After losing Game 1 to the Houston Rockets, should the Los Angeles Lakers make a lineup switch?
After a rather disappointing loss to the Houston Rockets in game one of the Western Conference Semi-Finals that was reminiscent of game one against the Trail Blazers last round, it is clear that some changes must be made before game two.
That change could be playing Anthony Davis at the center position. It was clear watching game one that defensively the Lakers could not keep up with the smaller Rockets team. This led to many open threes and the Lakers could not keep up with the Rockets up paced ball movement.
Going into the series, it was assumed that the Lakers centers JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard who stand at 7’0″ and 6’11” respectively would feast on P.J. Tucker, a player who is only 6’5″ yet plays the center position. However, McGee finished the game with a stat line of four points, three rebounds, and one assist in thirteen minutes while Howard ended with a single point, four rebounds, and zero assists.
While Anthony Davis has stated multiple times that he is opposed to playing the center position, it is clear for the betterment of the team that it is what is necessary if they want to advance to the Western Conference Finals.
With Davis at the center spot, the Lakers would still have someone who is six inches taller than the Rockets center. Along with this, Davis is one of the best defensive players in the league and can guard any position on the court. Offensively, this will give the Lakers court spacing that they need to succeed and was clearly absent in game one.
If Davis is slid down to the center spot, it raises a big question. Who will take the open spot in the starting lineup? If I were in Frank Vogel’s shoes, I would go with a starting lineup of Alex Caruso, Danny Green, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis.
While Danny Green has been atrocious throughout almost the entire playoff run up to this point, he has the potential to hit a hot streak that could ride out the rest of the playoffs. Along with this, he brings a solid defensive presence and is a player that can at least attempt to guard James Harden. On the offensive end, although he has been ice cold, defenders still at least have to guard him honestly. No team in their right mind is going to leave Green wide open at the three-point line no matter how bad he is shooting.
The second decision that could raise some eyebrows is the decision to play Caruso at the point over Rajon Rondo. Personally, I have been saying for almost the entire season that Caruso is the best point guard that the Lakers have.
While he is not the best playmaker on the team, he has a solid jump shot and creates more spacing rather than Rondo. Along with this, Caruso has the potential to be one of the best defending point guards in the league with his long frame paired with his sneaky athleticism. Lastly, when he and LeBron are on the court together, they have one of the highest plus minuses in the league.