The Los Angeles Lakers are fighting for their postseason lives right now and have little room for error at this point in the season. They have a massive game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday, but they might be without starting point guard D’Angelo Russell.
Russell is now questionable for the game due to right hip soreness.
D’Angelo Russell (right hip soreness) is questionable for tonight’s game vs. Oklahoma City.
— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) March 24, 2023
The 27-year-old recently sat out six straight games due to an ankle injury, and he now has a different ailment he’s dealing with.
Los Angeles is already without LeBron James, so losing another ball-handler like Russell would be a major blow. Since rejoining the Lakers, Russell is recording 18.6 points, 3.1 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game while knocking down 47.1 percent of his shots from the field and 39.5 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc.
Russell’s possible absence could mean more work on the ball for young guard Austin Reaves, who is in the midst of a phenomenal stretch. Over his last 12 games, the Arkansas native is putting up 18.3 points, 3.1 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game on 56.8 percent shooting from the field and 41.0 percent shooting from deep.
Including the Lakers, four teams in the Western Conference have identical 36-37 records. The Lakers are currently in 10th place, right above the Thunder, who are also 36-37, in 11th.
Due to how tight the conference is at the moment, every game is crucial for L.A., especially ones against other teams that are fighting for postseason spots.
While the Lakers are certainly hoping for some success in the present, they are also surely looking ahead to the future. Russell is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, but he’s reportedly looking to be the team’s point guard of the future.
L.A. seems to feel the same way, as it was recently reported that it has “strong interest” in bringing him back next season.
The Lakers are apparently planning to run things back next season with their current core and don’t have any plans to pursue All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, who has been heavily linked to the franchise in the past.
After Friday’s game, the Lakers have two straight games against the Chicago Bulls. Hopefully, Russell will be available for those matchups.