The Los Angeles Lakers picked up a big win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night but did so without starting point guard D’Angelo Russell. He wasn’t the only injured Laker, however, as Julius Randle played through a hip pointer.
Randle made only one of his five shots, finishing with three points, five rebounds, four assists, and six turnovers. After the game, Randle admitted that the injury bothered him and with the Lakers set for a back-to-back, he may have to sit out.
According to Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters, Randle is being listed as doubtful for tonight’s game against the Golden State Warriors:
Julius Randle is listed as doubtful for tonight’s game against the Warriors (hip pointer). As you know, D’Angelo Russell is also out.
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) November 23, 2016
This is certainly not what the Lakers need in the midst of this difficult stretch of games. The starters have already had difficulties getting off to good starts this season, and have found things more difficult with Russell, the team’s best playmaker and leading scorer, out of the lineup. To be without Randle as well would make points even harder to come by for the first unit, which is not ideal against the NBA’s top-scoring team.
Should Randle need to sit out against Golden State, Walton will have a number of options at his disposal to replace him.
So far, Walton has preferred to leave his bench unit intact which would make someone like Thomas Robinson a possibility to start. If Walton were to break up the bench unit, Larry Nance Jr. would be the obvious choice or Walton could match-up with the Warriors by moving Luol Deng to the power forward spot and starting rookie Brandon Ingram.
The most important thing is that Randle gets healthy as he has been arguably the Lakers’ most consistent player this season and will need to be at full strength for the Lakers to continue their solid start to the season.