Unveiling the Hidden Key: Lakers’ X-Factor in NBA In-Season Tournament Final vs. Pacers

Jarred Vanderbilt could be the Lakers’ best chance at slowing down Tyrese Haliburton in the in-season tournament title game.

Lakers' X-factor for NBA In-Season Tournament Final vs. Pacers, and it's  not Austin Reaves

The In-Season Tournament was met with initial skepticism once the idea began to grow legs, but the actualization and execution of the event has been successful. Players want the $500,000 prize pool for winning the NBA Cup and are playing like it. Fans are into it, treating this tournament like the big event it was billed to be. And soon, the world will be watching the the final of the inaugural In-Season Tournament take place on Saturday night when the Los Angeles Lakers and Indiana Pacers square off in a rematch of the 2000 NBA Finals.

NBA In-Season Tournament Championship: 3 key storylines before Lakers-Pacers  | NBA.com

The Pacers have been the fun, upstart young team capturing the hearts of basketball fans around the globe thanks to the scintillating, dazzling and genius play of burgeoning superstar Tyrese Haliburton. They lead the league in offensive rating and it isn’t close; their lead on second place is the same as the gap from second to eighth.

The Lakers might be the team that can actually slow them down, however. They rank seventh in the league in defensive rating. Anthony Davis is arguably the best defensive player in the league, regularly in two places at once. That is crucial when defending this potent Indiana offense, as is the on-ball versatility and off-ball disruption provided by LeBron James.

But there’s another player for Los Angeles who could make a major impact on this game. He certainly has since returning from injury in just the last three games. Who is the Lakers’ X-factor for the In-Season Tournament final?

Jarred Vanderbilt

jarred vanderbilt lakers

The Vandalorian, otherwise known as Jarred Vanderbilt, has been truly exceptional for the Lakers since he made his season debut on December 2nd against the Houston Rockets. Vanderbilt has only scored three points in three games played this season, but he is impacting the game everywhere else, especially defensively. In the three games Vanderbilt has played this season, Los Angeles has absolutely put the clamps on opponents.

When Vanderbilt is on the floor, the Lakers have a defensive rating of 101.3 points allowed per 100 possessions. That ranks in the 99th percentile of Cleaning the Glass’ lineup data. But that’s not all. Before Vanderbilt’s debut, the Lakers ranked 16th in rebound percentage, only grabbing half of available rebounds.

A three-game sample size is tiny, but Vanderbilt has long been one of the best rebounders in basketball. It’s hardly coincidence Los Angeles has pulled down 51.6% of rebounds since he’s been healthy, ninth in the NBA over that timeframe.

The film backs up the data as well. And this possession in the Lakers’ In-Season Tournament quarterfinal win over the Phoenix Suns encapsulates Vanderbilt’s value perfectly.

Vanderbilt begins the possession guarding Devin Booker, but a pick-and-roll forces Vanderbilt to peel onto Drew Eubanks on the roll. Vanderbilt cuts him off then switches onto Nassir Little after Eubanks hands it off to him. Little hands it back to Booker and Vanderbilt switches back onto Booker, making all that action Phoenix ran pointless and churning precious seconds off the shot clock. Vanderbilt then sticks with Booker on his drive and forces a Booker turnover and foul. He single-handedly stalled that possession.

The Lakers are going to need as much of that as they can against the Pacers. Haliburton looks like Steve Nash reincarnated and is an absolute maestro in pick-and-roll. Los Angeles needs its best defenders on him, a distinction that definitely applies to Vanderbilt. He will be absolutely vital for the Lakers if they want to win the In-Season Tournament Championship Game on Saturday.

Related Posts

Desatando la alegría: únete a la emoción de nuestro gran espectáculo de cumpleaños canino

Sección 1: Preparando el escenario El lugar está adornado con decoraciones vibrantes, creando una atmósfera festiva que complementa perfectamente el espíritu de la ocasión. Desde pancartas con huellas…

Una mirada reflexiva a la falta de aplausos de cumpleaños y el alcance limitado de mi celebración

Es normal desear una celebración feliz en el 18 cumpleaños. Cuando las cosas no salen como se planean, puede ser triste. Cuando nadie ve un video de…

La excursión diaria de Golden a la cuna de su hermana supera todas las expectativas (Video)

Cada mañana, se desarrolla una escena encantadora en la residencia de los Johnson. En este programa diario, el personaje principal es Golde, el hermano mayor simulado. Comienza a caminar…

Del rescate en la carretera a una salud radiante: el milagro inspirador de la transformación de un perro necesitado (Video)

Una niña llamada Florcita fue salvada de posibles corrupciones en una triste historia que demuestra cómo las personas pueden ser crueles y cómo las personas pueden ser…

Una historia desgarradora de la súplica desesperada de un perro abandonado y sin hogar pidiendo ayuda y un rescate transformador (Video)

Hoy en día, una figura deformada encima de un camino sinuoso, un movimiento suave en la espalda, el dolor se percibe a través de las hendiduras de…

Bulldog Bonsai: Superar los obstáculos de la vida con dos patas con resiliencia genética (vídeo)

Las dos pierпas detrás del silbato, las pierпas del árbol del paisaje, fυeroп ampυtadas recieпtemeпte. Tampoco teпía hυesos pélvicos fυпcioпales y deformacióп de la colυmпa vertebral por…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *