Following Wednesday night’s thrilling performance against Western Conference rivals the New Orleans Pelicans, the purple and gold won their second straight game. It appears that bringing former MVP Russell Westbrook off the bench as a 6th man is the solution to the team’s success.
While it’s still too early in the season to tell, as of right now it seems to finally work… it just took a matter of a few games to get the ball rolling.
Editor’s note: The Lakers have dropped two games in a row since this article was written
Russell Westbrook has been showing out lately off the bench
Despite his early season struggles, such as a 0-6 three-point shooting performance against the Los Angeles Clippers. This all changed during their game against the Denver Nuggets, where he fully embraced his role, flirting with a triple-double with 18 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists. These heroics contributed to the team’s first victory.
Not to be outdone in their second victory, he continued to play the role of second unit leader, finishing with 13 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists. It’s clear that when he’s laser-focused on this role, it has a positive impact on the game.
Now he gets to lead a unit that includes young talent such as Austin Reeves and fan favorite Matt Ryan.
Russ for 6th Man of The Year?
While it is never too early to begin a campaign for an award, why not advocate for Westbrook to win the 6th Man of The Year Award? If he continues to play at this level, he should earn his share of votes.
On Wednesday at 3 P.M. Eastern Time, the full, official NBA schedule for the 2022-23 season will be released. However, thanks to the fact that NBA insiders exist, we’ve gotten a sneak peak at some of the biggest matchups throughout the season. Let’s take a look at some of the most intriguing games in the new season.
Christmas Day is universally known in the sports world as NBA-day. For many years now the NBA has dominated the sports world on one of the biggest holidays, with exciting matchups every year. This season will be no different.
This year’s slate has headlines written all over it. There will be rematches of last year’s playoffs with the Bucks playing the Celtics and the Warriors hosting the Grizzlies. The Bucks and Celtics have been crowned as the last two Eastern Conference champions, with both teams expected to contend again this year. The Warriors and Grizzlies have had some very public bad blood since their playoff series last year, and this game should have no shortage of storylines.
The remaining meetups on the slate are the Knicks vs. 76ers, Nuggets vs. Suns and the Mavericks vs. Lakers. These games all have a large amount of star power. Overall, almost every team playing on Christmas day has the potential to reach the NBA finals, so we should see some exciting performances.
Opening night is one of the biggest days on the NBA calendar, as it marks the return of meaningful basketball. This year, opening night will feature two huge matchups. The defending champion Golden State Warriors will play Lebron James and the Lakers. Before that, the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers will kick the new season off.
The Warriors will receive their rings, and will begin a new year against the Lakers for the second straight year. Last year that happened in Los Angeles, but this time the two squads will meet in San Francisco. In the other game, the Celtics and 76ers will clash. This game brings a ton of star-power, and both teams have the potential to win the Eastern Conference as a whole.
Other Exciting Matchups on the NBA Schedule
On October 21st, the Atlanta Hawks and Orlando Magic will face off in Georgia. This will be a significant matchup because it will be the first time Dejounte Murray and the first overall pick, Paolo Banchero will play against each other. Those two have been quite public with their recent beef on social media, making for an exciting game as the two start to settle it on the court.
On October 19th, the second night of the season, the New Orleans Pelicans and Brooklyn Nets will square off in New York. This will mark the return of two stars who have missed time; Ben Simmons and Zion Williamson. Both players have seen themselves stuck in the spotlight recently, but will soon finally have a chance to get back on the court.
Finally, we have the battle for Los Angeles. The matchups between the Lakers and Clippers are always contentious, but they matter more now that both teams are competitive. The two southern California squads will face off four times, on October 20th, November 9th, January 24th and April 5th. These three matchups are some of the most interesting on the NBA schedule.
With The NBA draft taking place this week, the Lakers workouts have continued with the third round of potential prospects. With news of teams willing to offer the team a chance to obtain their second-round pick, here are rankings based on fit.
6) Phlandrous Fleming Jr – Florida, Guard
Fleming Jr., is a 6’4 210-pound guard, who transferred from Charleston Southern before finishing his career at Florida. He averaged 11 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals a game during his time as a Gator. Fleming Jr. had a number of accomplishments throughout his college career, including being named Big South Defensive Player of the Year twice and being named to the All-Big South Team twice.
He’s a terrific defender as well as scorer and could fit the Lakers’ need for defensive players who can shoot.
