Perhaps the biggest addition for the Los Angeles Lakers this offseason was former All-Star Brook Lopez, who they acquired in a trade from the Brooklyn Nets.
Through their first two preseason games, the Lakers have not been able to see the impact Lopez will have on the team as he missed both games due to a back injury.
The injury is not believed to be serious, but since he is a veteran and does not need much preseason action the Lakers aren’t inclined to rush him back.
According to Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters, Lopez has begun practicing with the first team but head coach Luke Walton doesn’t believe he will play in Wednesday’s game against the Denver Nuggets:
Luke didn't make it sound like he'd play Brook tomorrow though: "I don't want to rush him." He did start practicing him w/ 1st unit though https://t.co/YFmQv0z8xW
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) October 3, 2017
Lopez said himself that he feels fine and can play, but it appears he is targeting a return in Sunday’s game against the Sacramento Kings, via Lakers reporter Mike Trudell:
Brook Lopez: “I feel great. I feel like I could go right now.” Said he’s targeting Sunday’s game in Vegas to make his debut.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) October 3, 2017
Getting Lopez back is a big priority for the Lakers as he should have a big impact on both ends of the floor with his ability to protect the paint on defense and stretch the floor, knocking down threes on offense.
But with Lopez out it gives Walton a chance to take a look at some young players like Ivica Zubac, Kyle Kuzma and Thomas Bryant, who should all again see extended minutes if Lopez misses Wednesday’s game.