Coach Will Hardy expects an intense battle for the starting point guard position in training camp and the preseason.
The likes of Collin Sexton, Kris Dunn, and rookie Keyonte George are among those in the mix. Jordan Clarkson, who could start at shooting guard, and even Talen Horton-Tucker could be up for the point job, too.
“Those five guys are gonna go at it at training camp, and I love that. But we’ve got to make sure that it’s within a team construct,” Hardy told reporters. “Individual motives are good and powerful, and we need to lean into those. But we also have to remember that we have 82 games coming, where we’re all wearing the same jersey.”
Of course, none are really point guards in the traditional sense. All can handle the ball — but are mostly scorers first.
“We have a lot of really good guards, and I don’t want to say, ‘You’re the point guard and you’re the (shooting guard).’ I don’t think that fits our group best,” Hardy said. “It’s more about viewing them as pairs. I’m not relying on one person to bring it up each time and sort of initiate what we’re doing. That flexibility is going to be an adjustment for us.”
- For the record, Sexton has said he intends to start this season. You can read that full post from earlier this fall here.
- Forward John Collins said he is feeling refreshed after being traded to Utah from the Hawks. “In some ways, I feel like a rookie again,” he said. “To meet new staff, new teammates, this new environment … to get myself together in a new city.”
Head of basketball operations David Griffin suggested everyone is healthy and ready to go for the start of camp. In New Orleans that tends to be news, given the team’s recent injury history.
“(Zion Williamson) is obviously in good condition,” Griffin said. “The thing I think is important is (CJ McCollum) and (Brandon Ingram), throughout their careers, have always employed people to take care of their body, to take care of their nutrition,” Grifin told reporters. “They are really invested in their profession. This was the first summer where we’ve seen Zion take his profession seriously like that and invest in it off the court on his own in a way that I think is meaningful.”
- As previously reported, Ingram said he won’t seek a contract extension this season, via Christian Clark of NOLA.com. “They handing a lot of people big money,” Ingram said. “I’m trying to get some big money.”
“He is the face (of the franchise),” James said. “You look at all these [retired] numbers that surround this facility, all the greats that have come here, and AD is one of them.”
Davis appears ready for the challenge.
“I think I’m going to be the second-oldest guy here now so guys lean on me a lot,” he said. “I feel like it’s my responsibility, being one of the leaders of the team alongside Bron. It’s my job to help those guys and help the young guys and continuously being on them. Let them know what we need and what we need to get better and giving them advice so we can all be together and unified to be able to compete for a championship.”
- Davis added that the retooled Lakers like their chances. “A lot of teams around the league have made a lot of good moves to improve their teams. We did as well,” he said. “… I like our chances against anybody.”