5) Darius Days- LSU, Forward
Days, the former Tiger, averaged 13 points, 7 rebounds, and one steal per game during his final season. In 2021, he was also named to the Preseason All-SEC Team. What distinguishes him is his versatility in playing either ball or on ball. On ball, he excels at knocking down shots, scoring in the post, and is ideal for pick and roll scenarios.
He can also spread the floor, creating opportunities for others, and he battles for rebounds. At 6’7 and 245 pounds, he really plays above his frame.
4) Fabian White Jr- Houston, Forward
Last season, White averaged 12 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists per game. During his five years at Houston, he also received a variety of honors, including being named to the All-AAC Team for the 2021 season and being awarded The AAC Tournament MVP.
He is recognized for his scoring variety and stands 6’8 and weighs 225 pounds. He can score from everywhere on the court and generates instant offense the moment he walks on the court due to his excellent shot IQ.
3) Michael Steadman- UMass, Power Forward
Steadman averaged 7 points and three rebounds for Massachusetts last season. He stands a towering 6’10 and weighs 215 pounds. While his stat line may not immediately capture your eye, it is his presence on the defensive side that makes people attacking the paint second-guess their decisions. He excels at pick and roll and stretching the floor. With the Lakers’ track record of developing small-school or lesser-known players, he might be one of the draft’s many steals.
2) Terrell Brown Jr -Washington, Guard
Brown Jr. stands 6’3 and weighs 185 pounds. Last season, he averaged 21 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals. He was also chosen to the All Pac-12 First Team as the lone representative from his institution in 2021. Aside from his scoring and playmaking, what stands out most about him is his great defense, with him being a pest on whoever he’s defending, nothing simple comes his way.
With the Lakers in need of depth at point guard and pesky defenders, if he’s available, the Lakers should call him. One thing is certain, he’s a do-it-all sort of player and is the ideal player in today’s NBA.
1)Jabari Walker- Colorado, Forward
Jabari Walker is the son of former Laker Samaki Walker. He is 6’8 and weighs 200 pounds. He averaged 14 points and 9 rebounds last season while playing at Colorado. In his sophomore season, he was awarded to the All Pac-12 First Team, and in 2020, he was named to the All Pac-12 Freshmen Team.
Looking at his game, he can score in bunches in any situation, whether it’s being fed the ball for a mid-range shot or displaying his range for a three. Walker isn’t afraid of a little contact, and he’ll muscle his way to the rim.
This potential draft pick would be well mentored by Anthony Davis because they have similar body types and play styles. With the Lakers hiring a whole new staff, he’s one that might bloom into a component of the team’s future, not to mention being a local talent from Inglewood, it’ll be the perfect homecoming.
Many NBA teams are preparing workouts with a number of prospects in the hopes of determining their next franchise cornerstone. The Los Angeles Lakers are simply looking for another diamond in the rough. They have a good history of being very successful in finding guys like Austin Reaves, who has turned into a fan favorite. The Lakers draft targets this year, however, may stand out more than in previous years.
The Lakers have worked out a number of under-the-radar prospects. Here are a few that stand out, and would fit the team best. Many people are wondering how the Lakers will get these players since they don’t have any draft picks. Because of this, the Lakers have two options. The team can either purchase a draft pick from another team or find them in the undrafted free agency pool. Either way, the front office will find the right fit. If they choose to purchase a draft pick, here are some of the Lakers best draft targets.
5) Zyon Pullin-Point Guard, UC Riverside
Zyon Pullin, a 6-foot-4, 195-pound guard from UC Riverside, is a homegrown talent. He averaged 14 points, six rebounds, and four assists per game last season. He was also chosen to the Big West 2nd All-Conference Team. Being at a small school means you don’t get much national notice, but he didn’t let that stop him from leading the team in scoring.
If picked by the Lakers, he might find himself playing as the backup point guard if the team does not go a different route this offseason. Pullin is a young prospect with a lot of potential who can be nurtured by the Lakers’ coaching staff.
4) Jeriah Horne -Forward, Tulsa
Jeriah Horne is a 6’7, 220-pound forward from Tulsa. He could be an intriguing Lakers project. He averaged 16 points, seven rebounds, and nearly one block and one steal per game last season. Horne is best known in recent collegiate basketball history for his half-court buzzer-beating game-winning shot against UCF. But, he did much more than that over the course of the season.
