As the Los Angeles Lakers go through training camp, they have spent the entire time missing a player who was expected to be a key member of their wing rotation: free agency addition Troy Brown Jr.
According to Dan Woike of the L.A. Times, the Lakers may have to get used to that for a little while longer, as the 6’6 small forward won’t be ready until after the team opens the season against the Golden State Warriors on Oct. 18.
Troy Brown Jr. won’t be ready for the season opener as he recovers from a back injury, Darvin Ham said. TBJ went through a good individual workout pregame today in Golden State but still needs to progress to taking contact.— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) October 9, 2022
This means that Brown — who has been limited to non-contact drills for the entirety of training camp with what the Lakers have so far only termed a back issue — will have missed over a month with this issue, with (so far) no specific update on exactly what is wrong or when he’ll potentially be able to return.
For one of the Lakers’ only wing-sized players, that is obviously not ideal.
Could Troy Brown Jr. be the Lakers’ best 3-and-D wing?— BBall Index (@The_BBall_Index) September 13, 2022
Our data helps Cooper quantify the stronger elements of Brown's defense he'll bring to the Lakers this upcoming season.
✍️ @CooperHalpern for @LakersSBN:https://t.co/wa0b2U7Exi
All things considered, the Lakers have managed to get (and stay) relatively healthy so far in training camp outside of Brown’s issue, so this is not the end of the world. Still, it’s hard for it to not feel ominous after a season spent watching nebulous update after nebulous update on Kendrick Nunn, who went from gametime decision for the season opener to out the whole season without any real meaningful clarity from the team.
Hopefully, in Brown’s case, they’ll provide us with some good news soon.
In the meantime, for as long as Brown is out, expect Austin Reaves to continue to play a bit at the 3 after bulking up this offseason, as well as Patrick Beverley getting some time there when he plays (he, along with LeBron James and Russell Westbrook, will miss the team’s Sunday, Oct. 9 preseason game against the Warriors to rest):
In addition to LeBron, vets Patrick Beverley and Russell Westbrook will sit tonight. It was planned rest for them as they ramp up to the regular season opener.— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) October 9, 2022
Anthony Davis is expected to play tonight.— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) October 9, 2022
The Lakers tip off against the Warriors at 5:30 p.m. PT on Sunday.