The Los Angeles Lakers are changing things up a bit ahead of their second preseason game of the season. While the team fell in the opener 124-107 to the Denver Nuggets, a rematch is slated for Tuesday night. LeBron James saw very few minutes in the opener, but the rest of the starting group played at least 20 minutes.
As ESPN’s Dave McMenamin revealed, though, head coach Luke Walton has opted to make a change to the starting lineup ahead of the next game. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will move to the bench and second-year guard Josh Hart will replace him.
Preseason Performances in Opener
It’s an interesting decision, but not one we can exactly call surprising. In the team’s first matchup with the Nuggets, Caldwell-Pope struggled quite a bit, going 0-of-5 from the field, picking up four personal fouls and adding just two rebounds and two assists.
On the flip side, Hart, who had a strong rookie season, came off the bench to play 24 minutes and score seven points on 2-of-5 shooting with two rebounds and two blocks. While neither player lit up the box score, Walton obviously wants to see what Hart can bring to the starting group.
Hart, who was the No. 30 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, averaged 23.2 minutes per game last season while making 63 appearances. Over that stretch, he averaged 7.9 points, 4.2 rebounds and shot 46.9 percent from the field. The 23-year-old guard was incredibly impressive down the stretch, scoring 20 points in each of the last four games of the season, including a 30-point performance with five assists and five rebounds in the season finale.
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