Lakers’ Trevor Ariza returns to injured squad

Trevor Ariza, left, defends LeBron James of the Lakers


Trevor Ariza, left, defends LeBron James of the Lakers

Well, this is what Lakers been awaited in this extremely frustrating season — sort of.

While much of this mess NBA season is over about which players are absent because of the league’s COVID-19 protocol (and, in LA’s case, the star’s absences). Anthony Davis with a knee injury), the Lakers finally got some good news when they added the Trevor Ariza wing to the team’s arsenal.

The situation is not quite what everyone expected, but Ariza is still very important to the team’s plans.

Coach David Fizdale, who replaced Frank Vogel while Vogel was using COVID-19 protocols, announced ahead of Sunday’s game against Chicago that Ariza would be on the floor for the first time this season. , after recovering from the battle Teams have a deadline an “arthroscopic amputation” on his right ankle. Translation: Ariza had ankle surgery, returned in early October, and is finally ready to play.

Fizdale: No COVID-19 updates yet

Fizdale met with the media before the game and said he has no new information on the team’s struggle with COVID-19, which is affecting every team in the current league. Not only Vogel is absent, but the Lakers are also absent Malik Monk, Talen Horton-Tucker, Avery Bradley, Dwight Howard and Kent Bazemore because of COVID-19.

“Save that for the office, guys, and Frank,” he said, “because I don’t have information on that opinion. But what I have is Trevor Ariza is active and will be rotating tonight.”

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Fizdale, however, has been careful to limit expectations on Ariza, which is probably smart because we’re talking about a guy who hasn’t competed since May of this year and is 36 years old, to start motion. Ariza played just 30 games and four playoffs for Miami last season, averaging 9.4 points with 41.1% shooting.

“Honestly, I don’t want to put too much weight on what he can add at the moment, just happy to see him back in the ring, I think we all are,” Fizdale said. “He was a complicated part of our filming and rehearsals with his voice. I knew it was frustrating for him, so I knew it would be great to have him out there, competing with us and burning his lungs. “

Lakers want to build small-ball squad around Ariza

It has long been clear that Ariza is an integral part of the Lakers’ long-term plans, hoping that, as a 6-foot-8 wing, Ariza can provide the defensive length to fortify the poor perimeter. of the team. D and snap to provide some space inside.

The idea has long been that Ariza could complete an ideal small-ball team for the Lakers, with Davis at the center and LeBron James at the forward.

In an episode of Backstage Lakers show Earlier this month, Vogel made it clear that Ariza is vital to that plan. When Davis was healthy, the Lakers wanted to play with a big man and delegate the remaining minutes of center to Davis.

“What we have to evaluate on a game-by-game basis, now that we’re playing at one center,” Vogel said, “there are times when we wait for (Ariza) to come back to play with him and Bron at the 3-4 and AD at 5? But we have enough wings to play Bron in 4th place.”

Now that Ariza is back, that’s what the Lakers have been waiting for, but here we are with Davis gone, for four weeks at least. Sigh. Lakers’ Trevor Ariza returns to injured squad

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