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Player Grades: Lakers vs. Hawks

Assessing every Lakers player’s performance from the team’s 138-122 loss to the Hawks.

Los Angeles Lakers v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Lakers played one of their most underwhelming games of the season and that's saying something, given how many performances can be nominated for that spot.

Yes, it was the second night of a back-to-back and correct, Anthony Davis did not play. Even so, you expect a better effort defensively and even with Davis out, the Lakers were still the more talented team on paper.

However, that's all they were because, on the court, the Hawks were in control the entire game and never trailed during the second half.

So, 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.

LeBron James

36 minutes, 20 points, 8 assists, 9 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block, 7-17 FG, 2-6 3PT, 4-9 FT, -6

James wasn't awful, but he didn't bring the appropriate energy, especially in lieu of Davis' absence. He was subpar on a night they needed him to be great.

Defensively, he had a nice chase down block but was not closing out on shooters, taking his time to get back on defense when the Lakers did score and his biggest impact was pointing at players and complaining about what was happening.

Now, a lot of players were giving a poor effort, but James was only marginally better.

Offensively, he had pockets of brilliance, but this was a lackluster display for the King that left much to be desired.

Grade: D

Austin Reaves

32 minutes, 28 points, 6 assists, 2 steals, 10-19 FG, 3-8 3PT, 5-7 FT, -15

Reaves scoring a season-high 28 points is the closest thing to a silver lining you will find in this game. The scoring is nice, but how many times did Reaves kindly follow Trae Young to the rim like a hostess showing a guest where they can sit? Did he crash the boards to help offset the double-digit rebounds Davis usually grabs? Nope.

He did have the second-worst plus-minus with a -15. Who had the worst? Taurean Prince. Yeah, that’s not a name you want to be compared to right now.

Grade: C

Taurean Prince

25 minutes, 7 points, 2 rebounds, 1 steal, 3-7 FG, 1-4 3PT, 5-7 FT, -18

What did Prince do well today?

He didn't shoot much and when he did, he wasn't converting. Darvin Ham has commended his ability to spread the floor, but that wasn't seen against the Hawks. He didn't facilitate the ball well and the only justification I see for him starting is because he's been starting all season. On a year when a team is underperforming, that's not a justifiable answer.

That's not Prince's fault; he plays when asked, but the performance he gave tonight was terrible.

Grade: F

Jaxson Hayes

24 minutes, 6 points, 6 rebounds, 4 steals, 1 block, 3-4 FG, -11

I almost feel bad for Hayes.

He hasn't played a shift in non-garbage time all January, but with Davis out, Ham opts to start him to keep Christian Wood in his standard role coming off the bench. He played more today than he has all season and it went how you imagined it would.

He was overwhelmed, looking like a baby giraffe learning how to walk on the defensive side of the ball. He finished fine at the rim, but going from the Russell and Davis pick-and-roll to Russell and Hayes is the biggest drop-off I can imagine. The Hawks took advantage and hopefully, the Lakers never play Hayes this much ever again.

Grade: F

D'Angelo Russell

27 minutes, 9 points, 5 assists, 1 rebound, 3-11 FG, 1-5 3PT, 2-2 FT, -11

Russell has been pretty good this season, but tonight? He was a shell of himself. With Davis gone, so was his offense. He had zero chemistry with Hayes and was unable to do anything offensively and as we know, he's average at best defensively.

It didn't help that the guard the Lakers are reportedly interested in, Dejounte Murray, played far better than him in this matchup, but that's beside the point. He was bad tonight and no context can justify it.

Grade: F

Jarred Vanderbilt

26 minutes, 12 points, 3 assists, 4 rebounds, 6-6 FG, 0-1 FT, -9

Vanderbilt might be the one player who played around the level you expect him to be at.

He was perfect from the field, grabbed his rebounds and was respectable defensively. It would've been nice to see him get the start and hopefully he will start breaking 30 minutes of play soon, as this team desperately needs a spark defensively instead of playing from behind in so many of these matchups.

Grade: B

Max Christie

11 minutes, 5 points, 1 rebound, 1 block, 2-2 FG, 1-1 3PT -5

These were classic Christie shifts.

He scored a couple of buckets, gave a good effort on his assignments on the wing and didn't play afterward. If there was ever a game to give Christie some more run and see if he could make a difference, it was this one. It seems Ham is focused on giving him short shifts and that's about it.

Grade: B-

Rui Hachimura

23 minutes, 16 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals, 7-11 FG, 2-4 3PT, 0-2 FT, -9

Hachimura gave you a decent showing on offense, but his slow feet on the perimeter allowed the Hawks to apply pressure on the rim and with Davis out, that pressure became buckets on buckets.

No one helped make up for Davis' absence and that includes Hachimura. You needed more from the supporting cast and it just wasn't given.

Grade: B-

Christian Wood

22 minutes, 9 points, 2 assists, 8 rebounds, 4-7 FG, 0-1 3PT, 1-2 FT, -4

Can't blame Wood for this game.

He was who he is: a backup center scoring a few buckets and grabbing a handful of rebounds. Ham didn't want to expand his role, so he played well during his shifts, even if it didn't matter because the game was consistently out of reach.

Grade: B-

Jalen Hood-Schifino, Skylar Mays, Dylan Windler, Maxwell Lewis

All the rookies and two-way guys played during the closing minutes of garbage time and didn't play long enough or at an important point of the game to warrant a grade, good or bad. I'm glad they got some run and wish it was under better circumstances.

Darvin Ham

Starting Jaxson Hayes was a mistake and set this team up for failure. I understand the continuity play, but at what cost and is it worth it? It was not and they paid for it. Then, in the third quarter, he doubled down and brought that lineup out again.

Why is James playing 30-plus minutes in a game the Lakers trailed by 10 or more points during the entire second half? It's bad enough you lost, but can he rest at least? There are no positive takeaways from Ham's decisions tonight and while I won't be starting the #FireHam campaign, fans will continue to drum up noise and use performances like tonight's as examples of why Ham ain't it.

Grade: F

Monday's inactive: Colin Castleton, Gabe Vincent, Cam Reddish, Anthony Davis

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