The Lakers earned a much need win by defeating the Suns 122-111. Jarred Vanderbilt was tasked with guarding Phoenix star Devin Booker.
According to Lakers head coach Darvin Ham, Vanderbilt did a great job defensively. He described the player as a versatile defender, the kind of player that does not get much recognition in today’s game.
“I’ve said it from day one, he’s a Swiss army knife,” Ham said about Vanderbilt. “He’s able to guard smalls on the perimeter, bang with the bigs, come up with big rebounds and 50/50 balls, steals. He’s just versatile. His versatility.
“A lot of times in the game of basketball, specifically in the NBA we tend to talk about the guys and versatility offensively and the defensive versatility guys never really get that much shine. He’s one of those guys. He’s able to make plays with the ball in his hands, make the right reads. He was huge.
“We challenged him and he accepts that challenge, he actually asks for the matchup. Jordan Ott, one of my front of the bench coaches, obliged him, it was his scout tonight. That’s what you love. That’s what you want to see. That competitive edge being revealed by guy wanting to accept that type of challenge.
“Book is by no means an easy walk in the park. He’s going to keep coming and the shots you think you’re forcing into, the difficult shots, those are his bread and butter shots. You really can’t get discouraged, you have to have next play mentality and move on. And Vando was great. He picked up a few fouls but he stayed the course.”