When it comes to the Los Angeles Lakers roster, the one glaring concern is the lack of 3-and-D wings. Rob Pelinka overhauled the roster during the offseason to boost the perimeter shooting, but the defense took a noticeable hit.
Trevor Ariza was one of the few true two-way players Los Angeles managed to sign, but he has to make his 2021-22 season debut after undergoing ankle surgery in the preseason.
Ariza has been hard at work rehabbing and he provided an update on where he is at after Monday’s practice.
“I’ve been as of late just starting to run on my own,” Ariza said. “Been on the court shooting. Going through movements that I will probably have to get used to doing again. Conditioning, sprinting, lifting, shooting. A whole lot of that.”
As far as a return to the court, though, Ariza did not have an exact target. “I don’t have a definite date or anything like that. It’s all on what the doctors clear, the way my body feels and responds to more work. That’s kind of like the gauge of when I’ll be able to be out there safely.”
Without Ariza, head coach Frank Vogel has had to mix and match his defensive coverages to fit the personnel that is available to play. Vogel did add that Ariza and Kendrick Nunn — who is dealing with a bone bruise in his knee — will have every opportunity to contribute when they are back and it looks like both already have sizable roles waiting for them.
Ariza discusses fit on Lakers
Ariza has been relegated to watching the Lakers from afar, though on paper it is not hard to see how he can make an impact. Even though he has not officially stepped out on the court, the veteran has been busy thinking and discussing playing scenarios.
“Absolutely, I’m always looking to learn. Looking to try to insert myself into different situations where I can see where I can help our team be better in certain situations. Again, that’s why I over-communicate. That’s why I’m on the sidelines going up and down talking to [Rajon] Rondo consistently about different scenarios, situations. Talking to the coaches about different scenarios and situations just to try to stay engaged so I don’t get too far out of what we’re doing and where we’re going, so when I am inserted and whenever I’m called on, I’m able to be caught up to speed.”
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