The Lakers’ season will turn on the latest Jarred Vanderbilt ιnjury report

The Los Angeles Lakers have not gotten off to the blazing start that many expected when the 2023-24 season began. The Lakers’ start has been far better than it was a year ago when they were 2-10, but they still haven’t looked like a title contender.


The team’s health has been a major factor in this season’s underachievement. While the stars have avoided serious injuries (by their standards), numerous key players in the rotation have been sidelined.

Most notably, Jarred Vanderbilt, who has yet to make an appearance for the Lakers this year. Vanderbilt has been out longer than expected due to a heel ailment he sustained in preseason.

Fans of the Los Angeles Lakers got some good news on Monday: Vando is doing much better. Although he is not yet cleared to play, Vanderbilt has been given the go-ahead to resume basketball practices.

Casual basketball fans who do not understand the complexities of the Lakers roster won’t comprehend why Vanderbilt’s return is such a major thing for LA. As important as Anthony Davis, LeBron James, and Austin Reaves are to the team’s success, Vando is the most important player.

Don’t misunderstand me, guys like Reaves, D’Angelo Russell, and heck, even Rui Hachimura, have more talent than that. But as Vanderbilt shows, there is a lot more to winning basketball games than just talent vs. talent.

When it comes to guarding the wing or the perimeter, Vanderbilt is your best bet. The Lakers benefit greatly from his ability to defend positions one through five, as his versatility allows him to do so. Because of Vando’s mobility, head coach Darvin Ham may set up a variety of lineups depending on exploiting defensive weaknesses.

Spectators have seen the Lakers’ defense weaken whenever Reaves, Russell, or Christian Wood are on the court. Playing the three of them together has not helped Ham much defensively because they are all below average players.

Just having that one additional defender in Vanderbilt may make a significant impact. The squad as a whole will benefit from having competent defenders like Taurean Prince and Cam Reddish take on less demanding roles.

Once Vanderbilt returns to the court, the Lakers might embark on a winning streak.