The Los Angeles Lakers have had to fight through adversity this season and have still looked like one of the best teams in the league. As the first In-Season Tournament Champions in NBA history, the Lakers are currently sitting with a 14-9 record this season.
Whether it be one of the toughest strengths of schedule in the league, or the laundry list of injuries that have been suffered in the rotation, the Lakers have built-in excuses to not have the level of success they have had so far. They didn't take those excuses, though, and have proven that they are a legitimate title contender.
And best of all, the Lakers are getting even better as time has gone along. This team is starting to find its rhythm, whether it be because of more playing time together or because of players coming back from injury. Los Angeles is about to get yet another boost in that regard, as point guard Gabe Vincent is nearing a return to action, per Shams Charania of The Athletic.
"Guard Gabe Vincent is hopeful for a return as soon as Dec. 18 for the Lakers’ home game against the Knicks, according to league sources. Vincent has been limited to just four games this season because of rehabilitation from left knee effusion. He last played on Oct. 30."
Lakers may get Gabe Vincent back from injury next week
If Vincent is able to make his hopeful return next Monday then the Lakers will only have to play three more games without him on the roster. This is certainly promising news as the Lakers have been rather hush-hush about his injury and many worried that it would be more serious than initially thought.
Vincent's return opens an intriguing door for the Lakers. Los Angeles has played well without him and it isn't like he was lighting the world on fire before he got hurt. Granted, it was a four-game sample size, but those four games played into previous concerns that Lakers fans should have had about Vincent.
The next two months or so might be an audition of sorts for Vincent. The veteran point guard is going to have to earn his keep in this Lakers rotation and prove that he is someone who the team should keep on the roster for the entire season.
If the struggles continue, the Lakers likely won't hesitate to include him in trade packages at the deadline. Vincent's salary is the perfect filler salary to throw into a bigger deal, meaning that he is officially on trade alert.
But he cannot play too poorly, because if so, no other team in the league is going to want to take on the two extra years on his deal. It is an interesting balance, and that is what makes his return so intriguing. Either way, whether it be because of his own play or him opening trade doors, Vincent's return should help the Lakers down the line.
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