We are a month into the season and the Lakers season has gone better than anyone could have predicted. The Lakers are 15-2 and are arguably the best team in the league.
A month ago I ranked every player I considered a potential rotation player. I now want to take a look at who moved up and down 17 games into the season. I’m going to increase my list to 13 players to match the players who have played real minutes.
13. Quinn Cook- I thought Cook had the chance to be the Lakers best point guard, and so far he’s been disappointing. He was brought in as a shooter but right now he’s shooting in the low 30’s on 3-pointers.
I think his shooting will eventually pick up, but I don’t see him rising up my list much this year.
12. Jared Dudley- Last time I had him ranked 11th on the power ranking list and he dropped due to his lack of playing time. He has seen some spot minutes, and when he’s in he plays his role and alway seems to make timely shots.
At this point in his career Dudley’s role on this team is to be a veteran leader and another coach on the sideline.
11. Troy Daniels- Daniels was brought in to shoot threes, and so far he’s been bad at his job. He’s not a good passer, a good defender, or really anything else except hypothetically being good at 3-poijt shooting. I do expect him to eventually start to consistently knock down shots like he did against the Spurs. For now, he needs to earn his spot in the rotation
10. Rajon Rondo- Rondo has been better than I thought he would. He hasn’t been bad and has actually looked comfortable shooting threes.
When I watch Rondo, I can see what the Lakers like about him. He’s a really good passer and there are times when the offense really flows when he’s making quick decisions. I’m also weirdly confident he will make his open threes which is a strange place to be.
But then I’ll watch him get blown by on defense, pound the ball into the dirt, and pass up upon layups for assists.
I definitely think there is some role for Rondo, I just don’t know how big it should be yet.
9. JaVale McGee- Javale has been pretty good for this team after a really rough start. He’s still a great lob threat and has shown a nice touch around the basket. He’s also been pretty good defensively, but is prone to making frustrating mistakes.
JaVale is currently the Lakers starting center even though he’s not been the best center on the team. As long as he plays decently it makes sense to keep him happy as a starter.
8. Alex Caruso- Caruso has been a solid guard for the Lakers but hasn’t made the offensive leap some fans would have hoped for. He is one of the Lakers best defensive players and can knock down an open three, but he isn’t consistent doing so.
Hopes that he could become a good enough ball handler to be the Lakers overall best point guard have not come to fruition either. Still, he’s solid and is one of the Lakers players that does a little bit of everything to help the team win. He has a real chance to improve and rise up the list with more playing time.
7. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope- KCP has gone from someone every fan wanted traded to a legitimately good bench player. He’s shooting above 40% on the season from three and has actually been really crucial for the Lakers in a few fourth quarters.
The team rallied behind him after a lot of fan criticism and his recent play has been encouraging.
6. Kyle Kuzma- Kuzma has been up and down since coming back from injury.
He has had a few games where he looks like the Lakers clear third best player, and has had other games where he’s been targeted on defense and inefficient as a scorer. He’s still making his way back after being injured all off season, and a recent eye injury hasn’t helped his comeback.
I think there’s a very good chance that by next month’s power ranking he solidifies himself as a top player on the team.
5. Dwight Howard- Dwight has been a revelation for the Lakers this year. He’s been a great role player and has been a real monster for them defensively.
After numerous stops over the past few years, he finally seems to be accepting his role as someone who plays defense, catches lobs, and grabs boards.
He’s quickly become a fan favorite, and proof that redemption is always possible.
4. Avery Bradley– Bradley was a player I was high on coming into the season and he’s been even better than I thought. He’s currently injured but is expected back relatively soon.
When he’s on the floor he’s been exactly what the Lakers need. Bradley is a pesky defender who bothers everyone he guards, even if sometimes he’s a little too aggressive.
He’s a solid offensive player but still hasn’t gotten going from three. If he can keep this up, he will be an incredibly valuable all around guard for the Lakers.
3. Danny Green- So far, Green has been the all around best player not named Anthony Davis or LeBron James. He’s still an elite shooter who seems to make shots the more difficult they are, and he’s still a really good defensive player.
He’s not someone who is going to consistently score 15-18 points per game. While he is an elite shooter, he’s extremely hot and cold. I don’t know if he will stay at this spot forever because there’s there’s a lot of competition behind him, but I think Green will still be high on this list all year.
2. Anthony Davis– If the Defensive Player of the Year award isn’t already engraved in his name then the NBA should expedite the process. Davis has been great all year on both ends, but has made his mark as the league’s best defensive player.
He’s no slouch on offense though, and while he has had a few games where he seems to be sleepwalking through offensive possessions, there have been countless nights where he gets 30 points without even trying.
AD is a great player, and it takes perhaps the best ever to one up him on a list like this.
1. LeBron James- I wrote in my pre-season power ranking that I expected LeBron to come out and prove everyone wrong. I expected him to be great, but I honestly didn’t know he’d be this great.
LeBron has been the best player in the league through the first month of the season, and he’s been great in ways I couldn’t have expected.
He’s been the second best defensive player behind Davis, and his effort levels on a night to night basis are incredible.
He’s also averaging a career high in assists at over 10 a game, and he’s still an elite and effective scorer.
He is still a bit inconsistent at the free throw line, and there are times when he seems to jack up bad shots just because he can. Even with a few quibbles in his game, LeBron has been without a doubt the best player on this team and has proven that age is nothing but a number.