The Los Angeles Lakers are moving full speed ahead with training camp underway, but there’s been a noticeable absence of two key big men. Both Andrew Bogut and Brook Lopez have been absent from some of the action, and head coach Luke Walton doesn’t sound optimistic about Lopez being ready to go for Game 1 of preseason.
“Brook probably won’t play on Saturday, so there’s still a starting spot open for that game. Ultimately everything we’re doing right now is about getting ready for the start of the season, and there’s great opportunities to see what different people bring to the table,” Walton said following Day 2 of training camp.
Lopez has been dealing with back spasms, a detail that that came to surface in the days leading up to camp. That’s one of the reasons signing a veteran backup big man like Bogut was a vital move for the Lakers, who’d otherwise be putting a huge amount of pressure on Ivica Zubac and Thomas Bryant to start the year.
Bogut’s been absent from team activities while he finalizes his visa situation, something that couldn’t be done ahead of time while he remained a free agent.
Brook has been participating in non-contact drills and has been one of the players who seemed to constantly be in the Lakers’ training facility during the offseason. He also figures to be a key player in everything the Lakers do on offense, and how the team works as a unit on defense.
Lopez’s absence isn’t the end of the world, but it’d obviously be ideal if their floor-spacing big man was fully cleared and ready to roll. For now, it just means players like Zubac have a bigger opportunity to earn minutes.
*All quotes transcribed via Lakers.com