The Los Angeles Lakers 2023–24 preseason is almost here, and they will likely use those games to figure out who will be their fifth starter. With their first regular-season game in just two weeks, training camp and the preseason will give head coach Darvin Ham a chance to see who is the best fit. And, according to Jovan Budha of the Athletic, the Lakes are considering starting Taurean Prince.
Starting Prince would be an interesting move for the Lakers, especially with several other worthy options for the 5th starter spot. In addition to Prince, Jarred Vanderbilt, Christian Wood, and even Jaxson Hayes are potential options. In fact, each would affect how the Lakers play next season.
The Lakers have several options other than Prince.
Starting Prince would mean that Anthony Davis would play center, with LeBron James likely playing power forward. That would be better for their offense with three shooters playing alongside LeBron and Davis. However, both of their stars seem to prefer playing small forward and power forward, respectively, rather than scaling up.
The other options also come with trade-offs. Wood is the best offensive player of the four options and would allow LeBron and Davis to play their preferred positions. Vanderbilt is the best defensive player in the group, while Prince might be the best of both worlds. He isn’t an elite player on either side of the ball but is an above-average 3-point shooter and a respectable defender.
Starting a three-and-d wing makes more sense than playing him in the second unit, though he may not average big minutes next season. It would also keep him from being buried on the bench with Gabe Vincent, Rui Hachimura, Vanderbilt, and Wood, all expected to make up the Lakers’ second unit.
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With six preseason games, Ham has time to figure out who fits best with Russell, Reaves, LeBron, and Davis, and it might just be Prince.