In a break from their traditional approach to manning the center position, the Los Angeles Lakers are expected to rely on some combination of JaVale McGee and Moritz Wagner, and Michael Beasley and Kyle Kuzma in small-ball lineups.
However, Wagner, who the Lakers selected with the 25th pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, has been grounded before he could ever gain much traction. A knee contusion suffered during Las Vegas Summer League lingered into the offseason and kept Wagner off the court for preseason.
“It impacted me in a way that I was limited on the court to a certain extent,” Wagner previously said of his injury. “Obviously it’s frustrating, but it’s part of it. I’m very excited to get healthy fully and get this started.”
Wagner has since begun some activity as the Lakers close in on tipping off the season this week. “He can do non-contact in practice and more of a controlled setting, contact 3-on-3 type of thing,” head coach Luke Walton said.
“He’s got to start getting his wind back and knock off some of the rust. He did all the non-contact stuff.”
Considering the Lakers are cautiously bringing Wagner back, coupled with the time off, he presumably is at least a couple weeks away from potentially seeing time on the court.
Wagner averaged 14.7 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in three California Classic Games. Then averaged 10.3 points and 8.0 rebounds in three Las Vegas Summer League games.
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