Lakers rumors: LA emphasizes 3-point shooting, starting wing defense, guard spots | News, Results, Highlights, Stats and Rumours

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The Los Angeles Lakers’ starting XI for the 2022-23 season is far from settled, and it seems they have a specific playing style that they’d like to start at the wing and guard points, according to The Athletic’s Jovan Buha.

“The Lakers are looking to start any wing/guard that can make threes and defend at the attack point at the highest level of the roster, according to league sources,” Buha wrote. “The player who stands out in training camp and in preparation will be the favorite for the job.”

The only true prerequisites in LA’s starting five are LeBron James and Anthony Davis. It’s reasonable to think Russell Westbrook will start, but that depends on whether he gets traded.

It’s no surprise that Purple and Gold are looking for a combination of perimeter shooting and defense. Buha previously reported in June that the Lakers were targeting two-way wings in free hands:

“With the free hand less than 48 hours away, the Lakers are focused on two-way wings, according to league sources. Most of the hypothetical scenarios for their mid-level taxpayer exemption centered on signing a wing or two that could come in and start alongside [LeBron] James and [Anthony] Davis.”

LA had limited salary cap room this summer to step out and make some bigger moves to improve their three-point shooting and free-hand defense. Westbrook’s $47 million salary for 2022-23 is holding back the franchise, which is reportedly why it’s trying to move him after a miserable 2021-22 campaign.

The Lakers went out this summer, signing Lonnie Walker IV and Troy Brown Jr. However, Walker’s three-point shooting fell to 31.4 percent last season. And while Brown has solid three-and-D potential, he’s shot just 33.7 percent from deep in his four-year career.

Kendrick Nunn is currently the only player on the LA roster to have shot more than 36 percent in his career, which isn’t ideal.

The Lakers improved their three-point shooting and defensive versatility through the 2022 NBA draft by selecting Michigan State’s Max Christie, but he’s a long way from seeing NBA-level game time.

LA had the ninth-worst three-point percentage in the NBA last season at 34.7 percent. It also had the tenth-worst defensive rating in the league at 112.8, according to NBA.com.

If the franchise could get out of Westbrook’s contract, many of his problems could be solved. However, it seems increasingly likely that the veteran point guard will stay with the roster for the season opener.

Despite all this, it is not surprising that there could be a little competition among the players for the remaining starting places.

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