The Los Angeles Lakers roster looks completely different than it did a few weeks ago as they used the trade deadline to make upgrades that they hope will get them back into championship contention.
One of the additions was Jarred Vanderbilt and although he isn’t as big of a name as the others like D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley and Mo Bamba, he could very well end up being the most impactful.
One of the things the Lakers have been missing is a lockdown defender with length that can also help on the glass and that is the exact type of player Vanderbilt is.
With a frontcourt that already includes a pair of stars in LeBron James and Anthony Davis, Vanderbilt spoke at his introductory press conference about how he can complement them.
“I do. Just speaking with them, just having energy and rebounding and defense. I feel like that’s what I bring to the table. I think it complements those guys as well as the other guys on the team and like I sad, I’m just super excited just to be here and be able to show my talents.”
The Lakers switch a lot on defense, which Vanderbilt feels is one of his strengths:
“To me, I feel like it’s interchangeable. I think I’m able to guard multiple positions and I feel like we got a lot of guys that are super versatile and can be put in multiple positions. So like I said, I’m a basketball player at the end of the day. Just throw me on the floor and I’ll be able to figure it out. I feel like I complement a lot of people on this team just in general. Like I said, I don’t really look too much into the positions. Just throw me out there and just be a basketball player.”
This marks the third time Vanderbilt has been traded in his young career. The other three teams he played for – the Utah Jazz, Minnesota Timberwolves and Denver Nuggets – are all small markets though. He was asked if he feels added pressure playing in L.A. and he welcomes the challenge:
“I wouldn’t say pressure but the energy is different. A lot of eyes, a lot of expectations for us. But as a basketball player, this is what you live for. To play in the big moments, big stages and like I said, I’m super excited to be here and doing whatever I can to help this team win.”
In 54 games for the Jazz this season, Vanderbilt was in the midst of a career year averaging 8.3 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 24.1 minutes. The hope is that the 23-year-old will be able to maintain that production in L.A. and perhaps even continue to blossom playing next to two stars in James and Davis.
Reaves happy with Lakers’ energy following trade deadline
Now that the trade deadline has officially passed, all of the speculation regarding who will and won’t be dealt can end and the focus can shift back to basketball. Lakers guard Austin Reaves is happy about that, talking about how pleased he is with the team’s overall energy.
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