Going up against the trio of Rajon Rondo, Dwyane Wade, and Jimmy Butler is hard enough of a task in the NBA. Doing so without one of your starting guards is even harder. The Los Angeles Lakers might not have D’Angelo Russell when they take on the Chicago Bulls on Sunday, as reported by ESPN.
Against the San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton opted to go with Jose Calderon as a starter in place of the injured D’Angelo Russell. He wanted to keep the rotation somewhat in tact by utilizing Louis Williams and Jordan Clarkson off the bench. Williams and Clarkson received a good amount of minutes and shots still, while Calderon only played 13 minutes.
There is a good chance that Luke Walton goes with that lineup once again if D’Angelo Russell is not able to play against the Chicago Bulls.
Since Jose Calderon is not a major threat on offense, Rajon Rondo will not have to play top notch defense immediately. The former Boston Celtics point guard, however, will need to step it up once Jordan Clarkson and Louis Williams check into the game. Both of those guards like to take plenty of shots.
Nick Young has been one of the most surprising stories in the NBA thus far this season. Long known as being a selfish player who is simply looking to put up shots, the veteran shooting guard has now developed into a team player. The belief was that he turned things around because he feared that the Los Angeles Lakers were on the verge of releasing him from the roster. Dwyane Wade is going to have his hands full on defense if Young gets off to a hot start.
Jimmy Butler is one of the best two-way players in the NBA, so the Los Angeles Lakers are going to need to figure out how to defend the talented small forward. Luol Deng has yet to really look like the player that is worth the approximate $72 million that the Lakers handed him over the summer.
Brandon Ingram has looked like the rookie he is at times, so the Los Angeles Lakers are still not sure what they are going to get on a nightly basis from the former Duke Blue Devils star. If Ingram wants to prove to NBA fans that he belongs in the big leagues, then keeping up with a player like Jimmy Butler will go a long way towards that goal.
At power forward, Taj Gibson can be a very good defender when he is focused and motivated. The high energy player will need to be at his best when he goes up against Julius Randle, as the latter is starting to develop into an all-around NBA star. Luke Walton has been trying to figure out how to get the most out of the highly versatile Randle.
Very few NBA fans are going to pay big money to see the center match up between Timofey Mozgov and Robin Lopez. However, they both can make a big difference with rebounding and interior defense. Of course, both Mozgov and Lopez could find themselves being on the bench more than they would prefer because their coaches might opt to go with smaller lineups.
The Chicago Bulls have won four games in a row, beating the Utah Jazz, Portland Trailblazers, Washington Wizards, and Miami Heat. They are hoping that they can get their fifth one over the Los Angeles Lakers. However, if the Bulls overlook Luke Walton and the young Los Angeles Lakers, that streak could come to an end on Sunday night.
[Featured Image by Harry How/Getty Images]