Lakers Reveal Reason for Giving Damian Jones Second Look

Getty Images Damian Jones, formerly of the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Los Angeles Lakers signed big man Damian Jones to a second 10-day deal this week in advance of the season restarting, hoping to get a better look at the former first-round pick.

Jones has averaged 4 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 10.3 minutes through three games with the Lakers after signing with the team on February 25. In 17 games — one start — with Los Angeles and Phoenix this season, Jones is averaging 2 points and 1.4 rebounds in 7.4 minutes.

“I want to see more of what he did,” Vogel said of Jones. “I thought he played well for us. He plays the role of a lob threat. Don’t try to play outside of that lane offensively.

“To be a screener and a rebounder and a lob threat offensively, and defensively, to be able to man the middle, to be a shot-blocker, to play in our pick-and-roll coverages, and obviously to rebound the ball and match up with other teams’ bigger centers is what we asked of him last week. I thought he did well with it, and we’ll continue to look at that over these next 10 days.”

Vogel hinted that the Lakers could re-sign Jones before the All-Star break with his first 10-day deal set to expire.

“I think he’s played very well in the opportunities that he’s gotten and shown us a lot,” Vogel said before the break. “He’s got great size, he’s a wonderful young man to be around our team and culture fit, and he’s got a skill set that fits the modern NBA. So I would say he should be optimistic about what’s ahead of him.”

After the 10 days expire the Lakers will have to make a choice to sign Jones for the rest of the season or let him walk.

Lakers Give Update on Anthony Davis

GettyAnthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Much of what the Lakers decide with Jones could depend on the health of Anthony Davis, who has been out since mid-February with a calf strain and Achilles issues. The initial diagnosis on Davis was four weeks, which would have him returning in about a week.

Vogel said that Davis got in a lift but did not practice with the team on Thursday. He also noted that Davis will not suit up against the Pacers on Friday and that the team will have an update on their All-Star forward soon.

Davis knows better than anyone that he doesn’t need to rush back. The Lakers need him healthy down the stretch for another postseason run.

“Even though it’s hard to sit out and watch the team struggle and you want to get back on the floor and play, that’s why you have the medical staff and your team around you,” Davis told Harrison Faigen of Silver Screen and Roll last month. “To protect you from yourself. You always want to make sure that you’re going out there fully healthy.”

Marc Gasol is also out for Friday’s, missing his third straight game because of the league’s health and safety protocols. Vogel said there is no timeline for Gasol’s return.

With both Gasol and Davis sidelined, there will be plenty of minutes for Jones to prove he belongs with the trade deadline — March 25 — and buyout market quickly heating up.

LeBron James Says It’s ‘Go Time’

lebron james

GettyLos Angeles Lakers star LeBron James.

In Year 18, James enjoyed the mid-season break more than most. James played just 13 minutes in the All-Star game and was able to get in some well-deserved rest during the hiatus.

“It’s go time,” James told reporters Thursday. “It’s time to get prepared and making that turnaround, that last lap going into the postseason. … I’m not into looking ahead saying, ‘OK, let’s take this off, take that off.’

“Nah, it’s go time for me.”

James is averaging 25.8 points, 8.0 rebounds and 7.8 assists this season, inserting himself firmly into the MVP conversation.

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