Lakers News: Latest on Nick Young Injury, Julius Randle’s Role and More

Though some might step back and wonder about making the playoffs in the Western Conference, the young Los Angeles Lakers have started to hit notable speed bumps on a lengthy journey. 

Notably, head coach Luke Walton has had to draw up game plans without key players due to injury and while getting as creative as possible on an odd road schedule. 

Most recently, the Lakers concluded a wild four-game road stretch in which they mustered one win. In the finale Saturday, the depleted, exhausted roster took on the Memphis Grizzlies and came up shy of the mark, losing 103-100.

The Lakers got an eye-popping and game-high 40 points from veteran Lou Williams off the bench—another sign the team's depth is much better than usual this year. But the absences of D'Angelo Russell and Nick Young have forced Walton to reach deeper than usual with guys such as Jose Calderon.

Russell's injury isn't anything new after the team shut him down to let him heal. Young, on the other hand, strained his calf at the end of November and has a complicated return timetable.

The Lakers got good news Saturday on this front, as the Los Angeles Times' Tania Ganguli captured:

Were this a year ago, fans would have met Young's fast recovery track with something close to a shrug. 

But in many respects, this isn't last year. Young has been incredible under Walton's guidance, killing off any speculation the team might move on from him and let the young guys take over. Through 18 games, he has averaged 13.3 points and shot 45.8 percent from the floor and 41.8 percent from deep—the highest shooting marks of his career.

Granted, those averages will regress, but it speaks to the job done by Walton and how much every player—young and old—believes in the system.

That's why it has to be frustrating for Walton to battle the four-game trip the NBA threw at him....

About the Author