The Los Angeles Lakers (11-11) are as near full energy as they’ve been all season. Solely Trevor Ariza (ankle surgical procedure) and Kendrick Nunn (knee bone bruise) stay out.
Each gamers had been signed to be essential contributors. Ariza was projected as a beginning ahead. The Lakers had been relying on his defensive prowess and flexibility alongside LeBron James, plus his nook three-point capturing.
Regardless of the 36-year outdated’s hiatus, Frank Vogel’s expectations for Ariza haven’t waned.
“I don’t assume we’re placing a timetable on it, however he’s getting nearer,” Vogel mentioned after Lakers observe Monday when requested about Ariza’s standing. “We really feel like he’s going to be an actual key to unlocking this group’s id. From each the power to have the ability to play (Anthony Davis) on the 5 extra and have him guard the opposite group’s finest 3/4 and Bron performs off of that. It’s simply one thing we’ve not had, by way of how this yr’s roster was put collectively. He’s an enormous piece of it.”
Ariza then spoke to the media for the primary time since undergoing ankle surgery early in coaching camp. He mentioned there’s no “particular” return date and he’ll await clearance from group docs. Seven weeks in the past, the Lakers mentioned Ariza could be re-evaluated in eight weeks.
Trevor Ariza is doing media after Lakers observe for the primary time shortly. He says he is simply beginning to get again to working and starting to ramp up his conditioning pic.twitter.com/bQhO5Rb974
— michael corvo (@michaelcorvoNBA) November 29, 2021
Ariza isn’t feeling the stress of being a savior for the Lakers — who’ve struggled to seek out id, cohesion, and consistency. (He mentioned stress is a “mind-set” and solely exists for those who’re unprepared.) He’s trying ahead to including a brand new dynamic to the squad.
“There are such a lot of various things we are able to do with the complete roster,” Ariza mentioned, noting his frustration with not having the ability to assist these Lakers groove on the courtroom. “I carry a very completely different factor to this group.”
Ariza added that the “little issues” that he (and Kendrick Nunn) brings to the desk is usually a game-changer, particularly contemplating his malleability. “All through my profession, I’ve been a bit you could plug in and do a bunch of various issues and make a distinction. So every time I get on the courtroom, that’s what I’m trying to do.”
Vogel mentioned he hopes to have a firmer replace on Ariza’s timeline subsequent week.