On his Instagram story, James shared the Lakers’ official announcement of the Vanderbilt signing. While he didn’t say any word, the superstar forward did make his feelings about the deal clear by adding several “Raising Hands” emojis on his social media post.
LeBron’s hyped 👀 pic.twitter.com/C2pe2eFXej
— Kit Guinhawa (@BeatKit22) September 19, 2023
Jarred Vanderbilt was a huge part of the Lakers’ 2022-23 turnaround after arriving in La La Land via a midseason trade with the Utah Jazz and Minnesota Timberwolves. While he struggled during the playoffs, there’s no denying that he was a big reason why the team even made it to the postseason after a rather horrendous start to the campaign.
The 24-year-old forward averaged 7.2 points on 52.9 percent shooting, 6.7 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.2 steals in the 26 games he played with the Lakers during the 2022-23 regular season. In the playoffs, his numbers fell to 4.6 points, 3.2 rebounds and 0.7 steals as he saw his playing time decrease as well. However, his presence remains important for the Purple and Gold, as he’s arguably their second-best defender after Anthony Davis.
Vanderbilt is expected to play a crucial role again in 2023-24 as the Lakers look to return to the postseason and get past the Western Conference Finals. They lost to the Denver Nuggets in last year’s conference finale. It surely won’t be easy for LeBron James and co., which is why they will need role players like Vanderbilt to step