6 Lakers who could get axed from Darvin Ham's playoff rotation

Lakers head coach Darvin Ham could cut these players from his postseason rotation.
Los Angeles Lakers, Darvin Ham
Los Angeles Lakers, Darvin Ham / Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
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2. Jarred Vanderbilt

A foot injury has kept Vanderbilt out since Feb. 1, and the 6’8 forward has played just 29 games this season. He has been spotted working out and is expected to be evaluated during the final week of the regular season. The Lakers hope he can return, even if it is just to play a limited role in the playoffs.

Vando was a starter during last year’s run until the Golden State series in the second round. Head coach Darvin Ham began limiting his minutes and axed him completely for their final game against the Nuggets. His defense is a massive plus, but his lack of shooting can impact the offense and spacing.

Rui Hachimura’s stellar play down the stretch has cemented him into the starting five. It leaves Vanderbilt battling Austin Reaves, Taurean Prince, and Cam Reddish for minutes. LeBron James will increase his workload in the playoffs, and coach Ham is more likely to ride a hot hand. Minutes will be difficult to come by, especially for a player just working his way back after a two-plus month absence.

Jarred Vanderbilt’s defense will earn him an opportunity, but his offensive game could keep him glued to the bench. He struggled mightily against the Nuggets in the 2023 playoffs, and Denver could again be a problematic matchup if Vando is healthy.