Similar to a number of teams around the NBA, the Los Angeles Lakers are currently dealing with a coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak with a number of players forced to miss games this past week due to health and safety protocols.
While the Lakers haven’t gotten to a point where they have fewer than eight players available and have to postpone a game, other teams have reached that point.
The NBA has made it clear that they want to avoid any more postponements, and because of that, they have changed some rules to allow teams to sign one replacement player via Hardship Exception for every player that is out due to a positive test.
The Lakers have already signed one player to a 10-day contract in Isaiah Thomas, at it appears more reinforcements are on the way. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, they are bringing back another familiar face in Jemerrio Jones as a replacement player:
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) December 20, 2021
Jones is a player the Lakers are familiar with having played for their G League team in 2018-19, also being called up for six games with the parent club. In those six games, he averaged 4.5 points, 2.2 assists and an impressive 8.2 rebounds.
The 26-year-old has played in 11 games in the G League this year and averaged 6.5 points, 3.5 assists and 8.4 rebounds.
At 6’5″, Jones doesn’t bring a ton of size to the table and he’s also not known as a scorer. What he will bring the Lakers over the next 10 days is a tough wing defender who also excels on the glass, which the team greatly lacks at the moment.
It’s likely the Lakers will add more replacement players in the coming days and one important note is that if they do, the signings will not count against their luxury tax.
Fizdale discusses need to be better on glass
With Frank Vogel currently out due to protocols, David Fizdale was the Lakers’ acting head coach for Sunday night’s game against the Chicago Bulls.
After the loss, he discussed the need for the team to be better on the defensive glass, which could be why they chose to bring in Jones.
“We got to box out,” he said. “I still got the visuals in my mind, just too many times a shot goes up and we just stand and turn and watch. And we got to go find bodies, especially when we got our small-ball group out there. They cannot spectate, Bron and Melo a lot of times are wrestling with those big guys and those smalls got to come back in and clean up some of those long rebounds and some of those rebounds around the elbow, free-throw area where you saw a lot of those tip outs ended up locating.
“So that’s something that we can remedy, that’s something that you can correct, that’s a controllable thing as Coach Frank always says. So we’re gonna keep showing them and keep this idea of holding teams to one shot and giving ourselves a great chance to get out and run.”
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