Los Angeles Lakers starting point guard Patrick Beverley is dealing with a “flu-like bug” and will not be available to play this afternoon against the Cleveland Cavaliers, head coach Darvin Ham has revealed, per Mark Medina of NBA.com. Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times reveals that the ailment is not COVID-19.
Medina adds that Ham has not made a determination on who will slot in as Beverley’s replacement. Ham will keep sixth man Russell Westbrook, who kicked off the season as the club’s starting point guard, in his reserve role, Medina reports.
Kendrick Nunn has seen his minutes more or less squeezed out of L.A.’s current rotation. A solid three-point shooter, he could make sense as the nominal starter, while LeBron James could operate as the team’s primary playmaker.
Austin Reaves, who at 6’5″ profiles as more of a shooting guard, is a better passer than Nunn and has already been a mainstay in Ham’s lineups. His three-point shooting has come on during his second NBA season. The second-year guard is connecting on 42.9% of his 2.6 triples a night at present, a relatively modest sum but still an elite completion rate. For the year, he is averaging 7.0 points, 2.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 0.6 steals across 24.3 minutes. He would make more sense as the starter here, and Nunn seems likely to get more run simply thanks to the absence of Beverley.
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Beverley has not had a great year, from an offensive perspective. The 34-year-old is averaging about as many rebounds (4.0) as he is points (4.6 a game, shooting an abysmal 30.3% from the field). His defense remains versatile and solid. Here’s hoping that, whenever he does return, Pat Bev can start knocking down some jumpers again.
Brad Turner adds that Lakers stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis are set to play after being probable and questionable, respectively. Power forward/center Wenyen Gabriel, who had also been uncertain earlier today, is now set to play, per Goon.
In other late-breaking injury news, All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell will play after all, per Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register. So will his All-Star backcourt mate Darius Garland, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Both players sat out Friday’s win against the lowly Detroit Pistons. So, uh, good luck, L.A.