While the Lakers have not had the types of injury issues this year which have decimated their roster in recent seasons, they are being hit pretty severely by the injury bug recently. Kobe Bryant has been dealing with a sore shoulder for some time, Larry Nance was almost shut down for the year with nagging knee pain, Jordan Clarkson just missed a game with a strained knee, and Lou Williams remains out for at least another week with a hamstring strain.
We can now add rookie Anthony Brown to that list:
Anthony Brown will be out for a minimum of four weeks after an MRI revealed a stress reaction in his right foot.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) March 5, 2016
When adding Brown to Kobe, Williams, and, depending on how cautious the team is, Clarkson the Lakers are now pretty thin on the wing. If all the aforementioned players were to sit out Sunday’s game against the Warriors, the Lakers depth on the perimeter would be limited to D’Angelo Russell, Nick Young, Marcelo Huertas, and….Metta World Peace. They could, theoretically, play Ryan Kelly at small forward as well, but we all know that’s not practical based on last season’s experiment.
Even if Kobe and Clarkson return to the lineup, however, the team is shallow on the wing but overloaded in the frontcourt. All you need to do is look at the DNP logs to see the players who typically do not play are Metta (who is more of a SF/PF now than a pure wing), Sacre, and Kelly. Recently you could add Tarik Black to that list. Huertas has not been playing either, but Williams’ injury has thrust him into the lineup and he’s looked decent — at least on offense — now that he’s playing again.
The unused depth at the big positions matters here because the Lakers do not have a roster spot to call up a player for a 10-day contract. In order to add, say Jabari Brown (who just returned from his season in China and is on the D-Fenders), the Lakers would need to waive a player in order to free up a roster spot. Would the Lakers waive a player to call up Brown (or maybe Vander Blue or Josh Maggette who are also on the D-Fenders) in order to add some depth?
At this point in the year, this is a question worth asking and one the team should probably consider. A call-up won’t affect the win/loss column, but it could help stabilize a battered wing rotation down on healthy bodies while also giving the team a look at a player who might deserve a summer league invite in July.
In the meantime, though, heal up quick Anthony Brown. His rookie season wasn’t lighting the world on fire statistically and his coach has been on him in the press lately to start showing more offensively, but he’s a fine defensive prospect with an offensive profile which has value in this league. The Lakers could always use more players like him and that starts, of course, with him being healthy enough where he’s given a chance to develop into the player he can be.