Reasoning: He just passed Wilt Chamberlain to be number 5 all time in scoring while putting up 44 against the Blazers in Staples. The Lakers got off to a rocky start, but Lebron seems to be getting more and more assertive as he isn’t waiting for these players to come of age around him. He’s showing them exactly what it means to be King, and how they are going to have to work to get there. This isn’t something lost on the Lakers team as virtually everyone has gotten better this season aside from Brandon Ingram, he is becoming the Lakers Andrew Wiggins with every passing game. Lebron isn’t taking his regular season as serious as i though he would which could mean he still believes he has a chance to win in the playoffs with this team. He’s coasting to a 27-7-7 season as of now and the Lakers are now above .500 after 15 games looking to still have a chance at being a top 4 seed out west led by the King.
Stats: 27.3 PTS 7.7 REB 7.2 AST FG% 51.0% USG% 30.3%
Reasoning: He finally fell off as the Lakers MVP but between Lebron picking up his game of late, and addding Tyson Chandler reducing the glaring need for JaVale Mcgee to be in the Court has no lowered his standings on this team. He is still a DPOY candidate and is still blocking shots and absurd pace but he isn’t the biggest reason for the Lakers recent success. This team was still built unintentionally to let him have a career best season, and he will capitalize on itfor the rest of the year as the Centers for the Lakers will thrive for 48 minutes, playing with great passers and offensive minded players. His stats and play time have taken a major dip since the addition of Tyson Chandler which have affected these rankings drastically, and will continue to do so throughout the season.
Stats: 13.9 PTS 6.9 REB 2.7 BLK 0.9 STL USG% 19.9%
Reasoning: He’s playing how Brandon Ingram was expected too, he’s the clear cut second best scorer on this team. He isn’t the second best player and doesn’t have the highest ceiling, but he is another player who is perfect for this team because of his aggressive style. They have a ton of guys willing to pass they needed someone to step up and score consistently outside of LeBron. Kuzma’s biggest weakness is on the defensive end and the fact that aside from being the benefit of fast break opportunities he isn’t contributing as much across the board as we’d like.
Stats: 17.0 PTS 5.0 REB 47.0 FG% USG% 22.3%
Reasoning: Undefeated since he has joined the team, i know the article i put out before seemed overzealous this Chandler isn’t the 2011 Dallas version but yet he contributes exactly what i expected him too. Coming in for JaVale Mcgee gives him a much needed breather and break, it also has made the defense more stout as their isn’t a drop off from Starting to Bench Center. The Lakers can now play their style for a full 48 minutes because of their team and lineup, they have the pieces to put just about any lineup on the Court. His value to this team is the ability to play a full 48 minutes with a center on the court that won’t be under-sized, allowing them to clog up the paint successfully.
Stats: Not Important
Reasoning: His stats still don’t scream MVP but a lot of that is due to poor coaching. With Rondo now out at least 5 weeks, Walton will have no choice but to play Lonzo 30+ minutes a night. This will be a recipe for success for the Lakers as Zo finds himself using the ball the least for his time on the Court to get his stats. Through these 15 games he’s been 10th on the Lakers in Usage. Averaging just under 2 and a half minutes with the ball on his hands while being on the court for 27 minutes a game. Both of those numbers have to increase for the Lakers to be successful. He has picked up his shooting across the board and now without the pressure of getting pulled every time he misses i expect his percentages to go up even further. He may also be the best defensive point guard in the league right now, or by the very least within the next few years. His biggest value to the team is on the defensive end, he is also a reliable playmaker. Putting the ball in his hands more and letting him work alongside Lebron is the key to longterm Lakers success.
Stats: 8.1 PTS 4.9 REB 4.7 AST 1.3 STL USG% 15.1%
Honorable Mention: Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson