After the first two games of the season, the Los Angeles Lakers have a victory and a loss. Their upcoming schedule includes an extremely difficult challenge on Sunday, as confirmed by ESPN. That game is followed by some more tough match-ups.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
Luke Walton knows that the Lakers are a young team, so their defense is going to have some very bad nights. One of those nights is more than likely going to be against Thunder. Russell Westbrook is going to be on a tear this season. With Kevin Durant leaving town, Westbrook feels that it falls upon his shoulders to carry the entire load for Oklahoma City. D’Angelo Russell is going to be tested tremendously on defense because Walton is not going to switch Nick Young over.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Indiana Pacers
A little while back, Lakers fans were excited at the prospect of Paul George signing with the team in free agency. The odds of that happening have vanished, but the team will get a close look at the versatile forward this week. Luol Deng will have the unenviable task of trying to defend George, but when the veteran sits, it will be a good opportunity to see if Brandon Ingram can handle the duties. Ingram might not be available against Indiana if his knee injury is more serious than thought.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Atlanta Hawks
Another tough match up for the young Lakers. Mike Budenholzer has a great system in place for the Hawks. It involves a lot of ball movement and spacing. Atlanta might be able to confuse the Los Angeles defense with their complicated and disciplined scheme. This is where Luke Walton gets to earn his paycheck. He has to play chess against Budenholzer while also making sure that his young players stay focused. Dwight Howard might be especially motivated in this game. Not only is he a former member of the Lakers, but Howard saw the gigantic contract handed to Timofey Mozgov over the summer.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Golden State Warriors
There is a pretty good chance that Luke Walton immediately circled this game on his calendar. He now gets to go up against his former mentor, Steve Kerr. Walton also gets a chance to see if he can devise a scheme that can slow down several of the star players that he helped develop. The Lakers may be too young and inexperienced to truly provide competition for the Warriors, even if Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green are still trying to find chemistry.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Phoenix Suns
At just 20 years of age, Devin Booker is already one of the budding young stars in the NBA. He should expect to play with D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, and Julius Randle in a couple of All-Star games before all is said and done. However, when the Suns and Lakers play, Booker will attempt to show that he is better than his counterparts. The 6-foot-6 guard has a very good chance of doing that if Nick Young is the one defending him for most of the game. Luke Walton is going to need to figure out a defensive counter for that.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Dallas Mavericks
Having all been together with the Golden State Warriors last season, Luke Walton is quite familiar with Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut, two new additions to the Dallas Mavericks roster this season. Walton knows their strengths and weaknesses well, so he will have some tricks up his sleeve. Unfortunately for the Lakers, though, they are going up against Rick Carlisle, one of the best coaches in the NBA. Julius Randle needs to prove that he can slow down a great scorer like Dirk Nowitzki.
[Featured Image by Harry How/Getty Images]