The Lakers will be without LeBron James for the first time this season on Monday against the Jazz due to left foot soreness. LeBron will be one of multiple Lakers out in Utah with both Lonnie Walker IV and Patrick Beverley will be out with non-COVID illnesses.
Beverley also missed the Lakers contest on Sunday against the Cavaliers with the same non-COVID illness. It’s an illness that has impacted multiple Lakers with LeBron and Anthony Davis having battled through it last week as well.
While this isn’t perhaps the way head coach Darvin Ham wanted to have it happen, he did speak heading into this season about having LeBron and AD rest more during the regular season. The problem has been the Lakers’ brutal schedule to open the season and that they have underperformed, leaving them in a position where they have needed every bit of production they could get out of the two stars to stay in most games.
Unfortunately for them, the Lakers now will be forced to sit him due to his injury, leaving lots of production needing to be replaced. Paired with Walker and PatBev’s absences, the Lakers have three starting spots that will need to be filled.
On Sunday, the Lakers replaced PatBev with Kendrick Nunn in the starting lineup to awful effect as he finished with zero points on 0-5 shooting overall and 0-4 shooting from the 3-point line. Russell Westbrook is obviously an option to start but considering Ham went to Nunn, who had been out of the rotation, to start might indicate his desire to keep Westbrook in his bench role where he’s flourishing.
Austin Reaves and Juan Toscano-Anderson could also make sense as possibilities to enter the lineup in place of the injured Walker and LeBron. Wenyen Gabriel and Matt Ryan are the only other non-starters that saw rotation minutes on Sunday.
Anthony Davis, meanwhile, is probable with lower back tightness.