Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham was pretty happy with how his team looks ahead of the start of the 2023-24 NBA season. The front office made a few moves to re-sign efficient players and also brought a few new names to LA. It was all good until one signee was unable to play his best basketball while wearing a Lakers jersey.
Jarred Vanderbilt had the right size and skills for the team, but his injury wasn’t in the script. He could have helped the team avoid some of the mistakes they made early in the season. The talented player is expected to return to the floor in the near future. He is the missing piece of the puzzle for the regular season.
“I don’t think most people understand how valuable Jarred Vanderbilt is to what they want to do,” one Western Conference coach told Heavy Sports. “You can’t replace LeBron and you can’t replace Anthony Davis. After them, everyone on that team, you can pretty much replace them. But Jarred Vanderbilt, you can’t replace that grit and that hustle and the rebounding and the defense. And you talk to them, people with that team, and they feel like they still have to unleash him.”
Lakers hope to get the best of their signee
Ham gave Vanderbilt enough time to rest and recover from his injury. His workouts look different now and he is getting ready to join his teammates and show his true dominance on the court.
“The biggest thing with (Jarred Vanderbilt) is because for so long he had to do stationary drills, just individually, he hasn’t had really any contact, obviously,” the Lakers head told the media last week. “So he is just day by day ramping up and getting his conditioning, low-impact conditioning as well as basketball stuff. And just to see how he recovers from that day to day.
“So it’s good that he got green lit to start ramping up to be more aggressive with his workouts, but it’s just a day by day deal.”