Details on how Frank Vogel intends to adjust his starting lineup ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers’ 5-3 home game against the Oklahoma City Thunder 1-6 have emerged, courtesy from Los Angeles reporter Mike Trudell:
To be clear, shooter Avery Bradley had actually started next to LeBron James in a smallball formation in the Lakers’ two recent wins over the Houston Rockets. Kent Bazemore went from shooting guard to small striker, James moved from a forward position and Anthony Davis moved to center. DeAndre Jordan has been demoted to a bench position.
So the real change is the return of Jordan to the starting lineup and the return of Davis and Bazemore to their previous positions alongside Jordan in that lineup.
News of the return of winger Wayne Ellington is an exciting development. Earlier in the evening, Ellington and Dwight Howard were listed as probable for tonight’s contest, so this is a welcome status update for Ellington. Ellington has missed the entire 2021-22 regular season so far with a grade 1 hamstring strain.
After being a DNP-CD in the last few games, Rajon Rondo returns to the rotation as one of the few above-average ballhandlers in the Lakers. It would still be unwise to play Rondo alongside playmaker Russell Westbrook as these tandem formations have looked absolutely horrible.
James will not be available for tonight’s Staples Center battle against the visiting Thunder after discovering abdominal tension. He should be missing at least a week. Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register had more details on the discovery of the injury, per Frank Vogel:
It will be intriguing to see how Frank Vogel adjusts the team’s rotation without the Lakers’ top player. It’s good that LA is playing a rebuilding club in the Thunder, but again, Oklahoma City’s only victory over the young season came against an LA club without LeBron last week …