The Los Angeles Lakers have started the same lineup in all five games of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Golden State Warriors, but that’s changing for Game 6. Shortly before the start of a pivotal Game 6 — which the Warriors need to win or be eliminated — it was reported that the Lakers were making a move in the starting lineup.
Point guard Dennis Schröder has moved into the starting five, while forward Jarred Vanderbilt slides to the bench.
This isn’t surprising based on the trajectory of the series. Vanderbilt has struggled in his matchup guarding Steph Curry, and has seen his role dwindle. Schröder, on the other hand, has defended Curry fairly well, and been a huge part of LA’s aggressive offensive attack. He played nearly 29 minutes in Game 5, while Vanderbilt played fewer than 11.
Schröder is averaging 11.8 points, 2.0 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.0 steals per game in the series. But perhaps most important is that he’s shot 18 free throws ... more than any player on the Warriors, and more than any Lakers except Anthony Davis and LeBron James.
He also has a remarkable ability to get under some player’s skin, so that’s one to watch as we all hope that the Warriors can maintain their composure in this elimination game.
It’s always interesting when teams make lineup changes late in a series. Is it desperation/concern? Or simply making an adjustment? The Warriors, for their part, have used three different starting lineups in this series.