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Players Grades: Lakers vs. Grizzlies

Assessing every Lakers player’s performance from the team’s 127-113 loss to the Grizzlies.

Memphis Grizzlies v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

The Lakers’ ongoing attempt to one-up their worst loss of the season this week had another low point on Friday with a 127-113 loss to the Grizzlies. A game that started very optimistically with a double-digit lead ended in the same way most of the last 13 games have — with the Lakers floundering down the stretch and the opponents walking away victorious.

Friday had a different spice to it with Memphis being the opponent as they finally avoided a debilitating blowout loss to the Lakers and, this time, got some payback with a gut-punch delivered themselves.

The Lakers are just kind of wandering in the wilderness right now and the only changes are coming internally. And no one looks ready to make one.

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.

Cam Reddish

32 minutes, 8 points, 2 rebounds, 1 steal, 3-8 FG, 2-3 3PT, -20

At this point in the season, there’s no bigger indictment on Darvin Ham than Reddish getting 32 minutes. Ham definitely tightened the rotation on Friday — partly a necessity given lack of available bodies — but my word, Reddish has not deserved 32 minutes for weeks.

He knocked down a couple 3-pointers but he’s such a non-factor offensively that it’s wild he’s getting these minutes. Especially as so many others we’ll talk about got so few.

Grade: D-

LeBron James

39 minutes, 32 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists, 5 steals, 11-24 FG, 4-9 3PT, 6-10 FT, -8

It was a tale of two halves for LeBron. In the first quarter/half, he was unstoppable and looked like he was really setting a tone. In the fourth quarter, it looked like he had used all of his reserves and was running on empty, which is concerning considering the amount of time the Lakers have had off at home.

LeBron’s fourth was a mixture of turnovers, blown defensive assignments, weak closeouts and curious shot selection. Oh, and plenty of missed free throws. Maybe I’m being too harsh but it’s hard to look past how truly awful he was in the fourth.

Grade: C

Anthony Davis

41 minutes, 31 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks, 13-22 FG, 0-3 3PT, 5-7 FT, -10

About the only Laker I thought looked like he gave a damn as things were slipping away in the fourth. That’s probably unfair but I’m annoyed so allow it.

It’s truly maddening how much we’re wasting these AD performances. He was dominant in every way yet again. He had a favorable matchup against Bismack Biyombo and exploited it all night.

Grade: A

Taurean Prince

35 minutes, 10 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 3-9 FG, 3-7 3PT, 1-2 FT, -19

Pretty much a bog standard Prince game at this point. He had some good, some bad. He’s not afraid to fire away from three but he also is about the only outside shooter I trust amongst the role players at this point.

It’s hard to put too much of the blame on him for this. He probably could have been better but he wasn’t the reason they lost.

Grade: C+

Austin Reaves

40 minutes, 19 points, 7 rebounds, 12 assists, 2 steals, 8-14 FG, 0-3 3PT, 3-4 FT, -23

Outside of not being able to knock down a 3-pointer, this was a decent Reaves game. He, too, looked like he gave a damn in the fourth but he couldn’t do much about it.

The Grizzlies had a bit of success against him defensively but that’s to be expected at this point. I don’t really blame him for much on the night.

Grade: B

Max Christie

20 minutes, 2 points, 3 rebounds, 1 steal, 1-3 FG, 0-1 3PT, +1

The stats don’t back it up all that much, but I thought Christie played well on the night. When mentioning how many minutes Reddish got and where they should go, this is the spot they need to go. There isn’t much of an argument based on how they’re playing right now for Reddish to be getting significantly more minutes than Christie.

The roughest stretch for Christie came when he was playing as a point guard, but that’s not really his fault.

Grade: B

Jarred Vanderbilt

17 minutes, 5 rebounds, 1 assists, 1 steal, +3

At this point, if he’s only playing 17 minutes, I have to assume it’s injury-related. There’s no matchup he’s better suited for than Ja Morant and the Grizzlies. He wasn’t in foul trouble on the night, so I’m not sure what other reason there would be to not play him.

We’ve seen the injury flare up from time to time, so I’m going to run with that logic because it isn’t as frustrating. When he played, he was impactful in all the ways that Vando typically is impactful.

Grade: B

Christian Wood

16 minutes, 11 points, 5 rebounds, 1 steal, 3-5 FG, 1-2 3PT, 4-4 FT, +6

Similar to LeBron’s game, Wood was pretty good for most of it before going wild in the fourth. There was the turnover I’m sure most people will remember, but I put that more on the Lakers’ guards for abandoning him in the backcourt.

The late 3-pointer he took, though was inexcusable. You don’t need a coach to tell you that’s a bad shot. And therein lies the problem with Wood and kind of underlies why he is the player he’s become.

Grade: C

Darvin Ham

Well, Ham started the night with one of the wildest quotes I’ve heard from a Lakers head coach in some time. He then coached the game like the pressure was getting to him a bit and treated this like a bit of a must-win in terms of tightening the rotation and playing the starters more.

In a vacuum, I guess that’s fine. It’s the players he’s choosing to give those heavy minutes to and the rotations he’s putting out there that lead to some head scratches. The Lakers only have two ballhandlers available right now, so there’s no reason for one of Reaves or LeBron to not be on the floor.

There’s also a grander issue of the team’s approach to 3-point defense. They’re content leaving certain players open for threes and it’s biting them time and time again. Even if you think that’s a decent approach, and to some degree I do, when the results aren’t going your way during a game, don’t just live with the results. Make a change.

Similar to Mike Budenholzer, though, Ham is content losing games if certain players make shots. On Friday, it was Marcus Smart. He had missed his last 13 3-pointers coming into the night and shooting below 30% on the season and promptly cooked the Lakers by going 8-14.

Ham is sticking to his guns and it’s going into cost him his job at this point. The leash is incredibly short and it feels like the end is near.

Grade: F

Friday’s DNPs: Alex Fudge, D’Moi Hodge, Maxwell Lewis, Jaxson Hayes, Jalen Hood-Schifino

Friday’s inactives: D’Angelo Russell, Rui Hachimura, Colin Castleton, Gabe Vincent

You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.

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