Player Grades - Second Midterm

The Lakers are officially 2/3 of the way through the season. As threatened, here is the next round of player grades.

As before, these grades are not relative to a players' contribution to the team, but relative to an average NBA player. "C" is a passing grade: that is a player who can make most teams' top-8 rotation. "B" is starting-caliber.

Without further ado:

A - Team leaders going above and beyond the call

Lebron James - duh. Not much more to add to that. Previous Grade: A

B - Key contributors on either end of the floor

Anthony Davis - Not going to ding anybody for missing games....that's for a different type of player review. Besides, Davis has looked solid in his return and is having a very good year overall. Lakers need him to move up to "A" by the end of the season. If he continues to play like this then he will be. Previous Grade: B

Malik Monk - Monk has taken advantage of this opportunity to prove that he can be counted on at this level on a night-in-and-night-out basis, something you really couldn't say about him up until now. Defense may keep him off some teams' starting lineups, but he's showing that you could do worse than him in your top-5. Previous Grade: C

C - Good enough

Carmelo Anthony - Melo has been a fine addition to the team, providing offense off the bench and veteran leadership in the locker room. His defense is still Melo-like, but the effort is there, and sometimes that's enough to make plays. So why give him a "C" after all that? I can't give him a "B" because I just don't see him as a starter any more (grading scale), but he's a legit top-8 rotation guy. Previous Grade: C

Russell Westbrook - everybody's favorite whipping boy hasn't been completely awful this season, he just hasn't been a superstar. Or a star. Or all-star-caliber. Or even very good. In other words, he's been Dennis Schroder, which would be fine except that he's making $44m and the Lakers gave up their few remaining assets to acquire him. But I digress.... It's ironic to say that he's "good enough" considering the Lakers' aren't getting anywhere near what they're paying for, but this is strictly about on-floor production and he's still a solid NBA talent. Previous Grade: B

Talen Horton Tucker - While THT's age is really showing this year, he still does some things well enough to be an NBA rotation guy. Missing those games early were a major setback for him at this point in his career, but that's something he'll have to deal with at this level moving forward. Previous Grade: C

D - We appreciate the effort, but...

Dwight Howard - After a great career, Dwight is no longer a legitimate NBA rotation player. Some of that is due the changing game, but most of it is due to mileage. It was a great run. Previous Grade: C

Wayne Ellington - Having fallen out of the rotation to guys like Monk and THT, Ellington is probably done as an NBA rotation player. He can still give you 20mpg but that's about it. Previous Grade: C

Avery Bradley - I'm not mad at Avery Bradley. I'm really not. I never have to worry about his effort level and he doesn't make bad mental errors.....but he's done. He's only playing because the Lakers are hurting for guards. Still good value as a last-minute FA pickup, but the Lakers need an upgrade. Bad. Previous Grade: D

Austin Reaves - As Miss Teschmacher once said, "I know I'm gonna get rapped in the mouth for this, but...". Look, I get it. Reaves gives 110% in the layup line. He's not a lockdown defender but he plays good defense. Fans love that (heck, I love that). But here's the reality: he's a shooting guard that can't shoot in a league that generally expects shooting guards who can shoot. No, that doesn't mean he's worthless, but he's not going to make most teams' top-8 rotation either. Previous Grade: D.

Stanley Johnson - I seriously considered giving Johnson a "C" grade, as he's come out of nowhere to snag a starting role. Still, the Lakers are only 8-12 in games he's played and the more I watch him, the more I'm convinced he's just not a "shorten the bench" guy. Like Bradley, his PT is more a reflection of the Lakers' desperation than his own ability level. Also like Bradley, he's a very good value for a last-minute pickup. Previous Grade: n/a

F -Stay on the bench

Trevor Ariza - It's possible he may still have something left in the tank, but not this year. Too hard to get going after missing so many games at this point in his career. At this point, he's relegated to injury-replacement and spot-duty. Previous Grade: n/a.

Kent Bazemore - I'll give Bazemore a little credit: when he does play he still plays hard. But, yeah, he's done. Stick a fork in him. Previous Grade: F

DeAndre Jordan - I mean seriously. Worst signing since Mozgov. At least he's on a minimum deal? Previous Grade: F