4 Lakers Playing For Their Jobs in Game 4 Against the Nuggets

With the team down 3-0 against the Denver Nuggets, these four Los Angeles Lakers will be playing for their jobs in Game 4 on Saturday.
D'Angelo Russell is likely playing for his job in Game 4.
D'Angelo Russell is likely playing for his job in Game 4. / Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
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2. Gabe Vincent, PG/SG

After missing the majority of the regular season due to injury, Lakers fans were hoping that Gabe Vincent could be a real playoff contributor. After all, the veteran guard averaged 12.7 points (on .402/.378/.882 splits) with 3.5 assists and 1.4 rebounds in 22 starts with the Miami Heat last postseason.

Unfortunately, Vincent has been unable to re-discover his groove after returning. The ex-UC Santa Barbara product has been near-invisible thus far, averaging 1.3 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 0.7 assists while playing 14.3 minutes per night. He's only shot 33.3% from the field and has missed all three of his three-point attempts.

If that isn't bad enough, the 67 points he produces per 100 offensive possessions ranks dead last on the Lakers in the playoffs.

Vincent still has two years remaining on his contract at an average of $11.25 million per season. Regardless of what he's done in the past, it's hard to justify paying him that amount based on his current production. If he doesn't turn things around in Game 4, the Lakers could be tempted to use him as trade bait, too.

3. Rui Hachimura, PF/SF

Rui Hachimura was another player who stepped up during the 2023-24 regular season. Lakers fans felt confident about his outlook after he averaged 13.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.2 assists while shooting 42.2% from deep and a career-best 53.7% from the field across 68 games.

But instead of building off that performance, the former Gonzaga Bulldog has taken a step back. It's been tough to watch Hachimura, who's only averaging 5.0 points on .333/.333/.500 splits and 3.3 rebounds despite playing over 32 minutes per game.

He also owns offensive and defensive ratings of 77 and 122, respectively, highlighting how Los Angeles is worse on both sides of the floor when he's playing.

Time will tell if the Lakers attempt to move on from him if he can't get back on track. He's on the books for $17 million next season and $18.2 million in 2025-26, but it'll be tough to keep him around if his recent performances are the new norm.

After being one of the Lakers' better players last postseason, it's time for Hachimura to figure things out before it's too late.