Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham is considering a notable change to his starting lineup — and, no, he won’t be moving Russell Westbrook back into it.
Following Lakers’ practice on Tuesday, Ham was asked if Patrick Beverley — who started 14 games prior to his three-game suspension, which is now over — would regain his starting point guard spot. Ham was non-commital.
“We’ll see,” he said. “He’ll be in the mix.”
Schroder has started the past three games (two wins), averaging 12.7 points and 5.0 assists on impressive (if low volume) .478/.444/.923 shooting splits. That’s far more productive than Beverley, who is averaging a career-low 4.1 PPG while shooting 23.8% from downtown. The 34-year-old remains an elite perimeter defender and important tone-setter, but Schroder can replicate some of his feistiness.
Lineups with Beverley, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis have a net rating of -10.3 compared to +9.2 with Schroder running point alongside the two stars.
Schroder struggled in the Lakers’ deflating last-second loss against the Indiana Pacers on Monday, posting 8 points, 4 assists, and a team-worst -16.
Ham could theoretically turn to Austin Reaves or Kendrick Nunn, or start both Beverley and Schroder. He’s shown no signs of pondering putting Westbrook back with the starting unit. In fact, Ham has flatly stated his desire to see Russ win Sixth Man of the Year.
How Beverley, Schroder, and Nunn perform over the next few weeks could make a major impact on the franchise’s future. Beverley and Nunn are obvious trade candidates due to their mid-tier expiring contracts and the roster’s glut of small guards. Los Angeles could attach a 2027 or 2029 first-round pick to one or both in a deal — which would likely occur around mid-January when all recent free-agent signings are eligible to be moved.