In a strategic move aimed at fortifying the Los Angeles Lakers’ 2023-24 roster, the power forward position has been solidified for the foreseeable future. Jarred Vanderbilt, the rangy frontcourt talent acquired by the Lakers in a trade deadline deal orchestrated by Rob Pelinka, has officially inked an extension, securing his spot in the purple and gold lineup for the coming years.
The decision to exercise Vanderbilt’s team option for the 2023-24 season was prompted by his remarkable performance during the previous season, which significantly contributed to the Lakers’ advancement to the Western Conference Finals. While not yet known for his offensive prowess, Vanderbilt’s defensive skills consistently rank among the best in the NBA.
With his agility and towering stature, Vanderbilt’s ability to defend multiple positions makes him an invaluable asset, particularly in postseason play. If he can expand his offensive repertoire beyond athleticism and become a versatile player similar to PJ Tucker, offering three-point shooting opportunities from the corners, the Lakers stand to become a more dynamic and formidable team.
During the postseason, Vanderbilt averaged four points, three rebounds, and nearly one block and one steal per game. Rui Hachimura, another key player with a recent contract extension, outperformed Vanderbilt offensively and often closed out games. However, both Vanderbilt and Hachimura are expected to play crucial roles in the upcoming regular season.
As the Lakers gear up for the 2023-24 season, the focus on defense remains paramount. Jarred Vanderbilt’s tenacity and ability to shut down opponents could prove instrumental in the Lakers’ quest for a championship in 2024. Defense, after all, has a proven track record of securing championships, and Vanderbilt’s presence on the roster underscores the Lakers’ commitment to this winning formula.