Los Angeles Lakers

Lakers Opening Night Preview: New ‘Big Three' Open Season at Staples Center Against Warriors

The new-look Lakers open their 2021-22 season on Tuesday night at Staples Center.

Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Lakers
Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

The revamped Los Angeles Lakers open their 2021-22 season on Tuesday night at Staples Center against the Golden State Warriors.

Tip-off will mark the start of LeBron James fourth season in Los Angeles. His first and third seasons were clouded by injuries, but the middle season ended in a championship, the team's 17th in their franchise history, tying the NBA record.

James is hoping that his fourth campaign in Purple and Gold ends with a championship as well. Anthony Davis returns healthy (unlike most of last season, and in the first round of the NBA playoffs), and the team has added a third superstar in point guard Russell Westbrook.

The new 'Big Three' in Los Angeles has title aspirations, but with the NBA's oldest roster they will need to remain healthy in order to get through the 82-game grind and the postseason.

The arrival of Westbrook has plenty of Lakers fans salivating. However, it could be the other additions to the team that make the difference during the regular season and beyond.

The Lakers added 10 new players from last season's roster, including bringing back many from the 2019-20 championship roster and prior Lakers teams. Trevor Ariza, Rajon Rondo, Wayne Ellington, Kent Bazemore, Avery Bradley, and Dwight Howard are all former Lakers that have returned for the '21-'22 season.

In addition to old friends, the Lakers welcomed new ones as well including Carmelo Anthony, DeAndre Jordan, Malik Monk, and Kendrick Nunn.

One thing to watch this season is how James adapts to his new teammates and whether or not he will be more of a distributor or scorer alongside Westbrook and Anthony.

James is chasing two former Lakers on the all-time NBA scoring list. James currently sits at No. 3 on the list, 1,561 points away from Karl Malone at No. 2, and 3,020 behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who sits atop the list with 38,387 total points.

James only needs to average 25 points per game for 63 games in order to catch Malone. If he stays on that pace, he would pass Abdul-Jabbar next season.

James could pass Abdul-Jabbar for the No. 1 scorer in NBA history when you include the postseason. With the playoffs included, James stands just 1,151 points shy of Abdul-Jabbar's 44,149. James should surpass that total at some point this season.

Other milestones that James could reach this season are 10,000 assists (just 304 away), 2,000 three-pointers (just 21 away), and 100 triple-doubles (currently at 99).

The Lakers roster features a combined 58 NBA All-Star appearances, 11 NBA Champions, and six former Olympic gold medalists.

The Lakers finished 41-30 last season, good for 7th in the Western Conference. They defeated the Warriors in the play-in tournament before losing to the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.

The Lakers are expected to start Russell Westbrook, Kent Bazemore, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and DeAndre Jordan when they hit the floor on Tuesday night.

Talen Horton-Tucker (thumb) and Trevor Ariza (ankle) will both miss the opener with injuries.

The Lakers will tip-off their season against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night at 7:00 PM PT at Staples Center.

Tim Reynolds of the Asociated Press contributed to this story.

Contact Us