Ranking of the most impactful players 20 games in

The Los Angeles Lakers are 10-10 in the first 20 games of the 2021-22 NBA season.

While this is far from optimal for a team that entered the campaign with league aspirations, the team rarely played with everyone available.

LeBron James has been back and forth with injuries and most recently a one-game suspension. Anthony Davis missed his first game of the season with a fever. Trevor Ariza and Kendrick Nunn, two players who are expected to play a key role in the rotation, have yet to play this season. Austin Reaves broke into the rotation but was injured.

It hasn’t been pretty for the Lakers, but there are still plenty of games left. As the season hits quarterback, here’s how the Lakers rank against each other:

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Kent Bazemore had high expectations at the start of the season as he was one of the few two-way players in LA signed in free agency.

However, having been a staple in the starting lineup, Bazemore is no longer in the rotation and hasn’t registered a minute in the last three games.

Bazemore’s offensive production fell off a cliff this year. He is averaging 4.6 points while shooting 28.6% at depth, well below his 40% clip last season with the Golden State Warriors. Missing layups and 3 airballs have summed up his season so far, and his defense just hasn’t been good enough to warrant playing.

(AP Photo / Ringo HW Chiu)

Rajon Rondo, similar to Bazemore, hasn’t been good enough at either end of the pitch so far. The only bright spot for Rondo was his chemistry with Anthony Davis in the two-man game.

Other than that, Rondo is largely passive on offense. It shoots 30% overall and 29.2% deep. He can still facilitate the attack but only in spurts.

He arrives higher than Bazemore because of this factor, although both players can always turn things around.

(AP Photo / Mark J. Terrill)

If the Lakers didn’t have injury issues, DeAndre Jordan likely wouldn’t see the ground. But due to injuries to LeBron, Davis and Ariza and the scarcity of the big guys on the roster, Jordan needs to get minutes.

However, he is a shell of himself. It can be used but only in bursts. Jordan grabs the rebounds at a high rate (16.7 per 36 minutes) but can only finish on lobs in attack.

Defensively, drop cover is his choice as he’s not fast enough laterally to do much else. He doesn’t challenge shots as much as he should, and ball observation has been a problem as well.

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Wayne Ellington has either had very close games – like against the Indiana Pacers – or really poor games. It is mainly the latter for the future goalkeeper of 34 years.

Ellington shoots 36.9% deep on 5.4 attempts. It’s not bad at all, but he needs to improve his consistency every night. Last year he hit 42.2% deep on more than six attempts.

Maybe more minutes and star familiarity will do wonders for him as the season progresses.

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Had the Lakers invested in more two-way players over the summer, Avery Bradley, who signed an unsecured contract just before the regular season began, wouldn’t be a regular incumbent.

Bradley has been pretty disappointing as a shooting guard, but that’s the theme of the whole list so far. It shoots 39.8% from the field and 37.9% from depth.

Containment of the perimeter on defense has also been a problem, but again the Lakers as a whole have been damaging on this side of the pitch.

(AP Photo / Marcio José Sanchez)

Dwight Howard plays spinning minutes early in the second quarter and some in the third, but he’s generally solid during this time.

His hands aren’t the best, which shows when he can’t catch passes firmly or finish close to the edge like he did before, but he’s still averaging 5.1 points and 4.9 rebounds. in 13.4 minutes which is generally more beneficial than Jordan’s. time at 5.

Howard also hits 71.4% of his 3s. This is of course at low volume, but these plans have shifted from real-time attempts to real-time attempts. Howard’s buckets against the Detroit Pistons were huge, and it might be worth tapping into with experimental formations.

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Talen Horton-Tucker has been an enigma through seven games. He’s been the top Laker in his first three games but has looked unrecognizable in the previous four.

He also has the smallest sample size in the group, but when he’s got the pace he’s demonstrated the potential impact he can have on the Lakers when he’s in full health.

Adapting to playing with LeBron, Westbrook and Davis will be key to his success on the road.

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No one would have thought Reaves would have such an impact as an undrafted rookie, but that’s the reality of the situation the Lakers find themselves in.

Injuries paved the way for Reaves to get more minutes, and he took the opportunity.

Reaves sticks to his role and excels at it. He doesn’t force the issue, which is why he fits in perfectly alongside the Big 3. He was one of those players where the stats don’t tell the whole story, so the Lakers need to use it more. on his return.

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Malik Monk’s 3-point percentage (32.6%) is not close to the 40% clip he bragged about last year with the Charlotte hornets, but he’s worth the minimum value LA paid for him this summer.

He’s had some defensive issues, especially when navigating screens and playing with the ball, but he’s shown he can level up when it counts, like against the Pacers.

Monk has also been a solid secondary creator alongside the stars. He has nifty moves that get him to paint, and he can end up with tough layups and floats on defenders. He’s been vital so far for this attack off the bench, despite some tough outs.

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Russell Westbrook had his moments in the purple and gold, but it was a roller coaster experience, to say the least.

Take charge of beating the San Antonio Spurs, lead a fourth quarter takeover against the Pistons and drop 18 points in the third quarter to the New York Knicks, all without LeBron, which is why the Lakers have it. acquired.

But the adjustment still needs more time to work, and the shooting and decision-making issues will need to be addressed as well.

Again, he’s only appeared in nine games for LeBron this season, so it’s possible the best is yet to come for Westbrook.

(AP Photo / Jae C. Hong)

Carmelo Anthony is a legitimate contender for the sixth man of the year. Of course, the league is far from determining, but Anthony would be on the roster if the season drew to a close.

Anthony was electrifying on the bench with 15 points per game while shooting a career-high 43.8% from deep on 6.5 attempts. Every time he shoots he is expected to enter. That’s how good he was.

For minimum value, Anthony was one of the best rookies of the summer.

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AD comes in at No.2. He posted solid numbers in James’ absence with averages of 24.3 points, 10.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 2.2 blocks and 1.2 steals, but it did not always translate into victories.

Davis must also refine his selection of shots. Too often he has been content with riders for someone of his size and talent. An 18.9% clip in depth is unacceptable.

(Photo by Andy Lyons / Getty Images)

The Lakers are 6-3 with LeBron in the lineup. This changes to 4-7 when he is absent. That’s all you need to know about who has been the best Laker this season.

Despite only playing nine games, James still shows he can be dominant when he wants to flip the switch, as Indiana discovered after scoring 39 points in a stellar overtime victory.

Los Angeles’ championship hopes rest on LeBron’s shoulders. He just needs to stay on the pitch as much as possible to give LA a chance.


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