According to head coach Darvin Ham, Los Angeles Lakers have formally committed to a new starting five following a string of lineup changes during the season.
In the backcourt are D’Angelo Russell and Austin Reaves, while in the frontcourt are Anthony Davis, Rui Hachimura, and LeBron James. When questioned about the team’s success (which has seen them go 3-0 so far), Ham exuded confidence, according to Mike Trudell of Lakers.com:
Darvin Ham said he’s hoping to stick with the starting group from tonight. “That’s definitely the plan.”
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) February 4, 2024
Jarred Vanderbilt is not starting; instead, Rui Hachimura is. Considering his offensive potential, Hachimura probably fits better in the starting lineup even if Vanderbilt hasn’t played many games at full strength this season.
I believe it’s realistic to assume that Ham sticks with this starting lineup going forward, even if it can be difficult to stick with the same lineup for an extended period of time, particularly when your squad is deep and other lineup combinations have shown effectiveness.
It’s possible that Vando will start over Hachimura given the matchup, but it’s evident that Rui has done well in his starting role so far. His size on defense and versatility as a scorer are both significant assets to a Lakers team that has apparently struggled to find a two-way fifth starter.