Vladimir Radmanovic was a member of the Lakers' starting lineup to begin the season. But 12 games ago, Phil Jackson made the switch to Luke Walton, citing the fact that he wanted to see more passing and playmaking out of his team's offensive sets.
Going from a starter to a reserve wouldn't have been that big of a deal, if Radmanovic was still getting some minutes. But he wasn't. Vlad went from averaging over 21 minutes a game down to zero for the first two after Phil made the switch, and he's only played more than six minutes in five of the last 12 games. So maybe it's not surprising that he was more annoyed than happy after his performance off the bench against the Blazers on Sunday.
Radmanovic scored 16 points in 18 minutes off the bench, finally getting some action due to Luke Walton missing the game with a foot injury. Afterwards, Vlad seemed less than excited about his effort.
“It was just one game,” he said, looking dour and annoyed when stopped by a group of reporters. “I took advantage of the chance I got. That’s basically it. There’s no big talk or philosophy about it. It is what it is.”
“The position I’m in right now is really frustrating,” Radmanovic said. “I’ve tried not to bring it up because we have something really great going on here. But for me personally, from starting and playing decent I believe, to not playing at all is something im still trying to understand and figure out. Whenever I get a chance to play, as a professional, I have to contribute as much as I can.”
It's not a stretch to see where he's coming from. Vlad-Rad feels that he can contribute like this every game, so he's unhappy sitting on the bench, and performances like this just further that theory. Hopefully the part about him staying ready and being professional was sincere, because with Walton out indefinitely, he's likely to get plenty of opportunities to show what he can do in the coming weeks.