2024 NBA Playoffs: Scouting Report on Jarred Vanderbilt, LA Lakers Forward

Exploring the challenges faced by Jarred Vanderbilt this season.

by Nouman Rasool
2024 NBA Playoffs: Scouting Report on Jarred Vanderbilt, LA Lakers Forward
© Brian Fluharty/Getty Images

With the 2023-24 NBA season coming to an end this Sunday, Los Angeles Lakers will expect that Jarred Vanderbilt is back with them ahead of the postseason. The forward has had an injury-marred season, managing to play in only 29 games.

Nonetheless, it is his imminent return that sparks hope, given that the Lakers, currently in eighth spot in the Western Conference, jostle to move as high as they can in the pecking order of the Play-In Tournament, with rivals like Sacramento Kings.

The level of contribution from the role players becomes more and more important with James and Davis serving as the key to the Lakers' success. The Lakers are going to need help from Vanderbilt, who brought a reputation for being a solid defender and capable rebounder.

Standing 6-8 with a wingspan of 6-11, Vanderbilt is excellent at guarding from the guards to the bigs. This season, with a thrice-fractured foot that has cost her 12 games in all and limited her to an average of 20 minutes per game, Vanderbilt was able to register an average of 5.2 points and 4.8 rebounds, showing her feistiness and talent, most especially at the defensive end.

His experience playing in the playoffs, though he only made three appearances with averages slightly below his regular-season output, will still be heeded key as the Lakers aim for a deep playoff run.

Vanderbilt's Offensive Struggles

Offensively, Vanderbilt faces challenges.

His inability to create shots independently and a modest 29% three-point shooting rate reflect his limitations on the offensive front. However, his role as a reliable backup to Anthony Davis is indispensable, especially in managing the defensive load and maintaining team balance.

Vanderbilt’s potential playoff minutes are projected around 15-16 per game, akin to last season's averages. His return, though not confirmed as he recovers from a foot injury, is highly anticipated. The Lakers are expected to utilize his defensive skills to support Davis, allowing the star to focus more on offense without overburdening him on the defensive end.

As the season concludes this weekend, the Lakers and their fans are on edge, hopeful that Vanderbilt’s return will provide the defensive stability needed to advance in the playoffs. His ability to guard multiple positions could be a game-changer in their quest for championship glory.