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SAD NEWS: NBA top star LeBron James of Lakers have decided to part ways with Darvin Ham head coach till he retires

May 20, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) reacts in the second quarter against the Denver Nuggets during game three of the Western Conference Finals for the 2023 NBA playoffs at Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

A player that the Los Angeles Lakers are desperately missing is Jarred Vanderbilt, who always provides a ton of energy and hustle. Specifically when it comes to the defensive end, he is someone who could take the assignment of guarding Jamal Murray in their first-round matchup with the Denver Nuggets if he was healthy.

Another underrated skillset that Vanderbilt has is attacking the glass and giving the Lakers second-chance opportunities. There was some newfound optimism that the forward could make his long awaited return in Game 3 at Arena as he continues to progress from a foot injury.

However, he ultimately was ruled out for Game 3 although it seems that the 25-year-old is on the cusp of coming back to the lineup. One thing that LeBron James is looking forward to in a potential return is the energy that Vanderbilt provides, something that the team does not have without him.

“Energy,” James said. “Super high energetic, defensively, some of the things he brings to our team, you don’t even teach. You just allow him to go out there and just be Vando. We don’t know for sure that we’re getting him back, we don’t know, we’ve only seen a couple reports. But he knows his body better than anybody.”

Hopefully the former Kentucky Wildcat is able to return at some point to provide that energy factor despite some pessimism about him being close to full strength. The Lakers are missing a glue guy, someone who does all the little things that gets the team going and perhaps he can come back before it is too late.

It was truly unfortunate when the 6’8″ forward got hurt back on Feb. 1 in Boston against the Celtics because he was rounding back into form after he did not look 100% coming back from his heel injury. Should Vanderbilt return, expectations should be tampered since he has not played in over three months and needs to work his way back into game shape. But he can provide stuff that no one else on the roster can, so a return would certainly be welcomed.

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