5 Things

The first official injury to Anthony Davis has occurred. Fortunately it sounds fairly minor but it would seem we are still bedeviled by a swarm of the nefarious, and unwelcome, injury bugs. At any rate, in a game where no starter, save for Avery Bradley, played for more than 17 minutes one shouldn’t read too much into the result. This game, if anything, was a chance to see an extended look at what could be potential bench units. At least until Kuzma and Talen Horton-Tucker get healthy and get their legs and wind up to roughly NBA standards.

1) Health. Gotta have it to be successful. If Davis and/or James miss any extended amount of games due to un-planned rest this season will be rough. They are our two best scorers, play-makers, and are obviously our most dynamic talents. The more they play the better our chances of making the playoffs. Sprained thumb is nothing to mess around with, like mongo said, bummer it happened when we’re still discovering the possibilities of various rotations. That being said, it is the NBA. So, as in all professional sport, this is a great chance for the next man to step up and fill that vacuum.

2) Devonte Cacok. His role will be as a serviceable 14th/15th man and he’ll get most of his minutes with the G League. However, in 51 minutes over three exhibition games he’s pulled down 14 rebounds (averaging 3 offensive rebounds per game, impressive), 2 steals, shooting 11-18 (61%) and has picked up 12 fouls (4 per game in limited action). Also nice is his single turnover in that span, not that he’s asked to do a lot with the rock, but still good. If anyone’s door cracked open a bit unexpectedly its this dude. Between Kuzma and now Davis missing time in preseason Devonte will get his shot to shine. Get after it, young blood.

3) Avery Bradley slogging through it. Bradley has not rediscovered that touch from deep but his defense is for real. Tonight he and Caruso paced the team with 30 minutes, Bradley led the team in scoring with 14 and he played a lot of his late minutes at the 2 with Alex running the point. I like everything Avery brings to the table, if he starts it’s cause LeBron is out there but starting he and Rondo together? Not a good idea if you want to space the floor.

4) Caruso as the backup PG. Seems like he’s being given every chance to make that dream a reality. With Quinn Cook yet to make his Laker debut, most recently being held out with a sore left calf, it would seem the backup role is Caruso’s to lose. His versatility has been on full display, his defense has been good, and he’s shooting 5-11 from three point land through 3 games. Best of all is his 19 assists to 8 turnovers, shows he’s meshing pretty well with mostly new personnel. Until we see Cook play, I don’t really see much discussion as to who the backup or starter is going to be.

5) Dwight Howard. Dwight’s looking pretty much like Dwight. If he’s not dunking it or tipping it in it’s anyone’s guess if the basket will be scored. His defense, however, has been solid. If his contribution is 10-15 solid, high energy, fouls-be-damned back up center action per game during the regular season we’ll be the better for it. Playing him with Bradley and Rondo at the same time could be problematic. He and KCP seem to have a bit of mojo when they share the floor, still early but Dwight setting screens for KCP to curl off of either with the ball or to catch a pass off the screen is some great action. Pope has looked good during exhibition but we’ve all seen how he struggles when the game matters and shines when they don’t. To be continued…

Expect the G-League likely squad to get a lot of minutes, with a quick turnaround game on Monday I wouldn’t be too surprised if we don’t see too many of the potential starters playing big minutes. Certainly won’t see AD.