The Los Angeles Lakers had some trouble dealing with the Chicago Bulls backcourt of Zach LaVine, Coby White and others in their come-from-behind win Tuesday. As it happens, Avery Bradley was unavailable with a lower leg contusion in that game, so the team having those issues was probably no coincidence.
As the Lakers get ready for Friday’s tilt against the surprising Miami Heat, it remains to be seen whether they’ll have their starting point guard available, as head coach Frank Vogel told reporters at practice that while both practiced with contact on Thursday, Bradley was questionable, while Rajon Rondo will also be listed at doubtful for tomorrow.
Before you ask and to be absolutely clear, I’m referring here to Bradley as starting point guard, not Rondo.
When asked about his availability, Bradley sounded fairly optimistic, and said his health has been improving.
“As of right now I’m planning on playing tomorrow, but we’ll see how I feel,” Bradley told reporters.
That sounds like something close to a game-time decision, but really, aren’t we all game time decisions in the grand scheme of things? This is basically the Lakers’ way of handling this information, so you may as well roll with the punches and then consider yourself day-to-day for the foreseeable future.
In his stead, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope got the start and made his impact known right from the get-go Tuesday night:
KCP was told he was starting and came out laser focused pic.twitter.com/Cvqm3ZeVwV— pickuphoop (@pickuphoop) November 6, 2019
Bradley has his own issues, but the ball pressure he applies at the point of attack has helped make things a little easier all over the court when it’s carried out properly. Yes, at times he’ll be over-aggressive and lose his guy, but overall he’s been a net-positive impact on games he’s played in.
All that said, while it would be nice to get Bradley back in the lineup, the Lakers have to be smart about this. Part of what has made him so much more effective this year compared to the last couple seasons is, well, he’s been healthy. Rushing him back before he’s fully ready to go could let his maladies linger and make him more of the player that drove Clippers fans insane while he played there.
Yes, it would be nice to pick up another win in a row and continue this momentum, but the Lakers can probably do that without Bradley, and wins in November don’t matter nearly as much as those that come in the postseason. The Lakers play at 7:30 p.m. PST at Staples Center Friday, so Bradley will have a little more time to figure out whether he’ll be good to go in that game.
In Rondo’s case, you really want to make sure he’s absolutely 1,000% healthy. You can never be too careful, you know. Maybe we should make that percentage point higher.