IT’S TIME COMEBACK, KING!!! Lakers likely going back to starting lineup that fans have been begging for

   

Jarred Vanderbilt Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers are making a significant lineup change that’s generating buzz among fans and analysts. According to reports, they’re reverting to the starting lineup that played a crucial role in their playoff success last season.

In their upcoming game against the Portland Trail Blazers, the Lakers are expected to start D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves, LeBron James, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Anthony Davis.

This lineup, reminiscent of their playoff run last season, hints at a strategic shift by the team.

The change appears to involve Jarred Vanderbilt stepping into the starting spot previously held by forward Taurean Prince, who is sidelined due to a knee injury.

During last season’s playoffs, the Lakers leaned heavily on a core group, with James, Reaves, and Davis starting in all 16 of their playoff games. Russell started 15 playoff games, and Vanderbilt was in the starting lineup for 13 of them.

This lineup proved effective, helping the Lakers navigate past formidable opponents like the Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors to reach the Western Conference Finals.

While this lineup might have been part of Lakers head coach Darvin Ham’s plans for the 2023-24 season, circumstances delayed its implementation.

Vanderbilt missed the Lakers’ first 20 games due to a heel injury and has only made five starts since returning to action. In his absence, Taurean Prince, signed as a free agent in the offseason, became a regular starter, featuring in all 41 games he’s played this season.

While Vanderbilt may not match Prince’s three-point shooting ability (Prince is shooting 38.7 percent from beyond the arc this season), he brings elite defensive skills that can effectively guard multiple positions.

Given that Davis, James, Russell, and Reaves are the Lakers’ top four scorers this season, the team may not require another offensive-focused player in the starting lineup.

It remains uncertain whether Coach Ham will stick with this lineup in the long run, but it’s clear that he’s at least trying it out against Portland. There’s a possibility he may revert to a lineup featuring Russell, Reaves, James, Prince, and Davis in the near future.

The Lakers are in pursuit of a resurgence following a disappointing loss to the Brooklyn Nets at home on Friday night.

They are fiercely competing for a favorable position in the highly competitive Western Conference standings and cannot afford to drop another game to a sub-.500 team.

The Lakers will face off against the Blazers at 7 p.m. PST at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles on Sunday night, and fans will be eagerly watching to see how this new lineup performs and whether it can help the team regain its winning form.

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