Freeman Cebu Sports

Crumbling like breadcrumbs

NBA BUZZ - Bobby Motus - The Freeman

The championship hangover from the in-season tournament is still probably on the LAL’s heads that they had lost 10 of their last 14 games.  Good thing they salvaged a win against the LA Clippers the other day after a walloping from the Jimmy Butler-less Miami Heat and avoided a major embarrassment from a pro-Laker crowd at the Crypto.com Arena.  They snapped their 5-game losing skid.

The Clippers on the other hand finally found rhythm with their four superstars, winning 14 of their last 17 games.  The Lakers just halted their five-game winning run.

Despite LeBron James and Anthony Davis healthy for most part of the season and producing as expected, there should be consistency from the other players.  Some had been erratic, specially the backcourt, that there is that tendency to force things resulting in turnovers.  Injuries is also be a factor.

Jared Vanderbilt and D’Angelo Russell were activated from the injury list for the LAC game and they had a combined 52 minutes of play with 15 points, 4 rebounds and 10 assists.  Rui Hachimura is in and out of injuries (nasal fracture and calf issues).  In lieu of him is Cam Reddish who had been underwhelming.

Perhaps their biggest blunder was gambling on Gabe Vincent.  Of the available $12.4 million non-taxpayer mid-level exception, they used $10.5 million to acquire Vincent from Miami instead of retaining Dennis Schroeder, who promptly signed with the Toronto Raptors for the full NTMLE.

Playing just five games, Vincent underwent knee surgery and is iffy for the season.  Erik Spoelstra has a reason for letting go of Vincent despite a 2023 playoff average of 12.7 points (mainly shooting 3s) and 3.5 assists, which could have blindly attracted the Lakers.

The same thing happened two years ago when they got Kendrick Nunn from the Heat who promptly reported to sick bay with a knee injury.  Don’t we just wonder why we get former Heat players who just get injured a few games into the season.

Schroeder meanwhile has not missed a game with the Raptors and is averaging 14.7 points and 6.9 assists.   I will assume that he will have a good game against his former team today and run rings around Rusell and Austin Reaves.

Without LeBron and Davis, especially with how the coaching staff does the rotation, the Lakers will not go far.  They can’t even win games with both healthy.  The team had at least 10 different starting lineups and with that kind of experimentation, finding chemistry would be a major miracle.

While we’re on tinkering with the lineup, instead of Cam Reddish, why not have Christian Wood and Jaxson Hayes get more playing time so Davis can rest.   Using them should give them more confidence.  How can they be consistent when they ride the bench most of the time.

The trade deadline is on February 9, PH time and rumor has it that Hachimura would be included on the trade package.  I hate to see him go.  I would rather have Reaves, Max Christie, Jalen Hood-Schifino, Vincent and Reddish on a multi-team, multiu-player deal for a backcourt and frontline combination.

It’s not yet late for the Lakers to recover from crumbling like breadcrumbs.

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