Perhaps the clearest sign that Jarred Vanderbilt is starting to round into form was his work on the offensive glass for the Lakers.
Vanderbilt has been at his best for the Lakers when he is active, flying around and being a force on defense, and that was pretty much what the Lakers got from him during their 127-116 loss to the Clippers on Tuesday night at Crypto.com Arena.
“I try to go as much as possible,” said Vanderbilt, who collected six of his nine rebounds on the offensive end. “Sometimes if the numbers are down, try to get back. But it’s kind of putting that pressure on the offensive glass, trying to create advantages and get extra possessions for the team.”
Vanderbilt has played in just 24 games for the Lakers this season while recovering from a left heel injury.
The all-around effort he exhibited in which he scored 12 points, blocked one shot and had three steals suggested he is back to playing at the high level the Lakers saw last season.
Not yet, he said.
“I’m still working my way back,” Vanderbilt said. “I still feel like I’m getting my legs under me, but each and every game I feel like I’m getting better. Just to try to get my feel back, get my rhythm back and just kind of slow down a little bit. I think my feet are kind of moving faster than I would like right now.”
Vanderbilt was good on defense, too, at times guarding Kawhi Leonard or Paul George, two of the Clippers’ top offensive weapons.
But Vanderbilt said he’s still trying to get right, saying he doesn’t have a timetable on when that will happen.
“I mean, right now, it’s midseason for a lot of guys. But for me it’s still getting back into that midseason form,” he said. “So, like I said, each and every game I feel like it’s kind of got better. So, keep doing the right things and keep progressing.”