Streaky Los Angeles Lakers to get added late-season boost with return of key players

The Los Angeles Lakers are expected to get two key contributors back before the start of the NBA Playoffs.
Los Angeles Lakers v Los Angeles Clippers
Los Angeles Lakers v Los Angeles Clippers / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

As the Los Angeles Lakers continue to fight for their playoff lives, they're expected to welcome back two key contributors back into the rotation.

For much of the season, the Los Angeles Lakers have been quite streaky. There are times when they've looked really, really good to the extent that they could seemingly evolve into a contender in the Western Conference. Then, there have been other times when this team has looked like a mess and should probably have to business qualifying for the playoffs.

The good news is that of late, and over the course of the season, they've been more good than bad. With less than 20 games left in the regular season, the Lakers are projected to qualify for the postseason, one way or another, and only find themselves 3.5 games back of the 5th seed in the Western Conference standings. In short, there's hope for this team to either take a big step forward and emerge as a playoff in the postseason or for them to take a step back and endure another disappointing end of the season.

The Los Angeles Lakers could welcome back two key players

However, one encouraging element for the Lakers heading into the stretch run is the fact that they're expected to welcome back the return of two potentially key rotation players. A recent injury update given by Shams Charania has Gabe Vincent, who has only played in five total games this season, making a return to the lineup at some point in mid-March.

Vincent was a key signing for the Lakers during the offseason but has yet to make much of an impact on the team this year. The hope is that when he does return, he can work his way back to a point where he can give this team another element in the backcourt off the bench. At the very least, Vincent will offer some added depth to the point guard position.

Similarly, the hope is also that Jarred Vanderbilt will return from injury soon too as he continues to make strides in his recover.

Vanderbilt has been out of the Lakers' lineup since February 1, after suffering a foot injury against the Boston Celtics. He was originally slated to miss 3-4 weeks. That means he could be very close to a return.

Both these players could provide a spark for the Lakers down the stretch. Playing more consistent of late, the Lakers are 10-4 in their last 14 games. And if they want to make a move up the West standings, they're going to need more of this consistent play moving forward.

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