It seems that every time the Los Angeles Lakers have taken a step forward this season, they have then taken two steps back under first-year head coach Luke Walton.
The team started off 10-10, and to many were the surprise of the NBA as they looked to possibly contend for a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Since that though they have gone just 6-23, and currently own the worst record in the Western Conference at 16-33 and the second worst record in the NBA behind the Brooklyn Nets. Their 16 wins is just one off their franchise-worst 17 wins from last season though, so it is hard to look at the season as a total failure.
The Lakers recent stretch of play has perhaps been their worst of the season, as they have lost seven of their last eight games. They look to bounce back from that Thursday night when they travel to take on a much-improved Utah Jazz team.
Starting point guard D’Angelo Russell will not be available for the game, as he continues to recover from an MCL sprain in addition to a calf strain and bone bruise. Russell claims the injury is not too serious though, and he could be back in the next week.
It is possible that the Lakers could be without starting power forward Julius Randle Thursday night as well, as he is currently dealing with a viral infection and is listed as questionable, via Mark Medina of the LA Daily News:
Lakers list Julius Randle as questionable to play tonight vs Utah (viral infection)
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) January 26, 2017
Randle has played in 44 of the team’s 49 games this season, although two of those games he missed were due to the birth of his first child in December. The 22-year-old is averaging a career-high 13.0 points per game to go along with 8.4 rebounds and 3.8 assists.