While the Lakers didn’t look great Tuesday night against the Clippers, there is some stupendous news for them.
It was also mentioned that Davis will have a limit in his playing time as he eases back into competition.
When Davis got hurt against Denver, he was arguably playing the best basketball of his career. And he’s had some monstrous stretches over the years. After the horrid 2-10 start the Lakers had, the team went 9-5 in the games that he played. Since he went out, L.A. went 10-10.
Davis will be joined by Rui Hachimura, who’s making his debut as a Laker after being acquired from the Wizards for Kendrick Nunn and three second-rounders. Hachimura was the 9th overall pick in the 2019 Draft and got lost in the shuffle as Washington built their frontcourt around Kristaps Porzingis and, ironically, former Laker Kyle Kuzma.
Hachimura is a career .356 three-point shooter but he’s not a deadeye threat. He also doesn’t shoot very many of them; he’s more of a midrange shooter. The Lakers will probably ask him to shoot from behind the arc a little more. Plus he’s never had a playmaker like LeBron James. At the very least, Hachimura is a big, athletic dude that balances out the roster. And Darvin Ham won’t have to play three or four guards on the floor.
I don’t think the Lakers are done making trades yet but I am not going to make any predictions on what happens there and, quite frankly, that’s a story for another day. What we have here is the Lakers finishing up their season series with the hapless-looking San Antonio Spurs.
The Spurs are one of two teams that are pretty much out of the running for a playoff spot in the West. They are 14-33 and are just hoping they get a great player from this coming draft. As for how they’re playing? They’ve gone 2-10 in their last 12 games (with wins coming against Detroit and Brooklyn). Also, they haven’t had Devin Vassell in the last 10 games due to knee surgery.
The last time the Lakers saw the Spurs, it was a back-to-back in San Antonio. Actually, they played San Antonio three times in a span of 7 days. The Lakers won all three games but it wasn’t without incident. The first game saw the Lakers get their biggest margin of victory this season at 31 points. The second was an ugly affair but it got the Lakers their first road win of the season. And in their last meeting, Russell Westbrook bled for them while LeBron James scored 39 points as Davis sat out the second of back-to-back games.
Keldon Johnson has taken more responsibility in the offense since Vassell went out; he scored a career-best 36 points in that Brooklyn win. As for the other players to watch, Jakob Poeltl continues to be a hot trade commodity with his defense inside. Jeremy Sochan’s upside is salivating due to his youth and defense beyond his years. Tre Jones has also been steady at the point guard spot.
The Spurs do a couple of things well. We always hear from LeBron James and Lakers on how “they play the right way” but we’ve heard Spurs coach Gregg Popovich preach that for years. And that means playing unselfishly; the Spurs are third in assists. They’re also 6th in offensive boards so the Lakers better watch and crash the glass.
This could very well be a trap game for the Lakers as they slowly get Davis and Hachimura acclimated with the team. If they play within themselves, try not to get too cute, and take care of the ball, they should make this a four-game season sweep of the Spurs.
And every game is very important at this point, especially in the packed Western Conference. Every win is a premium and every loss is potentially disastrous. Lakers better take care of biz on Wednesday.