While his impact this season has waned and has largely been a negative one, there are areas in which the Lakers not having Avery Bradley available has hurt them. For all his faults, effort has never been an issue for Bradley during his multiple Lakers tenures.
In that sense, the Lakers have sorely missed Bradley, no better showcase of that than Sunday’s loss to the Pelicans in which effort was never apparent. While it was improved in Tuesday’s loss to Dallas, there is an area presently Bradley could provide value.
Bradley’s sudden appearance on the injury report was surprising and has led to him missing four straight games. Before Tuesday’s game against the Mavericks, head coach Frank Vogel provided an update on how Bradley was injured and his status moving forward.
“It’s just, I’m not sure of the exact terminology behind it,” Vogel said. “Something happened, I think, at that last Golden State game that led to some swelling. Until the swelling goes down, he’s going to be out. But it’s not anything that’s supposed to be long-term. He is still day-to-day. He was on the court working, sweating yesterday and he’s getting close.”
The signing of DJ Augustin and the continued strong play from Austin Reaves and Malik Monk could limit some of Bradley’s minutes but in the short term, their presence helps absorb at least some of what Bradley brings to the table.
DJ Augustin signing a hint of Kendrick Nunn's status?
The signing of DJ Augustin was a surprising one both in terms of the player signed and the position as well. Not a glaring area of need for the Lakers — at least as much as other positions — Augustin’s signing was a surprise.
One theory could be that the team could be growing more and more pessimistic than Kendrick Nunn will not come back at all this season and Augustin could at least provide something down the stretch.
“We just don’t know about Kendrick,” Vogel said. “We’re still hopeful that he comes around and is able to ramp up and do it without pain and the MRI comes back where we want to see it. It hasn’t happened yet so until we see him back on the floor, we need help in that position with that skill set.”
At the current rate of the Lakers' play and based on Nunn’s rehab throughout the year, the Lakers may be out of the play-in race entirely by the time he returns. If he even returns.