With Dennis Schröder’s return ‘uncertain,’ Lakers leaning on depth to compete – Orange County Register | #Bitcoin | #BtitcoingSecurity | #BitcoinHacking

It’s been the custom for the season, but the Lakers have had the great fortune to not have to deal with much of it.

When the league’s COVID-19 protocols are involved, it’s often hard to tell just how long a player or staff will be missing. That’s what the Lakers are saying now about Dennis Schröder, their 27-year-old point guard who started every game until Thursday night, when he was a late scratch against Brooklyn. He didn’t practice on Friday and has been ruled out for Saturday’s game against Miami, but the Lakers are unsure when he’ll next be able to suit up.

“It’s still uncertain what the timeline is going to look like,” Coach Frank Vogel said. “For now, all I can really tell you is that due to health and safety protocols, he’s still out.”

Facing the Heat for the first time since last year’s NBA Finals, the team couldn’t say if Schröder is out for that game, either. He’s only the second Lakers player who has missed time due to COVID-19 protocols: reserve guard Alex Caruso missed five games early in the year.

That’s unwelcome news for the Lakers, who are now facing an immediate future without Schröder or All-Star big man Anthony Davis. The duo has averaged a combined 36.7 points, 12 rebounds and 7.3 assists this season – a hefty chunk of production that the team is hard-pressed to replace. At the very least, they’ll be able to plan for Schröder’s absence on Saturday, as opposed to adapting on the fly.

“We have plenty of depth there to win games. … Our whole team is sort of adjusting to new roles,” Vogel said. “Everybody has got to do a little bit more with Anthony out and with Dennis out. Nobody should have to do a lot more.”

That applies in particular to LeBron James, whose usage (30.9 percent) is on the rise. Vogel said he doesn’t want to add more to the 36-year-old’s plate, but more has been added: In the last six games (Davis has played in one-and-a-half of them), James has averaged 27.5 points, 10 rebounds and 8.3 assists while playing 36.6 minutes (including two overtimes).

The Lakers are looking for more aggression from the whole team on offense, including a willingness to move without the ball, to fire without hesitation when open, and to attack aggressively. Forward Kyle Kuzma said when LeBron James plays without Davis, the four-time league MVP can set the tone with that mentality.

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