‘Internal Optimism’ Jarred Vanderbilt will return before April 14th

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

There is ‘internal optimism’ within the Lakers organization that forward Jarred Vanderbilt will return before the Lakers’ final regular-season game on April 14th, per Jovan Buha.

Vanderbilt suffered a foot injury back on February 1st, which has kept him off the court. 

The 24-year-old forward has only appeared in 28 games, averaging 5/5/1 with 1.2 steals per game. He has 52/30/67 shooting splits this season. 

While Vanderbilt hasn’t put up huge numbers, the stats don’t show his impact. Vanderbilt is the Lakers best point-of-attack defender, limiting top opposing guards and forwards. His rebounding has also been missed, both on the offensive and defensive side of the floor.

Getting Vanderbilt back healthy would help the Purple and Gold’s defense improve. They have struggled against perimeter players and three-point shooters.

Vanderbilt can defend against the opposing team’s best perimeter players while making all the hustle plays.

The LakeShow is in 9th place in the Western Conference at 37-32 with 13 games left. Getting some reinforcements to help out on defense, like Vanderbilt, during the final push could be the difference in how the Lakers finish the season.

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