The Lakers may have shown some of their adjustments in the second half of Game 1 against the Nuggets, but more of them are going to come before Game 2. The Lakers showed their hand in some regards by having Rui Hachimura on Nikola Jokic, a move that nearly helped them steal the game.
It was a move that seemed to catch the Nuggets off-guard, though they certainly don’t seem like a team that is worried about the fact they nearly had an all-time gaffe in the second half. The Lakers likely didn’t blow their only adjustment to Jokic halfway through the first game, so it’ll be another chess match of a series moving forward.
One interesting voice that has weighed in is Draymond Green. Having just matched up with the Lakers in the playoffs and having a wealth of basketball knowledge, Draymond Green proposed an interesting adjustment for the Lakers defensively.
Draymond Green thinks the Lakers should start Vando on Jamal Murray pic.twitter.com/69r3fGluCj— pickuphoop (@pickuphoop) May 18, 2023
This isn’t far off something the Lakers did against the Warriors. The Lakers used a switch-heavy defense in Game 3 against Golden State that allowed them to win going away. That would mean Vanderbilt has familiarity starting on a player and switching onto someone else, as Green suggests.
Now, how well could he hold his own against Jokic? Probably not great. The hope would be that Anthony Davis behind him as a help defender would provide a good cover.
Another interesting note is that Green mentioned LeBron as someone to defend Jokic. The Lakers pulled out one trick when it came to how they defended The Joker in Game 1, and they certainly have more up their sleeves.
Similar to how Rui Hachimura defending Jokic wasn’t a long-term solution, neither would LeBron defending him. But if the end goal is to get Davis as a roaming help defender, then other guys are going to have to step up to the challenge and help the Lakers out.
LeBron defended Kevon Looney at times in the Warriors series. That is an entirely different proposition than Jokic, but he showed a willingness to defend centers. And if the Lakers are running a switch-heavy scheme, LeBron wouldn’t be defending him each possession either.
It’s hard to tell if this is the wrinkle the Lakers use in the next game but it’s one available to them. And if Draymond is suggesting it, all his on-court antics aside, it’s probably one worth considering.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.