The Los Angeles Lakers always generate a ton of headlines, but this year that has happened even more as they have added several big names.
Whether it’s new names like Russell Westbrook or Carmelo Anthony or familiar faces like Trevor Ariza or Dwight Howard returning home, the Lakers are as star-studded as ever. So we wanted to take a look at what their lineup is going to resemble when the season begins.
Note that this depth chart will be inherently incomplete until we know the status of Dennis Schroeder and Talen Horton-Tucker. The Lakers can also spend the $5.9 million taxpayers’ midlevel exception to add more depth, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks. They can potentially retain Wesley Matthews and Markieff Morris as well.
We already know that the roster is old – there are five players who are older than 35 years old and eight players over 32 years old – but for now, here is a better idea of what the depth chart looks like in Los Angeles.
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STARTER: Russell Westbrook DEPTH: Malik Monk, Dennis Schroeder* While the Lakers could have landed Buddy Hield surrendering fewer assets, Los Angeles decided to put all of their chips on the table instead for a bigger name in Russell Westbrook. It’s unclear if the organization will keep Dennis Schroeder, though it seems likely he leaves either via sign and trade or otherwise. As such, we can expect either Westbrook or LeBron James as the primary facilitator at all times with Malik Monk as a sparkplug scorer off the bench. * Free agency decision still to be determined
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STARTER: Wayne Ellington DEPTH: Kent Bazemore, Talen Horton-Tucker* It’s unclear if the Lakers will retain 20-year-old former Iowa State standout Talen Horton-Tucker. Eventually, the emerging talent may find his way into the first unit for Los Angeles. But until then, it’s fair to slot the sharpshooting Wayne Ellington in that role until then. The veteran will be able to help space the floor, which is a must for any lineup that features Westbrook. * Free agency decision still to be determined
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STARTER: LeBron James DEPTH: Carmelo Anthony For the first time in their NBA careers, LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony will finally have a chance to play alongside one another. The longtime friends both came into the league via the 2003 NBA draft and although James is a four-time champion, Anthony still wants his ring. He already has titles in the NCAA and has won gold with the Olympics, so a chance to hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy is exactly what he needs next.
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STARTER: Anthony Davis DEPTH: Trevor Ariza Playing the five in the NBA is about as physically demanding of a job as there is, so Anthony Davis prefers to play the four to preserve his health for a long as possible. Los Angeles will also have Trevor Ariza, who grew up nearby and attended Westchester High School before attending UCLA and then winning a title with the Lakers in 2009.
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STARTER: Marc Gasol DEPTH: Dwight Howard Perhaps the Lakers give the starting nod to Dwight Howard, who offered elite rim protection during his stint with the Lakers when they won the title in 2020. But for now, the smart move is to let Marc Gasol run with the first unit so that the starting five has as much shooting as possible. Another option is to have Anthony Davis play as the center and then move Carmelo Anthony or Trevor Ariza to the four. [listicle id=1544403]