How Gabe Vincent’s return will impact the Lakers' rotation

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Gabe Vincent is expected to return to the Lakers lineup on Sunday against the Brooklyn Nets. The LakeShow has won five games in a row and is in 9th place at 41-32, only 1.5 games behind the Sacramento Kings for the 8th seed.

Vincent has only appeared in five games this season due to a knee injury. He underwent arthroscopic surgery on December 27th, with his last game coming on December 20th.

Vincent has not played well, averaging 5/1/3 with 1.2 steals. He has shot very inefficiently, with 38/12/50 shooting splits.

In the offseason, he signed a three-year $33 million deal to be the Purple and Gold's lead guard off the bench. However, with Spencer Dinwiddie signed on the buyout market, that may not be the case.

With that said, let’s break down how Vincent’s return will impact the Lakers’ rotation.

Vincent takes Max Christie’s minutes

Darvin Ham will likely shorten his rotation over the next nine games with the playoffs approaching. 

Second-year guard Max Christie is having a solid season, averaging 5/2/1 on 43/37/77 shooting splits. Christie has played well on both ends of the floor, but his minutes have dropped over the last few games.

Christie wasn’t a part of the playoff rotation last season, and he likely won’t be this season, either. 

Vincent could take Christie’s minutes in the rotation and become another ball-handler and defender off the bench. The 27-year-old played exceptionally well on the Miami Heat’s run to the NBA Finals last season, averaging 13/1/4 on 40/38/88 shooting splits.

Vincent’s offense and shooting helped Miami, knocking down shots in key situations. 

Vincent was also impactful on defense as a point-of-attack defender. Although he hasn’t played well this season, Vincent is a proven playoff player and has the final stretch of the regular season to prove he should be in the rotation in the postseason.

Look for Ham to give Christie’s minutes off the bench to Vincent, and he could be a crucial rotational piece on their late-season surge up the standings.

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