Your Los Angeles Lakers are reeling after a 2-0 start to the 2022-23 season. Last night, when the Lakers took on their vastly superior Crypto.com Arena neighbors the Los Angeles Clippers, they did their best to fend off the clips late, but the team unfortunately played just enough against Russell Westbrook in the fourth quarter to turn around losing with 103-97.
In a fresh, hot off the press video, Lakers 248’s Doug McKain unpacks LA’s miserable night. McKain notes that head coach Darvin Ham got Westbrook back on the floor late and benched the much better Juan Toscano-Anderson for a few minutes at the end of regulation, but when Ham fielded Austin Reaves for Westbrook it was a bit too late.
McKain notes that the Lakers had a tough night of shooting, going 9-of-45 from distance and 13-of-55 overall from beyond the paint.
Who actually had a decent night? Let’s unpack McKain’s player rankings.
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LeBron James: B
“In my opinion, in the first two games, he definitely settled for too many outside shots at the beginning. But when he attacks the color… he’s still as unstoppable as ever,” says McKain. “He still has that athleticism… You want him to be more efficient.”
Anthony Davis: A
“He was disruptive on defense, but he also produced offensively,” notes McKain. “Yes he did it but still, 32 minutes, 25 points, efficient. When he’s on the ground he’s still an elite player.”
Russell Westbrook: D
“Russ was definitely struggling on offense,” McKain notes. “Look, I don’t care if Russell Westbrook is playing a Santa Monica JV team, he shouldn’t be shooting six threes under any circumstances. And you can just feel that collective twitch in the crypt… He was more committed defensively, his defense against Kawhi Leonard was more impressive… Offensively it was an F, but he did some nice things defensively.
Lonnie Walker IV: A
“My biggest takeaway as … something to feel good about is Lonnie Walker’s performance tonight,” McKain muses. “I just love how slippery he is in color… He’s definitely attacking color a lot better than anyone named LeBron James on this team this season… It feels like he’s this year’s Malik Monk.”
Juan Toscano-Anderson: B
“JTA, I think defensively he’s so dedicated, he’s so active. The defense was very impressive at times,” says McKain. “He can definitely be a role player that this Lakers team can trust. He gives that emotional spark, he’s versatile.”
Tune in to see the rest of McKain’s player rankings (yes, he’s failing someone) and some of his other insights into the game!