The Los Angeles Lakers are going from shorthanded due to injuries to rolling out virtually an entirely new-look lineup against the Detroit Pistons. While the likes of Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram are both out, LeBron James will be sidelined as well for load management in this game. In turn, this means the Lakers could go fairly deep into their bench against Detroit.
Beyond LeBron’s status, the Lakers have a few other names whose outlook for this game remain up in the air. As the team revealed, Three other players are either questionable or probable while Tyson Chandler will sit out.
- LeBron James (load management, groin) – out
- Josh Hart (right knee tendinitis) – questionable
- Reggie Bullock (left foot contusion) – probable
- Lance Stephenson (left foot, second toe sprain) – probable
Although it seems Bullock and Stephenson will likely playing, the injury report could leave even more uncertainty on the roster. We’re going to take a look at the Lakers’ projected starting lineup against the Pistons and how the absences could impact rotations.
UPDATE: Josh Hart and Lance Stephenson have been ruled out.
Lakers Roster & Starting Lineup vs. Pistons
*Notates expected starter
C: JaVale McGee*, Moritz Wagner
PF: Mike Muscala*, Johnathan Williams
SF: Kyle Kuzma*, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope,
Josh Hart (Q)
SG: Reggie Bullock*, Andre Ingram,
PG: Rajon Rondo*, Alex Caruso, Isaac Bonga
It’s an interesting situation, as the Lakers were without Stephenson last game, but the bulk of the bench minutes went to Hart (28), Alex Caruso (27) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (22). It seems Caruso has carved out a solid role for himself and this heavy workload even came with Rajon Rondo seeing 30 minutes.
With James out, this would likely push Hart into the first five and give him minutes in the 30s, while Caldwell-Pope could also see an uptick. Beyond that, among the interesting names to watch will be fan-favorite Andre Ingram, who was recently brought up from the G-League. Ingram played five minutes last game but went 0-for-4 from the field. He should see an increased opportunity against the Pistons and could log double-digit minutes potentially, especially if Hart sits out.
Lakers’ Playoff Chances
The outlook remains as bleak as ever for the Lakers, but that’s not surprising as the NBA playoff field continues to draw closer and closer to being set. They’re currently being given a less than one percent chance to make the postseason by FiveThirtyEight’s CARMELO system which projects them to finish at 37-45.
FiveThirtyEight’s Elo system offers a similar outlook, coming in at a less than one percent chance while offering a final prediction on their record of 36-46. If there’s any single positive to take away from this year, it’s that the Lakers are looking at a lottery pick which could be high and provide the chance to add an instant-impact player.