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Players Grades: Lakers vs. Suns

Assessing every Lakers player’s performance from the team’s 127-109 loss to the Suns

Phoenix Suns v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

My word. That was awful.

The Lakers came out on Thursday against the Suns and never really looked interested in playing. The offense was vibes based, the defense was barely more than that and the result was predictable given those two factors.

It felt like one of those nights that are prone to happy in the NBA, but the Lakers have had them a lot this year and can’t afford to continue having them. Just a frustrating night that has become far too familiar.

Alas, let’s grade the loss. As always, grades are based on expectations for each player. A “B” grade represents the average performance for that player.

Cam Reddish

8 minutes, 0-1 FG, -5

I’m not going to grade Cam based on eight minutes before he didn’t play in the second half with injury. I will say I liked the vibe of the starting lineup a lot more with Jarred Vanderbilt in his spot.

Grade: INC

LeBron James

24 minutes, 10 points, 9 assists, 5 rebounds, 1 steal, 3-11 FG, 0-4 3PT, 4-7 FT, -25

One of the underlying storylines of the last week of games has been that LeBron looks like he really doesn’t care. You can interpret that however you want, but it wasn’t great. If LeBron looks like this, you won’t win games.

Grade: F

Anthony Davis

32 minutes, 13 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks, 6-11 FG, 0-2 3PT, 1-1 FT, -24

If there’s anyone who gets a pass for his performance, it’s AD. He’s been carrying the team for a while even through LeBron’s laissez-faire stretch. That doesn’t mean tonight was good, I’m just less annoyed about it than I am LeBron’s game.

Grade: F

Taurean Prince

28 minutes, 11 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 4-10 FG, 3-8 3PT, -30

Prince is neither the problem nor the solution when it comes to the Lakers. He’s fine. He’s not going to be the guy to lead you out of a tough night and he’s not going to be the guy to bog you down.

But if he pump fakes another open 3-pointer only to then take a contested one....

Grade: D

Austin Reaves

30 minutes, 13 points, 1 rebound, 6 assists, 1 steal, 4-7 FG, 2-3 3PT, 3-3 FT, -23

Hey, Reaves’ 3-pointer is back! Slump busted! All good news, right!?

Yeah Reaves had just a funky vibe to him tonight. He made some really, really bad decisions, whether on pick-and-roll passes to Anthony Davis or forcing the issue when the team didn’t have numbers on a fastbreak.

His stat line is generous relative to his level of play tonight.

Grade: F

Max Christie

25 minutes, 14 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 4-8 FG, 1-3 3PT, 5-6 FT, -2

I actually enjoyed that Christie got an extended run against Devin Booker on Thursday. Those are the matchups and situations he needs exposure to.

Now, he wasn’t very good at it. But I don’t think anyone really expected him to be. You want your young guys to get chances to learn against players like Booker. It’s a sink or swim situation and I thought there was enough swimming mixed in with the sinking.

Grade: D

D’Angelo Russell

27 minutes, 19 points, 1 rebound, 6 assists, 2 steals, 7-14 FG, 3-7 3PT, 2-4 FT, +2

The best player of the night for the Lakers and I’m not sure it’s close. Even before garbage time, he looked like he gave a damn, a stark contrast to his teammates. Sure, much of his counting stats came in garbage time, but I also think that could be one of the wins of the night is seeing him look like his old self.

If he carries that over into the next game, even better. Garbage time can have some positives come out of it.

Grade: B

Jarred Vanderbilt

29 minutes, 6 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 2-5 FG, 1-3 3PT, 1-4 FT, -1

The other positive from the night was Vando looking as spry as he has this season. He also played garbage time and I think that also helped him. If he looks like this and can consistently play north of 15 minutes per game, which he couldn’t upon his return, then he should be starting.

Grade: B-

Jaxson Hayes

13 minutes, 6 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 block, 3-3 FG, +1

That second quarter pretty much is exactly what Jaxson Hayes is. He can fly around the court and dunk but also he can foul at a record pace and constantly be out of position as well. He should not be on this team and should not be getting any more minutes.

Grade: F

Skylar Mays

12 minutes, 12 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 steal, 4-5 FG, 2-2 3PT, +9

I won’t put too much stock into garbage time stats, but I will say he looked like someone who could sneak some minutes every now and then. The Lakers aren’t really in a position where they can afford to experiment much but you can see why they were excited to have him.

Grade: B

Jalen Hood-Schifino, Dyland Windler

Both played in garbage time, neither played enough to get a grade.

Thursday DNPs: Maxwell Lewis

Thursday inactives: Christian Wood, Rui Hachimura, Colin Castleton, Gabe Vincent

You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.

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