The injury bug hit the Los Angeles Lakers early on, contributing to their 0-2 start to the 2022-23 season. A third of the roster grappled with health issues going into Opening Night with Troy Brown Jr., Thomas Bryant and Dennis Schroder missing the first two games of the new campaign.
Schroder and Bryant will be sidelined for another few weeks after both needed thumb surgery. However, the Lakers upgraded Brown’s status to “probable” ahead of Sunday’s matchup with the Portland Trail Blazers and the 23-year-old is likely to make his official season debut during the clash.
Brown’s two-way game will be a boost to both the team’s already solid defense and still struggling offense. Before the game with the Blazers, the 23-year-old wing described what he has to offer once he comes on the floor donning Purple and Gold, via the Lakers’ YouTube channel:
“Defensively just plugging in gaps using my length. I see a lot of guys driving like through the nail — just being at that nail, being able to stunt, give guys like a quick second just to get back in front of the pick and rolls even on the X-outs, on the back sides. Just being able to play that and force teams to make those hang passes, to buy us more time to get into sets. I feel like a lot of guys are like driving and penetrating and we don’t have a lot of length to recover. So that’s the biggest thing for me defensively and then offensively, just being able to create, being able to make plays rather and then obviously be able to shoot itself.”
At 6-foot-7, Brown will certainly add the much-needed length at the wing where the Lakers’ roster is particularly understaffed. As Max Christie is learning the ropes in his rookie year, LeBron James and Juan Toscano-Anderson are L.A.’s only two players who have the size and athleticism to guard the opponents’ star wingmen.
That forced head coach Darvin Ham to assign some of James and Toscano-Anderson’s defensive responsibilities to the 6-foot-1 Patrick Beverley during the loss to the L.A. Clippers, who ended up guarding Paul George for long stretches of the game.
Brown should also help the Lakers to take advantage of some of the open looks they generate during games. The fifth-year forward knocked down 34% of his 3-point attempts over the last three seasons.
Davis listed as ‘probable’ for Blazers clash
Anthony Davis is also likely to play against the Blazers on Sunday. The Lakers listed Davis as “probable” for the game even though the 29-year-old forward seemed to have aggravated his back issue after taking a hard fall in the loss to the Clippers.
The eight-time All-Star missed three preseason games with back issues.
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