The Los Angeles Lakers have shifted their focus for the rest of the season to the development of their young players. Their first move towards that came in February when they removed veterans Timofey Mozgov and Luol Deng out of the starting lineup in place of Tarik Black and Brandon Ingram.
Since then, Luke Walton has sparingly used Mozgov as he has played in only two of the Lakers last 14 games and has not even been on the active roster for the last couple of contests. Apparently that will remain the case as Marc J. Spears of the The Undefeated reports that Mozgov will be shut down for the rest of the season:
Lakers recently shut down healthy center Timofay Mozgov to take a stronger look at their younger guys the rest of the season, a source said.
— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) March 14, 2017
This doesn’t really come as any surprise. With Ivica Zubac continuing his great play and Tarik Black also needing minutes, there really wouldn’t be any minutes available for the rest of the season anyway, and that’s before mentioning Thomas Robinson who has been unable to crack the rotation recently.
Mozgov’s massive four-year $64 million contract has been a source of contention this season for fans everywhere and is one of the reasons Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak were removed from their positions. He didn’t come close to playing to the level of his contract, but overall he had a solid season.
Mozgov averaged 7.4 points and 4.9 rebounds while shooting 51.5 percent from the field. He didn’t make the defensive impact Walton hoped for, but no single player would be able to turn around the Lakers’ defense.
Nonetheless, it looks like it will be all Zubac for the rest of the season and considering how he’s playing, the more minutes for him the better.