach Darwin Ham uncovered the first group he started gathering with on Friday were James, Davis, Westbrook, Jones and Kendrick Nunn. Although no single component of the group is particularly surprising, the overall correspondence is doubtful.

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Jones and Westbrook don’t shoot at all. Nunn is better, but only hitting 36.4% from behind the arc in his entire career, which is just the average shot from behind the arc in the league. This five just doesn’t provide enough space between James and Davis to consistently pick and roll together. The Westbrook-Nunn combination also combines most ball skills on the same team. Dennis Schroeder provides some extra play from the bench, but Westbrook, Nunn and James will be limited in how often they can control the ball as they share the floor with others.

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The Jones vs. Bryant battle is a bit harder to stop. Bryant missed most of last season recovering from an ACL tear and has looked much worse since his return to the floor. His best version shoots well enough to be a credible starter, but if he plays like he did in Washington a season ago, Jones is likely to be the best option, even with his limitations as a shooter.

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If the Lakers insist on building a non-throwing center, they will be under even more pressure to force Westbrook to stock up with more shooting threat like Beverley. Even the 2020 championship team struggled to score half court with a traditional center on the floor because of how much it affected their distance. Lineups featuring James, Davis and Westbrook struggled hard with DeAndre Jordan or Dwight Howard in the middle of the season back.

There is still plenty of time in training camp and preseason to practice. No work has yet been won, but on paper this group doesn’t make much sense.




Source: www.cbssports.com

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