Versatile forward Jarred Vanderbilt is quickly turning into an absolutely vital piece for the Los Angeles Lakers. Likely the least known of the three players the Lakers received from the Utah Jazz in the trade deadline deal involving Russell Westbrook, Vanderbilt is already making a massive impact.
In the Lakers’ 27-point comeback victory over the Dallas Mavericks, Vanderbilt was everywhere. He finished with 15 points, 17 rebounds and four steals while being the primary defender on Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic most of the night.
After the game, Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd spoke on Vanderbilt’s impact on the game, adding that they all knew what he was capable of from his previous stops but simply couldn’t stop him, via Grant Afseth of DallasBasketball.com:
“He killed us. He kicked our ass tonight, offensively and defensively. Being able to rebound the ball and he killed us on of the boards, and we’ve seen that before in Minnesota and then also in Utah. So we knew that’s what he did, and he did it at a high level.”
Vanderbilt’s 17 rebounds were a season-high and the second-most of his entire career. The Mavericks have an undersized frontcourt so Vanderbilt, Anthony Davis and LeBron James were able to feast on the glass, combining for 40 rebounds with 15 of those coming on the offensive end.
As Kidd noted, what Vanderbilt does is not a secret around the league. He works hard on the glass, defends at a high level and plays with a high motor at all times simply outworking the opposition and the Mavericks fell victim to that.
Vanderbilt’s defensive versatility has helped the Lakers tremendously as he gives the team a primary defender on the league’s toughest superstars to guard and Luka is at or near the top of the list in that regard. Vanderbilt helped limit the NBA’s leading scorer to 26 points on 10-of-22 shooting while also helping to cause six turnovers from the MVP candidate and being a major catalyst to the Lakers’ huge win.
Lakers’ Jarred Vanderbilt wanted to make Luka Doncic ‘uncomfortable’
It is impossible to shut down a superstar the caliber of Doncic, but Vanderbilt did about as good of a job as is possible.
When discussing it, Vanderbilt noted that his entire mindset was to just make Doncic uncomfortable. Vanderbilt spoke about Doncic getting into a rhythm and being impossible to stop once he’s in the zone so he did everything he could to prevent him from getting there.
The Lakers’ defensive ace spoke about trying to tire Luka out by picking him up full court and just being physical with him all game long without fouling. Ultimately it helped the Lakers come out with the win.
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