3 Lakers Who Need to Play More to Avoid Another Loss to Nuggets

The Los Angeles Lakers need to give more playing time to these three players to have a shot against the Denver Nuggets.
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
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The Los Angeles Lakers are embarking on their playoff journey with a tough matchup against the reigning champs the Denver Nuggets. As significant underdogs, the Lakers have to play a perfect series and coach Darvin Ham needs to push all the right buttons for Los Angeles to pull off the upset.

Playing these three players more would be a great start to that.

Gabe Vincent

When the Lakers signed Gabe Vincent in 2023 free agency, they had the Nuggets matchup in mind. After Dennis Schroder departed in the offseason, the Lakers needed a replacement to defend the best guards on the opposing team. That is Jamal Murray in this case.

Unfortunately for Los Angeles, Vincent spent most of the season sidelined with an injury. They could only use him in 11 games, which he spent adjusting to the team and regaining his form and conditioning. He has struggled hitting shots but he still made a difference with his defensive intensity and effort.

Compared to the other guards on the roster, Vincent is a tough, physical defender. He likes to get into his opponent, go over screens, and be an overall pest on the defensive end. He is likely the best point-of-attack defender on the team. When defending the extremely dangerous Jamal Murray-Nikola Jokic pick-and-roll, the Lakers will need that.

Plus, Vincent played in 40 playoff games in the last two seasons with the Miami Heat. He is experienced, even against the Nuggets, whom he faced in the NBA Finals last season.

The only issue with Vincent is that he hasn't played over 18 minutes since he returned to action. Whether he can play more without a setback will be one of the most important X-factors of the series.