He’s a big-bodied talent who can score when needed, whether it’s a 15-20-footer or spacing for a three or a layup in the paint. While he transferred schools during his collegiate career, he excelled at Tulsa. With the Lakers, he might find himself playing forward or perhaps small-ball center.
3) Omari Moore-Guard, San Jose State
Omari Moore, a 6’6 190-pound former San Jose State Spartan, is our second local prospect. Another Mountain West Conference small-school standout. He averaged 13 points, six rebounds, and five assists last season. Despite his team’s lack of success, Moore stood out and was a bright spot on the team.
He led the team in every single stat, including scoring, rebounds, assists, blocks, and steals. That alone demonstrates his desire and grit to give his all regardless of the outcome of the game. That style of play would fit very well with the Lakers, given that head coach Darvin Ham is likely to want 3 and D type players. Given this, Omari would be a great addition whether it be second round or undrafted.
2) Scotty Pippen Jr – Guard Vanderbilt
Pippen Jr, the son of Chicago Bulls icon Scotty Pippen, was one of the most recent Lakers’ prospects to work out. In his final season of collegiate basketball, the former Vanderbilt Commodore measured in at 6’3 and weighs 170 pounds. He averaged 20 points, four rebounds, and five assists. Pippen Jr. took his career to new heights while being coached by former NBA star Jerry Stackhouse. He went on to lead his team in scoring and was named to the All-SEC Team twice.
In a potential pro role, he will play his natural point guard position with some off-ball play depending on who is on the court with him. He certainly excels at getting to the rim, getting his own shot, and creating for others, and that skill alone could improve his future role with the Lakers in the long run.
1) Jordan Usher G- Georgia Tech/ Trevion Williams Forward, Purdue
When it comes to deciding which workout prospect stands out as the Lakers’ best draft target, it’s a tie because they both supply the squad with what they need the most. On one side, there’s Jordan Usher, a 6’7 213-pound guard from Georgia Tech who averaged 15 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and nearly two steals per game. Usher earned All-ACC Tournament accolades. The former Yellowjacket must have been employing Jose Alvarado’s nefarious defensive approach, who also happens to be his former colleague.
Usher was second on his team in scoring and led the team in rebounding. He could bring both strong defensive play and scoring to the Lakers, which are two key things that the team has been missing. He could easily fill that void for his positional role on the team. You could catch him at either guard or a possible small-ball power forward depending on the matchups. In terms of defense, with his height of 6’7, he should be able to defend positions one through three.
Finally, we have 6’10 265-pound forward Trevion Williams from Purdue, who averaged 12 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and just under one steal and one block a game last season. Williams entered last season as Jaden Ivey’s right-hand man, and the two played some of the best basketball together. He and Ivey breezed through the NCAA tournament, defeating Texas before falling to cinderella team St. Peter’s.
Given that he played a combination of power forward and center at Purdue, it’s highly possible that if the Lakers were able to sign him, he could serve as a potential backup center, as the position is in desperate need of depth.
The Lakers’ draft targets and their superb scouting staff have a wonderful specialty for uncovering hidden potential, and this process is likely to repeat itself.
The Los Angeles Lakers have worked out a number of prospects over the previous two weeks. When looking at the list of players, one caught my eye that was a fairly slept on possibility in Grant Golden. Could he be the next new Laker?
Who is Grant?
Golden is a 6’10, 225-pound power forward from Richmond. Last season, he averaged 13 points, six rebounds, and three assists per game.
He was also named to the Atlantic 10 Conference team three times between 2017 and 2022. He was also named to the All-Conference Tournament team in 2022.
What stands out the most about him is his exceptional shooting ability. He can shoot from everywhere on the court thanks to his towering body. Golden also has excellent passing skills for a prospect his size. He also performs amazingly in the pick and roll.
He possesses abilities that will only improve if he could be mentored by players such as LeBron James and Anthony Davis, as well as the entire Lakers coaching staff, who understand how to develop young players.
Golden’s skill stood out and built a reputation for himself despite being at a small school with minimal media coverage till it was time for the tournament.
Player Comp -Kelly Olynyk With Playmaking
After seeing him play at Richmond, I noticed that he is extremely similar to current Detroit Piston Kelly Olynyk in terms of scoring and floor spacing. One area where they differ is in passing, as Golden has been one of the finest passing bigs in college without receiving national recognition.
It is obvious that he can be a second-round pick or end up on a summer league club. But, if the Lakers determine Grant Golden, expect the Lakers scouting team to turn him into the next big draft steal.