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What is fair to expect defensively from high-usage superstars?

Players like LeBron James and Luka Doncic do so much offensively that holding them accountable on the other side of the ball seems unfair at times. But defense still matters, though.

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NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Los Angeles Lakers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

NBA superstars have more impact on the game than just about any other athlete in any team sport. Sure, NFL quarterbacks have their hands in every play offensively, but there’s a whole other half of the sport they have no impact on. Even MLB pitchers aren’t expected to hit their own 98-mile-per-hour fastballs anymore. Hockey players are expected to impact both sides, but don’t spend nearly as much time on the ice as NBA stars are on the court.

That’s not even shade to those other athletes, either. Different sports ask different things of their stars, and that doesn’t in any way change how great they are at what they do. So calm down, hockey fans. It’s going to be ok.

But this week on “The Hook,” as Luka Doncic comes under some fire for the way the Suns attacked him defensively at the end of game two in their series, Aaron Larsuel and I discussed just what is fair to expect on that end from stars like Doncic (or the Lakers’ own LeBron James) who carry such outsized offensive burdens.

Honestly, it’s complicated, and depends on what each player can do physically, not to mention which position they play. In Doncic’s case, he, um, well, how do I say this... isn’t known for an incredible commitment to conditioning. If he’s going to be (rightfully) compared to some of the game’s absolute greats, he’ll need to improve on that side of the ball and, at the very least, not be so bad that teams intentionally go out of their way to go at him so often.

We also discussed the other second-round matchups, including Joel Embiid’s possibly impending return, the latest on Ben Simmons, a poll that shows how fans feel about Lakers leadership, and plenty more.

You can listen to the full episode below, and to make sure you never miss a show, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts.

And for a short-form recap pod, check out Lakers Lowdown, in which Anthony Irwin recaps the previous day’s news and gets you ready for the day ahead in LakerLand, every weekday morning on the Silver Screen & Roll Podcast feed.

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