The Los Angeles Lakers announced their preseason schedule for the 2021-22 season on Tuesday. On Oct. 3, they will open the preseason at home against Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets. They then hit the road with road games against the Phoenix Suns (Oct. 6) and Golden State Warriors (Oct. 8). Afterward, they return home to play those same two teams, hosting the Suns on Oct. 10 and the Warriors on Oct. 12. They close on the road with an Oct. 14 trip to Sacramento to face the Kings.
There is no defined scheduling formula for preseason games, but typically, teams play opponents that are close to them geographically in an effort to limit travel. Interestingly, though, the Lakers will not play the Clippers this preseason despite the two teams sharing an arena. This is not exactly unheard of. The Lakers and Clippers didn't play each other in the 2019 preseason either. But they played each other twice in the 2020 preseason and battle frequently at that point in the schedule in most seasons. They will often even move those preseason games to other venues around Southern California to help engage fans that aren't directly in Los Angeles. In 2018, for instance, they played a preseason game in Anaheim's Honda Center.
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The preseason tends not to be particularly meaningful to the best players in the NBA. Older veterans like LeBron James don't play too many minutes in the preseason in an effort to mitigate injury risk, but their younger teammates benefit. Talen Horton-Tucker was given a green light against the Clippers last season and scored 33 points in the process. That helped him earn a role in the Laker rotation even if it was a somewhat inconsistent one.
The Lakers have the No. 22 pick in this month's NBA Draft. Assuming they keep that pick, the preseason will likely be that pick's best chance at proving capable of playing real minutes for a contender like the Lakers. Now we know who the Lakers will play in the process.