With the exception of Kobe Bryant (Achilles), the Lakers expect to have a full roster of players available on Tuesday when the regular season begins.
The only other player not available in Friday’s preseason finale, Chris Kaman, returned to practice on Sunday after missing nearly a week-and-a-half because of gastroenteritis.
“I feel good,” he said. “My first practice in nine days, but I feel good. I was winded today but a couple more days and I’ll be good to go, so I’m not really worried about (my conditioning).”
With Kaman absent from the lineup in the team’s final two preseason games, coach Mike D’Antoni started Shawne Williams at the four alongside Pau Gasol, and used Wesley Johnson off the bench to play the stretch four position. The coach, though, chose to remain mum when asked about the starting lineup for the season opener.
“I’m not ready to make that announcement yet,” D’Antoni said. “We’ll see how everybody feels on Tuesday. We can go all kinds of different ways. We have a lot of good players and some have put their nose out further than the others. We could play guys in different combos that in the first month or so we can experiment a bit.”
Mixing various lineup units is something the coaching staff tested during the preseason, as the Lakers put out four different starting lineups in eight games. Even so, D’Antoni was pleased with how the team was able to pick up on what they want to run on offense and defense.
“The players have done everything we’ve asked as a coaching staff and more,” he said. “The ball movement, spacing and how we want to play generally, they’ve done a good job. Each week it goes by, I think they’ll (run) it smoother and get a little bit better at it, not think as much and not react to things.”
D’Antoni remains optimistic that this current crop of players can be good, based on chemistry and an understanding of each other.
“Everybody knows what their role needs to be, and they’re comfortable with that role,” he said. “That’s the makings of a good team.”
With the season opener just two days away, and a slate of three games in four nights to begin the 2013-14 campaign, Gasol maintains the team is up to the task.
“We have a tough start – pretty demanding in a short period of time to start off,” he said. “It’ll be a good test to see how we can deliver. It’s going to be a challenge and we have to take it one game at a time, starting with the Clippers and trying to defend our home court.”