After the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night, a bit more information was revealed about the relative availability of three members of their frontcourt moving forward: LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Jared Dudley.
The Lakers are headed to China for preseason games against the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday and Saturday, and head coach Frank Vogel told reporters that fans waking up early to watch (or attending locally) can expect to see James and Davis about the same amount against the Nets that they did against the Warriors (via @Lakers on Twitter):
“We’ll see, probably similar to tonight, (or) maybe a little bit more. I’ll meet with those guys and with the medical team, and we’ll make smart decisions on that.”
Davis played 18 minutes and 25 seconds against Golden State, while James got 17 minutes and 59 seconds of burn. That’s about standard usage for veteran stars during the preseason, so as long as the medical team doesn’t reveal anything distressing, it’s probably fair to assume Vogel will stick to his word.
There is also the matter that stars want to play in China in order to expand their marketing reach in the increasingly basketball-crazed country, so James and Davis will almost assuredly want to have enough time to put on a show like the one they unleashed on the Warriors.
Elsewhere in the Lakers’ frontcourt rotation, Dudley — who has missed a few practices of training camp and the Lakers’ first preseason game with a “sore right quad” and “knee soreness” — responded to a Twitter question on Saturday night asking about his health, and said he should be back out on the floor “soon.”
That’s good news that implies the veteran forward isn’t dealing with anything too serious, as the Lakers will need Dudley for frontcourt depth this season.
This will matter less in the preseason with a far deeper rotation, but with Kyle Kuzma already slated to miss both games in China with the stress reaction in his foot — he won’t be re-evaluated until the team returns to Los Angeles — the Lakers do need some guys to give minutes to in order to field five-man units that make sense positionally, and Dudley would help in that regard, even if he doesn’t play much.
Again, this is far from critical for exhibition games, but if Dudley good to go it would help Vogel not be forced to have to put one of his veterans back in late in the game should one of the younger players trying to make the team get in foul trouble, or some similar scenario.
We’ll soon get a look at exactly how Vogel approaches the rotation out there, and surely hear more on all of these players’ availability as the week goes along.