D’Angelo Russell loses starting spot to Jarred Vanderbilt
Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images
Darvin Ham and the Lakers are making a change to the starting lineup, as D’Angelo Russell will move to the bench, and Jarred Vanderbilt will take the starting spot via the LA Times
This change comes after four straight losses for LA and ahead of their matchup against the second-best team in the Western Conference, the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Russell is averaging 15/3/6, shooting 46.2% from the floor and 38% from three. These are solid numbers on the season, but in December, he is averaging 10/3/6, shooting 37.9% from the field and 25.6% from downtown.
Russell’s inconsistent offense this month and poor defense has lost his starting spot.
D’Angelo Russell over his last 5 games:— NBACentral (@TheDunkCentral) December 22, 2023
25.0% 3PT pic.twitter.com/7YMmlmouZE
Vanderbilt will come into the starting lineup, having started last season with the Lakers. Vanderbilt is being put in the lineup for his defensive ability to guard the opponent’s best guard or forward.
On offense, Vanderbilt is great at bringing in offensive rebounds to get second-chance opportunities. He is also an athletic rim-runner but doesn’t provide much scoring.
Against the explosive Thunder offense, Vanderbilt will help slow down their best offensive weapons, whether he’s put on Shai Gilegous-Alexander, Josh Giddey, or Jalen Williams.
Look at Jarred Vanderbilt, you can’t teach this. pic.twitter.com/EEdSZxY8OQ— Lobos (@16and0) December 6, 2023
This move by Ham brings more defense and switchability to the starting lineup. The lineup will now have LeBron James at point guard, Cam Reddish at shooting guard, Taurean Prince at small forward, Vanderbilt at power forward, and Anthony Davis at center.
It will be interesting to see how this new lineup works. The LakeShow will now have a scoring punch of Russell and Austin Reaves off the bench, which could help with lineups when James and Davis are off the floor.
After a four-game losing streak, Ham is adjusting and will be tested against the 18-8 Thunder.