The Lakers gave fans a slight scare on Monday when practice broke and LeBron James an extremely noticeable abscence. However, it seems that James – alongside fellow forward Jared Dudley – were held out of the day’s first practice as more of a precautionary measure.
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LeBron James & Jared Dudley Held Out of Lakers Practice As Precautionary Measure
James and Dudley are the Lakers’ elder statesman and while the rest of the team has young enough legs to handle numerous two-a-day practices, it seems Vogel doesn’t want to run the risk of injuring either of his two veterans. Dudley is dealing with some soreness in his knee, though minor injuries and general soreness are essentially a part of life for a player who has been in the league as long as Dudley has. Neither should be worth reading into too much at this time.
“I thought Dwight and JaVale have been very good, if not great since practice started. I love what they’re able to do,” Mike Trudell reported, “and Avery (Bradley) continues to stand out obviously, just with his defensive tenacity.”
Along with strong play from the big man duo of Howard and McGee, it is good to see Bradley, the former All-Defensive wizard, get back to his ways and be a pest on the defensive end. Supposedly dropping nearly 40 pounds this offseason, Bradley has a chance to carve out a major role for the Lakers and contribute big minutes at both ends of the floor.
Dwight Howard Putting Team-First Mindset Into Action
Putting his ego to the side, Dwight Howard seems more than ready to accept a smaller role on the Lakers – and looks to be dominating so far. One of the standout players from early in the Lakers’ training camp, Howard’s improved conditioning and a renewed focus on defense, rebounding, and physicality, Howard has the chance to turn into an extremely useful contributor for the Lakers in his second stint with the team.
Howard has high hopes for the Lakers as a defensive unit and even thinks this team has the chance to be the best defensive team in the league. He could be right as the Lakers have acquired heaps of defensive talent to help shore up what has been a lackluster defense over the past few seasons. Avery Bradley is a former All-Defensive player as are LeBron James, Rajon Rondo, and Danny Green. Howard and Davis are both former defensive players of the year.
While Howard may find himself in the starting lineup at some point over the course of the year, he seems more than content to back up fellow big man JaVale McGee and simply prove to the rest of the league that he is still capable of playing NBA-caliber minutes.