The Lakers season begins tomorrow, but their overall health and player availability has been a key storyline over the last couple of days. While Lonzo Ball made it known he would he would play, Julius Randle’s intercostal strain and Andrew Bogut’s groin issues have made their status unknown.
That, though, is no longer true.
Luke Walton: “Julius practices full today, looked great”
Josh Hart did not practice. Bogut practiced without issue.
— Shahan Ahmed (@shahanLA) October 18, 2017
This is good news. I don’t need to explain why Randle playing is important – he’s one of the team’s better players. Even if we don’t know whether he’ll start (and based on this, I doubt he does), he’s a major rotation piece and having him there gives the team much needed flexibility.
As for Bogut, I actually expect him to be part of the rotation early in the year even though he’s not played at all during the preseason. His defensive presence and scheme familiarity will, I believe, matter to Walton and that will be reflected in the minutes distribution.
Ball said Andrew Bogut made his presence felt at the rim today: “Kuz tried to test him … didn’t work out for him.“
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) October 18, 2017
All the news is not positive, however. Josh Hart did not practice again Wednesday and is being listed as questionable for Thursday’s season opener. At this point, though, after not practicing for the last two days, I’d bet Hart sits out and is on the inactive list.
Hart was going to be one of five candidates to start in place of the suspended Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, but that is off the table if he can’t even practice yet. As I noted, I think Deng is the most likely candidate to step in for KCP, but that too is still a secret.
In any event, the Lakers are getting healthier. We don’t know how that will yet translate to wins and losses, but I’m excited to finally see a fully healthy team compete. We did not get that the entire preseason, but (minus Hart) it looks like we will on opening night.