The Lakers have brought in quite the rotation of big men heading into training camp this season. After drafting Ivica Zubac early in the second round of the 2016 NBA Draft, the team signed two notable veteran centers in Timofey Mozgov and Yi Jianlian, along with re-signing Tarik Black. While Mozgov is expected to be the starter on opening night, Yi could find himself battling for a roster spot, as well as minutes in the rotation if he makes it.
Although head coach Luke Walton has not told Yi the specific plan for him on the court, the big man is preparing to play both the four and the five. “I don’t know yet, because tomorrow is the first practice” said Yi. “I’m just getting ready for both.”
Because of Yi’s mobility and perimeter shooting, he brings some versatility to the table that could help his cause in regards to earning additional playing time. If the Lakers want to utilize lineups that can space the floor with shooting, Yi could find himself on the court with a rookie that he has been very impressed with: Brandon Ingram.
“He’s a great player,” said Yi. “He’s very young, balanced skills, he really can shoot and attack the basket. He looks skinny but plays tough.”
Yi’s role with the team is unclear at this point, but his versatility provides some promise with this young Lakers core as he hopes to revitalize his NBA career.