Lakers News: Anthony Davis Discusses ‘Very Valuable’ Impact Jarred Vanderbilt Has On Both Ends
Jarred Vanderbilt, Lakers
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks have one of the best backcourts in the NBA, but it was the Los Angeles Lakers’ frontcourt of Anthony Davis, LeBron James and Jarred Vanderbilt that took things over on Sunday afternoon. Vanderbilt’s efforts in particular stood out on this day as he helped spark a comeback from 27 points down in the Lakers’ three-point road win.

Vanderbilt finished with 15 points, 17 rebounds and four steals in the contest while also hounding Luka Doncic all game long. The Mavericks star still finished with 26 points, but Vanderbilt played a huge role in him shooting below 50 percent and turning the ball over six times.

After the contest, Davis spoke about the impact Vanderbilt had not only on the Lakers’ comeback victory but on the team as a whole with how he plays, via Spectrum SportsNet:

“Very valuable. Being down 27, 14 at half, and he comes out and sets the tone for us defensively on Luka. Get us some steals, making him shoot some tough shots. His rebounding on both ends of the floor, it just started an effect for our group to lock in defensively. Like on the other end, he knows guys like to play off of him and make him shoot and he knows how to play off of it with his corner cutting and crashing the glass getting us extra possessions. His value for our team, you can’t even put it into words what he brings and does for us, so having a player like that definitely helps us.”

Every team needs those glue guys who fill in the holes, defend and do all the dirty work and Vanderbilt is that type of player. And as Davis would elaborate on, it isn’t just his individual work, but what that allows he and LeBron to do on the defensive end that is so valuable:

“It gives us a lot of freedom. It’s things that we probably couldn’t have done earlier because we were just so small. But now you got Vando, me, Bron and we’re able to talk about it on the floor like ‘ok do we wanna switch this? Vando how do you wanna guard it?’ and make it as comfortable as we can for all three of us, if all three of us are in the action […] If we need to stay in coverage, Vando is good enough where he’s able to fight over a screen and still chase and get back in front. So it gives us a lot more freedom on the defensive end to be able to have a bigger lineup with Vando in there and myself and Bron.”

The Lakers’ defensive ceiling is greatly improved with one of the best perimeter defenders in the league in Vanderbilt, along with one of the best interior defenders in Davis, not to mention LeBron who remains one of the smartest players capable of reading and dissecting offenses.

To be able to be versatile without sacrificing size and rebounding is something the Lakers haven’t had, but Vanderbilt makes it possible.

Vanderbilt wanted to bring physicality, intensity to Lakers despite early deficit

Early on, the Lakers simply could not get shots to fall and the Mavericks could not miss from deep. But Vanderbilt would not let the 27-point deficit keep him from bringing maximum effort.

Vanderbilt spoke after the game about wanting to bring more intensity and physicality to help flip the momentum of the game and ultimately it worked. The Lakers forward felt that the team needed that energy at the moment and focused on doing what he does best, creating turnovers and crashing the glass, to help change the game.

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