Lakers News: Tyson Chandler, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Could Start Amid Struggles

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJanuary 16, 2019

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - JANUARY 11: Tyson Chandler #5 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts to a call in the first half of a NBA game against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena on January 11, 2019 in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images)
Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers, who have lost seven of their last 10 games, are shaking up their starting lineup.

Per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, the plan is for shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to take over for Josh Hart and Tyson Chandler to step in for JaVale McGee.

The 23-21 Lakers have fallen out of the top eight in the Western Conference due to their recent skid. The team has sorely missed LeBron James, who has missed the last 10 games with a strained groin he suffered during a Christmas Day win over the Golden State Warriors.

Still, the Lakers have had a few head-scratching losses, namely home games to the 9-35 Cleveland Cavaliers and 10-33 New York Knicks. The former defeat, which occurred Sunday, likely forced the Lakers' hand.

Hart has made just 28.8 percent of his field goals in his last seven games. Overall, his shooting numbers have dipped year to year from 46.9 percent (39.6 percent from three-point range) to 41.0 percent and 34.6 percent from beyond the arc.

The ex-Villanova guard and NCAA champion brings it on the defensive end, as ESPN ranks the 23-year-old second in defensive real plus-minus among shooting guards. 

However, the offense has struggled even with James in the lineup: For the season, the Lakers are tied for 21st in offensive efficiency. Caldwell-Pope can likely provide more on the offensive end than Hart right now. While his numbers aren't that much better than Hart's figures this season (42.0 percent from field, 35.2 percent from three-point range), he has averaged 12.4 points in 26.7 minutes since Dec. 16.

As far as the low-post change, McGee was stellar in his first 19 games with 13.2 points per game. But McGee has been in a mini-slump of his own lately, with just 5.2 points on 40.7 percent shooting in his last five games.

The 36-year-old Chandler isn't much of a scoring threat at this stage of his 18-year career, but he can still bring it on the defensive end. Per ESPN, he ranks seventh in defensive real plus-minus among centers.

The Lakers will next face the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday at 10:30 p.m. ET.

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