With the announcement of the Lakers schedule for the 2019-2020 season, we can start to take a look into individual games and get an idea of how the season could potentially unfold. While the Lakers are a relatively new bunch and there are a myriad of factors that can (and will) arise that impact the way the season plays out, we should still be able to get a solid understanding of how the team looks after the first few weeks of the season.
1. Lakers @ Clippers – October 22
The NBA doesn’t do the Lakers any favors by starting them off against the Clippers on the “road”. That said, Paul George is going to most likely be missing this showdown and the Lakers should have the edge in terms of the firepower they bring to the table. While the Clippers have tons of continuity regarding their role players, Leonard is coming off a long offseason and will probably need a bit more help to take down the Lakers. Expect a close game but for the Lakers to eek out a win.
Projected Record: 1-0
2. Lakers vs Jazz – October 25
After facing Leonard and the Clippers, the Lakers get the misfortune of matching up with the new-look Jazz. The Jazz are a seasoned unit with some new additions that look to be ideal fits on the roster – meaning this is a team that should get off to a strong start on the year. The Jazz are a legitimate title contender in the West and the Lakers will probably need a bit more seasoning together in order to take down an extremely dangerous Utah team.
Projected Record: 1-1
3. Lakers vs Hornets – October 27
There is really no excuse for the Lakers to lose this game. The Hornets essentially swapped Terry Rozier for Kemba Walker and haven’t done much to add much in terms of exciting future talent. PJ Washington was a solid pickup in this year’s draft but projects to be a bit more of a role player compared to a true star – the same can be said for former lottery picks Malik Monk and Miles Bridges. The Hornets shouldn’t be expected to win many games and the Lakers have the experience and talent to dominate from wire to wire, expect no less.
Projected Record: 2-1
4. Lakers vs Grizzlies – October 29
If the Hornets are rebuilding without a future franchise star, the Grizzlies are rebuilding with a pair of elite talents. Featuring Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. as their young inside-outside punch, the Grizzlies should be one of the most exciting teams to watch this season. Rookie point guards usually take a bit longer to adjust to the NBA game so expect the Lakers to hound Morant into some poor decision-making as they handle the Grizzlies with ease.
Projected Record: 3-1
5. Lakers @ Mavericks – November 1
The Lakers head back on the road to face Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis in a showdown in Dallas. Porzingis hasn’t been on a court since his injury and shouldn’t be expected to be his full self when the Lakers show up to town. While it should be exciting to see the step Doncic has taken over the past offseason, the Mavericks didn’t add anything besides Porzingis to what was a lackluster team last year. Some progression should be expected given the return of Kristaps but don’t expect the Mavs to be able to hang with the Lakers until Porzingis brushes the rust off and gets comfortable back on the court.
Projected Record: 4-1
6. Lakers @ Spurs – November 3
The Lakers are undoubtedly the more talented team, yet the Spurs have some excellent continuity and one of the sport’s greatest coaches in Gregg Popovich. With the Lakers still learning to play together this early in the season, a crisp and well-coached unit like the Spurs is tailor-made to give the Lakers trouble – especially in their home building. The Lakers should put up a fight in this one but don’t be surprised to see the Spurs pull away late in what should be a good test for the Lakers.
Projected Record: 4-2
7. Lakers @ Bulls – November 5
The Lakers are simply better than the Bulls in nearly every sense of the word. The Bulls have a plethora of young talent and should be able to at least keep most games fun but they simply aren’t prepared to consistently keep pace with the league’s better teams. Despite this coming in the last game of a three-game road trip, expect the Lakers to head back to Staples Center with another win under their belt.
Projected Record: 5-2
8. Lakers vs Heat – November 8
The Lakers return home to a tough matchup against the new-look Miami Heat. With Jimmy Butler joining the show in South Beach, the Heat further cemented themselves as a gritty, hard-nosed defensive team. Butler gives the Heat a certified late-game closer and for a team that thrives on playing a slowed-down style of play that keeps games close, Butler could prove to have a huge impact on the team. Expect a back and forth affair in this one but for the Lakers’ arsenal of weapons to get the best of Butler down the stretch.
Projected Record: 6-2
9. Lakers vs Raptors – November 10
The Lakers get to stay at home and face the defending champion Toronto Raptors next, though the Raptors are far from the same team that won a title just two months ago. With Leonard heading to the Clippers and Danny Green joining the Lakers, the Raptors are left to lean on the undermanned core group of Pascal Siakam, Serge Ibaka, and Marc Gasol. The Raptors still have the makings of a playoff team in the East but should be overmatched by more talented teams like the Lakers. Especially with the game going down in Staples Center, expect the Lakers to pick up a relatively clean wire to wire win.
Projected Record: 7-2
10. Lakers @ Suns – November 12
The Lakers head back out on the road against the Suns, who had one of the more perplexing offseason’s this year. Reaching for UNC’s Cam Johnson before taking Ty Jerome, the Suns SORT OF addressed their glaring need at point guard in Jerome but lost some intriguing young pieces while greatly overpaying for Frank Kaminsky. The Suns seem directionless and while DeAndre Ayton and Devin Booker are undoubtedly exciting pieces, the team can’t be expected to win more than 15-20 games a year until a major overhaul occurs. Don’t expect one of those wins to come against a much improved Lakers team.
Projected Record: 8-2