The fallout from Houston Rockets’ GM Daryl Morey’s tweet seems to only be intensifying after Adam Silver came out to essentially stand behind his comments. The NBA had been in some hot water from US politicians after initially being perceived to take a neutral stand so as to not infringe on their growing relationship with the world superpower.
China Pulling Lakers vs Nets Broadcast After Adam Silver’s Comments
In response to Silver’s comments regarding Daryl Morey and the NBA’s stance on the situation, China’s state broadcaster has decided to pull the Lakers and Nets preseason games from being aired. The Lakers and Nets play in Shanghai on the 10th before heading to Shenzhen for a second game on the 12th. The Lakers are one of the NBA’s biggest international draws and the games were expected to do major numbers in the Chinese TV market.
In addition to canceling the broadcast, the Nets had their pre-planned visit to a Shanghai school shut down by China’s Education Bureau. While it seems that both teams are still trying to make the most of their trips, the entire situation has an ugly cloud cast overhead as tensions between China and the NBA continue to rise.
Lakers Open Preseason With Strong Showing Against Warriors
While it is only the preseason, the Lakers came out and made a statement in their debut against the Warriors. The Western Conference Champions are far from the same team they were last year but the duo of Steph Curry and D’Angelo Russell is no joke. Rolling out a defensive lineup featuring Avery Bradley on Curry, the Lakers were able to jump out to a big early lead and stifle the Warriors’ shooting early on. Bradley struggled with his shot on the evening, though his defensive performance and overall lineup impact undoubtedly make a strong case for him securing the spot long term.
Extremely thin at center until Willie Cauley-Stein gets back healthy, the Lakers were able to punish the Warriors inside with their size and physicality. Despite having two traditional “big men” on the floor, the Lakers seemed more than capable of guarding the perimeter and could have found themselves an extremely effective lineup in the modern “small ball” NBA. The defensive versatility comes in large part from Anthony Davis, who showcased his fantastic help defense despite not picking up a block on the night. His ability to step out on the perimeter as well as rotate back and protect the rim allows the Lakers to match up with almost any lineup in the league.
Physicality seems to be a calling card for the 2019-2020 Lakers as the intensity from early training camp practices seems to have translated over to the preseason. The trio of big men, Davis, JaVale McGee, and Dwight Howard, seem to be leading the way in that department as they picked up a combined 32 rebounds despite none of the three playing more than 18 minutes. Howard could prove to be one of the most important pieces to this Lakers team as he gives them much-needed depth at center while offering the upside of an elite defensive rim protector playing with the second unit.