Whoever has the Los Angeles Lakers voodoo doll needs to relax! Kendrick Nunn and Wayne Ellington were supposed to be two of the Lakers’ big upgrades. As of now, it’s been all street clothes for the two backcourt mates.
The List Goes On
Ellington is dealing with the tricky hamstring ailment. It’s expected that it will take some time for him to get comfortable before returning. The real surprise is a second injury found for Nunn, which Lakers reporter Mike Trudell reported:
This is Nunn’s right knee. He’d been working to come back from an ankle issue, and got imaging on his knee when soreness developed, revealing the bone bruise. https://t.co/0kRktb61d5
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) October 21, 2021
Just all-around bad news for the team. This is in addition to Trevor Ariza and Talen Horton-Tucker being out. Nunn and Ellington’s injuries create an ill ripple effect for their rotation.
Rather than have Nunn be the lead guard off the bench, the Lakers have to rely on Rajon Rondo. The problem with that is Rondo’s lack of complementary skills to Russell Westbrook. The team had them spend far too much time together on the floor in their first game.
Ellington’s loss means they have no dead-eye shooter. He does present his defensive woes, but the value of having a guy that needs chasing and closing is sky-high. LeBron James and Westbrook need his presence for spacing.
Decisions For Coach
The question remains if head coach Frank Vogel will make an adjustment. By adjustments, I mean play Austin Reaves until his toes bleed (Editor’s Note: We are not actually condoning violence). Despite his rookie status, he’s shown to have a pulse defensively and is a confident shooter from long range. Along with Reaves, Avery Bradley 2.0 is another option. In short order, he put up six points and showed his trademark ball-pressure. For a team that wants to rely on its championship identity from yesteryear, I’d say it’s a route to consider.
It’s only been one official game, but the start is already not ideal. Fortunately, you have to believe that talent will eventually overcome the challenges. Westbrook can’t be as bad as he was in the opener. Coach Vogel will do himself more favors with these lineups as well. If neither of the two, along with injuries, can overcome this moment then this Lakers season is venturing into scary hours.