Much of the Lakers offseason headlines have been about players not currently on the roster. Kyrie Irving, Buddy Hield, Eric Gordon, and Myles Turner are just a few of the potential LA trade targets that Lakers fans have been obsessing about it this summer. What the front office decides to do with Russell Westbrook, who's a player currently on the Lakers roster, whether fans like it or not, is a massive factor for next season.
Despite the truckload of trade rumors, Lakers beat writer Jovan Buha of The Athletic wrote a detailed article that included his projection for who he believes will be on the starting five.
LeBron and Anthony Davis are no-brainer starters, and head coach Darvin Ham has little choice but to start Westbrook if he wants to continue forging a rapport with the stubborn guard.
That leaves two starting spots, and Buha believes those spots will be filled by newly acquired stretch-five Thomas Bryant, and fan favorite guard Austin Reaves.
PG – Russell Westbrook
SG – Austin Reaves
SF – LeBron James
PF – Anthony Davis
C – Thomas Bryant
The NBA expert explained why Austin Reaves
"Reaves gets the early nod here, as he was the best wing among this group last season. He can handle point-of-attack defensive duties, allowing Westbrook to hide on the worst perimeter scorer. He can also serve as a secondary ballhandler and playmaker that helps the offense flow."
Buha noted why Bryant is the best front court fit alongside Anthony Davis considering AD's preference to playing the bulk of his regular season minutes at power forward.
"If the Lakers want Davis to remain at power forward, Bryant is the only realistic option to start alongside him. Bryant shot 41.1 percent on two attempts per game from 2019 to 2021. That’s a small sample of seasons and low volume (46 of 112), but it at least indicates he has spacing potential."
However the Lakers starting five shakes out, fans will be happy to see considerably younger role players on the floor as opposed to the ancient veteran roster the team deployed last year.