The Los Angeles Lakers are struggling to get their backcourt up to full health as the season comes quickly around the corner.
The Los Angeles Lakers want to get back to the playoffs this year. After LeBron James signed his extension a few weeks ago, the clock is ticking given we’re in the twilight stages of the Hall of Famer’s career.
James has been pushing the Lakers to make further upgrades, but a lack of availability of Kyrie Irving and a high asking price for Myles Turner and Buddy Hield has made those upgrades slow to occur. So for now, the Lakers go into the season with what they have, and to give themselves the best odds they need players to stay healthy.
So far, that’s not going great.
Kendrick Nunn, who was a Laker last season but missed the entirety of the season (a rarity for the injury type) due to a bone bruise, is progressing quite slowly, a bad sign for the Lakers as training camp is right around the corner.
Speaking to Michael Scotto, here’s what The Athletic’s Jovan Buha had to say about Nunn’s injury progression:
"“He’s been around the facility shooting and working out. It’s been a slower than anticipated ramp-up. They’ve got Pat, so he’s the best addition of the offseason, but there’s a chance Nunn is the best free agent addition they make getting him back. He’s a guy they spent the taxpayer mid-level exception on last season. He was pretty solid during his first couple of years in Miami as a combo guard. He’s someone who could develop into the sixth man for this team.”"
Kendrick Nunn being injured could force LeBron James to overextend himself
LeBron James is more than capable of running point guard duties… if he has to. At this stage in his career, though, with James aging, the Lakers would certainly prefer to use James in an off-ball capacity where he can conserve his energy throughout the regular season.
With Nunn possibly out to start the year, though, that limits the Lakers depth in the backcourt, which could force James to take on ball-handling responsibilities. Even though it’ll just be in small doses, it’s not ideal for the Lakers.
Right now, the Lakers have Russell Westbrook, Nunn, and Patrick Beverley who they acquired in a trade recently (yes, Westbrook and Beverley are cool for now). Westbrook is someone the Lakers would like to move, but for now it looks like he’ll remain a Laker to start the year and it’s not a high priority for the franchise.
Not great news for the Lakers, but there’s still plenty of time for Nunn to come around before the regular season. After so much time off, though, he may need additional time to get himself up to game shape.