Lakers Rumors: LA considering dramatic change to starting lineup

Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Lakers - Game Three
Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Lakers - Game Three / Harry How/GettyImages

Following a four-game losing streak that includes a loss against the lowly Spurs, the Los Angeles Lakers may be considering a starting lineup change.

According to Anthony Irwin of SBNation, the Lakers could consider moving D'Angelo Russell to the bench in favor of Jarred Vanderbilt. This change in the lineup seemed to be confirmed by Dan Woike of the LA Times. Though the move isn't official yet, it seems like Vanderbilt will be in the lineup going forward.

Russell has endured a mixed bag of a season so far. The veteran point guard started the year playing well but has struggled of late with his shooting, looking unfortunately similar to the playoff version of himself. That iteration of the Lakers guard is a defensive liability who doesn't offer much value when he's not scoring.

Interestingly enough, Russell and his sizable salary have been mentioned in a number of possible Lakers trade.

Lakers Rumors: D'Angelo Russell could be taken out of starting lineup for Jarred Vanderbilt

While help for the Lakers might be coming via a trade, it's worth wondering if this move will help the LeBron James-led team get back on track after stumbling since the group's In-Season Tournament championship.

While Vanderbilt will provide the squad with substantial defensive improvement, it will most likely be a change that doesn't offer the help Darvin Ham is hoping for long-term. Vanderbilt is a fine player in the league but lacks any semblance of an offensive game. Putting the power forward in the starting lineup is an admission that this team's ceiling is limited as currently constructed.

Put simply, swapping Russell for Vanderbilt in the short term isn't going to help the Lakers win a title. In fact, unless Russell is traded for a more suitable point guard, it's hard to see Los Angeles beating the reigning champion Denver Nuggets in a seven-game series. Even still, the move may help to stop the bleeding in the immediate future, which ultimately might be the point for the Lakers.

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